Life with Jasmine, Juliet and Buttercup, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with THREE rescued miniature dachshunds

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!


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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Is This Our Dog?

Jasmine is definitely on the road to recovery.  She’s eating and her diarrhea is gone.  More importantly, she has had more zip and pep in the last day or so than she has had the entire time we’ve had her.  When I took her out the first thing this morning, she got ultra-curious in the back yard.  She sniffed the entire thing like she had never been there before.  She noticed a squirrel and got very interested.  She saw something under the hedge and tried to track it (probably a bug).  She entirely forgot why we were out there. 🙂

Jasmine has also been signficantly more playful since she’s been mending from the Whipworms.  The screaming monkey toy has been a great deal of fun, but she has also been initiating play much more frequently and wagging her little tail quite a bit.  I wonder if the parasites have been with her the entire time, and her normal, low-energy, mellow personality has been a symptom rather than her true self.  I’m enjoying the revved-up Jasmine, and I hope this happier, attention-seeking little imp is finally coming out of her shell.

By the way, any typos in this entry is directly attributable to Jasmine jumping up on my lap desk and pushing the mouse around. 😀

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48 Hours Later

Tug a Monkey

Originally uploaded by mwdonnelly

Well, it’s been 48 hours since Jasmine started treatment for the Whipworms. She’s making good progress, but she did get up in the middle of the night last night to go, and she had another bout of diarrhea this morning. I called the vet and he wants me to stay the course and see if she improves…I’m hoping for the best.

I did notice, however, that Jasmine is improving on other fronts. Her energy level and playfulness are significantly better. I gave Jasmine a bath this morning, and afterwards, she jumped around the house and began playing with her Screaming Monkey. She also ran around the house a few times and has generally been a happy, bouncy, Tigger-like dog this morning.

The Screaming Monkey is her favorite toy these days. I was cleaning the other day and I dropped the monkey on the floor. Jasmine came running to check out the screaming, and immediately picked up the monkey and ran away. She now loves to chew on it. I thought I’d share a little of her play with you.

(Keep your volume down on your PC…the screaming is LOUD!)


Recipe for a Good Tummy

Well, the vet called to tell me that the blood work came back on Jasmine, and she’s healthy and normal.  That’s a relief!  I told him about the blood in her stool last night, and he said that wasn’t unusual given her situation.  I’m to continue the white rice and cottage cheese diet until she’s completely normal, and then I can slowly introduce the new food to her.

If Eukanuba had not changed their canned pet food formula, I probably would have kept her on their food to keep from disrupting her digestive system.  But now that I’ve been forced to make changes, I’m going to feed Jasmine the EVO.  Better nutrition, better ingredients and no grain fillers make it a good choice.  However, I’m fuzzy on the “science” of dog nutrition.  The argument is that dogs, in the wild, eat a diet mostly of protein, and that whole foods are better than processed junk and fillers.  I’ll buy that–to an extent.  The Dog Food Analysis site has an explanation of how they rate the foods…but where’s the science behind these ratings?  There is a regulatory agency, the AAFCO, that oversees the feed manufacturers to ensure that a) the ingredients and guaranteed analysis of the food on the label is correct and b) the ingredients provide whole and proper nutrition for the animal in question.

What it boils down to is what do you believe?  I think either of the foods are sufficient to ensure proper nutrition for Jasmine.  The marketing hype for both is substantial.  EVO claims better nutrition due to higher levels of protein, no grain fillers, etc.  Eukanuba claims better joint health for Dachshunds because of the inclusion of Glucosamine and Chondroitin (ala ground up bones and cartilage).  Reading packaging, EVO seems more wholesome and does have a guaranteed analysis that is much more skewed towards protein.  But is this necessarily better?  I don’t know.  What is the optimal amount of protein for a dog?  Has anyone proven this?  I guess it just makes ME feel better to give Jasmine food that has better ingredients–more whole foods, less “by-products.”  She seems to like the way it tastes.  And hopefully, when her tummy settles down, she’ll be on the way to optimal health.

Some Facts for Comparison

EVO Small Bites Ingredients:  Turkey, chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, potatoes, herring meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, egg, apples, tomatoes, potassium chloride, carrots, vitamins, garlic, cottage cheese, minerals, alfalfa sprouts, ascorbic acid, dried chicory root, direct-fed microbials, vitamin E supplement, lecithin, rosemary extract.  Protein = “minimum 42%”

From Dog Food Analysis site:

  • Rating: Six Stars (highest)
  • Recommended: Yes
  • Pros: First four ingredients are named meat products, high meat content, grainless, quality ingredients throughout
  • Cons: None
  • AAFCO Certification: Yes. “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that EVO Dog Small Bites Dry Dog Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages.”

Eukanuba Dachshund Formula Ingredients:  Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Natural Chicken Flavor, Brewers Rice, Dried Beet Pulp (sugar removed), Dried Egg Product, Fish meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Flax Meal, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Minerals, Dried Chicken Cartilage, DL-Methionine, L-Carnitine, Rosemary Extract.  Protein = “not less than 25%”

From Dog Food Analysis site:

  • Rating: One Star (lowest)
  • Recommended: No
  • Pros: First ingredient is a named meat product
  • Cons: Insufficient meat content, byproducts, low quality grain, controversial filler
  • AAFCO Certification: Unknown.

Tummy Problems Continue

Just when I thought things were getting better…

Jasmine was recovering from her tummy problems, or so I thought.  But I was wrong.  Yesterday, when I was on the phone, Jasmine pooped in the house.  Luckily, it was on the slate floor in the front entryway because she was obviously having stomach problems again.  I cleaned everything up, disinfected and used some enzyme cleaner to neutralize the odor.  I thought it was a one-time occurrance.  I was wrong.

Last night, I took her out before bedtime–as usual.  Around 1:30 a.m., I heard Jasmine trotting down the hallway to our bedroom.  She has never climbed out of bed at night, so I was suspicious.  So I got out of bed to check.  Sure enough, she had pooped again in the entryway.  This time, the results were worse.  I cleaned everything up and made sure that Jasmine was settled in for the night.

She’s been on a mix of the new and old food for over a week now, and I would have thought that her stomach would have begun to settle.  However, there’s a chance that something else is going on.  It’s off to the vet today to both have her checked out and to get her shots.

Update: We went to the vet today and got some bloodwork done, a sample turned in and some medication to prevent inflamation and infection.  We’ll know more tomorrow, but the vet suspects that Jasmine is having issues with the food change.  She’s now on a bland diet (rice and low-fat cottage cheese) until she gets back to normal.  However, Jasmine’s stressing and straining to go has become worse, and she’s now bleeding a bit when she goes.  Poor baby!  I’m so worried, but the vet doesn’t seem to think it’s serious.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I feel so bad for Jasmine!

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Dog Food

I’ve been researching dog food since Jasmine got her tummy ache.  Many dogs have loose stool when their diets are altered, including changes in food formulas or switching brands/types or even flavors of food.  Other dogs are less sensitive to changes in diet.  I guess Jasmine is in the former group.

I found a site, Dog Food Analysis, that details the contents of and reviews both kibble and canned dog foods.  I also saw a list of foods that the Whole Dog Journal recommends–it’s pretty similar to the Dog Food Analysis site’s findings.  Looking at the Dog Food Analysis site, their preferences for good dog food stems from a more “natural” diet that is high in protein, high in nutrients and “whole” foods (veggies, whole grains, natural preservatives), and low in carbohydrates and fillers.  I looked at all the “six star” dog foods and decided to try the EVO Small Bites dog food (the only food in the list with smaller kibble for smaller dogs) and EVO canned dog foods for Jasmine.  As long as we’re going through a slow change in food, I thought I would try to find the best food for her.

Does this mean mass-market commercial food is bad?  Nope.  Eukanuba has done well for Jasmine, but i want to make sure that she’s getting the best she can.  Is this a little overboard?  Actually, no.  The food was readily available at the local pet food store, and was significantly LOWER in price than Eukanuba’s new formula with better ingredients.  Eukanuba went from a 10.3 ounce can for $1.29 with their old formula to a 13 ounce can for $1.79 for their new formula.  I called their “expert” hotline yesterday to ascertain what was different in the new formula, and their “expert” claimed, “oh, we’re using better ingredients.”  Hm.  Some expert.  She told me that I should try their other brand, Iams, and she’d send me coupons for some free cans.  No thanks.

We’re now transitioning Jasmine slowly from the old dog food to the new, but we only have one can of the old…so Jasmine will be fully on the new canned food.  We have plenty of Eukanuba kibble, so I’ll be slowly transitioning her to the new stuff by mixing her food.  Hopefully, this will keep her from experiencing more tummy problems.  The slow transition is bringing her back to normal–thank goodness!


Tummy Ache

Jasmine has been having stomach problems for the last couple of days.  I’m pretty sure that it’s because of a change in dog food.  Eukanuba, our preferred food for both canned and kibble, changed their formulas for their canned dog food.  We generally give Jasmine a tablespoon of canned dog food mixed with warm water to make a gravy for her dry kibble.

We made the change a few days ago, and for the last two days, Jasmine has been having…issues.  Last night, she also soiled inside the house, rendering the carpet runner in our front halllway a relic for the trash can (no big loss).  Poor baby.  She still has issues with signaling us when she has to go out, and I can’t seem to teach her how to properly let us know when she needs to go–especially when it’s urgent.

I had one can left of the old stuff, so I’m going to ease her into the new food over the next week or so.  I should have done that in the first place, but I thought that Eukanuba to Eukanuba shouldn’t be a big change.  I’m also wondering if it’s something she could have picked up at the kennel, but it’s been some time since she returned…it would have shown up immediately.

Jasmine is still her rompy/sleepy/rompy self, so I’m not too worried.  Okay, so I’m a LITTLE worried.  What Mom wouldn’t be?  If she doesn’t adjust well within the next few days, it’s off to the vet we go.  She’s due for shots anyway.

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