The Change, Part 4

Well, the last change I wrote about here didn’t last very long. About the third or fourth day in, Ducky upchucked her whole dinner. And I didn’t like the way the stuff looked when I rehydrated it going by the directions, so I gave up. Luckily I bought the box from Chewy so I had no trouble getting a full refund on the product. I just brought it to the vet and put it in his bucket for our county animal shelter (the one from which we adopted Ducky 6-1/2 years ago).

So, what to do? I swore on a whole stack of bibles (well, not literally speaking) that I would NEVER go back to the Hills’ Prescription Diet food. (That was even before the initial recall for the Vitamin D excesses. And they’ve expanded the recall twice already!) And I had promised hubby that I wouldn’t buy any more of the The Farmer’s Dog food than I already had (there was still one more order due to arrive a few days after I made the promise). So, I had to come up with another plan. I thought of trying other commercial, dehydrated brands but never could find one that appealed to me, especially after the fiasco with the Only Natural Pet stuff mentioned in Part 3 of our “saga”.  So, I decided I’d buy some doggy vitamins from Pet Naturals of Vermont (via Chewy of course) and make the food myself. And I just don’t have the stomach for a raw diet – either homemade or commercially dehydrated.

And then the unthinkable happened. Shadow started her decline. She went from loving every meal from The Farmer’s Dog and actually taking her medications that were hidden in the food to not wanting any food, not even treats. So, I fed Ducky her meals and pleaded with Shadow to at least eat something. When Shadow left us to reunite with Callie, I still had about 12 of the 14 packs of food I’d gotten in my last order. So, I used them – reproportioning them for Ducky’s needs – and then used Ducky’s remaining packs.

As of last Monday, I’m feeding Ducky an all-homecooked diet of ground turkey, carrots, spinach, and chickpeas. And I’ve been researching the grain-free vs. not-grain-free issue that the USDA warned about a few months ago. (Many thanks to Jen at My Brown Newfies for her article about that! It was the best one I’ve read; and totally un-biased!). I also bought a few books about homecooked dog food. I’ll tell you about those another time, but two of them were suggested by Maggie at the Oh My Dog! Blog. So far, Ducky’s enjoying her home-cooked meals. And I’m enjoying making them for her.  I’ll keep you posted.

Creatures of Habit, Part 2

Well, I’ve given up on changing the girls’ breakfast time. Temporarily.

Last week Shadow had to get a re-check of her liver enzyme levels. 

Back in January when she had her annual exam, they were slightly elevated, but the vet wasn’t all that concerned. “We’ll re-check them in three months and take it from there.”

Well, they were still a little elevated last week, so the vet decided to try Denosyl – a nutritional supplement, not a prescription drug – to help “clean out” her “system”. That’s when her appetite really went south.

I started her on the Denosyl on Wednesday morning – on an empty stomach – and about two hours later put her food bowl down for her. (Instructions call for waiting at least an hour before feeding meals.) 

Shadow sniffed at the food and walked away. Would not even take a small bite. “Oh ****!” I said to hubby. “Between my routine change and now this, all that hard work of getting her weight and daily calories back up is going to be for naught.”

I spent the day worrying about her food intake. Stupid me. I should have just called the vet. But she was otherwise fine. She and Ducky played well together in the yard.
Well, to be honest, they played separately – Shadow with her ball, Ducky with her Bounzer – but there was no arguing between them. I worked with Ducky on her “place” and loose-leash walking and threw in some sit-stay-come work. And I threw Shadow’s ball back and forth across the yard. 

Thursday morning? Same scenario. Denosyl at 7 am, food bowl down at 9:30, a brief sniff and then refusal to eat. So, when I got to the vet’s office to do my externship hours, I mentioned the food issue to the vet tech who’s mentoring me. She immediately put my mind at ease.

“It’s a temporary thing. The Denosyl has a habit of making their stomachs feel weird the first two or three days until they’re used to it. If she’s still refusing to eat over the weekend, we’ll figure something else out on Monday. But my guess is she’ll be back to normal tomorrow.” So, I stopped worrying and sure enough, Shadow ate her regular breakfast and then some yesterday. 

Maybe, at some point, I’ll go back to changing the girls’ meal times. But for now at least, all’s well. And the teensy bit of extra attention that I’m giving Ducky each day is keeping her jealousy under control. Even yesterday when the guys were here putting the new roof on the house she was good. (Of course, being at daycare all day and taking her “chill pill” before we left to come home probably helped. Along with the 3/4-mile walk around the ball field.)​​

Here’s hoping that you’re all having a good weekend!