A Beautiful Reminder

Chevrolet Commercial 2014 – “Maddie” from The Herd on Vimeo.

Congratulations Chevrolet, you have made me cry. This is, however, a sweet reminder to hug your fur-babies daily, smother them with kisses and give them the love and attention they deserve. As for my Xena, I hope that she lives forever! Dogs truly are our best friends. Perhaps if more advertising focused on heart-focused types of messages, the world would be a better place.

Raising Awareness – The Yellow Dog Project

The Yellow Dog ProjectAnyone who has ever had a furry friend in their life knows as well as I do that dogs can be unpredictable. When I take our Boxer baby Xena for walks it never ceases to amaze me how many people let their children or pets run up to an unfamiliar dog without asking. Xena is typically great with kids, but I would much rather not have unfamiliar children sticking their hands in her face or “hugging” her around the neck.

The same is true with other animals. You can never tell just how two unfamiliar dogs will interact. Sometimes they like one another and sometimes they don’t. Dogs of different sizes can also be interesting to handle. I once had a lady let her two toy dogs out to “play” with Xena as we walked past her house. As the two little guys ran toward us she asked “is she friendly?” in a happy-go-lucky tone. I quickly had to pick Xena up to prevent disaster in that situation (not an easy task with a 60 pound dog, cheers to adrenaline). Xena has squeak toys bigger than those two pups. Not wise. I didn’t want to take a chance, particularly with the smaller dogs charging at her. We prefer to introduce her to other dogs in a safe and controlled manner.

The Yellow Dog Project is a brilliant cause. They championed the idea of placing a yellow ribbon, collar or scarf on dogs who need their space as a sign for others to keep their distance. In addition, they are helping to raise awareness that people should approach an unfamiliar dog with caution and ask permission from their humans before interacting with them, or allowing their children or pets to interact with them. Raising awareness and educating the public and our children about how to interact with animals can save the lives of many beloved dogs. Many thanks to the creators of this group, my hat’s off to you!

If you have a dog, please spread the word about the Yellow Dog Project to everyone you know and ask them to do the same.

Homemade Dog Food

Homemade Dog FoodOur precious Boxer baby Xena had been getting some lumps here and there. Thankfully when the vet aspirated or biopsied these they have been benign, but they were still alarming. Even though I had been feeding her very expensive dog food made specifically for her breed, I decided to take her off all conventionally produced foods and make her food from scratch. After a great deal of research, the recipe below is what I came up with and the vet was very happy with it so long as Xena gets a doggy multivitamin with her food each day.

Sweet Potatoes
Organic Brown Rice
Wild Salmon and/or Turkey
Organic Pumpkin
Organic Peas
Organic Carrots
Organic Green Beans
Organic Corn
Organic Apples
Organic Tomatoes and/or Tomato Paste
Ground Flaxseed
Flax and/or Coconut Oil
Ground Ginger (just a pinch)
Ground Rosemary (just a pinch)
Organic Ground Chamomile (optional)
Powdered Egg Shells (optional if not using canned wild salmon – for calcium. See weight of meat to powdered egg shell ratio for details.)

This is not a raw doggy diet, everything in this meal is cooked. I typically start out by rinsing and cooking the sweet potatoes, then cooking the rice and adding in the cooked salmon, veggies (usually a package of cooked mixed vegetables) and cooked apples after. Flax, flaxseed oil and the herbs are very important to add into the mix as well. I tend to mix things up from one batch to the next (while still keeping within a limited ingredient list) so she doesn’t get bored. For those of you wondering, I know – this is not a vegetarian dog food recipe. I am a vegetarian, but I do not expect my dog to be. Xena loves this food. So much so that she jumps and whines while I cook it for her, and she is doing great on it as well. The vet told us recently that she looks much younger than she is and is doing much better than most dogs her age. I will never buy premade dog food again!

Tip 1: there are no fillers in this meal, so you need to monitor your dog’s weight when feeding homemade food. This isn’t a 1 cup morning and evening type deal. Know your dog’s optimum weight and increase or decrease their meal amounts based on any weight loss or gain that you observe.

Tip 2: before making homemade dog food, thoroughly research the ingredients that dogs can and cannot have so you are familiar with them. There are many things that humans eat regularly that are poisonous to your pets. If your dog has allergies, consider having your vet run an allergy test on them to rule out any foods that could be a problem. If your dog’s breed is susceptible to bloat, stay away from any ingredients that can make them gassy. Be sure to run your recipe by your vet to make sure they are happy with your plan and see if they have any suggestions.

Tip 3: cook a large amount at once and freeze the extras.  I place her food in gallon size freezer bags and have one thawed bag in the fridge at a time.   When the bag starts getting low, I put the next in the fridge to thaw.