Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Food and Water Don’t Mix (Now)

We solved Jasmine’s food refusal problem just a day or two after it started. We went and got some samples of different dog foods at the local store and decided to try them out until we found something new that got Jasmine out of her food slump. It turns out that Jasmine wasn’t really tired of her dog food. She was tired of having dog food soup.

When we first got Jasmine, she generally didn’t drink water. So we had the bright idea to mix water into her meals and mix a little wet dog food into the water to encourage her to drink. It worked. She lapped up her “meat water” and then chomped down on her dry (okay, moist) kibble every day. And then, one day, she didn’t want her food made this way anymore. I took out the water, just mixed the dry and canned food together and she’s been chowing down ever since. AND she’s been drinking water like a normal dog.

So she’s a foodie hound again, and we’re going to continue to try new flavors of food to keep her engaged (and to ensure that she has a varied nutritional profile). It’s great that the local store had a bunch of samples for us to try. It really helped us make some smart choices and we now know that she likes different flavor combos and the changes will not cause any stomach problems. Win win!

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Hunger Strike

Jasmine is still being difficult about her mealtime. Except I think it’s my fault. Oh the guilt.

I’ve been feeding Jasmine the same food for several years ever since the unfortunate whipworm incident–we thought it was a food change that caused her some tummy issues; it turned out to be parasites). We feed her Innova Small Bites mixed with a spoonful of California Natural Chicken & Rice canned food and 1/2 cup of water. She doesn’t drink much water, and this encourages her to get a good amount of water with her yummy meal.

Well, she apparently doesn’t think the food is very yummy anymore. And I know that dogs SHOULD be switched from food to food every few months to help them get a different balance of nutrients and to get some variety. I just got complacent. I also was kind of afraid of rocking the boat. She has been happy with her food and welcomes meal times. Until a few days ago. She now thumbs her nose at the kibble (still drinks the canned-dog-food-flavored water). I thought it was because of nervousness, but she’s hungry for “other” food (treats, meats, etc) that are dropped into her bowl.

So, I have to go back and try some other food for her. To keep her engaged in mealtimes, to keep her balanced nutrition, etc. I know to ease her into a new diet, but I also know that it’s time for a change.

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Where’s My Apple?

I changed my breakfast routine yesterday and Jasmine was quite unhappy about it.

I had a grapefruit for breakfast yesterday. I wanted a change, and I hadn’t had grapefruit in a long time. I was enjoying my breakfast when I heard a little bark. I looked down and saw a somewhat anxious and unruly pup. She was looking at me with an annoyed look on her face, as if to say, “Hey! What’s with this grapefruit stuff? Where’s my nicely peeled and chunked apple? Huh?”

Ooops. In my haste to change my breakfast routine, I forgot that Jasmine counts on HER routine, and that includes a bit of apple every morning. So what did I do? I went and got a piece of apple from my lunch and gave it to her. She happily munched away on the apple (peeled, of course) as I munched away on my grapefruit. I got a nice laugh and a nice start to my morning.

It’s great when a story has a happy ending, isn’t it?

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Kibble Eater

Since we got Jasmine, we’ve been feeding her kibble mixed with some wet food and water.  When we first got her, she refused to eat dry kibble.  She would sniff it and walk away.  She would have nothing to do with it unless we mixed some yummy wet food in with the dry.  Oh, my pampered pooch.  We then started mixing in about 1/2 cup of water in with the wet to make a gravy and to give her plenty of hydration.  Jasmine doesn’t seem to drink much water, and we were worried that she was not getting enough to stay healthy.

Well, tonight I found out that I’ve been played.  Now, that probably doesn’t surprise any of you Dachshund owners out there to find out that a 10-pound hound has manipulated her way into gourmet food.  However, it might surprise you to know that she allowed me to SEE that I’ve been played.

When I was fixing her dinner tonight, I was thinking of the 18 things I have to do this week.  I put her wet food/water mixture into the microwave (15 seconds takes the chill out of the refrigerated wet food…YES…I KNOW…I KNOW…).  In my preoccupation, I put down her dish with the dry kibble in it instead of waiting until the wet food was mixed in.  To my surprise, Jasmine jumped on it and started crunching away.

Dry kibble!  She’s eating dry kibble.  Waitaminute.  She’s eating dry kibble!

All this time, I thought she poo-poo’d dry kibble.  As she crunched away, everything became clear.  I’d been played.

So what did I do?  I poured the water/wet food mixture in her bowl and she happily lapped away.  Everything is as it should be.

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Simon & Hueys Sold

Simon & Hueys, the makers of Soft Training Treats (Jasmine’s favorite treats), have sold their company.  I was going to replenish my supply–I was dangerously low.  The local doggie boutique was sold out, so I went to the company’s website to make a bulk purchase.  The website was gone.

I tried calling their phone, and their voice mail was full.    Uh oh.

I did a Google search for the little morsels, and I found a couple of online stores selling them.  But better yet, I found an ad on Craigslist selling “overstock” of these treats.  I contacted the seller, and it just happens to be one of the owners.  She said that they sold the business to Paws Gourmet, Inc. Paws Gourmet was in the process of learning and perfecting the manufacturing process.  They were clearing out their excess inventory.

I ordered a bunch to stock up.  Unfortunately, they got my order wrong (not surprising since they’re probably in shut-down mode), but I got MOST of what I ordered.  So Jasmine is assured that her favorite training treat is on hand for some time.  I did find some substitutes (I particularly like Cloudstar’s Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits, but they are a bit pricey) but I still love the Simon and Huey’s product.  They are tiny, made with only a few ingredients and Jasmine loves them.  That’s good enough for me.

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Our Favorite Things

My thoughts on car safety have prompted me to think about the things that I have acquired and now regularly use for Jasmine.  Here are a few of my/her favorite things (I don’t think you can easily fit them into the song, but hey, it doesn’t ALWAYS have to rhyme!).  Sorry if some of these are listed in prior postings…AND note that I have no interest or affiliation with any of these products or companies.  🙂

Food and Treats

Toys

  • Kong Toys – Dental Kong with Rope – Unfortunately, this product doesn’t appear on the Kong site; it has probably been discontinued, so I better hurry and get another one.  Jasmine’s rope has been happily shredded.  She does like the small Classic Kong when it’s filled with cheese (which dog wouldn’t?).
  • Flying Screaming Monkey toy – No, it’s not a dog toy.  But it is Jasmine’s absolute favorite toy.  The first time she heard that monkey scream and saw it fly, it was love at first sight.  She went tearing across the room, picked up the poor little monkey and shook it like crazy.  I’ve been watching her very closely as she plays with this toy, and I removed the button eyes with a pair of pliers.  She will be graduating to her second monkey soon.
  • Any rope toy – Jasmine loves rope toys.  We play a bit of Tug, but she mainly loves to shred the ropes.  This extends to toys that have ropes built into them including the mini-size Chuck-A-Duck from Fat Cat, Inc’s Doggy Hoots line.  If you haven’t checked out their colorful, whimsical toys, you’re missing out!  Boy are they fun!

Accessories

  • Puppia Dog Harness – Nicely made harness.  Apparently, I stumbled upon a doggie fashion empire.  The Bobsleigh coat with the faux fur trimmed hood might be appropriate for winters in New Hampshire and Jasmine will be fashionable as well as warm.  Um, maybe NOT.
  • Pet Hair Eliminator brush – With rubber bristles, this brush is great for short-haired dogs and also doubles as a lint/hair removal brush.  I also have a standard bristle brush, but Jasmine prefers this one.  It’s gentle on her, and she loves the way it feels when I brush her neck and chest.  She stretches her neck like a howling coyote and just melts when I brush her…
  • Custom leashes and collars – Check out my “What I Made” blog for instructions on how to make your own.  It’s easy and you can make them from any cool fabric you find.
  • Fluffy pillows – When I first got Jasmine, a local Freecycle participant gave me a doggie bed.  Her dachsund had passed away, and she was happy that another dachshund would have use of it.  She also gave me a dog carrier.  One of the first pictures I took of Jasmine is her on the bed…and I sent the Freecylcler the picture.  I have also made Jasmine a series of pillows.  Given the unbelieveable cost of dog beds at the pet store ($60 for a pillow???), I went to the fabric store, bought some fabric (muslin for the pillow, fleece and baby terry cloth for the cover) and some fiber fill and created some simple pillows.  I made the pillows out of the muslin and then made covers with the fabric for easy laundering.  Total cost to make a $60-sized pillow:  About $10.  The extra fabric was used to make a small winter jacket and some blankets as well.
  • Drs. Foster and Smith Deluxe Quilted Rear Seat Hammock – Yes, this is the “sling” that I wrote about in the last post (and forgot the link).  I got two of the single hammocks and used giant snaps from the fabric store to attatch them together (if you don’t there’s a gap in the middle).  This way, I can take out just half of the hammock when there’s a 3rd person in the car (usually my Mom) and still have the safety hammock in place for Jasmine.

Sorry for the long post.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about products later!

Disclaimer:  All discussion about products on this blog are made independently and are solely stories and/or opinions based upon personal experiences with the products.  I am not affiliated with any company producing or selling these products.

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Weighty Thoughts

Jasmine lost some weight when we were away.  She’s now about 10.5 pounds–just right for her.  She was over 11 pounds when we last took her to the vet.  Even with the long walks, she was getting a little pudgy.  It’s hard to regulate food and treats for a low-energy dog.  Since we’ve been back, I’ve been cutting back a little on her meals to compensate for the treats she’s been getting during the day.

While I was out buying her California Natural pet food, I found that the manufacturer (Natura) makes a treat called Health Bars.  Made from a similar formula as their Innova dog food, it’s a balance of good, healthy ingredients and crunchy texture.  I like the fact that it’s focused on providing balanced nutrition rather than just acting as a method to reward and/or clean teeth.  So, we’ve been using these treats as part of her daily nutrition as well as a reward.  However, that means that her meal volume has to be reduced.

The best way to figure out how much food a dog needs every day is based upon a simple calorie calculation.  Just like humans, dogs need a certain amount of calories to maintain, lose or gain weight.  This number is based upon factors such as life stage, age, activity and environment.  I found a decent Metabolic Energy Requirement calculator on the My Cocker Spaniel site.  Natura Pet (the dog food manufacturer) also has calculators for feeding as well.  But remember that the amount of food is based upon the total caloric requirements (Metabolic Engery Requirements).  Using that base figure, calculate how much food you need to feed after factoring in the treats you feed your dog every day.

At 10.5 pounds and sedentary, Jasmine needs about 341 calories a day. Jasmine gets 1 Tablespoon of California Natural Chicken and Rice canned food and 1/4 cup of  California Natural Chicken and Rice Adult Dry food plus 1/4 cup of water.  While the canned food has about 13.5 ounces of food by weight, by volume, we get about 18 servings, which is equivalent to about 30 calories per serving. The dry kibble has about 511 calories per cup. Given these figures, Jasmine gets about 158 calories per meal.  She’s getting two meals per day so she’s getting about 316 calories a day in meals–just about what she needs.

However, treats need to be factored in.  The small Health Bars have about 50 calories each.  Milk-Bone biscuits have 20 to 30 calories each (depending on size and flavor).  Dingo Mini Bones are less than 1/2 ounce each and probably have about the same amount of calories as other typical treats (they don’t include caloric information, so I’m just assuming 50 calories each).  So, one Dingo bone and a Health Bar could mean up to an extra 100 calories a day–almost 1/3 more than her metabolic needs!  No wonder Jasmine has been gaining weight!

Given what I’ve learned about Jasmine’s caloric needs, if we cut down her kibble to 1/8 cup in the evening and still give her treats, we’ll be just right.  It may seem hard to gauge, but until I started doing the math, it was just a “guess.”  By calculating her energy requirements and figuring out how much I’m feeding her, I have a precise method to determine how much to adjust her food on a day-to-day basis to ensure her health.

Jasmine has become much more food-oriented and is always up for a treat–unlike when she first came to us and didn’t like anything but soft food and treats.  Treats are a way to train and reward, but let’s face it–it’s just plain fun to give her treats.  These tools will help me keep her slim, trim and healthy.  I guess my good habits have rubbed off on how I treat her.  I’ve gone from a size 10 or 12 to a size 2 or 4 over the last year in a similar matter.   Jasmine has had everything to do with that–the daily walks have done both of us good!

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The Dish on Dog Food

Jasmine is finally over the digestive problems caused by the Whipworms and is now on 100% dog food.  In fact, she has been eating so quickly that it scares me!  I turn my back for a minute, and when I look over, the dish has been licked clean.  I guess she’s more appreciative of the dog food than I thought, or it’s just SO much better than cottage cheese and rice! 🙂

We have been feeding her California Natural Chicken and Rice dog food (both dry and canned) by Natura Pet (makers of Evo, Innova, Health Wise, Mother Nature and Karma dog foods and treats).  We originally tried the Evo Small Bites food and thought that the digestive distress was caused by the change in food.  WRONG.  While we’re not sure whether the change in food was a causal factor in making the Whipworms go wild, the Evo line is super high in protein–a huge change from the Eukanuba Dachshund formula we’ve been feeding her.

In looking at the ingredients in the California Natural food, the ingredients are simple–Chicken meal, brown rice, rice, sunflower oil, flaxseed, natural flavors, potassium chloride, salt, vitamins, minerals and Rosemary extract.  The line of food was created with a short list of ingredients and is meant to be hypo-allergenic and easy to digest (precisely why we bought it in the first place when the Evo seemed to be upsetting Jasmine’s tummy).  However, it’s fairly high in carbohydrates (48.534%) but still has a good percentage of protein (25.881%) from a single source (chicken meal).  I’m wondering, though, if Jasmine should have a diet that has more whole foods (veggies, eggs) and a better protein to carb ratio–still grain-free.  It also bothers me that their food comes in large kibble and not small bites–possibly making it harder to digest for our little honey’s tummy.

Natura’s other line, Innova, seems to have a good balance of protein and a lot of good whole foods.  The ingredients are turkey, chicken, chicken meal, barley, brown rice, potatoes, natural flavors, rice, chicken fat, herring, apples, carrots, cottage cheese, sunflower oil, dicalcium phosphate, alfalfa sprouts, eggs, garlic, potassium chloride, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, direct-fed microbials, and vitamins and minerals.  It’s 24% protein, 40% carborhydrates, and seems to be a more diverse diet.  But again, what do dogs really need?  Both formulas provide “complete nutrition for all life stages” as defined by the AAFCO.

I called Natura today and asked them about the differences in the foods.  The gal who answered, Sarah, said that it’s all about “what you feel comfortable feeding your dog.”  All their foods meet the standards for complete nutrition.  The Innova reaches it through a more diverse, “food-pyramid” approach to the formula, while the California natural has fewer ingredients for easier digestion and to help food-sensitive dogs to have a healthy diet.  Both have vitamins and minerals added to ensure that proper nutrition is achieved.  The main issue is kibble size–those gumball sized kibbles seem so large to me, but they haven’t seem to slowed Jazzy down–so I guess we’ll stick with what’s working for her.  I don’t want to have to change her diet yet again.

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Back to Square One–YAY!

Jasmine’s tummy is finally back to normal, and as of this morning, I’ve started to introduce her normal food into her diet.  She hasn’t exactly been enthusiastic about the rice and cottage cheese diet…nor would I if I had to eat it!  I added just a 1/2 teaspoon of canned food and a couple of tablespoons of kibble to her bowl this morning, and she scarfed it up in no time!   She licked the bowl clean, licked her lips and wagged her tail with pleasure.

I think we’re over the worm hump and getting back to normal.  She has another course of the de-worming medication in two weeks to ensure that any eggs/larvae in her system are also eradicated.  I have a feeling she might need it…given that I saw her trying to eat cat poop last night. Ew.  Love that “Leave It!” command.

Now I question whether the change in food exacerbated the worms, or it was coincidental that the change in food and the worm issue cropped at the same time.  I have purchased some California Natural food (simple chicken and rice formula–not a lot to upset a tummy) for now, but the kibble is a bit large for a dog her size.  I’m going to do more dog food research and figure out what is best for the pup in the long term.

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Sensitive Tummy Continues

Jasmine was getting better with her rice/cottage cheese bland diet, so we decided to slowly introduce the new Evo dry and canned foods into her diet.  We added just a little bit of both to her food, and she seemed to tolerate it.  So, we slowly increased the proportions until we reached 100% dog food.

Well, it didn’t work.  She went back to having loose stools.  Last night, I put her back on the bland diet and stopped the dog food, but the “damage” had already been done.  She had to “go” no less than five times last night (each time was worse).  To make matters worse, she started vomiting last night and also this morning.

I’ve been watching her closely today.  I put her on a fast today to give her body a break, and I’m taking her into the vet tomorrow.  Outside of the obvious issues, she seems to be okay.  She’s still following me everywhere I go, and has already begged for scratchies this morning.

I just need to solve this food problem.  The EVO food seems to be the wrong formula for her, so I’m going to try a gentler chicken and brown rice formula.  Of course, she might have a very sensitive tummy, and any food will be an adjustment.  I just don’t want to cause her any more intestinal trauma.  Poor baby.

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