Denny and Charlie (and the rest)
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Doggie Diet!

Friday, 31 May 2013 15:44 by robbi

We get asked a lot about the diet we feed our dogs. We meet a lot of people through pug rescue that are looking for some answers to their dogs’ issues, and we try to share things we have learned over the years. I have always meant to write something up for this blog to share with people (and I even took photos to share a couple of years ago) but I’ve never quite gotten around to posting the information. But today that changes and I’m going to do a walk-through of the diet and supplements we give our guys. This is by no means an answer for everyone, but this is what we have found works for our furkids.

Meals:

  • 1/3 cup Natural Balance Fish & Sweet Potato, add water added to soften & make gravy (most dogs on a dry food diet do not get enough water)
  • 3 tablespoons of our homemade mixture of rice and steamed vegetables (I use the large bags of frozen veg from the supermarket; I was using the mixed vegetable bags until I discovered one of my guys is allergic to corn so now I use a peas & carrots mix along with cut green beans. Any vegetables will be fine as long as it is not a stir-fry mix that includes onions)

Dinner!

Additions include scrambled eggs, sardines and yogurt – rarely all at one time, usually one of these are added at a mealtime for additional nutrients. The eggs and sardines are excellent sources of protein and Omega oils; the yogurt is a natural probiotic which helps keep “good” bacteria in the stomach which prevents stomach upset, gas and can even help prevent yeast infections. I prefer Greek yogurt as it is higher in protein but lower in carbs and sodium.

And of course the old stand-by of canned pumpkin every now and then to keep stools firm and prevent anal gland issues.

The diet has changed a bit over the years, as I’ve found new things to add and dropped some things from their daily diet. I used to make my rice, and then add it to a large skillet to stir-fry eggs into the mixture.

Eggy Fried Rice

As we discovered the Natural Balance kibble worked well to provide the basic protein for our dogs’ diet, we dropped the eggs from their daily meals. Now they just get scrambled eggs as a treat every now and then, or if I have run out of dry food. If any of my guys get an upset stomach, I skip the kibble at their next mealtime, feeding them the rice mixture with scrambled eggs – the simpler protein seems to help soothe their tummies. 

I use basmati rice, simply because it doesn’t clump together and is easier to dish up at dinnertime.  However, any white rice would do.  I would highly suggest investing $20 or so for a rice cooker though, as it is a great timesaver and is very easy to clean up.

Rice cooker

Now, to the plain rice I add the steamed vegetables. Any vegetables are good, as long as they are simply veggies with no added sodium or sauce of any kind.  Over the years I have used chopped spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and lima beans.  But the basics have always remained: carrots, peas and green beans. Just remember – NO onions!

Steamed Veg

I always make a big batch once a week and divide it up in Tupperware containers.  They can easily be frozen if you want to make up a bunch to last for more than just a few days.

Glad containers

Supplements:

We give our guys several daily supplements. Some of ours have specific conditions that we are trying to treat, so not everyone gets the same.

Lecithin granules – a pinch (approx. 1/8 tsp.) in everyone’s bowls every morning. This was recommended by our vet to help prevent/combat anemia. Lecithin helps red blood cells live longer, thus keeping the red blood cell count higher.

Flaxseed – a pinch in everyone’s bowls every morning. It is loaded with Omega 3, lignans (antioxidants) and fiber.

Salmon Oil – 1 squirt over food every morning. Contains natural Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids – excellent for skin & fur, also helps immune system. http://www.petco.com/product/106293/Petco-Salmon-Oil-for-Dogs.aspx?CoreCat=firstinresult_PETCOVitamin

Multi-vitamin – 1 tablet every morning. I get Petco’s own brand. As they are a bit large, I break them in half for my guys. They eat them like a treat right before breakfast. (I need to get a picture of my guys all lined up every morning waiting for their tablets – they think it’s treat time!)

Brewer’s Yeast tablet – 1 tablet every morning. I get the ones made especially for dogs, they are meat flavored and our guys take them like a treat before breakfast. It helps prevent flea infestations; my guys haven’t needed a topical treatment in years.

Bladder Support – 1 tablet (broken in half) for Maggie every morning to help support her bladder function (she has urinary incontinence controlled by prescription medication – this is just a supplement to prevent deterioration) She takes it as a treat right before breakfast. http://www.petco.com/product/108271/NaturVet-Senior-Bladder-Support-Time-Release-Tablets-for-Dogs.aspx

Joint Supplement – I have 2 supplements I use:

1 tablet (broken into 4 parts due to size) taken every morning by Maggie to combat arthritis and joint deterioration. I prefer the Petco Level 3 as it has Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Cetyl M and Hyaluronic Acid as well as green-lipped mussels – it seems the most complete for the money. http://www.petco.com/product/105698/Petco-Joint-Support-III-Tablets.aspx?CoreCat=firstinresult_PETCOVitamin

¼ oz liquid joint supplement poured over Denny’s food every morning (he used to take the same tablet as Maggie but started refusing it suddenly last year, this is the best liquid I could find as it contains Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM http://www.petco.com/product/111107/NaturVet-Joint-Health-Supreme-Level-3-Hip-And-Joint-Supplement-for-Dogs.aspx )

Cranberry capsule – 1 capsule in Phoebe’s bowl with her food every morning. As she is prone to UTIs, we give her this to lower her urine pH and help prevent infections. We use the ones for humans sold at any pharmacy; I prefer the higher concentrated ones (4200mg cranberry) with added Vitamin C http://www.naturesbounty.com/product/004349

Those are all of the daily supplements my guys take. I also use assorted herbal and homeopathic supplements for specific ailments, but those are only on an as-needed basis.

What are the benefits of all of these things? It’s hard to put into quantitative terms, as I don’t have a dog that hasn’t been getting these things to compare with, but I really believe it has made a difference over the past few years. Phoebe has only had about 3 UTIs since we’ve had her (6 1/2 years) compared to the multiple infections she had before she came to us. Maggie’s urinary incontinence is well controlled and she hasn’t had any side effects of her medicine in the past 4 years. All of my guys have gorgeous, soft coats and do not suffer from itchiness. They are not gassy at all (defying the common myth that ALL pugs are gassy!) And of course Denny’s and Charlie’s allergies are controlled completely without using any steroids.

Their diet may not work for every dog, but it has worked for them. Hopefully this will inspire others to do some experimenting and see what works for their furkids.

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The New Denny Towers!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 18:13 by robbi

Really exciting news here at Denny Towers – we are moving!!  Yup, the house has been sold (closing next week) and we have bought a new place in beautiful North Carolina! 

We couldn’t be happier except for all of the exhausting packing/selling/purging nonsense that goes along with moving (and having lived in one place for 7 years!)

The Pugs are decidedly confused.  Munchkin is an old pro at this moving malarkey, so she’s not bothered; but the pugs definitely have no idea what is happening.  We have sold most of the furniture so they are a bit concerned that every time someone comes to the house we seem to have things go missing.  Though they seem rather happy about the mattress on the floor (makes going to bed and getting up much easier for them – though MUCH more difficult for us gangly humans.)

They have no idea how much planning and plotting has gone into this move.  And they have absolutely no idea how much their quality of life is going to improve very shortly!  We are thrilled to be moving to an area with 4 – count them, FOUR – seasons!  That means less oppressive heat & humidity in the summer; a shorter summer and a lot more outside-time for the doggers.  We have bought a home with a decent plot of land, so there will also be a ginormous yard for the kidders to run around in.  And a lovely screened porch for mornings and evenings to spend laying about without being munched on by bugs (humans too!)

All in all we are so pleased that we are finally making the move we have been working towards for so long now.  We will miss our friends here in Texas (both pug and people) but we know this is the right move for us.

Stay tuned for details and updates on our move and new home!

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My Little Munchkin-Face!

Monday, 10 December 2012 19:47 by robbi

Denny Towers has been a flurry of activity lately…there is so much to do and time keeps persistently ticking by…

Following Stewie’s birthday, we had a lovely Thanksgiving with all of the kidders enjoying a bit of turkey (but no other dishes were deemed appropriate for the furkids, so no stuffing or green bean casserole!)

And then as the end of the month rolled around, it was time to celebrate our sweet kitty Munchkin’s birthday.  She doesn’t get mentioned much on these pages, mainly because she’s not a pug, but she is the senior member of the household.  I had honestly only a rough estimate of her age but when I pulled out her vet records to see the date of her first vet visit, I realized that this year marks her 16th birthday! 

Munchkin

For those of you not familiar with Munchkin’s story, this sweet little girl ended up under my front porch one freezing January morning in North Carolina.  Our house was covered in ice and the freezing wind was whipping around.  When my brother headed out to his car to go to work, he heard a pitiful mewing coming from under the porch.  He stopped and found Munchkin cowering under the deck, trying to hide from the elements.  He scooped her up and brought her inside and gave her to me.  As he went off to work I wondered what to do with her.  She was so tiny – could not have been more than 6 weeks old if that.  A look around outside found no other kittens or a mother.  Had she been left behind? Did her mother intentionally leave her?  We’ll never know.  But given Munchkin’s diminutive build, we have always believed her to be the “runt” of the litter.  Probably left behind on purpose given her poor chance of survival if left out in the elements.   As I already had a cat, Tigger, I was hesitant to keep her.  I called her Munchkin because of her diminutive size, thinking whoever she ended up with would probably change it.  But, as everyone around me predicted, I never gave her up and she became a permanent member of our household.

I often wonder what happened to her littermates.  Are any of them still alive? Did any of them ever leave NC?  It’s doubtful any of them have had the globe-trotting adventures that Munchkin has.  She’s lived all up and down the SE US. When I was doing my nurse contracting work, I used to pack her and Tigger up in carriers and put them in the backseat while I drove to our new home in whatever state we were going to live in for the next few months.  She would settle in and sleep the whole drive, never complaining.  When I moved to England, she preceded me and flew into London, her first time on a plane.  She lived happily in the UK, scaring me by climbing out of 2nd story windows and into trees.  (She also went missing in the UK but thanks to a microchip ended up back with us – but that’s another story.)  When we moved back to the US she was ferried on the Queen Mary II in kennels that have housed the pets of royalty and celebrities.  Upon arrival in the US, we drove cross-country to TX, stopping to stay in strange and not-so-nice motels along the way.  And once here she saw countless dogs come stay with us; some as fosters and some as new family members. 

Who invited the dog?

And through it all she has remained a sweet, even-tempered girl who adapts and learns to live with whatever changes she has to deal with.  She has been my rock, with me through thick and thin.  I owe her so much. 

Munchkin2

She had a trip to the vet for a senior check-up this past week.  Everyone, including the vet, kept commenting that she looked remarkably well for 16.  To me, she still looks like a kitten.  And thankfully she has remained lively and active.  Occasionally I’ll see her bat around a toy when she thinks nobody is looking, which makes me smile.  On this trip we found that she had lost a bit of weight.  Blood tests showed she has developed an overactive thyroid, a common condition in senior cats.  We will be starting her on a new medication to correct the imbalance.  All the other tests showed she remains in overall good health.  I’m relieved.  She is my rock.  She has been my constant companion for 16 years and I cannot imagine life without her.  Here’s hoping I don’t have to for many years yet.

Claiming my laptop case

I love you Munch!

Stewie Turns 3!!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012 22:51 by robbi

Incredibly, against all odds, that boy has managed to survive to see his 3rd birthday!  Amazing!

Stewie April 2010

Firstly, the little guy has a really bad habit of eating absolutely anything.  And I mean anything!  The amount of times I have had to pry open his jaws and do a finger sweep… (ah, the thing we “parents” do for our babies)  He has a particular fondness for cardboard and wood, but he’s not all that fussy.  Although he has developed a real penchant for footwear, as demonstrated by his obsession with Granddad’s slippers.

StewieSlipper

Secondly, Stewie has turned out to be slightly more sensitive than we realized.  He’s actually had a couple of instances where he has had severe allergic reactions to certain things, necessitating trips to the emergency vet and multiple doses of Benadryl.

Stewpot Swollen

But through it all, this little guy has demonstrated the most incredible personality.  He’s a lover, a sweetie who just wants to cuddle.  He’s extremely eager to please (and strangely the least food-motivated pug I’ve ever met!) He’s smart – he can figure out things for himself, and he’s got a fantastic memory.  He can be a bit of a loner, hanging out by himself in a corner of the room but when he wants to cuddle he is in there with the best of them.

Stewie N Samantha

He’s a cutie who has definitely grown on me – I was the one who was dead set against a puppy when he came into our house.  But he won me over and by the time he had to go for his neuter surgery to get him ready for placement through PugHearts I knew I couldn’t let him go.

Stewie's first Christmas 2010

So here’s to my sweet little StewPot.  Thank you for sharing the last 2 1/2 years with us and here’s to many, many more!

Stewies 3rd birthday 110312