Author Archives: Helen
This is a serious question given the frequency we have of collecting and disposing of said extrusion from our beloved fur kids bottom.
Let’s start with a healthy poo:
Firm but not hard, slightly moist – it should leave a damp spot where it has been on the concrete, but no residue, no poo is left behind. While the dog should need to push to get it out, but not strain or have discomfort. The poo should not have an offensive odour, beyond smelling like ‘poo’.
The crusty poo:
A dog fed a diet of lots of bones will have a drier poo, indeed the Petfood industry at one time had as its objective a ‘kickable poo’ achieved by adding amongst other things more calcium to the processed dog food/kibble.
With the tendency of ‘BARF’ being interpreted as ‘Bones’ many dogs end up with little else. The poo will be chalky, white even, and dry and crumbly. This is a sign that your dog has too much calcium and really needs a few vegetables and grains to loosen things up. Just like us they need good gut health, good bacteria to grow in their bowel so adding more fibre is a good move for these dogs. Also an oversupply of calcium interferes with Zinc absorption so you set up an unhealthy chain of issues.
Sloppy Joes poo:
We have all experienced the runs, the slops, the jelly belly, the compulsive trots. Beanie is one of these. Sensitive to the extreme in her digestion and gives me heaps of grief.
The causes are numerous, from Irritable Bowel, Irritable Gut, food intolerance, dicky liver, anxiety, stress etc. So treating this can be more complicated but it starts with getting the diet right and building up a healthy tolerance and gut bacteria.
If it is intermittent it is in some ways easier, as it is possible to isolate the trigger or triggers. This is Beanie. Occasional bouts of runny bums and I can usually trace it back to an event (food or stress).
What to do? I take her diet back to simple foods, chicken and rice (white Basmati) cooked in chicken stock and try to keep her fluids up. I add Slippery Elm to her food as well (1/8 teaspoon – more for heavier dogs) as this helps heal the gut lining. It usually passes in a few days.
The constant sloppy poo is disheartening for the bag bearer not to mention how the dog feels (do they know?). You really do need to get to the bottom (!)of it, and that involves doing some detective work. It is almost invariably diet related, a food intolerance or digestive inadequacy. Beanie for instance cannot tolerate raw food or bones and even to the degree of the cooked cartilage bits on chicken (most dogs find this delicious!) will give her a few days of the jelly belly poo.
Often dogs find kibble very difficult to digest, and if kibble is your preferred diet I suggest you try to improve it and see if it makes a difference. I wrote a post on the 5 steps to improve commercial pet food here.
Food intolerance is a big topic but the easiest way to start is with an elimination diet, much like what I do with Beanie, make a very simple meal, one protein & one grain, cooked (raw can be part of the problem) for a couple of weeks and see if it settles. If not, swap the protein source. Once you have stable poo then you can adapt by adding new foods. I strongly suggest you use Wellbeing Essentials to stabilise and heal the gut, it adds pre & probiotics and good dietary fibres. Adding a probiotic and Slippery Elm can also assist.
Clearly ‘poo’ and its permutations is a larger topic than one post, so I will continue to explore this topic with another post in the future. 🙂
Polished floors – an unnatural state for fur kids.
Beanie took a fall. A big fall. Happy little dog to be going on an outing, bounced into our friends house and immediately ran the length of the (carpeted) hall, which ended in the living room on a highly polished wooden floor. Screams of pain. Beanie has hurt her back leg and she is not happy. Emergency (Sunday) visit to the vet for the pain.
I am very fortunate to have as a friend and colleague one of the best doggie physiotherapists around (Dogs in Motion) and I can trust her to work out what is wrong and decide the best course of action.
This isn’t a post about Beanie and her problems, it is meant to remind us all that polished floors are like ice to dogs paws, there is no grip, the very thing that makes dogs agile and fast on grass is what makes contact with polished surfaces so perilous. I have been heartbroken watching old dogs struggle and slip getting to their feet on a polished surface while the dog owner shrugs their shoulders, with a ‘what can I do, it’s the floor’ attitude. I know of homes where the dog is trained not to run inside, where it must control its natural exuberance and joyfulness to accommodate the floor. Wrong priority in my view.
Making your home dog friendly is not just easy, it’s the loving act that says you care about their place in the family, that their needs are important and valid and that their biological difference can and will be accommodated. Don’t wait for the scream or the struggle. Make it part of your mindset to have consideration.
Polished floors can be beautiful, but they are cold and hard and unforgiving. They are at their best, in my view, as the surround to a beautiful rug, or runners allowing plenty of area for the dog and their human to lie on the floor and luxuriate in the softness of a beautiful carpet. And of course if the house has runners and ample rugs the dog can find traction and security in traversing the home. It’s a fundamental security, to feel safe.
A dog is never a design feature and home beautiful is not the deepest priority we can have. Take a look around and see if you can make a difference to your dog’s wellbeing in the simple act of non slippery floors and walkways.
“Chocolate’s not good for dogs – but you can have my milk”…the Oreos’ TVC was simply gorgeous (if you can remember it or see it here).
However the young boy could have shared the Oreos as there is very little actual chocolate in one of their biscuits (and some other ingredients that are far worse for kids and dogs – but that is another post).
So what is it about Chocolate and Dogs? Theobromine is the toxic agent in cocoa and dogs can’t process it as well as humans. Theobromine has less impact on humans and we tolerate much larger doses (and yes it would be possible to overdose on chocolate and quite a few of us would like to try that!)
The darker richer chocolate is the most dangerous, but it is what chocolate is packaged in that creates the attraction.
Sugar and fat, the delicious combination that has us humans drooling is also very attractive to dogs (whereas cats don’t have a sweet tooth). Chocolate – the cocoa – is not at all sweet or even particularly attractive to the taste buds, but is made so with the addition of sugar and fats (some of which is cocoa butter). Fortunately (well for dogs at least) the more sugar and fat the less actual cocoa there usually is. Hence the point about Oreos.
So how much ‘chocolate’ is dangerous and should have you rushing your dog to the vet? I found this very helpful toxicity calculator at Ask the Vet and you can quickly find the answer to that critical question. Simply put, Milk Chocolate (or a packet of Tim Tams) is less dangerous – Theobromine wise – than that designer brand hand made Super Dark Chocolate, a small amount of which can be of consequence.
Calculator provided by www.AskAVetQuestion.com.
Note there is often discussion of Caffeine in Chocolate but actual Cocoa has very little (or no) Caffeine however it could be added by the manufacturer of the ‘chocolate bar’ for added buzz. Caffeine is not good for dogs either.
I will assume that the problems is going to arise from the Self Service department of your dog’s delights, that is – the chocolate is stolen and a larger amount is ingested (the whole block or packet).
If this is the case, the symptoms to look out for are:
Vomiting and/or Diarrhoea in very mild case through to
Seizures, Tremors and even Coma in full toxicity.
If in doubt at all, consult your Veterinarian.
What do you do for your dog when you just don’t cook. At all. Full stop.
Matilda’s Story: A friend recently was house-sitting a gorgeous Spoodle named Matilda and neither Matlida’s owner nor my friend cook for themselves, preferring to either eat out, or buy prepared food. Money isn’t an issue, this little dog previously had Wellbeing Meals (until I stopped making them) and she is dearly loved. So what does the dog get fed now?
Currently she is fed only commercial pet food. It doesn’t matter the brand, but staying with my friend it was a little heartbreaking to see Matilda approach her bowl, sniff, and walk away with disappointment written all over her face. She won’t starve herself, she eats it – eventually. But what can we do to improve her diet, and her life, under these circumstances.
Firstly adding Wellbeing Essentials to commercial Petfood is a big improvement. It adds real whole foods with life (not the beating heart kind!). While commercial Petfood claims to have all the vitamins and minerals a dog requires, these are synthetic chemicals, everything in Petfood is highly processed, no life left. Adding real food, in however a small amount, improves the diet and the dog’s long term health.
I enjoy cooking and making extra for the little fur kids is never a problem but I understand not everyone has the time or the inclination.
Fast, easy ideas for good food for your dog – all requiring little or no cooking.
Most importantly – Serve everything with a spoon of Wellbeing Essentials!
- Protein – about ½ the meal:
Takeaway chicken – remove most of skin and all of bones
– scrambled, fried, poached, boiled
Mince – easy to pan fry or can be served raw
Piece of beef/steak cut for stir fry – pan fry/raw
Cheese – sparingly because of the fat content.
- Vegetables – about ¼ meal:
Baby spinach (chopped – can be wilted with hot water. Or frozen spinach)
Broccoli in the microwave and mashed
Berries with her yogurt
Sun dried tomatoes chopped up
Even try baby food vegetables – mashed or pureed
- Carbohydrates/grains – about ¼ meal:
Packet rice – pre-cooked – just add a little water.
Chia pods – (not chocolate!)
Puffed quinoa, wholegrain rice or millet etc from the health food aisle/shop
Spaghetti – just boiled
Noodles – eg soba noodles take 4 mins to boil
- Bones: 3 x week
Raw chicken wings or necks
Lamb leg bone – from the butcher (but only let her have it for 30mins otherwise she will most likely bury it).
All these are easy to do and make, and by adding Wellbeing Essentials Matilda’s humans can have peace of mind knowing that she is getting not only getting real food, any missing vitamins and minerals are covered.
Eggs seem to be one of those questions that dog lovers aren’t clear about whether to include or not in their dog’s dinner bowl. So let me assure you, eggs are great for dogs!
They are a relatively inexpensive source of high quality protein, rich in good fats, vitamins and nutrients.
So let’s get the negative out of the way. Eggs are often given bad press because raw eggs have a couple of issues. There is a risk of Salmonella with raw eggs, cooking kills Salmonella so that is easily fixed.
The second issue is that raw egg white contain avidin, a protein that binds with biotin and prevents its absorption. Avidin is destroyed in cooking. Again easily fixed. There is some argument that egg yolk contains biotin so they balance each other out, but effectively the raw white binds with it, so this isn’t in my view a sound point. Nil sum game.
Really an occasional raw egg is completely fine and will have little impact. To me it is more an issue if raw egg (whites) are frequently in the diet.
Here is one of our favourite recipes to keep in the freezer for “take-out” nights (take it out of the freezer that is!)
Gobble Gobble Nom Nom. (translation “Delicious Turkey Meatloaf”)
500g Turkey mince
250g Chicken Livers – cooked and chopped
250g cooked rice
250g grated raw root vegetables (can be mix of carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnip)
50g of good quality bread soaked in 50g of milk
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 (free range) eggs