Hill’s Z/D

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
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This is day 20 of Tori eating Hill’s Z/D and her itching is at least 75% resolved. There’s the possibility that it could be even better, but she happens to have a dad who shows his love by feeding her things that should be avoided right now. Cheese, bites of bread as well as the licking of a plate after he’s eaten most of the egg that was on it…you get the idea. Of course, this works against Tori’s best interest, but saying so gets me nowhere. So, I’m not sure how to resolve it, but I’m pretty darn sure food allergies were Tori’s major issue. Otherwise, Z/D wouldn’t have helped at all. This result is exactly what I’d hoped for – a period of eating a hydrolyzed diet to help make some sense of the multiple possibilities for her chronic itchiness. It’s come about faster than I’d expected – bonus! Read more Hill’s Z/D

Stool Chart aka Dog Poop Chart

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
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Put down your coffee cup or whatever you may be eating. We’re about to get into the nitty gritty about dog poop. For 20+ years, I lived with dogs that had gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, so poop-patrol was a serious part of life. If you have one of these dogs, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You feel trepidation every time the dog defecates, stare at it, and pick through it with a stick if you can pick through it at all.

 

Many of my clients have dogs with GI diseases, and they try to be delicate when describing the stool, but after so many years of dealing with this, and especially with the addition of another 14+ years of working with clients, there’s probably nothing I haven’t seen or heard. Some clients become so frustrated by trying to find the right words that they resort to taking pictures and sending them to me so I can see for myself. My favorite was a picture of bright blue stool. Perfectly shaped mind you, but incredibly blue. Turned out the dog had counter surfed when a blueberry pie was sitting there and…well, you can guess the rest. Read more Stool Chart aka Dog Poop Chart

Multiple Possibilities for a Dog’s Itchy Skin

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
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Sometimes we need a stop-gap measure to decipher the cause of itchy skin. Let me use our Tori as an example.

 

Tori has multiple health problems and three of them can cause her to mutilate her muzzle, ears, paws, neck, bum, and do some hobbling while she air-scratches. The most concerning is  Syringomyelia (SM) which can cause her to roll around and scratch like a fiend. The second is that that she has environmental allergies, and third is food allergies. Because all three cause her to scratch frantically, it’s anyone’s guess as to why she does it at any given time. Trial and error brought a fresh food diet for her. She tolerated fish (cod and tilapia only), eggs, carrots and rice. This has been her diet for more than one year and she was doing beautifully. But this past month has been hellish for her. Read more Multiple Possibilities for a Dog’s Itchy Skin

Food Allergies and Intolerances

Saturday, August 4th, 2012
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A food allergy involves the immune system. Think peanut allergy in people, for example. BIG reaction! The immune system has a memory like no other, so an exposure to the allergen will cause a reaction every time. In dogs, you’ll see this as excessive scratching, chewing paws, biting of flanks, and there may be ongoing gastrointestinal trouble.

 

An intolerance to a food (think lactose intolerance) will also cause a reaction, but the immune system is not involved. You drink some milk, have some pain and diarrhea and then it’s over. Unlike an allergic reaction which causes the body to send off chemicals to protect itself from what it believes is a foreign invader for weeks to months, an intolerance ends once the offending food has been removed from the diet.

So what? Why does the difference matter?

Read more Food Allergies and Intolerances

Italian Cookies for Dogs

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
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Ok, so they’re not from Italy. In fact, my dog thinks these are from heaven. She lies on the kitchen floor and waits patiently until they’re in the oven. Then she moves over to sit in front of the oven and stares as if an invisible hand might make them disappear.

 

I use organic brown rice flour, but you can use another type of flour if you prefer. Keep in mind that rice flour is soft while whole wheat flour, for example, is hard. That means you’d probably need to use less of the latter.

Notice the oregano in the recipe. It adds flavor, but it also happens to be an herb with antibacterial properties. Does it really help to use a pinch within cookies? I don’t know, but it doesn’t hurt and I like to add herbs when possible. They can provide so many wonderful benefits. Oregano has a very strong flavor. You don’t want to overdo it and end up with cookies that make your dog’s mouth tingle. Read more Italian Cookies for Dogs