Check your Chip day!

We’re back from a self-imposed hiatus just in time for Check your Chip Day, with THUMPER!

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You’ve actually met this lovely fellow before, but he’s now been rechristened Thumper in honor of his most expressive tail wag. Once a wag starts going, his entire body wags with him. It’s pretty much the cutest thing, except for his habit of rolling on his back and hanging out upside down, or that great gaping grin of happiness.

There’s a lot that’s cute about him, to be honest.

We’ve been rather quiet around these parts as we’ve been very busy adding Thumper to our household. (More on that to come!)

I wanted to, thanks to a reminder from Lulu and Christie over at Life with Beagle during the #BlogPawsChat, chat about microchips on this here Check your Chip Day. A microchip was always on my list of things we had to do for Thumper, no question about it, but I hadn’t really talked about why.

Just a small list of things that I worry about when it comes to the dogs and their getting lost:

  • We live in the Bay Area. If we ever had an earthquake, and we weren’t with them, there’s a chance they’d have to escape the house on their own. From there, how would we find them again?
  • If there was a fire and firefighters rescued them, they could end up at a shelter. How would the shelter know they were our beloved pets?
  • If there was any kind of catastrophic incident where they had to be evacuated and were separated from how, how would we be reunited?
  • If a car backfired, and they ran off in fear, I’d hope a kind person would help them. If they did, how would they know who to call?

Microchipping, of course! It was SOP that any time an animal was brought in, lost or injured, to the animal shelter and the veterinary office that I worked at, the first thing you did if they weren’t traumatically injured was scan them for a chip. We were able to reunite many a worried owner with their beloved pet that way.

We could have done a microchip at a number of places: the vet when we went in for a check up; the shelter during their microship specials; some cities will hold microchipping days.

Given that Thumper was a bit of an unexpected, and unbudgeted, surprise, cost was a major concern. What I was happy to discover after leaving a Pet Food Express one day, was that they and Pet Clubs host Community Veterinary Clinics where some of these routine services are discounted.

I’ll talk about the vaccines at another time, but the microchips were so reasonably priced at $10/chip.

The clinics in this area are run by VIP PetCare, the visit was quick and easy but the clinic folks made sure to ask about any relevant medical history before we committed to anything, AND they register the chip to your name and address for you. I couldn’t have asked for an easier experience. Of course, I did have to guilt-buy a toy for Thumper afterward because I’d forgotten about how big that needle was. 😉

More information on the variety of chips out there by Ask Dr. Ann.

Bottom Line: No matter where you have it done, please make sure to chip your pets!
And have your vet scan them at their regular exams whether that’s once a year or very two years to make sure it hasn’t moved too much.

HufflePup meets Greenies: A Review

As I leaned down to hug Huffle, he turned his face away from me (as usual) and huffed (as usual). But this time, wheewww! His breath was No Good.

I suspected this was going to be coming around soon – we had stopped buying his dental treats from Costco, the Kirkland brand, a few months ago waiting for him to finish the last of them before we tried something else. At first, he was In Love with the Kirkland ninja star-like treats, so even though I thought they reeked to high heaven, that’s what he got. It worked pretty well, his teeth seemed to be doing pretty well for an old former-stray dog with really cruddy teeth; his breath was sort of fresh but definitely non-offensive.

It’s been a couple years on those Kirkland dental chews and he’s over them. One day he refused to look at, sniff, or touch them, leaving his offered treat sitting around for at least 3 days. It gets all dried up and hard, and not so incidentally, doesn’t smell anymore, by the time he gets around to it. Maybe he finally realized how bad they smell!

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But he can’t go long without dental treats since he’s notoriously anti-mouth touch. If he has to tolerate my messing around in his mouth, his limit is less than 20 seconds. Toothbrushing is out, right now, til we acclimate him to it.

The timing couldn’t have been better on the arrival of the Greenies.

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Bag check. Bag check. Take one out … can’t reach it, bag bite!

Pros:
1. They don’t smell awful.
2. For the most part, I like the ingredient list.
3. He’s pretty interested in them. Very important for Picky-picky over here.

Cons:
1. They go REALLY fast. It’s not that he’s a super eater, he’s only got maybe half his teeth (I think. He onl lets me look in there once in a while, for 3-5 seconds). I’m not 100% sure how well these will work when he breaks it apart and swallows in three blinks. We’ll see how he smells at the end of the bag.

On sale right now at Chewy.com, the same product with the same size and count is $11.21. Free shipping on orders over $49, or a $4.95 flat rate for orders under $49. And since I always comparison shop, I’m sharing the price comps where I would normally check for any product that I consider buying.

Chewy.com’s sale pricing currently beats …
Amazon’s price ($15.99 plus $7.99 shipping);
Petco’s price ($14.53 plus an estimated $5.99 shipping) they currently have a 20% off plus free shipping for orders over $49;
Petsmart’s price ($16.99 plus a current free shipping promotion).

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Whole Greenie reduced to Greenie bits in 4.3 seconds. Literally.

Verdict: We’ve done 5 days of Greenies in a row and my skepticism is allayed. He’s no longer StinkerMouth!

We were given a 12-count pack of Greenies for large dogs (25-50 lbs) by Chewy.com to try and review. This review only reflects our experiences and opinions, nothing more. We’re not experts and we don’t otherwise benefit from this review.

Vacation Fatigue

Squinched Eyes

Poor HufflePup. He’s always so eager to hop in the car and ride with us ANYWHERE that sometimes we forget that he really only cares about the ride and much less for the actual destination. He came with us to visit relatives for a while but the novelty wore off when he ate something that made him sick for HOURS.

Flopped Over, Hanging on the edge

We ended up in the waiting room at the emergency vet at 1 am and got x-rays. Unfortunately, Ol’ Feller was too full of gas to see anything clearly so we couldn’t be sure he wasn’t sick because of an obstruction.  We ended up taking a bit of a wait and see attitude because he was too keyed up at the vet’s to see whether he was feeling better or not.

An anti-nausea injection helped him stop retching, but then he went on food strike for three days, forcing us to serve up the tried and true chicken and rice bland diet.

About a week of worry later, we saw the vet again. This time, we added pumpkin to his special food to help his gut, fiber’s good, y’know, and he started on the path to recovery.

Until we started on the road home and he started whining with pain when we helped him in and out of the car. That both hurt my heart and scared me silly – I’m terrified that he’s slipped a disc again. The last time he badly hurt his back, he had to have serious surgery and took over a month to get back on his feet. We’re working on a high-rest, low-excitement regimen right now, hoping that will help him because he really doesn’t want to either get in the car again or go back to the vet again.

Stress Management, by HufflePup

FourthFireworks

The Fourth of July’s been a bit of a rough holiday since HufflePup came to live with us. He really doesn’t like loud noises, and objects to even moderately loud noises like dropping dishes or slapping a pan on the stove. You should have seen him when I first turned on the BluRay player, it was as if a demon had grabbed his tail!

Our first Fourth of July, we were eating a later dinner and missed the segue into nightfall. The fireworks  started up in the distance, and the next thing we knew, only his two little eyebrow pips were still visible from behind the bed. He’d crept away quietly to find a safe place and stayed huddled in the corner until we realized he’d gone missing.

The next year, it was just the two of us so he and I sat in the corner together with my arm around his shoulders as he silently resented the Scary Booms.

This year, he weathered it much better. We planned a night in with dinner and a movie to cover the sound. His coping mechanism: staying as close to our feet as possible. One particularly loud Boom sent him tiptoeing from my protection over to his dad’s in the kitchen.

Poor guy. They carried on with the fireworks shenanigans for another six days and he was nothing  like happy about it.

VetVisit

To add insult to injury, we had to go to the vet this week too. He’s usually pretty excited about meeting other dogs, and exploring the office, but eventually he realizes we’re actually there for a reason.

Then the curiosity kicks in.

headtilt I believe there are people out there.

headtilt I .. think they’re talking?

headtilt About .. us?

Lookback Ma, I think we should go now.

Unfortunately it looks like he’s got a growth on his gums that may need to be removed and his teeth need to be cleaned. The estimate runs, including a discount, near a thousand dollars.  We’re also trying a new medication for his slight plumbing leaks and hope-hoping that it’ll work.

I do believe that uses up this old guy’s allowance for the year!

Post-operative ponderings

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Have you ever seen a sadder face?

HufflePup’s kind of an old guy. Old and klutzy. He’s also a bit wandery and floppy with feet that don’t always go in the same direction as his head or his back end.

Huffle isn’t aware of this and doesn’t notice when his back end goes off one way when his front end goes THAT way. So it should not have been any surprise that he managed to hurt himself trying to keep up with the younguns one day, and badly enough so that he couldn’t walk.

We rushed into an emergency surgery and, after a few nerve-wracking hours, were thrilled to hear that the procedure had gone as well as possible. He was allowed to come home soon after even though His Floppy Sleepiness couldn’t hold his head up. It must have been the good drugs he was on because that’s the most sheepish looking dog I’ve ever seen.

He was destined to live in his crate for a while during recovery. The first week was the worst week as he drunkenly protested his confinement and tried to escape Crate Corner. On the bright side, recovery seemed to take only about 6 weeks of the expected 8 before he was allowed to amble around at leisure again.

Possibly the only good thing to come out of this whole ordeal was learning that he and Mama could both fit into the crate at the same time if need be. Oh, wait, that’s not it. It was winning a CloudStar prize pack in a Recovery Stories contest hosted by the lovely folks at the Dog Help Network.