Have a happy, healthy and active mothers day!
- Healthy Dog
In order for dogs to be healthy they need exercise just like we do!
See what Healthy Gal and Healthy Dog have been doing lately!
One of the major perks to being in grad school is getting the great undergraduate breaks– that includes 1 month at Christmas time and at least a week for spring break.
I think most often when a person thinks of a college spring break they have a mental image of this…
However, my 2nd year of graduate school spring break looks more like this…
Yes, thats right… little Healthy Dog, or as I call her– Sasha, had to have a spay this week, so my spring break has involved nursing my 4 lb doggie.
Why did I do it?
When I first learned that I was going to have to spay her, I was very comfortable with the idea, and definitely thought it was a good idea. As it got closer, however, I got more and more nervous. I got thinking that there were too many risks involved and that maybe I was making a mistake.
So, I got on the internet and found some very reassuring information. The ASPCA gave me some great, quick facts.
According to the ASPCA, spaying your female dog:
1)Reduces the risk for Mammary (breast) cancers– particularly if you spay them before their first heat.
2)Reduces the risk for Pyometra– a bacterial infection of the uterus that can be potentially fatal.
3)Reduces the risk for ovarian and uterine tumors
4)Reduces the risk of complications during puppy-birth– which for yorkies is likely since they are so small. The breeder requested that I spay her simply for this reason.
…So all in all it seemed like a good idea.
So, instead of having a raucous spring break I have been tending to my little Healthy Dog, ensuring that she heals well and recuperates quickly.
Humans and dogs are so similar:
During this process, I really have learned how similar to humans dogs really are. For example, similar to humans, pain medications cause constipation in dogs too. So in order to avoid a visit to the vet to get a laxative, I have been feeding her a fattier food, and giving her small licks of almond butter– it did the trick and we will be avoiding the laxative. I’ve also been feeding her small amounts of banana and other fruits (like apples) to help her go to the bathroom and to make sure she is eating. Again, like humans, post-surgery the appetite is diminished, but because there is tissue damage, healing needs to occur and so proper calorie and most importantly protein intake needs to be adequate. Calories and protein are key to proper tissue healing.
So for now, we are hanging out, doing a lot of this…
…eating peanut butter and bananas, and hoping for a speedy recovery!
- Healthy Gal & Healthy Dog
OK, so by now I’ll say that I am fairly versed in health food stores for humans; however, I am very new to this whole doggy treat business. While sitting in class today I was informed about Polka Dog Bakery aka doggie treat mecca.
After class I decided that I would take a walk into the south end of Boston to find this spot. As I rounded the corner, the lights of the store met my eyes and I knew I had arrived, and what a spot.
Upon walking in I was kindly greeted by the friendly and knowledgeable sales person, who told me that he had tried some of the treats that they sell, and reassured me that they truly were “tasty.” In addition to the fact that Polka uses REAL and WHOLE ingredients making everything on site and from scratch, the most exciting feature of the store is the doggy treat “candy bar” (see below).
After spending 20 minutes perusing and asking about each treat that I could buy, I selected a peanut butter based treat, and even more exciting a slice of dried yam (sweet potato–yes I’m such a nutrition student)treat. I think I am more excited about this finding than even Sasha will be.
I can’t wait to try using my newly purchased healthy treats in my training efforts that are progressing, well, slowly to put it nicely– but we’re working on it! The great part about purchasing these treats is that I am confident that Sasha is getting healthy treats that have no fake or processed ingredients– helping to keep her a Healthy Dog!
(Sasha at 8 weeks)
All set to go to puppy school, Sasha was suited up in her new coat with her harness and monkey-patterned leash, and was ready to meet her new classmates: a 50 lb Doberman and a 30 lb Golden Doodle.
I was told to bring many treats and a fanny pack (yes! a fanny pack so that I could easily “dispense” treats to my dog). Giving treats is a popular method of training, so I’ve learned. When I first brought Sasha home I was determined that I would never give her treats, I was going to be a “Healthy Mommy,” boy was I wrong. For the first few weeks she listened and eagerly came when I asked; however, she soon learned the power and quickness of her legs to carry her in the opposite direction of my voice. Treats quickly became my best friend.
As a future nutrition professional, I am not only conscious of what I put in my mouth, but what I put in my puppy’s mouth. I have eagerly explored the racks of puppy treats at the puppy stores and asked tireless questions about what I should feed my dog and when.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Most fruits and vegetables are great treats- I use mini chopped up carrots. Be weary of currants, raisins, and other dried small fruits as I was warned that these can make your puppy sick. Also, onions are a no-no. Raw hide should be given under supervision, and for bigger dogs that are more food-driven, treats are a must.
Sasha at Puppy School
So, being the nutrition-conscious puppy owner, I arrived at puppy school sans-fanny pack, with my 3 lb yorkie, laden with chopped carrots and ready to train. Sasha trotted into the classroom tail up and wagging, and raring to go. All was going according to plan until she met her other classmate- the Doberman. A beautiful and well trained 6 month old Doberman eager to play with Sasha; Sasha’s tail quickly retreated to a warm spot in between her legs. She bravely sniffed and explored the Doberman until she was swatted. The big Doberman forgot how little she was and took her big paw and swatted Sasha, well that was it. We trained on the opposite side of the classroom for the remainder of class.
The take home
Besides learning that Sasha may never play with another big dog again, I learned that for a little dog whose weight I am trying to control that choosing a lower calorie vegetable such as carrots can be a great method for training. Though I don’t want her to learn to pay attention to me simply because she thinks she will get a treat, I do want her to start learning certain commands this way, such as sit, stay, and come.
Let’s hope for less swatting next week; I am going to try a different vegetable-treat for my own curiosity- more to come
- Healthy Gal
Healthy Dog, also known as Sasha, is getting very big! She is now 4 months old and weighs almost 3.5 lbs. (This as compared to the 2 month old, 1.13 lb puppy I brought home with me in November).
The past few months have been interesting, enlightening, and self-less. She started out screaming at me from her little pen- I almost pulled my hair out for the first 2 weeks. Since then she has become much more well behaved and has no trouble sleeping through the night now (hooray!). We’re still working on the house breaking, but as I recently learned, Yorkies are one of the hardest breeds to train (again, hooray!). She has only gotten better and will continue to do so (I hope!).
More updates to come,
Healthy Dog and Healthy Gal