It’s been a bit, but we’re back and Suki is recovering well! She had a bump that looked like a bug bite for a year. It was previously aspirated with no cells being present. I noticed a change in it recently which concerned me. It was larger and looked bruised around the outside. Unfortunately, this time the needle biopsy confirmed my worst fear…mast cell tumor. Waiting a week for the surgery appointment was difficult. I wanted this awful thing out of her, but I was also scared to put her under anesthesia. Time stood still until the vet called to say Suki was awake and ok. The pathology results came back as a level 2 tumor, low grade…not exactly what I hoped for but not the worst it could have been either. The vet thinks it was fully incised and no chemo is needed. Whew!
The “restricted activity” for 14 days was a constant battle between Suki & me. The cone of shame resulted in a very annoying car ride home and major doggie tantrums. For both of our sanity, we switched to using t-shirts to prevent licking the incision. My t-shirts had to be tied up but still made it hard for her to walk. To say she wasn’t amused is an understatement, so off to Walmart I went. Their youth t-shirts were a perfect fit, and she had cute colors to show off each day. She had a bad reaction to one of the pain meds, so we had to stop it. I spent the rest of the recovery period dealing with a bored pup, following her around the house to prevent jumping onto furniture (failed a few times…she’s surprisingly stealthy), and trying to explain why we couldn’t go for a walk every single time we went out for a potty break. Luckily her incision healed well, and we avoided any infection. Suki was so excited to have her stitches removed and to get out of the t-shirt! She’s still rocking a punk, shaved look, but she’s back to her usual silly self!
When someone mentions milk, you probably think of a mooing cow and whole vs 2% vs skim. Chances are raw goat’s milk doesn’t even come to mind, but it should. Goat’s milk has been gaining popularity in the world and for good reason. It’s not only a good source of probiotics and prebiotics, but it also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. Raw goat’s milk maintains its nutrients and enzymes whereas typical milk pasteurization destroys them in cow’s milk.
Unlike cow’s milk, goat’s milk contains low amounts to none of the alpha-s1-casein protein which may be more likely to cause allergic reactions. Goat’s milk not only carries a lower risk of allergic reaction, but it’s more digestible. It contains smaller fat globules and higher concentrations of fatty acids than cow’s milk. Raw goat’s milk maintains its lactase which is the enzyme that breaks down lactose. Breaking down the lactose makes the milk easily digestible especially for dogs and cats. Heat during the pasteurization process performed on cow’s milk destroys the lactase enzyme so lactose isn’t broken down. The lactose in store bought cow’s milk is difficult for dogs and cats to digest, whereas the body can digest goat’s milk within 20 minutes.
Goat’s milk has been proven to treat many chronic conditions:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Gastric issues
- Poor digestion
- Heart Disease
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Brain and nerve disorders
One of the most amazing benefits of goat’s milk is its cancer fighting properties. It contains pro-Vitamin A and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which have been linked to lowering the risk of cancer by up to 60%. CLA has also been shown to shrink existing tumors!
Suki has early kidney disease and has started getting benign lumps common in older dogs. I’ve recently added raw goat’s milk to her diet, so she can reap the amazing health benefits and try to prevent cancers common in older pups. It’s her bedtime snack, and she loves the taste! I currently use goat’s milk from Answers Raw Pet Food Company, since that’s the brand my pet store carries. I highly recommend checking out their website. It’s chocked full of good information on raw goat’s milk and why you should add it to your fur baby’s diet.
Yes, I bark and chase away dogs bigger than me. Yes, I take on the wind, bad neighbors, bunnies, squirrels, bad neighbor’s bad cat, UPS truck, cars, etc. to protect my mommy and my house. Yes, I am fearless 99.9% of the time….unless there’s thunder and lightening! No way, no how am I dealing with that crazy stuff. I won’t even sleep on the bed next to mommy for protection during a storm ’cause I can see the window from the bed. I keep myself (and apparently mommy) up most of the night whining and being a nervous Nellie. I get too hot sleeping in my Thundershirt, so that didn’t work. So mommy has come to the rescue and figured out a solution. She moved my dog bed, so it’s between her bed and the dresser with the wall behind it, like a mini nest/cave. I can’t see the window and feel protected! I can now sleep soundly during a thunder storm. Yay, mommy!
We made it to another year…of trying to keep resolutions! I waited ’til 2 hours before midnight to finally decide on mine. Yes, I procrastinated, but at least I made them! Suki even got into the spirit and made some of her own. We’ll see who keeps theirs the longest!
- Spend as much time as possible with Suki, especially taking her for more walks (she helped with this one)
- Help with animal rescue groups and shelters
- Get in better shape (make this one every year, so maybe 2013 is the year!)
- Work on turning my passion into a career with sustainable income
- Cook healthier meals more often
- Blog more often
- Perfect my sad puppy dog face to connive more treats out of mommy
- Stop barking at the doorbell sooner before I make mommy deaf
- Drag mommy on more walks
- Don’t wake mommy up at crack of dawn anymore (mommy highly suggested I add this one)
- Give mommy more room on the bed
So what resolutions did you and your pets make for 2013?
Only a few hours left until we ring in 2013! For many people, New Year’s Eve means partying with friend & family, loud noise makers, lots of food, party decorations, and abundant alcohol. The celebrations are enjoyed by humans, but can be very stressful or even dangerous for our pets. If you’re lucky enough to live by that neighbor…the one who lights off fireworks or shoots guns into the air, then your pet may have added anxiety. Go ahead and enjoy your New Year’s celebrations, but please take tips to increase your pet’s safety and comfort level tonight.
Use a Thundershirt
Suki freaks out with loud noises, especially fireworks. Unfortunately, my neighbor insists on letting off the loudest fireworks possible. She’s a furry ball of nerves! The compression feel of the Thundershirt amazingly calms her down. I bought one this year, and she slept through Fourth of July while wearing it…instead of running around attacking the windows and doors like previous years. I highly recommend it!
Give Your Pet a Safe Secure Place
With the commotion of the festivities, it’s best to provide your pet a safe, secure, and familiar area within the house. This area not only lessens your pet’s anxiety level, but it also protects him/her from dangerous decorations and drunk guests. Balloons and streamer can cause a deadly intestinal blockage or choking if swallowed. Keeping your pets away from the party also prevents guests from providing prohibited food or drink to them. Even if a guest doesn’t directly hand your dog food, a plate or glass left unsupervised on a table can be easy pickings for a curious pooch.
Make Sure Guests Know the Rules
If you’re having a party at your house, you’ll likely have people over who aren’t aware of your pet’s rules. Add alcohol into the mix, and your guests may not think twice about involving your pet in the festivities. If your pet will be out and about at the party, make sure guests know not to feed your pet anything without your permission. Not everyone knows which foods are toxic to dogs. Alcohol can also be deadly to dogs, so ensure your guests know not to share with Fido. Also, make it clear whether Fido can be let outside. A well-meaning guest may let Fido outside for a potty break, only to have him take off. Even a dog with good off-leash skills can become frightened by loud party noises and bolt.
For additional tips for a safe and happy New Year’s Eve with your pets, click here.
HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE!
Suki enjoyed Christmas last year, and she can’t wait ’til it’s here this year! Finally wrapped the presents and put them under the tree last night. She “helped” wrap for a few minutes then became bored. She decided a nap was better use of her time. Usually I hide her wrapped treats in the pantry until Christmas Eve, but this year I decided to be brave and put them under the tree. Suki keeps sniffing her gifts, pushing them around with her nose, looks back at me, then walks away all sad looking. She knows she can’t open them yet…such a good girl! Think I might break down and give her 1 gift to open on Christmas Eve! Can you say spoiled doggie! LOL
Suki does not like when I wash her blanket! She gets mopey and refuses to lay on the couch until she has her blanket back. I have to put up with the sad puppy dog eyes through until it comes safely out of the dryer. What she thinks I’m doing with it, I have no idea! As soon as I fold the blanket to bring it downstairs, Suki plops down on it to reclaim it. Well excuse me for giving her a clean blanket. LOL
Walking a dog in the spring & summer is enjoyable. The warm sun is on your face, birds are chirping, you meet other dog parents out for a walk. Going for a walk in the cold snowy Midwest winters is a whole other story! Not only do you have to bundle up with coat, hat, gloves, and bulky boots, but you have to get your dog dressed and apply paw protector balm or put on doggie boots. It’s a pain and judging by the lack of summer regulars I see walking their dogs in the winter, many people decide it’s not worth it. But walks aren’t just for potty breaks and fun. They are important to a dog’s health and well-being 365 days a year. In really cold temps, you may need to shorten the walk, but still provide one. A fenced in yard is not a substitute for a good walk.
Dogs need exercise all year long. Walks help maintain a dog’s weight and aid in weight loss if needed. Obesity is becoming a real problem with dogs today. Approximately 55% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. The extra weight on a dog can cause serious and pricey health risks such as: high blood pressure, joint problems & arthritis, diabetes, cancer, heart problems, respiratory issues, kidney disease, and a shortened life expectancy. I love my fur baby and would not want to subject her needlessly to any of these conditions.
Sometimes it’s hard for people to realize the seriousness of their dog’s weight because the numbers are different than that of human weight. What does 5 extra pounds mean to a dog? It may be easier to picture how that would compare to a human’s weight. This pet weight translator allows you to put in your dog’s weight then see the comparison for a human. For example, a 12 pound Yorkie is 50% overweight or the equivalent of a 5′ 2″ female weighing 218 lbs. Imagine the extra effort and joint pain that Yorkie has to deal with on a daily basis being overweight!
Exercise also helps keep the joints and muscles working properly. Think about how stiff and sore your muscles are when you don’t use them for awhile. Daily walks and other forms of exercise keep dogs agile and limber. If your dog already has joint problems, ask your vet about low impact exercise like swimming or an underwater treadmill. The buoyancy of water takes weight-bearing pressure off the joints but still provides an excellent workout. The Swimming Dog website offers a great article on the benefits of swimming and hydrotherapy for dogs. Many communities now offer hydrotherapy classes for dogs.
A tired dog is a well behaved dog! A bored and antsy dog will find ways to entertain himself, and probably not in a way you deem appropriate. Digging, destructive chewing, barking, and stubborn/unruly behavior can be attributed to a lack of exercise. Tire your dog out with walks or other forms of exercise, and you will likely see a decrease in these annoying behaviors. A walk before bed time can help a dog sleep through the night too.
Socialization & Exposure
During walks, your dog will likely encounter other dogs, children and people which provides a great opportunity for socialization. Exposure to other dogs, people, and things can decrease their sensitivity to them. When I first adopted Suki, she freaked out and would not stop barking around other dogs. After many walking encounters, she has definitely become less reactive now when an unknown dog approaches. Unfamiliar noises and things such as cars, bicycles, and loud trucks can also frighten a dog. Many times, a dog barks out of fear. Repeatedly exposing them to the outside world can help build their confidence with such encounters.
Let’s face it….dogs love to explore anything and everything! They need to be mentally stimulated as well. Walks provide a great opportunity to expose your dog to lots of new and exciting sights, sounds, and scents. Being part Beagle, Suki’s nose rarely leaves the ground on a walk. She loves sniffing every inch of the neighborhood and reading her pee mail.
Walks provide a great opportunity for additional training and bonding with your dog. I walk Suki with a training pouch of treats. Every so often during the walk, I’ll have her follow certain commands (sit, watch me, down, stop, stay, etc). It’s one thing to train inside your quiet familiar home…it’s quite another for a dog to train with all of the distractions on a walk. The structured nature of a walk increases your dog’s bond with you. Suki periodically checks in with me on walks to make sure I’ll still there then goes back to her sniffing.