Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How I Exercise My Food-Motivated Senior Dog Indoors

nutty old chihuahua licking a hand
Frantic licking of hands totally counts as exercise. 

When I saw the writing prompt for this blog post--fun indoor activities to keep one's dog's body and mind active during the warm summer months (or something similarly related to summertime activities with dogs)--my immediate thought was: I'm screwed.

Screwed because this post is about the benefits of feeding one's dog a high protein, plus freeze dried raw meat pieces, diet for whole-body health. To be whole-body healthy, a dog should get plenty of exercise. The problem is, the dog who's currently eating the food--Wellness® CORE® RawRev™--and who would benefit from "fun indoor activities," is Lele, my 11+-year-old, formerly crusty, wobbly kneed, mostly-toothless, half-blind and totally deaf chihuahua mix.

Like we regularly break out an indoor chi-chi obstacle course and/or tug toys! 😉

How I Exercise My Food-Motivated Senior Dog Indoors in Summer

The truth is, Lele is old. And she sleeps a lot, like old dogs do. But darn it, she's not bedridden, and she can move with the speed of an angry mule when she wants to! So, what does she do when she's indoors, but not resting or eating (two meals and a regular snack each day)?


OK, time's up! She's either barking at people who've knocked on the door (because she sees the corgis doing it, not because she can hear the knocking) or jumping and running in circles all around me begging for food!

I think fierce barking, jumping, and running all around count for indoor exercise, don't you?

It's just that if one is going to rely on these activities (except, let's forget about the barking; there are too many uncontrollable factors) to keep one's old dog active indoors, one needs to have a reliable, daily plan. Here's mine!

Creative* Ways I Keep Lele, My Senior Dog, Exercised Indoors During Summer

* Creative, meaning how to get her to jump around like she's begging without actually giving her food and making her look like a giant baked potato with legs.

Exhibit A.

Note: All three dogs' regular snack time is at approximately 10 a.m. Also, Lele is on a low dose of Prednisone (steroid) to manage an autoimmune disease of her skin (which is what caused all her health woes when I agreed to foster her for the local animal shelter 18 months ago). A side effect of steroid usage is excess hunger (which is what low-cal green beans are for).

  • Feed Lele her breakfast at all hours of the morning, because it's summer, the kids are out of school, and I can sleep in.
    Result: Lele's biological snack-time clock goes off (which translates to jumping and running around and making piggy noises, wherever she is inside the house) every half hour because it (the clock) is confused. 
  • Stand in kitchen too long after feeding dogs in the morning, and make the mistake of opening the pantry door, and/or the refrigerator (can be 15 minutes after Lele just ate, but she'll still think it's snack time).
  • Cook bacon.
    Note: This only happens on certain weekends, but it ALWAYS results in strenuous begging activity. 
  • Go to the gym during regular snack-time hour.
    Result: Snack must be given late, which causes a snack clock malfunction (see first bullet point) through late afternoon. 
  • Run anywhere (in the house, and by run, I mean move QUICKLY).
    Result: Lele chases, which always ends in a race past the pantry door, at which point she stops to jump around and make piggy noises. 
  • Drag out the bag of CORE RawRev in front of her.
    Result: Yeah, I shouldn't be dragging out the dog food except at mealtimes, but if I did, Lele would jump all around and beg. 
  • Pour a second (and third, fourth, etc...) cup of coffee. Lele believes coffee time = snack time.
  • Unload the dishwasher when it contains a dog/cat food bowl (because when Lele sees the bowl in your hand, she will think it's mealtime).
  • Reach for anything on the shelf in the pantry. Dog snacks are in the pantry.
Note: When it's not too hot, short walks outside substitute for most of this list. 

And, now you know how Lele stays active in the summer! Incidentally, so do I (stay active, keeping up with Lele)! Yay!

How I Exercise My Food-Motivated Senior Dog Indoors

There Would Be No Old-Dog Begging Activity if Not for High-Quality, Balanced Nutrition


Lele has been eating Wellness CORE dog food (soaked in water) for over a year, but just last month, started eating new CORE RawRev (Wild Game recipe) with added freeze dried pieces of 100% raw meat. I am happy to report that all is well! In fact, I can't tell anything is different--she's still looking great! (Except, I know and feel good about her getting a little extra protein, added [unprocessed] raw nutrition, and a little variety in her meals).

Is your pet eating* Wellness CORE RawRev dog food? Buy one 2-5-lb bag and get one 50% off at PetSmart and unleash the power of raw!

* Remember to switch your dog's food gradually to avoid stomach upset. Refer to package directions.

Do you have a senior dog? How do you keep him/her active in summer (or anytime)? Do you feed a high protein dog food? Have you tried adding raw? 

Stay up-to-date on news and the latest deals; follow Wellness Natural Pet Food on social:

Monday, June 19, 2017

How a High Protein Diet Has Helped Heal and Transform My Seriously Ill, Senior Chihuahua

chihuahua eating food out of bowl on wood flooring

My husband burst out laughing the moment he laid eyes on Leona Lilly--my (then) foster dog from Richmond Animal Care and Control. Considering I had not expressly* told him I was getting another** foster dog before he left for work that morning, it was NOT the reaction I had envisioned.

* He had not asked whether I was getting another dog; therefore, I did not tell. Mornings are stressful, so I pick my battles. Don't judge.

** I had told him that I was returning Abdul, our current foster dog (a chihuahua mix with pharma-managed epilepsy, but otherwise, exceptionally easy), that day (he was due to return for a medical test so he could be released for adoption). If I'm being honest, I was counting on my husband to forget what I'd told him while he was rushing out the door, and not notice right away that Abdul had been replaced. I mean, how different could two, 10-ish-pound, fawn-colored chihuahuas be on the surface? I'd planned on springing the news that Abdul had been long-gone only upon confrontation.

OMG, what a relief!

Let me explain: so, Abdul (who we called affectionately, Bean, because he was shaped like a pinto with legs) was compact, calm, agreeable, clean, shiny, behaved, and thoroughly enjoyed a good nap). In other words, he did no wrong. He was actually a bit of a space cadet (why, no one was sure, but it was suggested that previous un-managed seizures had caused permanent cognitive damage), preferring to stare into space vs. have any reaction whatsoever to activity in and around his bed. He basically only got excited for food.

Here he is:

Leona Lilly, on the other hand, looked like this the day I brought her home:

OK, it's Ren from Ren & Stimpy, but they could've passed for twins, I'm telling you. 

Despite having barnacle-like growths on her balding coat, only three and a half teeth, infected ears, shifty eyes, and wobbly knees, however, she was taking no crap from my husband. As soon as she had him in view, Leona launched into the worst-sounding, throaty, wheezy, screaming fit you have ever heard come out of a decrepit chihuahua.

My husband must've really needed that belly laugh, because--despite her myriad medical issues, months of extensive (and expensive) veterinary care, and attitude--he never questioned nor protested her being here. It was the best foster chihuahua bait-and-switch ever executed!

You know what else?

Leona (now Lele, and officially ours) is fully* recovered!

* As fully as can be; we're managing the autoimmune disease of her skin with medication, and she's on a joint supplement for the wobbly knees.

And her, formerly nasty, coat looks GREAT!

Healthy Lele lives and loves hard. 

Y'all, she was balding, and greasy, and scaly, and stinky, and oozing when I got her. It was so sad that I only took pictures of her in sweaters, or of her face only, so no one could see how bad she looked. You have no idea how far she's come health-wise over the last year.

And it's not just because of the low-dose steroid she's on, or the joint supplement, or the fact that she's pampered and cared for, it's BECAUSE OF HER DIET!

Wellness® CORE® Dog Food Has Made a Huge Difference In Lele's Health.

Last spring, I wrote a three-part series of posts about Lele's journey to wellness, incorporating her veterinary care and treatments with a switch to an almost exclusive diet of grain-free Wellness CORE Wild Game recipe kibble. (Almost, meaning the kibble was exclusive, but I topped it with a scoop of rotating varieties of wet food.)

Wellness CORE, now in two kibble varieties. What corgi? I don't see a corgi. 

There were a number of reasons why I loved (and still love) Wellness CORE for Lele, but noteworthy are the benefits of high and rich protein for aging dogs' body mass and muscle tone, the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, and mega fatty acids for Lele's skin and coat. All these things, plus (and this is MAJOR) the kibble readily soaks up (softens) in water, so I can mash it up for no-teeth Lele to eat! (No dog wants to swallow her food whole because she can't chew it!)

Oh, and Lele LOVES the stuff!

At the end of last year's three-month trial (and with the help of a wonderful veterinary dermatologist who prescribed all the right medications), Lele was definitely on her way back to health....though, we were still in the dark about the cause of her illness (more on that in the second post in this series).

Today, though? Lele is doing (and looking) GREAT! Once we got the cause of her illness diagnosed and managed, the balanced nutrition she was getting from Wellness CORE truly pulled her through.

Lele no longer has "barnacles," bald spots, greasy or stinky skin. She has the thickest, shiniest, regular (fairly clean) chihuahua-smelling coat that you will ever see!

And Now the Wellness CORE Kibble Line Has Been Expanded to Include Wellness® CORE® RawRev, the Same CORE Kibble Infused With Chunks of Whole, Freeze Dried Raw Meat!

Raw meat protein, in addition to appealing to a dog's sense of smell and being highly palatable, is packed with the nutrition that dogs need for whole body health. Though feeding an all-raw diet might not be an option for some (me included), feeding a high quality kibble with added raw meat protein is. And Wellness CORE RawRev makes this option easy, safe and convenient!

Lele has just started her switch from original Wellness CORE kibble to RawRev. I'll return next month to tell you how it goes!

Is your pet eating* Wellness CORE RawRev dog food? Buy one and get one 50% off at PetSmart and unleash the power of raw!

* Remember to switch your dog's food gradually to avoid stomach upset. Refer to package directions.

What is your experience with feeding your dogs raw food? Would you? Do you have a senior dog? Are they on a high protein diet?

Stay up-to-date on news and the latest deals; follow Wellness Natural Pet Food on social:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Unlimited, Free #BlogPaws Conference Encouragement! Read to Redeem!

corgi face with huge, expressive eyes and caption "It's a free-for-all."
Don't tell him I said this, but that corgi up there? Jon Farleigh? He's road-tripping with me to BlogPaws next week. If he knew it, his head would explode from excitement before we got in the car. 

I broke out in a case of itchy, stress hives all over my wrists, ankles, hands, and feet on Easter Sunday, the day after I returned home from a half-week beach vacation with my family. I got the flaring and spreading under control after a few days of taking Benadryl and applying drying lotion, but the embarrassing leftover pink dots weren't completely gone until early last week.

Thank goodness for that, because I need to get a pre-BlogPaws pedicure this week (was SO glad I splurged on one last year), but there was NO WAY I'd have let a nail tech even look at, much less touch, my toes all bespeckled in who knows what. (I mean, can't you just hear the conversation?

Me: "Oh, don't worry; I just broke out in stress hives a couple weeks ago, but they're almost gone. Hives aren't contagious."

Nail tech [trying not to look like she's nauseated and/or a flight risk]: "So sorry, miss. We will be happy to give service once you are rash-free. Good luck. Hope you don't die. Please take your shoes [so I don't have to touch them] and watch the door hitting your back on your way out.")

Can you imagine? Please don't say yes. That was a horrible story and I wish you to banish it from your thoughts as soon as you close your browser window.

Like I want you to conjure up that image upon seeing my face (or feet) at BlogPaws. OMG!

Sorry, y'all. I digress.

The thing is, I'm still stressed, so every morning that I wake up without an itchy, blotchy relapse is cause for celebration.

Tootsie POPS cartoon unwrapping .gif

A celebration with Tootsie POPS!

I'm not even kidding. I have a slight obsession. And by obsession, I mean, when I'm stressed, or anxious, or need to meet a looming deadline, or keep myself on a task (as opposed to buying dresses and dog stuff online, because that's actually not a task, for example), and I'm at home (no, I don't take my weird habit out in public), I pop tootsie pops like my life was dependent on it.

You know that commercial with the cartoon owl eating the tootsie pop (first aired back in the 70's during Saturday morning cartoons; I remember it well), and he's trying to count how many licks it takes to get to the center..."a one, a two, a three [crunch]..."?

Wrong! Mr. Owl is weak! *I* can tell you how many licks it takes to get to the center (if I was counting). I never bite into the hard candy, mostly because if I did, I'd have to eat 10x more lollies than I already do! I've gotta make those suckers (pun??*) last 'til the project at hand is finished! That, and I'd break my teeth off (I've got veneers already, from grinding my teeth into a weakened state and breaking them off on candy and pizza).

* I'm not sure I made a "sucker" pun there. I mean, where did that saying ("make those suckers last") come from anyway? Maybe it was coined by someone who was sucking a tootsie pop to relieve stress, back in the last century. Because that would make total sense.

Never mind.

I just finished eating a wild cherry berry flavored one (tootsie pop), by the way. I bought a box of 100 assorted wild berry flavors on Amazon and I'm down to the last 15 or so. That might last me through tomorrow night. (Dear lord, I might have a problem. And rotten teeth, if I keep this up.)

Oh, and then there's the facial break-out issue. Just when I think I'm in the clear (definitely a pun), I get a flaming asteroid on my chin, or cheek, or forehead. And to be clear (I wish my face was), I have no business having to contend with acne at my age. It's not fair. Granted, people weren't living as long as I have back in the day, so dermatologists (was that a thing back at the turn of the 19th Century?) might not have even known about old person acne, and therefore, didn't put the warning (nor the cure) in any of the medical manuals. Someone really needs to get on the cure, because I'm not sure my thinning skin and patience can take much more.

South Carolina beachy vintage postcard with caption: Greetings, South Carolina BlogPaws and I are ready to rock your world

I Will Get It Together by the Time You See Me at BlogPaws (or, read this section to pick up your free gift)

By the way, I hope none of you feels sorry for me; I do not desire pity. I told you about all my "problems" to prove a point. OK, four points:
  1. You are not alone in your pre-conference nervousness. I hope (for your sake), however, that you are NOT sharing in stress hives, acne, and/or a lollipop addiction. Or any stress-related addiction, unless it's to your teddy bear, for example, or something that won't make you sick or rot your teeth out.
  2. Talking stress out is good. Know how I know? Because I already feel better*. (Hint: Wanna get something off your chest? I've got a whole comments section for that!)

    * The short crying-spell helped, too. ☺
  3. Nerves will fade. I get pre-BlogPaws jitters every time I attend. This is my sixth time. Do you think that I'd keep going back (and the last two years, practically begging them to let me be an Ambassador), if I thought I'd die in the process? This is not a trick question.

    HECK NO! I keep going back because I LOVE IT! The conference (because of the people who attend it) has rerouted my life, back onto the path that makes living it like the road trip adventure I thought I'd never get to take. (Wow, that metaphor came out of nowhere, but dang, is it powerful!)

    I can't think of a single other thing about which I can say the same, except for college in my early 20's (and you already know that was back when people still hand-wrote letters in cursive, watched music videos on MTV, and called their boyfriend on a landline phone).
  4. You will rock BlogPaws. Yes, you will! You've already made the investment in yourself. You're doing (and have already done--2017 Newbies course in the BlogPaws Social Learning Community-SLC, ahem) all the prep work to ensure you have the best experience possible. You are prepared (or you will be by the time you step into the venue). Shoot, if this was a scouting program, you'd win top honors (for being prepared; "Be prepared." is the Scout motto).

    Give yourself a break! That doesn't mean magically shut off your nerves (we're not robots). It means slow down and do the following, in order:
    1. Breathe deeply (don't forget to exhale).
    2. Remember they're ALL pet lovers, and, by the way, put on their undies (one leg at a time) the same way you and I do.
    3. Prioritize your to-do list (by that, I mean, look at mine from 2016 and instantly feel better about your own).
    4. Say to yourself, "I am going to win this conference, because I'm WORTH IT!"
      Wait, I got confused; say "I am going to win with this new shade of lipstick and hair color, because I'm..."
      No wait, say this, "I am going to be OK, because I'm prepared, I'm smart, and Elizabeth said so!"
    5. Smile.
    6. Breathe deeply (don't forget to exhale), and repeat as necessary. 

So, did you pick up your encouragement? If not, please back up at least half a page and get it. In fact, if you need to, back up and get it multiple times (when I said free, UNLIMITED encouragement, I meant it)!

And, don't forget to tell me how you're doing in comments!

[Insert me pausing to purposely breathe deeply and exhale.]

I (hopefully, rash- and asteroid-free, but if not, please don't try to pretend you don't see it; your diverting eyes will totally give you up) can't wait to see you in Myrtle Beach!

BlogPaws 2017 I'm Attending badge

What's that? You haven't bought a BlogPaws pass, but are now inspired to do so? OMG, please hurry! (I said the same thing a few weeks ago, but y'all, this thing is going to SELL OUT* at any moment. I am not kidding!) Go here to register, and be sure to enter this code to get 10% off the regular blogger rate (excluding day passes):


Once you've registered, RSVP to the event on the BlogPaws Facebook page to get breaking news and meet others who are attending!

And, of course, follow BlogPaws on social media for the latest tips and updates!

* If the thing sells out before you get your pass, I cannot be held responsible; although, that does not mean I don't feel for you. That said, there is still good news--and it's two-fold! 1) You can take part in BlogPaws 2017 remotely! Click over to BlogPaws for the info, including livestreamed events! 2) There's always 2018! AND, I do believe the location will be revealed at the conference, next week (if history repeats, it will, be Thursday evening during opening remarks). And once it is? Really cheap Super early bird pricing will be in effect! Be sure to follow the conference social hashtag, #BlogPaws, during this year's conference, for all that information and more!


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