Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Muscle for Brains & Mush for Poo

I love Barry's big head. I love the dip that starts at the front of his cranium and goes along the top. On each side it's soft and warm. I'm not exactly sure that this is muscle but I'm sure it serves some purpose, maybe keeping his brain warm?

His big head goes through a lot. When he play with a dog it gets all slobbery from play biting. Sometimes he gets scratches, again from playing. His head has been kicked at least once by me. Not on purpose, though. I'd never kick him intentionally. We were walking and he smelled something that was right in the path of my foot, his nose went into that path to sniff whatever it was and I kicked him mid stride. His head bled. I mean, I kicked him hard. He has always had this small bump at the top of his head that gets some abuse when he plays. It occasionally opens up and bleeds because it's exposed and raised. Our veterinarian looked at it and said it appears to just be a bump and nothing more. She's not concerned but did say to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't change shape or size. It hasn't so far. Anyhow, he smacks his head against things every now and then. It doesn't seem to phase him whatsoever. At night if he's laying at the foot of the bed he curls close to either me or Husband and that head slams down on our legs. Our legs must be like pillows to him. I have bruises on my shins from his big head.

The top of his head is soft and mushy and velvety. It's so sweet. I love to kiss it. I think his head is adorable.

Really, though, he doesn't have muscle for brains. He's a clever guy. He knows how to work me, that's for sure. I see him working Husband too. That top part at the top of his head is just there for cuteness, and probably protection and warmth as well.
We've had a bit of a hick up with his digestive issues once again. He's off the Merrick right now (we haven't fully decided that it is the Merrick) and eating rice and lean beef with pumpkin and Kefir. I got him some store bought treats that may have been too rich as well. I'm not saying it was either of those things but I have to wonder. He has been kind of funny since the full switch to Merrick. Plus the vet trip with explosive liquid diarrhea has happened in the time we've switched him. Merrick is a great company and the ingredients are wonderful. It's made in the US, the price is right, and dogs LOVE it. So, IF the Merrick is making him have diarrhea it's not because Merrick is a bad food. It's because Barry has got to be the most sensitive dog that is alive today. I'm not sure he can handle dog kibble at this point. Or meaty store bought treats. Poor guy. I feel bad cause he LOVES the food. Also, so many dogs do well on it, do not judge the food we have taken Barry off of by our circumstance. Barry is unique in how sensitive he is.

I'm also worried that this means we'll have to be paying a higher price for his food. I know many people that make their own dog food at home but I'm already stretched with time. I make homemade KONG treats for Barry every night, I pre mix his food and soak it (for easier digestion), I make dinner for Husband and I. I make fresh juice in the evening (for the morning). Etc. Etc. My time Monday through Thursday after I get home from work is limited. Also, making his food fresh scares me a little. What do I put in it? What is a good ratio of protein, fat, carbs, etc? What nutrients does he need? I know I can google it all (which I have) but it's so daunting. There is so much info out there!

We may put him back on the Merrick for a couple of days after this week and see how he does. If it's a no go we may go back to The Honest Kitchen. He did fabulously on that. However, we'd buy the Base pre-mix where you add in your own protein and instructions are well laid out. It's cheaper for us to just do the pre mix. Plus I could add in whatever protein, extra rice, etc. I imagine it will still be slightly more expensive to go that route but if Barry does best on that sort of food then I suppose it's worth it. There are many other brands that have the pre-mixes as well for a similar price. The 7-8 lb bags make 40-45 lbs of food. Then you factor in the protein (we will likely use lean beef) so a box would last about 40 days. That's better than the 20 days the full meal lasted which was a lot more expensive. Then I'll factor in the cost of meat for him. I feel like it's something we can definitely do. Even though the freeze dried/dehydrated route is more time consuming, it's not as time consuming as making his food from scratch. Plus, Barry responded so well to it that I just don't see any other negative other than cost. I think we may spend about an extra $20 month vs the Merrick when you factor in the cost of the lean beef.

I'm worf it.
I've also been searching the internet for some good homemade dog treats. I don't mind making him a batch of treats once per week. That's doable. I just need some good recipes and a cut bone shaped cookie cutter and I'll be in business. Any good ideas for treats?


  1. Poor you guys! Aww Barry...why the tummy troubles. :-( If you go to my blog page and click my "Dogs" pinterest account you'll see a bunch of homemade doggy goodies scattered around. I try to find the grain free recipes so hopefully that'll help. Also has a wonderful treat section on her page.

    Sorry you're having so many problems with Barry's tummy, we understand at our house how bothersome it can be. Every so often Dante gets diarrhea - no change in diet and we aren't sure what causes it. After said icky episode his poo will then slowly firm up over the course of like a month. Then he'll be fine for awhile and then Boom! Diarrhea hits again....
    We aren't really sure what causes it, but we're sticking with the food (he may just be a sensitive guy too), and kefir seems to make a difference (thanks for the suggestion!) so I need to remember to keep picking it up.

    Good luck with Barry! I'm hoping that given time we (and you guys too!) can find the right balance with the pups.


    1. Thanks for the suggestions! Sometimes when Barry has a soft stool we don't worry too much. It's when he wakes us in the middle of the night, or goes in our home that we worry. He's been doing that lately. Obviously when he was having water diarrhea, straining and blood we took him off Merrick to give him bland food to heal. He got back to total normalcy so we slowly brought back in the food and BAM diarrhea, waking in the middle of the night, etc. When he was on The Honest Kitchen he literally had zero issues and could even eat naughty treats with no issue. It just got so expensive. I think the freeze dried/dehydrated route is easier for his tummy at this point. We shall see I suppose!

    2. Bummer! That's way worse than what we experience at our house. :-( Good luck with Barry's tummy! Definitely sounds like you may need to consider the freeze dried route.

      Keep us posted!