Lazy Casey

Lazy Casey

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Liver disease in dogs

Hopefully you will never have to experience your dog having liver disease.  When the vet told us that Jake's liver was failing, I felt so helpless.  My thoughts went to everything we ever gave him, all the allergy shots, the pills, the food, the treats, you name it.  Right after we got him from the pound we found out about his disc damage and all we cared about was to give him a happy, pain-free quality life.  That came at a price and we knew that the meds would damage his liver at some point, but when it happened it still was a shock.

I immediately went into research mode and read everything I could find about liver disease in dogs. Jake had extreme food allergies in addition to the other health problems, but I was convinced I could cure him with food.  It's the European blood in me I guess.....

I started him on a strict regime of milk thistle, Denosyl, Cosequin, burdock root and a powder called Vitamineral Green that I found at the health food store.  Because of his allergies, he was on a home-made diet.

I cooked ground turkey and mixed it with steamed (then pureed) butternut squash, green beans, baby carrots and peas.  Mixed that with some plain mashed potatoes for a meal twice a day, the goal was to give him immune boosting foods that were easy to digest so that his liver did not have to work at it.  I also made a mixture of lightly cooked and pureed peeled potatoes, peeled apples, artichoke hearts (no marinade), broccoli, peas, celery, peeled cucumber, asparagus stalks and banana.  I added blueberries and mixed with low-fat cottage cheese for a once-a-day treat.  He also got a spoonful of Greek yogurt with a spoonful of cut boiled chicken before bed.

He had to have a lot of mini-meals because of all the prescription meds he was on.  You would think with all that food he would have weighed a ton, but he didn't and he sure loved his food.  He would watch me cook his meals on the weekends and just start shaking with anticipation, because he always got to have a special treat of the turkey mixture once it cooled.  I would devote one weekend a month to cook and mix everything up so I could bag it and put it in the freezer.  It was a lot of work, but it made me feel like I was doing something.  I kept up the research too, always surfing the web to see what foods helped heal the liver, buying books on the subject, asking other people what they did.

Then one day the vet called, I remember it so clearly, it was a Sunday night, around 9 PM.  He just got to look over the latest lab results and couldn't wait until Monday to call.  Jakes liver condition improved, by 20%!!  He said he never saw that and was so excited to tell us.  Needless to say, I had a renewed sense of purpose and energy to keep doing what I was doing. 

I think it was the predisone that got him in the end.  One day we came home to find him going into shock.  The vet said he was bleeding internally so we ended up putting him down.  He fought a good fight, always a trooper and always so happy.  We gave him a good life and we never regret adopting him for a second.  He is still missed.

I hope the food tips help, but please check with your vet first.  I am not trained in nutrition, I'm just a animal lover that will do whatever it takes to help my furry kids.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Planet Dog

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When our Jake had his neck injury, the vet told us we needed to use a harness with him.  Dogs that are pullers really need to be on a harness to prevent injuries to their fragile discs.  I wish we had him on a harness from day one. 

Planet Dog proudly donates 2% of every sale to our non-profit arm, the Planet Dog Foundation, to fund the training, placement and support of dogs working to help people in need. Over the last decade, we have contributed more than $750,000 in cash grants and in-kind donations to exemplary non-profits throughout the country. (from www.planetdog.com.)

Check out our site for all the great pet stuff!  We have people stuff too!

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Queen of the Diva's.

Casey is a DIVA, not one in training, but the Queen of Diva's.  Just under 2, she has mastered being a total princess.

She loves to lie in the sun on what is now her chaise lounge and she must have her toys and her favorite blanket.  It's a crack-up to watch.  She goes into her crate in the garage and one-by-one, drags her possessions out the doggie door and oh so carefully, arranges them on the chaise.  She fluffs up the blanket at the foot of the chaise and rotates that and the armrest to use for her pillow.  She also repeatably turns over, as if she is trying to insure each side gets an equal amount of sun.

Then we have her bully sticks.....  I buy her the 12" ones, in bulk I might add...and she just loves them.  The Diva comes to town when she gets about half-way down.  If I take one of the sticks away, after she has had half of it and try to give it back to her later, well let's just say that's LEFTOVERS and DIVA's do NOT eat leftovers.

She is pretty much the same about everything.  Her new bed is not just right so she won't use it, she lies down on the floor next to it, as if she is the princess and the pea is under that new bed.  Her meals and treats have to be just so, she has actually looked at me as if to say Really??

All said and done, I wouldn't change a thing, she is a crazy, nutty diva dog and we just love her! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What to do on a rainy day.

Casey is like a toddler, she needs activities for a rainy day.  I don't want to give her bully sticks all day long, so I went in search of something else that would occupy her time and not cost an arm and a leg.

Went to the local pet store and got this toy, it's called Bentoball Everlasting Treat and for her, it was everlasting.   I had to take it away after an hour, but boy did she enjoy it.  I let her chew on it every day now and one disc has lasted over a week.  I took it out once she hollowed out the middle, but I think it may have been okay for awhile longer, provided we kept an eye on her.  As a rule, you should always supervise your pets when giving them chew treats and toys, last thing you need is them choking, especially when you are not around.

Check out the video - she really gets into it!

video

Pillow butt


Casey loves to use her butt as a pillow.  Looks uncomfortable to me, but (haha) she seems to like sitting this way!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gimme shelter

It's getting to that that time of year that we all need to think about shelter for pets that spend time outdoors.  Even in sunny California the weather gets quite cold and wet, so it is important that we provide adequate shelter that will keep them warm and dry.

Small dogs and dogs that have very little fat and fur need some extra help.  All the pet stores now carry sweaters and coats that will provide insulation during walks and the times they spend outdoors.  In addition, a dog house, an area with an awning, something to protect them from the rain and cold can be easy to provide.

Take a look at the picture below.  We made this for Casey, it may not be pretty, but it was easy and inexpensive to make and is functional.  The bed has a wood base that keeps it off the ground, that prevents it from getting wet during the rain and being off the ground makes it warmer.  The awning was made with pvc and a piece of tarp stapled to a wood strip on the top.  We have it against the house for additional warmth and shelter from the wind.  We added a piece of plywood to block the wind from the other side, it can be moved or removed depending on the weather.

Look around your garage, you probably have most of what you can use to make life a little better for your special pet.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dog joint health

Today I want to write about a subject that is very important to me.  Joint health for your dog and how essential it is to start taking care of them early on. 

We adopted Jake when he was about 3.  Shortly after, we noticed that he could not walk or run great distances.  He literally would sit down halfway through a block walk.  The last time he did that I had to carry him the rest of the way home.  We took him to the vet the next day.  The doctor did a complete exam including x-rays.  They showed a fractured disc right above his tail.  The doctor opted for conservative treatment, basically keeping Jake from jumping or climbing stairs for 12 months in the hopes that the discs would fuse naturally.  Thank goodness they did and he, along with his Deramaxx, had many great years.

The one thing we did not realize, was the effect that damaged disc would do to the rest of his body.  Had we known, we would have done everything we could to protect him. When he was hit (by car or person, we do not know) the damage caused his alignment to be off kilter.  We thought it was funny how his body moved sideways when he walked - no idea what it all meant.

That alignment issue took its toll after many years and his front legs bore the brunt of it all.  After 8 years he could no longer stand, the cartilage in his shoulders was gone, his legs literally swiveled in the sockets.  We jumped right in and started him on swim therapy, Cosequin, fish oil, you name it.  Had we begin earlier, maybe we could have bought him more time.  I just wish we knew what we know now back then.

Now we have Casey and even though she is only about a year and a half old and a small dog, we are going to give her every chance we can for a long, healthy, pain-free life.  Good quality food with Omega 3's, Cosequin daily, sardines (the wonder food) and lots of exercise and love!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Days

Went to pick Casey up first thing after we got home.  I was hoping she would be ok, but as soon as we entered the building I heard a dog wimpering.  My first thought was that she has been crying the entire week, but no, she was sound asleep.  I watched through the window as the vet tech went to wake her.   She recognized him and started wagging her tail, whew...no trauma so far!

Out she comes, still a bit sleepy and then she went crazy.  Spinning, jumping, making weird noises that only she knew the meaning of.  I had to pin her down so my husband could get her harness on and out we go, 30 pounds dragging us along to the car.

As soon as we pulled into the driveway she figured out she was home and her tail started going a 100 miles an hour!  Once inside the house she ran from room to room making sure it was all still there.  After that, the same for the backyard, HER backyard.  Then she crashed.....it was a good feeling to know she bounced back so quickly.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Over-Protective Mom.

My husband & I are leaving for a week-long trip soon and I will be honest, I am freaking out a little bit. We boarded Jake at our vet's office many times, but everyone there knew him and he was quite a celebrity.  This will be the first time for Casey since we got her from the pound. 

I already have her trip bag started; a rope toy and her Kong (with the tube of peanut butter,) biscuits for before bed, all her dry food individually bagged and her mid-day wet food snack in individual styrofoam containers.  I want to send over a shirt with our scent on it, but she is a chewer and I know she will end up eating it.  I also am packing a bottle of Melatonin; I am a firm believer in using that to calm an anxious dog.  I gave a pill to Casey every night at bed-time for the first week we had her.  She slept great, no problems being in her crate, worked like a charm!

Our vet's office also has doggie playgroup, we took her there twice, and she came back both times in a funk.  A day or so after she had her second playgroup visit, we were walking in the neighborhood and a 4-5 pound ball of white fluff came running out of a house towards us. Casey went nuts, so crazy I had to put my body on top of her just to keep her from breaking her back.  She was whimpering, flipping all over the place, it was all I could do to keep her from hurting herself.  I think maybe she was with some aggressive small dogs and had a bad experience at there.  I was really hoping she would like it, it would be a definite plus for when she will be boarded.  All I can do is hope her time passes quickly and she will forget it all once we pick her up!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stress less.

I am not an expert, I am not a veterinarian, just a doggie mommy who has had to deal with dog stress. Our dog Jake was afraid of everything; brooms, ladders, the bbq, helicoptors and oddly enough, contrails.  He was also afraid of rain, wind and loud noises.  Casey isn't so bad, but she has her moments.

Casey is a protector, she knows it is her job to protect her new home.  She really likes it here and wants to make sure she stays and everyone and everything besides me & my husband go.  She is part hound dog and on occassion sniffs out some unsuspecting ant, piece of lint, leaf or any other intruder of her turf.  Then she goes nuts...nose to the ground, frantic looks at the front door, running around looking for that bad thing she smells.  Sometimes this can spiral her into a full-blown panic-attack where she tucks her tail, whimpers and trembles like crazy.

Time to bring out the arsenal, there are two things that without a doubt help calm dogs down.  Benadryl and Melatonin.  Check with your vet regarding your dog and dosages.  I have given both my dogs these drugs and I can tell you they work!  Calms them down wonderfully!  Melatonin has been promoted for separation anxiety too, read up on it and ask your vet.  Lastly there is a wonderful product called the Thundershirt.  It's a shirt that fits snugly around the torso and calms them down considerably.  Check them out @ www.thundershirt.com.  I wish I had heard about this when we had Jake because it works great for Casey and looks good too!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Our first rainy day together.

It's only been an hour or so, but cabin fever is setting in.  Not sure who has it worse...I now have two dog beds and tons of toys in the house and the only thing keeping her down is a bully stick. She was flying and skidding all over the hardwood floors having a grand time, so again I caved.

What do you do with a dog that has super energy, hates being alone in a room and doesn't watch cartoons?  I don't want to crate her when one of us is home, but I can't play with her when I need to work.  Sedating her is tempting, but I need to save the Benadryl or melatonin for when the thunder and lightening starts.

Ahhh, she's down for a nap as I write, thank goodness! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

I chews me.....

Casey, Casey.....she is a chewer, is that the lab in her?  Jake didn't chew, never had to worry about leaving him alone.  With Casey, you leave her for a few seconds and she has your sock in her mouth, take that away and then it's a slipper. She loves to lay on her back and start nawing on her leg, front leg, back leg, doesn't matter, she rotates.  When she does that I think she has no idea that it's a part of her, it's like her tail.  She will be in her crate and wagging her tail like a nutcase, looking all over to see what's in there with her. 

There is something about shelter dogs, you have no idea what breeds are mixed in there and what the dog has been through.  We know Casey is part Lab, she looks like she is part Greyhound, she has blue spots on her tongue, maybe Chow too??  There is that crazed look she gets when she goes spaz...you know, the running in circles, low to the ground...comes at you with a mad dog face.  I'm thinking some day I will be found half eaten with a very calm, happy dog laying by my side. 


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chewbacca

Did I mention Casey is a chewer?  Not a power house that can demolish a chair in 15 minutes, but a chewer in her own right.  In the first two weeks we had her, she managed to eat part of the BBQ Island, various blankets, garden gloves, part of a patio chair and a hand rake, which has not come out to my knowledge.  My husband thinks I'm insane, I go thru her poop on a daily basis still waiting for that two inch piece of the rake to work its way out. 
She has graduated to Kong Extreme, and a toy called the Huck, anything besides those toys gets a nice trip through her digestive system.  She ate a Nylabone in a day and had flecks of white plastic in her poop, did I happen to mention I go thru her poop???  I'm sick, I know.  I find bark, bits of her rope toys and lots of plastic, she really likes plastic for some reason.  She has cleaned the backyard out though, she found an old roll of contractor tape, various pieces of roofing material and other stuff the contractors have left over the years.  Her best discovery was a rat carcass, hollowed out from the ants. Nice....

Our vet suggested a citronella collar with a remote, to break her of the destructive chewing habit.  I never had the nerve to employ it though.  It just seems too mean and who can watch her all day to catch her in the act.  He is against rawhide, hooves, bones and bully sticks, but I caved.  I now buy bully sticks in bulk, I figure a bully stick HAS to be better than a garden rake.

Since the bully stick discovery, we get the 12 inch braided ones.  She has less desire to chew parts of the house or backyard, and it's like a pacifier to her.  Just don't try taking it away, it makes the monster come out.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Buttercup

Back in 2003, my husband & I adopted our first dog, Jake, he will always be known to us as the best dog ever.  We lost him in June and even now I tear up thinking about him.  He was such a joy and will always be remembered.

It was harder than I thought to lose our dog, I've lost many pets over the years, but his loss was the most difficult.  Given that, the decision to adopt again was hard, but we knew it was the right thing to do.  Never will a new dog dimish the love we have for Jake.

Now for Casey, wow, not even sure how to begin.  She is a little over a year old and when we saw her at the pound we thought she was a starving dog found wandering the streets.  Her ribs and vertebrae stuck out like she hadn't had a decent meal in months.  I even thought she might have been rescued from a horder.  We didn't even think about adopting her because we wanted a dog that wouldn't get much bigger than 30-35 pounds and she was listed as a lab mix and once she got healthy she could top the scales as 60 pounds or more.

After weeks of going to every dog adoption event we heard about, driving all over the place to visit every pound we could find, the frustration was setting in.  With all these dogs, how could it be that we couldn't find just one perfect dog for us???   It only took one day to find Jake!  Then one afternoon, sitting on our patio, my husband & I almost at the same second, blurted out, "what about Butters?"  That was her pound name, Butters....I call her Buttercup sometimes now......when she's being sweet....  We started talking about her and both felt that she was the one, we could work around the size issue and maybe she wouldn't get that large.  So the next day we went to put in our application and brought the little bundle of joy home.  And so it began......

Casey, as we decided to name her, turns out to be a mutt, she is part lab; her face and paws, part Italian Greyhound; her body and coat, and part monster.  :-)