Saturday Morning Shenanigans

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Did I hear dog beach?!?

Another gorgeous Saturday morning. After my cuppa, we’re cruising to dog beach.

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Scout is on morning bird watch.

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The birds are chirping and twittering in the trees, luckily, just out of reach. I’m not a fan of the “presents” that Scout brings to me.

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She’s Breaking out the Camera Again…

It’s been a bumpy couple of days. Yesterday, I took Kona to the vet because he was throwing up and his eyes were swollen.

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Turns out he was having an allergic reaction, so the doc gave him a shot of Benadryl and we were on our way. Kona came home and crashed in his bed, sleepy from the meds.

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Oh, no. Mom’s got that black box stuck to her face again.¬†

This morning, Kona’s back to normal, and I’m inspired to start taking pictures again.

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Camera time. *Sigh*

Pumpkin and Scout are pretty excited about my rediscovered passion for photography ūüôā

Switching to a Raw Food Diet

Hard boiled eggs and ten pounds of ground beef

Hard boiled eggs and ten pounds of ground beef

I surrender.

Season after season of watching my dog scratch and lick himself raw, paying veterinarians hundreds of dollars to tell me they don’t know why my dog (and¬†so many other dogs they treat) have these¬†skin issues, and reading heartbreaking accounts about deaths¬†stemming from contaminated commercial dog food has led me to switching Kona to¬†a raw food diet.

He¬†typically¬†starts scratching¬†in June, when flea season blossoms¬†with¬†the¬†warm, humid¬†weather.¬†Though I have yet to see a single flea on my self or in my home, I have spotted a few¬†crawling around on Kona during the summer. His belly turns pink and he scratches and chews himself bald. I take him to the vet, they tell me he’s probably allergic to flea saliva¬†and hand me a bottle of Prednisone and antibiotics, which brings only temporary relief. When summer comes to an end, his scratching usually stops and his fur grows back.

This year the scratching hasn’t stopped, and Kona is miserable. It’s December and it’s cold out, so I doubt there’s an abundance of fleas around.¬†This seems like something beyond flea allergies. I’ve noticed he has a stronger¬†odor, and his skin feels sort of waxy. I bathe him once a week, just to keep his smell under control. His typically silky fur feels brittle, and he’s licking¬†his paws excessively.

I decided to try the homemade approach.¬†I was a bit¬†overwhelmed by¬†the wide variety of¬†homemade dog food sites there are. Should I cook it, or go raw? My husband likes the¬†prey-model raw food diet. I suspect he fancies himself¬†tossing whole raw chickens into the yard while Kona gnashes on them like his wild wolf ancestors.¬†I wasn’t too comfortable with this one. The reality is my¬†dog¬†would most likely bury it instead of eating it, and we’d eventually end up with a raw chicken graveyard in our backyard. Eew.

One night I typed in “home made dog food” and this popped up. I found¬†simple recipes for both cooked and raw diets, and nutrition information.¬†The site eventually brought me to their product site, where they describe Kona’s exact symptoms, most likely caused by yeast (Candida albicans) overload.

Symptoms Of Yeast:

‚ÄĘ Dog has stinky skin that comes from the inside. Does your dog stink right after a bath?
‚ÄĘ Dog has goopy, stinky ears. Do you clean and deodorize your dog’s ears continually?
‚ÄĘ Dog has irritated skin, paw licking and skin rashes. Are you up all night listening to your dog lick and dig?
‚ÄĘ Dog has oily fur, flaky skin and brittle coat. Do you hesitate to pet your dog because of what ends up on your hands? Does your house smell like your “stale frito” dog?

I decided to order a box of Dinovite for large dogs with a bottle of fish oil. I received it on December 5th, and made a large-batch of raw food following their yeast starvation recipe. There is also a video that shows how to do it. I also bought ten small plastic containers so I could freeze individual portions and just pull them out of the freezer as needed.

Looks kind of like meatloaf!

Looks kind of like meatloaf!

Kona loves it. He inhales his food and seems to have a bit more energy, though so far his scratching is about the same. It’s been less than two weeks, and the website suggests using the product for three to six months because the yeast takes a while to go away.

At this point, I’m cautiously optimistic. There are hundreds of positive reviews about this product, so this give me some hope. Like most things natural, it will take time.

What kind of diet is your dog on? Have you ever used Dinovite, or fed a raw food diet to your pup? I’d love to hear from you!

8 Photos of Happiness Challenge…

…Better late than never? Back in August, our friend, Lexi the Schnauzer, graciously nominated Kona and I to participate in the 8 Photos of Happiness Challenge created by Ariel‚Äôs Little Corner of the Internet.

Apologies for the tardiness of this reply – I¬†picked out these photos back in August and they’ve been sitting on my computer desktop waiting to be posted! So here goes…

This is my absolute favorite picture of Kona. He loves being chased, as you can see from the smile on his face.

This is my absolute favorite picture of Kona. He loves being chased, as you can see from the smile on his face.

Captain Kona sailing on daddy's boat

Captain Kona loves sailing on daddy’s boat.

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Sitting on mommy’s lap as we take off in the motor home to go camping. Though I¬†loves camping, riding in the motor home makes me¬†a bit nervous, so I¬†just sit all 50 pounds onto mom’s lap for most of the trip.

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Playing “tear apart the stuffed bunny” with my¬†pal, Dexter.

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Watching the sunset with daddy while camping at Jamala Beach.

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“Time for our walky-walky, mommy!” This is the look I give¬†my mom every morning at 7:30. I¬†keep track of time better than she¬†does!

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Camping hiking at the Grand Canyon. Daddy has a habit of pointing at things in pictures.

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Finally a picture with mommy! I loves jumping and biting at the snow. It seems to bring out the Husky instincts in me.

It’s now time for me to nominate the following blogs/friends:

The adventures of the very charming Stuart the Scottish Terrier http://scottiechronicles.com

The life of a golden retriever told with beautiful photographs http://goldenbenn.net

More beautiful photos and words about adorable cats https://blessinganimalcompanions.wordpress.com

A blog about Macy the Australian Shepherd and Castle the Golden Retriever https://macyandcastle.wordpress.com

Clever pictures and tales from Shoko and Kali the Canadian cats https://canadiancats.wordpress.com

I do not wish to be responsible for anyone’s unhappiness because I inadvertently omitted them, so If you want to join the challenge, just JOIN!

Rules and explanation of this tag:

Thank your nominator/s and link them in your post.
Link the creator (Ariel’s little corner of the internet)
Post your 8 photos of happiness;
The photos can be anything that represents a moment, object, place or feeling that makes you happy.
Pop in a brief description of the photo, why you chose it or let the photos do the talking!
Spread the happiness and tag up to ten other bloggers!

Keeping Ants Away From Pet Food

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Work We Go

I love everything about summertime Рwith one exception. Ants. In our house, as soon as the weather warms, they appear out of nowhere and head straight for any tidbit of cat or dog food they can find.

I try to keep up with it by washing out the dog and cats bowls right after they finish eating, and disposing of any leftover crumbs. Kona usually licks his bowl clean, but the cats always leave a few nuggets of kibble that I toss into the toilet, which, so far, seems to be ant-proof.

Waking up to a long line of of ants piling onto an¬†overlooked crumb on the kitchen counter isn’t my favorite¬†way to start the day, so I decided to get proactive and research ways to keep the little buggers away. Upon¬†learning that ants avoid water, I created¬†my own version of a “moat bowl” by placing a food bowl into a larger¬†bowl with water. Unfortunately,¬†the food bowl was pushed¬†to one side, touching the outside¬†bowl, and the ants crawled right¬†in. I suppose I could have glued the food bowl into the water-filled bowl, but I’m not ready to commit just yet.

Another option I’ve tried¬†is sprinkling generous amounts of talcum powder around the food and water dishes. The ants do seem to have an aversion to the powder, but the¬†cats step in it and leave little white paw prints all over the floor. Lately, out of frustration,¬†I spray Windex on them and wipe up the carnage with a paper towel. The ammonia keeps them away for a day or so, but they always return.

I don’t like killing the little critters, but I can’t exactly scoop them up and put them outside the way I do with spiders or crickets. So I got back on the internet and searched “ant proof bowls” and found a site called Alley Cat Allies that offers a helpful¬†list of ant-proof bowl recommendations and links to their websites.

Since ants can’t swim (though I found plenty of debates on this in the review sections), most of the bowls I found were along the same lines as my attempt at a moat bowl, and had a more sophisticated¬†water channel¬†surrounding¬†the individual food bowl. One of the bowls I saw has a waterless moat, with a clever design that¬†outsmarts the ants. Go figure.

Though I am interested in keeping my cats daily feed¬†bowls ant-free, I¬†would also like to figure out how to keep their larger sized self-feeder free from ants as well. I rarely use their¬†self-feeder – only if I’m going to be gone for a night or two, and¬†I’d like to have some peace of mind that Pumpkin and Scout won’t have to deal with bugs in their food.

Ultimately, I decided to order The Anster, which is a platform with a covered water and soap moat chamber inside of it that you can set your pet dishes on top of. It is 9 x 13, which is large¬†enough to accommodate the¬†self-feeder as well. It was a little pricey ($26.95 + $9.95 S&H), but I liked that I didn’t have to buy new dishes, and it was versatile. I could even put Kona’s dog food bin on top of it!

The Anster

Photos From The Anster Website

Photo Credit: The Anster Website

I just placed the order yesterday, so hopefully it will come soon. They have a 30-day money back guarantee, which is reassuring. I’m curious to see if this will be the solution to a small but annoying problem, and will write my own personal review for anyone else out there who has unresolved ant invasions.

If any of you have had similar issues,¬†I’d love to hear from you¬†– especially if you came up with a successful solution!

Hope you’re all having a tail-waggin’ ant-free Wednesday ūüôā

Kittens First Year

Scout and Pumpkin riding to their new home on June 27, 2014

Scout and Pumpkin riding to their new home on June 27, 2014

Celebrating one year of kitten joy!

One late afternoon, just over a year ago, I received a call from my mom. She was at the market, and there were two girls standing at the entrance trying to give away a litter of kittens.

“Can you come and get them and give them to the rescue organization¬†that you know?”

Kittens? Ummm… well… I’m not sure how that’s gonna go over with the others in my household.

She explained¬†that the girls had been there all day and their parents had arrived¬†to drive¬†them¬†home.¬†“They’re going to take¬†the kittens to the animal shelter.”

“Ok, I’ll come and get them.”

By the time I got to the market, two out of six kittens were left. I peered into the box and smiled at the tiny creatures huddled together. The darker one, with his scrawny tail and skinny legs, was most likely the runt, and his light-orange sibling was considerably bigger.

The girls told me they discovered the box of kittens in their backyard that morning, and their parents had made it clear that they could not keep them.

I really did have every intention of turning them over to the rescue group. After all, Kona chases the neighborhood cats and has made it clear that he won’t¬†share his home with other animals. He’ll make their lives miserable, right? Finally,¬†my husband dislikes cats.

On the drive home, they started meowing. Such a tiny sound! They were probably hungry. I wasn’t even sure they could eat solid food yet. The girls told me they had tried unsuccessfully to get the kittens to eat the canned cat food, and I was not looking forward¬†to bottle feeding these babies.

When I arrived home, I pulled out the box and casually walked up to my husband. “Look what I got!” I said, smiling enthusiastically, “two kittens!”

He just looked at me as I quickly explained the situation. “Don’t worry, I’m going to turn them over to the rescue folks. I know that¬†Kona won’t accept¬†these little guys.”

I brought the box into the spare bedroom and placed the kittens on the bed. They looked at me with wide, unfocused eyes, then began wobbling around.

Kittens First Day from Lori Elm on Vimeo.

 

I put some cat food on my finger, rubbing it gently on their mouths, and breathed a sigh of relief when they started licking their lips. In a matter of minutes they were voraciously eating the cat food from my hand. So much for bottle feeding!

The next big test was to see how Mr. Baloney Head was going to react to his new roommates. I let him into the bedroom and he stared at them, tilting his head when they meowed. They looked¬†at him and hissed. He walked¬†up to them and sniffed, then backed away¬†slowly as they¬†wobbled¬†up to him, purring, as if saying¬†mommy’s here!

I was pleasantly¬†surprised by Kona’s reaction (or non-reaction) to the kittens. I think it was fortunate that¬†they were too young to have any¬†fear of the giant dog looming over them, so he pretty much left them alone. I guess it’s no fun when you can’t scare ’em, right?

Photo of Kona and kittens

Are you my mommy?

Over the past year, these little rascals have given us hours of entertainment. Why watch television when you have KET (Kitty Entertainment Channel)? It truly has been hilarious and heartwarming to watch these two grow up together.

Brothers

Brothers

Most importantly, they have managed to pounced, purr and wiggle their way into the hearts of all of us.

Daddy Takes a Catnap

Daddy Takes a Catnap