The Change Series Finale

Well, it’s been nearly a month since I posted Part 4 of our food-change saga; and I’m happy to report that all is still well.

On the 4th of this month, I had the vet do a senior panel (CBC, urinalysis, and fecal test) to make sure all of Ducky’s nutritional values are where they should be, as well as to assess the need for any supplements (other than the vitamins, fish oil, and Pepcid that I’ve been giving her). The urinalysis and fecal exam were perfect. And the bloodwork looked good – proteins and electrolytes are normal – so now we have a baseline to compare to in December when her annual exam is due.

Ducky appears to be thriving on her home-cooked meals. She gobbles them up; and even though she sometimes seems to inhale her food, she hasn’t had any issues (like she used to with the Hills junk). She has put on a little extra weight though since Shadow reunited with Callie, so I’ve cut back on her treats a little bit. (We were giving her extra treats to make ourselves feel better.)

We had a little “hiccup” about two weeks ago when I tried giving her some variety – ground beef, broccoli, carrots, and brown rice – which seemed to have caused her a little bit of discomfort (“irregularity”) and really dark stools. So, I went back to the ground turkey and veggies without the rice. I’ve been giving her a little bit of organic pumpkin every third day, which also seems to have made her “regular” again. Of course, after consulting “Dr. Google” last week (instead of pestering our vet during a busy week), I got paranoid and scheduled an appointment with the vet for a rear-end check. While I’m not really concerned about her, the check will at least give me peace of mind.

I’m enjoying making Ducky’s food myself. It’s easy – especially with the InstantPot – and I know exactly what goes into it. And knowing she really loves eating it makes it all worthwhile. ❤️ So, this really is the “series finale” of our dog food saga.

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.