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.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Penny meets her brother again

Wow! It's been more than a month since I posted.

We're still keeping an eye on Penny's joint issues, trying to make sure she's not in pain. Also, she's begun licking herself again, because of what we assume are seasonal allergies.

We tried Apoquel, on our vet's recommendation, and the results were instant. By the next day she had stopped licking herself. However, on reading this article about the other effects of apoquel use, we decided to discontinue it, given that Penny's itch is not too bad.

We're trying our vet's idea of bathing her feet and perineal area every time we come in from a walk, and so far the itching seems under control.

One of the main reasons we didn't want her on apoquel for too long is that she already has lots of lipomas on her body, and some warts on her head. So we knew we'd worry excessively about the possibility of her developing more lumps because of the treatment.

So, it was particularly interesting to run across Penny's littermate in the park yesterday, the second time in thirteen years we've met him.



He, too, has lumps. He, too, has warts. And, to top it off, he scooted around on the grass as the humans chatted.

It was such a relief to see that these are not huge problems, that the other human doesn't get as worried as I do. Penny's brother was obviously happy and well, even with these similar issues.

One little tip I'll try is to trim Penny's tail like her brother's is done, so we can wash her effectively, and to make the application of ointments easier.



Penny is sitting with her rear leg stuck out, and her brother doesn't seem to have the same joint problems, so I suppose our participation in energetic sports may have given her problems. But she loved her agility and her flyball, so here's hoping it was worth it.

The two dogs didn't spend much time socialising. I  wonder if, after thirteen years, they even remember each other?







Sunday, 24 September 2017

Dog owner education in Darebin Parklands

The other day, as we were walking in Darebin Parklands, we came across this great sign.


We try to be as careful as possible in obeying the regulations in this park, because we remember the terrible times, years ago, when there was such a horrible fight about dogs using the area.

We never forget that although this is a fabulous place to walk with Penny, it is not a dog park as such. It is a wonderfully reclaimed area of native flora and fauna and a credit to the visionaries who first thought of doing so, and to the hard ongoing work of the Darebin Parklands Association. 

The sign has some amazing facts about how many dogs use the park. No wonder it's necessary to make sure we all respect the various facets of this area: human recreation, dog exercise, native animal habitat, native flora regrowth, water quality and water life. There would be many more aspects, but I can't think of them right now. Oh, yes, the spiritual healing trail, a most important feature. A few years ago I attended a smoking ceremony that was very beautiful and spiritually uplifting.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

turmeric for dogs

It's been a while since I blogged. Life has been ambling along okay, with Penny having to deal with some arthritis, a leg that has a torn cruciate ligament and some skin issues, but basically she is happy and enjoying life.

I thought I'd do a post today to tell about our experiment with turmeric. A local shop has opened, run by a naturopath for dogs, and we've been keen to try feeding Penny a raw diet, as she used to have.

The other thing that was suggested by the naturopath is that we try turmeric for her increasing number (and size) of lipomas. One of them is rather big and in a place where it might need surgery, which at Penny's age would be a very unpleasant option.

The turmeric we are feeding her is in the form of Golden Paste. We were supposed to start with a small dose, to see how she reacts to it, but we forgot that instruction and started straight away with the recommended dose of 3/4 teaspoon per five kilos of weight.

So far so good.
The good  thing is that this medication should help with her allergies and her arthritic also.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

When your dog is old

It's hard enough to admit to myself that I'm old. But to admit that Penny, too, is in her senior years...is confronting.

I was just looking back through my old posts, searching for a photo of a pvc pipe agility jump I'm giving away on Freecycle, and feel quite sad that so many of the fun things Penny and I have done in the past are no longer appropriate. She can't get up on her hind legs, and has quite a lot of arthritis in all limbs, so many favourite tricks are now out of the question, also most agility and indeed, a great deal of the active training.

Here's the agility jump that has made me feel so nostalgic.


On the other hand, recently I came across this skateboard ramp on the side of the road for disposal.



I reckon we could have some fun with that, and what's to stop her doing a little bit of weaving, provided I space the poles far apart? As I've posted previously, I'm a great believer in recycled items as agility equipment. After all, it's free.





I've just read Karen Pryor's post about adapting training to the changes in your old dog. Most encouraging. And I liked a few of the points in this post, also.

Yes, we will still have active fun together!


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Monday, 10 April 2017

Penny has an ear for music

Why does Penny rush out of the house whenever I play the piano? For most of her life I haven't touched the piano, but I do remember that when she was a puppy I occasionally played a few times - badly, I'll freely admit - and she behaved as if she hated the sound.

It hasn't changed. I've decided it might be good for my ageing brain and my levels of stress if I played  the piano regularly. Last August I started on a few old favourite pieces, but it was disheartening to hear the immediate tick-tack of the doggy door as she left the house, so I stopped.

And once again...



What's it all about? I'm not that bad, surely. At least she doesn't jump up and try to stop me, like this dog does.

At last I've stopped playing and I'm on this computer, so she can have a little sleep, tucked up with one of her favourite balls.



Saturday, 1 April 2017

another torn cruciate and arthritis

Penny appears to be still enjoying life, even though she has significant arthritis in her left knee and a torn cruciate in the right knee. After the surgeon told us she's likely to get significant arthritis in her right knee if he operates to do a traditional repair of the joint, we decided to continue to monitor her progress. He believes enough scar tissue will build in the knee to enable her to move comfortably. She bunny-hops along when she's in a hurry, but otherwise walks on all four legs.

However, Deb from Bow Rei Me thinks Penny is weaker in her right rear leg. I'll have to keep an eye on this. Perhaps we could return to some of the physio exercises we practised when she had the first knee repaired.

So, all through the hot, hot temperatures of February and March we've been taking gentle walks, and the weather has made this a sensible choice. Now that it's cool once again, I guess we'll have to be more vigilant that Penny doesn't over exert herself. But so far she seems content to amble along. We're up to half-hour walks now.

Of course, any little puddle of water - hooray for some rain at last! - is very inviting.