Transitioning a Sensitive Dog

December 4th - December 15th, 2014

December 4th, 2014 9:45 pm

Just gave Baxter his first Raw Food experience. I gave him a little over an 8th of a cup (about 1.5 oz) of the Raw Goat Yogurt. Recommended amount for a dog his size is 2 oz, but I thought I would start off a little below that. He seemed confused at first when I poured it over his kibble.  He hasn't ever had something like it before. He sniffed it then looked at me, serious confusion on his face. "Why would you ruin my food like this?" he seemed to ask. He wouldn't touch it. So I picked up a piece of goat-milk covered food and put it in my hand for him to investigate. He sniffed again, but this time, he started licking the goat milk off the kibble, then he ate it. I did that two more times, and then he started eating from his bowl no problems. He ate about half of the goat milk before deciding he was done. I heard a tummy rumble about ten minutes later.

December 5th, 2014 8:45 AMBaxter Driving

After last night's serving of raw goat milk, Baxter seemed fine. He fell asleep soon after and had some vivid dreams - one of my favorite Baxter times, because he is so cute as he chases things on the floor unconscious!  After he ate the initial little bit, he wouldn't touch his kibble. I don't think he liked how the yogurt made it soggy - plus I was at the end of the bag of food so it was pretty dusty, which he also doesn't like. So this morning I gave him another 1 oz of goat milk, about 11 hours after the first one, straight in a bowl instead of over his food. Again I had to have him taste a little off of my finger, but then he headed straight for the bowl and ate it all as fast as he could. The main problem, really, was keeping the cat away from it, because Rawri seemed pretty interested, too.

Baxter's morning walk revealed again just how sensitive his stomach is. Even with how gentle Goat's milk seems, there was a noticeable difference in color from darker to lighter, and the stool was considerably looser than normal. I will have to monitor for signs of diarrhea since he had more this morning than he did last night. However, the smell was a lot less noticeable=. So with time, I think good things could come from it.

December 6th, 2014 9:30 AM

Baxter's walk was a little worrying. Poopie color was lighter and looser than normal, and after his second poop he stopped again and pushed some liquid out, but it didn't look like blood, which was a relief. I know, because I inspected it very closely. I really hope the neighbors are not watching me standing around gazing at poop for minutes at a time. You can see the difference where his body is processing the goat's milk vs his regular food because of the color change.

Today we went on a 5-mile hike with my friend Jodi up Desolation Trail to the Salt Lake Overlook. My job before joining Steve's was really stressful and exhausting, and neither Baxter or I have had any good exercise to speak of in months, so this was our first foray back into healthful physical living. Baxter was a little topper, even well behaved with other dogs we met on the trail, which is a rarity (he's not neutered, so...yeah). He was muddy and tired afterward, and probably cold because I was freezing. The trick I always forget is that you need to dress for the top of the mountain, not the bottom...
December 7th, 2014 8:30 AMIMG_0153

Same, not quite as loose. It's reassuring that it isn't being problematic yet.

December 8th, 2014 8:30 AM

I was a little worried today because I forgot to give him the goat's yogurt yesterday morning so I gave it to him last night. He had been to my parent's house for Sunday dinner with me and it is always a struggle to keep him from eating people food - I have two nephews who are baby/toddler age who love to throw their food on the floor, and amid the chaos it is hard to track him and keep him from eating their food - and he knows right where to stand to wait for their scraps!  It's an ecosystem, I guess.

For a while I kept him away from them by pretending I was going to feed him, raising his hopes so he stayed next to me.  I always feel guilty doing that; creating the expectation without following through seems so mean!  But this morning his stool was fine, and I felt confident enough that I gave him his morning treat of goat's milk yogurt despite it only being twelve hours since his last one.

December 9th, 2014 8:00 AM

His poopies are fine, and he is doing really well adjusting. Remember, I am giving him a little over an ounce in the mornings, which is half a serving for a dog his size. I'm going to start tonight to give him a second evening serving to see what happens.  I am hoping increasing the serving, but spreading it out, will keep his body handling it really well.

I don't know if it is related, but I noticed a difference in his energy today, about twenty minutes after I fed him the goat yogurt. He always gets really excited when he realizes I am taking him with me to work, so him getting a little riled is no different from normal, but today as he raced outside with me he was actually leaping as he ran. He's a little dog so it's not like he gets very high, but he doesn't usually get all four paws off the ground at once. I know Chia is a good energy booster, and I feel like it may be contributing. The long hike I took him on probably helped, as well.  I haven't seen him act that spry in at least a year.IMG_0183

December 10th 8:30 Am

Based on the fact that Baxter has been doing well with the Goat yogurt, I decided to up his serving. So yesterday in addition to the 1.5 oz I gave him in the morning, I gave him another oz in the evening. This time, I had my boyfriend feed him and Baxter needs no prompting anymore. He knows the yogurt is for him and he is eager to eat his daily treat. Soon I know he is going to recognize the bag when I pull it out of the fridge, too!

On his walk this morning I was expecting lighter poopies because he had twice as much yogurt, but it was regular and hard, so his body is taking to it pretty well, it seems. It may be the evening treat hadn't cycled all the way through him yet, so I will be watchful on our next walk.

Dogs have a fantastic ability to bring new people into your life. That is one of the reasons they are so great if, like me, you are a little shy and nervous around new people.

Today Baxter introduced me to a neighbor who also had dogs. I've always been jealous of this neighbor's house; a beautiful home with a big porch at the top of the hill with a great view of Downtown Salt Lake City.

His dogs are great, too, and they were running around like madmen this morning. Baxter saw them from across the street and I had to quickly put him on a leash to prevent him from running across into the morning traffic.

The neighbor invited us to come play with his dogs, which was great. I will never understand people who don't want their dogs to interact with other animals (unless their dog is overly aggressive, in which case I totally get it).  As our dogs ran around, the neighbor told me he was dogsitting the Jack Russell puppy. This cute little guy had been picked up by a college student who had left it to her parents, who were not particularly thrilled.  My boyfriend and I had been talking just the night before about how much Baxter needed a live-in friend, and just in case of fate was telling me something, I took the puppy, Echo, home for a bit to meet the family.

There is nothing better than waking my boyfriend up with a surprise puppy. This happens on a fairly regular basis -  the people in my area tend to let their dogs escape a lot, and as dog people, we feel it our duty to adopt them until their parents can be found. I am including the video of our cat's reaction to it, but in the end, my boyfriend reminded me that we have a very small apartment and need someplace bigger before we get Baxter a friend, so Echo went home. Still, it made for a nice morning!

December 11th:

Baxter is doing well with the yogurt, and he is loving getting a nice treat every day. He has been getting super lovey and affectionate in the evenings, I feel like he is trying to say "thank you". I've been so impressed he hasn't struggled at all with blood in his feces. In the evening, we went for a walk/run to the grocery store three blocks away (in Utah blocks are really big), and he loved running alongside me.

December 12th:

Today I fed him his first bit of raw meat, Steve's Chicken Recipe. After we came in from our morning walk and he was demonstrating healthy stools, I gave him two ounces of raw meat - about a quarter of what I hope to get him to. I thought it may be a little much, but I wanted to see how he did. I placed the meat in front of him (I had thawed it in the fridge, so it was cold but not frozen),  blinked, and it was gone! He clearly loved it but it made me want to say, "hey, slow down there!  I paid good money for that, you need to savor it!"  But you can't really use the logics of economics, value, and worth with a dog.

In the evening, the weather was ridiculously warm for Salt Lake City in December, so my boyfriend and I decided to walk down to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights (google it, it will change your definition of holiday spirit).  It is about a five-mile walk round trip, with a slight incline the entire way back, and took us about three hours with stopping for sandwiches and seeing the lights. You know you have become a dog person when you share your water bottle with your pet. We put him in his Christmas sweater, and the crowds downtown just loved him!  It is a big family event, and so there were strollers and toddlers and children running around all over the Square, but there was not another dog in the place (not sure they are allowed, but we carried him through the crowds anyway). It was so cute!

On the way back we talked about how Baxter has seemed to have more energy lately. Steve's has provided a better life for him in many ways - not only does he get a great healthy diet that he is clearly appreciating, but he doesn't have to spend as much time alone as I can take him with me to work, and he has always struggled with separation anxiety. He is so happy with life right now.

I am glad we went for a long walk, because Baxter did poop about three times, and it was much lighter and looser than normal - very loose. Evidence that his diet is changing, but again, without any indications that his body is being hurt by the change - no blood in the stools, no work screams, no full on diarrhea, etc. We are pretty happy right now.

After five miles, though, Baxter was like a happy, content,  exhausted log for the next 24 hours. That is a long way to go for a creature with five-inch legs!

December 13th:

IMG_0194The stools have solidified more again. The loose stool last night was only to be expected as he got his first taste of something different for the first time. Today I took the meat and smashed it up with a fork and spread it on his plate, and topped it with the Goat yogurt.  No real need to do this, but it takes him longer to eat so psychologically I feel like he gets more out of it. 🙂

December 14th

The stool was fine today, parts of it a little looser than normal, but not anything terrible.  He loves his food!

December 15th

The stool was really loose this morning, but after four days of feeding him 2 oz a day, he has not had one explosion or struggle. The transition is going much better than I expected. I am going to keep him on the 2 oz's for at least another three days before I move him up to more. Still doing the goat yogurt as well, and he loves it.  We also got him a Steve's marrow bone - they have TONS of marrow in them!  He worked with it a little bit, got about a half inch on one side before losing interest. We used to give him bones every night at bedtime, but it became clear that they were not the quality we would have liked, and that they had something in them that made him abnormally addicted. We also think the old bones we gave him (not real ones like the Steve's bones, which I think is pretty cool if not slightly graphic for a squeamish person like me) contributed to his weight gain. Eventually, we stopped giving them to him more than once every couple of weeks, but he begged and begged for a long time. I think a real bone without any unknown chemicals is going to be a lot better for him.


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