Saturday, 17 February 2018

dogs make us take note of interesting things

Penny and I had a look at the new bicycle path that is soon to open between Kew and Ivanhoe. We've seen both ends of it now, from Willsmere in Kew, to Ivanhoe.

In writing this blog post, I've come across the startling fact that people in Alphington won't be a able to get onto the path. Amazing. How could so much money - 18 million dollars -  be spent on the path and then not allow one whole suburb to access  it?

However, I do see that there is a suggestion of an entry in the future from Alphington.

At any rate, Penny and I are fortunate to be coming in  from either the Kew end or the Ivanhoe end.

When we set off, from Ivanhoe, we passed under a tree that we've never taken any notice of before.

But what were these things on the ground that seemed to look like tennis balls? Penny, of course, wasn't fooled, because they sure didn't smell like tennis balls. 

But I had to have a second look. 

OMG! Osage orange. I once spent ages trying to source one of these trees, because I was keeping silkworms in my classroom and the students needed lots of leaves. We were running out of mulberry leaves and I knew osage orange could be used as well. And there was this tree, right near the school!

Oh, well...

Penny was more interested in meeting other park-goers. 

We headed off along the new path, but Penny wasn't too keen to walk. We're never quite sure whether this happens because of her arthritis, or because it's nearly dinner-time. 

When we turned for home, she led the way by a long shot. 

Friday, 19 January 2018

too hot!

It's just too hot to do anything today.

Penny had a couple of ice blocks made of juiced vegetables earlier. She has plenty of water available. Thank goodness the power hasn't gone off, so we have the evaporative cooling on. And a fan.

She had a walk early this morning, followed by a bath in cool water.

Penny has us looking after her, but the poor creatures that share our world are suffering today. The Little Ravens were sitting near the doggy bowl of water, with their beaks open. I put a hose dripping into another container, but they didn't go near it. I think perhaps it wasn't in the open enough, so they couldn't tell whether predators were nearby. (Not that there were likely to be many predators out in 40 degree heat.)

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Penny's bad day

Poor Penny. After her lovely day on Thursday cornering a rat and eating her bone, yesterday she snaffled a piece of plastic from under some meat and had to go to the vet so they could induce her to vomit it up. She's okay now, but was pretty unhappy when she came home.

We do have some washing soda crystals on hand to provoke vomiting in a case of poisoning, but on reading this veterinary advice, I'm sure glad our own vet was open and could do it for us.

For one thing, our vet had to administer a second medication to stop her continuing to vomit, and that would have been impossible for us to do at home.

The above link has some useful advice. For one thing, it's necessary in a case of poisoning to assess whether you might do more harm than good to induce vomiting if the poisonous substance is corrosive.

Secondly, there's some good advice about using dishwashing liquid to wash off a substance on her skin. We had to do that some years ago when she had a bad reaction to Advantix, a topical tick medication.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Hunting a rat and eating a bone

Penny was outside and the humans were inside, and there came a peremptory bark. Just one. The sort of bark that says, 'Come here. Please...'

So out I went. Her tail was lashing from side to side, so I knew she had cornered some unfortunate little creature. Okay, I don't like the rats eating our produce, but neither am I particularly fond of seeing Penny kill another creature. So two humans turned on its side the planter where the rat was hiding and it shot off into the garden.

Penny didn't see it go, so she checked and rechecked for a while.

Hmm, maybe it had gone into the other planter. Nope, not there.

Where could that darned thing be?

Oh, I'll just dig up that old bone I buried a couple of days ago and enjoy that. It doesn't matter that it's covered in dirt and gravel, I'm sure I've earned such a tasty reward.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Raw diet for dogs

All the best for 2018 to all my readers and blogging pals!

I haven't written anything for a while, but Penny has been getting on with life much in her usual way, albeit more slowly now that she is a senior citizen.

We've moved Penny onto a raw diet, after much consideration, and so far she seems well. Her coat is glossy and she is interested in life.

We're giving a limited range of muscle meats. We started with kangaroo, which has the reputation of being the idea meat for dogs, but I'm concerned that my neighbour told me this industry is not regulated well and the babies are often left to die after hunters kill the kangaroos. I'll have to research this more. It's hard to find meat that is ethically sourced.

We had stopped with the kangaroo anyway, because of the dark, runny poos that Penny was doing. Lots of sites on the internet say that this can be expected with a change to kangaroo, but it was still scary, as I couldn't distinguish definitely that Penny was not bleeding somewhere in the upper digestive system.

We moved to veal (yes, another ethically  problematic meat!) and beef, which has led to better bowel motions. We're lucky that a shop has opened in our neighbourhood, providing a huge selection of meats, some with ground bone, some with organ meat, and some with shredded vegetables.

We also give Digestavite, Vitamin C, turmeric, antibiobotanical, home-juiced vegetables and omega oil. We added goat kefir for a few weeks, but I think that doesn't suit her digestive system, so we've stopped that one. For most of her life we've been giving her Glyde for her joints.

Today we've started her on rabbit as a muscle meat, and the naturopath who runs the pet supply shop says this is a very good meat for Penny, because it contains organ meat and bone.

So far so good. The aim is to have a couple of meals a week that consist of a meaty bone, but she tends to simply bury any bone we give her. She then goes back for it a few days later, when it smells delightful to her - but disgusting to us. So bone-eating is still a work-in-progress.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

dogs eating grass

Penny is a regular grass eater, so we let lots of weedy grass grow in our yard, but in particular we have one long pot of so-called 'cat and dog grass' for her to use.

About a year ago I bought a pot of 'pet grass' and then researched it online, finally coming to the conclusion that I shouldn't have purchased it because it's an allergen for dogs.

By January this year, however,  I concluded that it had been a good purchase, because she's made good use of the grass.

So today I noticed the grass is in bloom.

I've cut off the seedheads. The grass may die, I suppose, now that it has bloomed. But I'll certainly buy another pot of it, if so.

The grass is dactylis glomerata. 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

goat kefir and dogs

I've been giving Penny a 'dob' of goat milk kefir with each meal lately, in an effort to improve her gut health and thus her immune system.

So far there are no problems, even though I accidentally dropped in more than a 'dob' yesterday.

Two of the humans in our household drink kefir ourselves every day (home made, a very easy process) and feel it's doing us good, but we wouldn't have given it to Penny without the say-so of a canine specialist. However, when I saw it at the canine naturopath's shop I trusted her to have researched it well.

This article is one of many online promoting the benefits of kefir for dogs.

However, this  article suggests water kefir may be better than dairy kefir. I haven't tried making that myself, and the naturopath doesn't sell it, so that may be something to look into in the future.

I'm interested that the same article mentions sauerkraut. I've seen sauerkraut in the fridge at the naturopaths's shop, but she doesn't make it with salty water. She says dogs don't need salt. (I'm not sure I understood that correctly. I'll check next time I'm there.)

Skepvet has looked at studies dealing with the use of probiotic supplements for cats and dogs, and I find that site interesting. But that's supplements, not actual foods like sauerkraut and kefir. The site says,  'There is no high-quality, consistent evidence for most suggested uses of probiotics.'

On the other hand, my doctor recommends the use of probiotics after antibiotic usage (in me, a human), and I suppose at least some of the studies on that topic were conducted on animals.