Saturday, May 16, 2015

The moochers came back.


To tell the truth, these two moochers never left. They smell food and hear a package open and consider it an invitation. The kitchen is the worst place but it happens anywhere in the house. When I bring a snack in the den I always have a parade following me with these starving, hungry faces.
But I try to look on the good side. They are always willing to help me with my diet by keeping me from eating everything. And when you call them names or accuse them of begging too much, they look all around the room as if I was talking about someone else.
BTW, the flash wasn't bounced off the ceiling in the top photo. I grabbed the camera too fast to make the adjustment.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Great Weight Race is over.


Bess and Ruff went to the Vet's office Tuesday for their booster shots and I got an opportunity to get her on the big scale there. As I was beginning to think, she hasn't gained any weight in over two months. At the age of 10-months Bessie now weighs 81 lbs. If you will recall last year I was so impressed with her growth rate that I began comparing it to Ruffin's. When Ruff was 10-months old he weighed 92 lbs. For the record, Ruff has been on a diet for over six months and he has trimmed down from 132 lbs to 120 lbs and he looks a whole lot better. His Thyroid test came in a a bit high last year and the Vet put him on 3x 0.8mg Levothyroxine pills per day.
For a while I had thought Bess would top out over 100 pounds at the rate she was going but she stopped growing a few months too early. I hope this had nothing to do with her eating disorder because I am still having trouble getting her to eat regular dog food. The Vet says she looks very good but I still think she is a bit thin. Hopefully in the months ahead I'll figure out why she won't eat like my other Rottweilers do and maybe she will put on a few more pounds.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Add one more thing to the list that Bessie hasn't seen before.


I will never forget the opportunities that I missed to record some of the wonderful sights I've seen because I didn't have my camera to take a picture. Like the first time Bessie saw a butterfly, a small white one that almost landed on her nose, and the startled look in her eyes. Or the time she noticed her first Dandelion puff ball and when she sniffed it and it blew apart. Well today was another first. A brightly painted truck came rolling down our street playing music. Bessie heard it come up the street before she saw it. It was an ice-cream vendor and it is one of the first signs of Summer. We live on a very quiet dead-end street so I knew the truck had to turn around and come back on its way out - so I had time to go fetch my camera.
As it slowly drove by our house Bessie started to trot over toward the street and after yelling at her to stop, I almost thought the driver was going to stop to sell her some ice cream. But from this angle I realized he couldn't see her but his window was open so I think he heard me say STOP.
Maybe next Spring I'll have another chance to take a picture of her and a butterfly.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Big Guy still loves horse races.


Once again, Ruffin watched the TV this evening as American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby today. I guess you have to have a face-to-face encounter with a real live horse like Ruff had in order to have such a lasting interest them. Bess watched some of the race but I think she was more interested in finding out why Ruff was so interested. Axl was laying and the couch next to me and not paying any attention.
But Ruff decided to lay down just as the horses turned into the final stretch.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Celebrating an anniversary, Rottweiler style.


On Wednesday my wife Jacqueline and I will celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary. Yep, that's Gold plus 5. OK, one time only, pause and clap hands. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now back to the story. Because my daughter has been pestering me to send her some photos of her Mom and Dad, I decided this afternoon to set up the camera and use the new shutter remote to take a few pictures. And you instantly know why this story is being posted on a Rottweiler blog. Because we live with Rottweilers.

The first photo went off without a hitch. It was a quiet afternoon and for some strange reason we were along in the family room and had the couch all to ourselves.
Then we were joined by Bessie. She probably noticed the flash going off and that always means I'm taking pictures. She walked in and jumped on the couch and immediately gave her Mom a kiss.
Then, when I thought Bess was going to lay down on the couch, I thought I could bring the rest of the family in for a group shot. Sort of like a practice run for our next Christmas card. So I called Ruffin and Axl. The big guy came in but Axl was sound asleep in the other room and never joined us. 
The minute the two love birds locked eyes on each other, they decided to have another play session. They act this way wherever I take them, even to the Vet's office last week.
Anyway, that what its like Living With Rottweilers.

 


Saturday, April 25, 2015

The return of Snooty Rott


Plus another weird tale from the kitchen.
Snooty Rott has returned.

Only once before in the 20-years I have been privileged to live with Rottweilers have I ever had a Snooty Rott. And that would be my very first Rottweiler girl, Mocha, who I always called Mo. Just a quick jump back 8 years and you will see that baby Ruffin had two Moms, Mo in the foreground and Sassy in the back. Mo was the Queen or should I say the Empress and Sassy was the enforcer. But while I have had three girls before Bessie, I had Mo, and her mother Felony and Sassy, only Mo had the not-so pretended upper-class snooty look.
This is the look that I mean, the cool, classy, smart and self-confident Snooty look:
And Mo deserved ever one of those accolades. She had the ability to look at me and know what I wanted and would jump to the task without hesitation. I even began to imagine she could read my mind, we were so tuned to the same wave length.

So today I am sitting in my den with my almost 10-month old Bessie and I am taking some new pictures with the shutter remote and right in front of me I see that look.
I have some very high hopes for this young lady Rott and I am confident that when she becomes an adult Rottweiler she is going to be as smart as my first one 20 years ago.

Now for another weird tale from the kitchen.

Two days ago Bessie had a brief bout of diarrhea so I boiled up a chicken breast and a cup of rice. I gave her a little more than half of it for dinner that night and put the rest in the refrigerator. Yesterday she was pooping normally so at dinner time I opened a can of Pedigree ground dog food into her metal bowl and poured the remaining chicken and rice over the top.

As previously mentioned, the only food Bessie will eat from her bowl is "people food" and when I put canned dog food in her bowl I have to hand feed it to her with a fork. So last night Bessie goes to her bowl and eats every scrap of the chicken and rice - and leaves the canned dog food in the bowl. So I had to once again feed this to her with a fork. 

I would have thought that while enjoying the chicken and rice she would have kept on eating and gobbled up the ground dog food. But she didn't and I am still scratching my head trying to figure this out.


  Click the pictures to see them full sized.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The goofy crowd paused to say, Hello.


By the look on these three faces you wouldn't think they had a care in the world. I guess, from their perspective, they don't, because all is right in their world. Grandpa Axl is in his regular spot on the couch, Ruffin has reclaimed his favorite chair and baby Bess just decided to take a stretch after laying on the hassock. But in between the frantic attempts to get the little one to eat they all enjoy lounging around in the family room. And about those frantic attempts, sometimes I think those comments about little Bessie training me may well be true.
Oh, the Rottie Mom was not too far away. She was watching the whole show from her powered recliner chair.
Yes, everything was right in their world.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Some good news on Bessie's visit to the Vet today.


If you live in the United States you may have read in the news about a nasty outbreak of Canine Influenza that has been spreading throughout the mid-west.
Update on Canine Influenza Outbreak
College of Veterinary Medicine,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Update, April 15: Laboratory scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin have determined that the current outbreak of canine influenza virus, which has sickened more than 1,000 dogs in the Chicago area, is caused by a virus related to Asian strains of influenza A H3N2 viruses. This strain has also caused infection and respiratory illness in cats in Asia, though no cases of cats being infected in the U.S. have been reported. - See more at: http://vetmed.illinois.edu/veterinary-respiratory-expert-explains-kennel-cough-causes/#sthash.3IXGAN4P.dpuf
I was sent the following link to a story about a vaccine from Sam in Cornell University. The article at this link (from the American Veterinary Medical Association) describes the disease in detail and also mentions a vaccine:

Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is a highly contagious infection caused by an influenza A virus. The causative canine influenza virus (CIV) strains have been classified as H3N8 and H3N2.
H3N2 canine influenza appeared limited to Korea, China and Thailand until 2015, when an outbreak in the Chicago area was determined to be due to an H3N2 strain.
The gist of the 6-page article is that the only available vaccine for Canine Influenza is for the H3N8 strain and not for the H3N2 strain that is currently spreading and it is not known if it would be effective on the H3N2 strain. The chances of effectiveness are increased when used along with Bordatella Vaccine for Kennel Cough. So I brought Ruff and Bessie in to see the Vet and get their shots. Since we often visit Petsmart and Pets Supplies Plus it is better to be a little prepared than not at all.

So now to the good news. The good news was that Bessie weighed in on the scale at 81 lbs. A gain of 2 pounds this month. Counting calories and hand-feeding seems to be working.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Counting Calories for a different reason.


Sometimes I think I'm the only person who sees a problem where others say none exists. If it were not for Bessie's remarkable growth rate during her first six months, at times even growing faster than our big guy Ruff, then I would not have started keeping track of her weight. The fact is, that remarkable growth rate seems to have come to a grinding stop three months ago and that is what made me so concerned. There is a difference of opinion on how long a Rottweiler continues to grow. I was under the opinion they grew for the first year and a few people told me they grow in height for 12 months then for several months after they bulk out. I tend to agree with this but when Bessie went to the Vet's office for a toenail trim last week I commented to the doctor that she hasn't gained any weight in more than two months and the doctor told me she has probably stopped growing. If that was completely accurate it would mean Bessie only grew for half the time I expected. And her weight has stayed the same at 79 lbs since late January. And it doesn't take into account that she has very large feet, something that would suggest she was meant to be much bigger when she finished growing.

Thanks to my frequent visitor from Cornell University I have poured over a few links Sam gave me about calculating calorie consumption. The three different formula peg Bessie's requirements at about 1900 to 2000 calories a day. So I decided to start counting calories and see how much Bessie was getting, in spite of her reluctance to eat her regular meals.

Bessie loves dog biscuits as do all our Rottweilers and we buy lots of Milkbone Dog Biscuits. The small size I give for treats have 30 calories each and the large size they all get with their peanut butter pills has 130 calories and that large dollop of peanut butter, a full tablespoon adds another 190 calories. Checking the list of ingredients tells me they are very nourishing, too. Since the problem with her eating began I have been giving Bess a lot more dog biscuits every day. Two big ones and about 20 small ones add up to 860 calories. For reasons I still can't explain, Bess will eat dry kibble nuggets from my hand but not from a dog food bowl so I substituted the kibble for the tiny treats that I was using for her training rewards. That adds up to a cup of kibble a day and another 360 calories. While Ruff and Axl enjoy eating two meals a day Bessie ignores breakfast but she will eat a can of dog food at dinner time, even if I have to feed it to her on a fork. That's 463 calories for a can of Pedigree ground dinner. This brings her daily total intake to 1456 calories. Then I throw in some table scraps from our dinner or maybe a small scoop of extra mashed potatoes and this seems to have stabilized her weight loss to a minimum. Before I started doing this Bess had lost about five pounds but managed to come back to her present weight of 79 lbs. in the last month.

When I think about this problem I am reminded of what the undernourished children look like from those impoverished third-world countries. They are smaller than healthier children are because their meager diet has affected their growth. I'm sorry if this comparison between my puppy and some real kids offends anyone. I cannot do anything to affect their lives but I am determined to protect the lives of my devoted companions at home.




Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bessie update on school and eating.


Last Monday night Bessie completed her 6-week obedience school training. In spite of her ongoing eating problems she managed to pass the course. I was hoping to post a picture of her certificate but they didn't have it ready in time. It had become a weekly event to bring everyone up to date on Bessie's progress. So Monday night I made a shocking announcement that had everyone talking. I had found a way to get Bessie to eat. A few weeks ago the trainer suggested I substitute dog kibble for treats to use while I was having Bess go through her lessons. The dog kibble worked fine getting hand-fed to her since I had not been able to get Bessie to eat the kibble from a bowl but I still had problems with her eating the canned food.

The shocking announcement that I made in class was about a recent observation I discovered during dinner. It has to do with what we and our Rottweiler companions consider to be normal in our house. We know how much they always study us and pay attention to what we are doing so if you think about this that way, maybe it won't sound so shocking.  Everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows that my wife Jacqueline has been suffering from Alzheimer's for several years. I often mention that Axl knew something was wrong the day we adopted him seven years ago and that is why he has never left my wife's side. Seven years ago my wife was a different person, she was able to walk and talk and take care of herself. And she was able to feed herself, too. Now, all that has has changed and my Rottweilers have witnessed all of it.

Long before we adopted Bessie, I had become my wife's full time caregiver. For as long as Bessie has been living in our house she has watched me spoon-feed my wife at every meal. Last weekend as we sat at the dinner table, as I was feeding my wife I was also coaxing Bessie to eat her can of dog food from her metal bowl. I was having no luck so I picked up a chunk of dog food on a fork and offered it to Bess to eat and she took it and ate it. I then took turns feeding my wife and picking up more dog food from the bowl and feeding Bess. By the time dinner was over she had consumed her entire can of dog food. And when I told an abbreviated version of this to the people in class they were shocked. I told them I had spoon-fed my dog the same way I spoon-fed my wife.

If Bessie had this eating disorder any time after she was fully grown I don't think I would have taken such drastic measures. The problem now is that Bessie is going through a growth period and to allow her to starve herself into eating would deprive her of her daily level of nourishment and that could stunt her growth and affect the development of her bones and joints. I found that the so-called "three day cure" wasn't working. In theory, if she was completely reluctant to eat then after three days of hunger she would be forced back to her food dish. In reality it didn't work that way. Bessie would come to her dish ever day and take a nibble and then walk away. Her nibbles of food staved off her hunger pains but also prolonged her state of undernourishment. That is why it stretched out this problem from a few days to a few weeks and I had to do something, anything, to fix it.

So for the last six days Bessie has been eating breakfast and supper by being, not exactly spoon-fed, but fork-fed her cans of dog food and in between she eats a few handfuls of kibble. And she has begun to put back on the weight she lost. I am happy with the results and will worry later about fixing any other problems I've caused.

 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Slowly getting back to normal?


The last time I mentioned that Bessie had eaten three meals in a row I thought she had gotten over her problem, then it started all over again. Well, she did it yesterday and today so unless she is repeating the same cycle, she may be making some progress. One thing I am sure of and that is she seems more active and healthier looking than before. You have to have food in your stomach to make enough energy to play. She runs around outside chasing balls until she has to stop and catch her breath. Then comes inside and the adrenaline rush makes her act like a nut. Which leads up to her coming in the den this morning and bringing her over-sized playmate with her.
They weren't there more than two minutes before the roughhouse began.
I took the camera and held it almost at floor level to get this shot.
After dinner last night Bess had some snacks eating more dog kibble out of my hand while watched a movie. Still won't eat them from a bowl. This morning she ate 3/4 of a can of Pedigree ground dog food from her metal bowl. Complicated, isn't it?
 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A quiet moment on a rainy day. A new clue to Bessie's problem.


Late afternoon, just before dinner time Friday and once again I am the only one working. Notice all the hungry faces waiting for dinner. Well, one of them isn't as hungry as the others and she is driving me nuts trying to figure out her problem. I tried to reinstate her obedience training using kibble in place of dog treats and it worked very well. Bess worked her way through a handful of nuggets. But because we were indoors I had to contend with Ruff begging for his royalty payments every time Bess got a reward. So a few hours later that may explain why she once again turns her nose up at dinner. But there is a new wrinkle to the puzzle. After dinner when I sat down to watch some TV Bessie came over for a pretzel that I was eating and I went and put a cup full of kibble in a small metal bowl. Here is where it gets interesting. Bessie would not eat from the bowl but if I picked up a kibble nugget she would eat it from my hand. If I placed it on the floor she would pick it up and eat it, too. So is she shying away from the metal bowl? Tomorrow I will have to try feeding her breakfast from a glass soup bowl like I tried a few weeks ago. I recall that the Vet suggested fooling her into thinking I was giving her food from the table. But the novelty only lasted for three meals.
At least, one way or another I can now get dog food into her. Hand feeding and using kibble for training treats makes no difference to me. And it gives me more time to figure out her real problem.

That Viyo stuff has some good nutrient value but it does not appear to enhance her appetite at all. Bess likes the taste and cleans up a few ounces of it in a small bowl but when I put it on her food it doesn't do anything. I will continue to use up what I have and wait and see what happens.

 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bessie's progress report. Still changing but not resolved.


It seems that some days Bess will relieve her self-induced hunger by eating both breakfast and dinner and other days she will eat one meal but not the other. I got my order for Viyo Recuperation from Amazon.com yesterday. The directions say it works best if given before breakfast so I didn't hold much hope for immediate results but I tried it last night at dinner time. And Bessie picked that meal to sniff and walk away from. One of the many uses for Viyo is to increase appetite for dogs following surgery. I was hoping it would get Bessie back into enjoying her regular meals and not be such a finicky eater. The Viyo comes in a liquid form and dosage by weight means Bess will get about 3 ounces a day. It has a very favorable aroma and Bess liked the taste and licked up all that I gave her but then wanted nothing to do with her breakfast. Tonight at dinner, I squirted some over her food and she ate her entire meal. I can't figure this out yet. Some days she eats only one meal and some days she eats two meals. I am not making any early conclusions about the Viyo until I try it for a few more days. I bought about 32 ounces of it so it would last about 10 days.

After dinner she appeared as lively and playful as ever. Before I went back to my den I took some pictures of Bess on her new chair. She seemed to be showing off her big feet because I have been chiding her lack of appetite by telling her if she didn't eat she would wind up a skinny little girl with big feet and all the other dogs would make fun of her. 

Then she followed me into the den and was determined to get me to play ball with her. Bessie made a big effort to get my attention and managed to push me away from the computer several times. That's not too difficult sitting on a chair with wheels.
Even climbing up in my lap.

She is still my sweetheart.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Making a little progress with Bess.


I have come to realize that I am not as brave as I would like to be. Bessie has developed several habits that under normal conditions would seem acceptable but with the hunger game they are working against both of us. It would be perfect if there was a hidden room in our house where my wife and I could go and eat alone without anyone else being aware of it. Unfortunately, there is none. The kitchen has evolved over the years to become one of the centers of our activity. It it the place where we have all gathered for our daily meals and, even though we (the humans and the Rottweilers) do not eat at the same time, we are all in the same place at the same time. OK, I know it sounds like there would be a simple solution, put the dogs in a different room, but have you ever tried to separate yourself from your best friend? At dinner time when there is food around? Besides, the door would suffer the most.

So while I am doing the cooking and setting the table, I take a few minutes and feed Ruffin and Axl. And for one reason or another, even before I was aware of a problem, Bess had been lingering behind. It may have started when Ruff growled at her while he was eating. Over the years I noticed that Ruff always growled when he ate, he growled with food in his mouth but it was the only time he ever growled so I thought he was growling at his food. Axl never paid any attention to him at first and he was eating from the bowl in the right-hand feeder station. Then, before we got Bessie, Axl started to hang back so as not to be bothered by Ruff when he ate. As Axl got old he started dropping food from his mouth when he chewed and Ruff used to dive on it and snatch it up. I guess the old man didn't like that much. This ended with Ruff eating alone and I would be sitting at the kitchen table holding the bowl of food for Axl. 

When we got Bessie she used to attack her food with the same gusto that Ruff did. And at first he didn't growl when she started eating from the same feeder stand. There may be some attempt at intimidation going on, where Ruff tries to get someone to walk away from their food, so maybe this growling did something to her. In any case, Bessie stayed out of the kitchen until my wife and I sat down to eat. So the routine developed that it was the three of us, Bess at the feeder and my wife and I at the table. Then Bess started to ignore her food while we were eating so she could spend more time begging for handouts at the table. Only after we were done with our meal did she go back and finish her own dinner unless Ruff or Axl walked over to it, then she would reclaim her dish. And then the new problem cropped up, she became a finicky eater. She spent less time eating dog food than people food. Her favorite delicacy has always been mashed potatoes. I used to put the mixing bowl on the floor for her to clean out but lately I have been plopping a few spoons of the potatoes on top of her dinner to coax her to eat. This seems to be a hit or miss situation. Some nights she cleans up her own dinner after we are through but occasionally she walk away from it. I've tried flavor enhancements and the Swanson's beef broth seems to work some times.

Breakfast is a totally different situation. I am up around 8am take Ruff and Bess out to pee and then have my coffee. Ruff never turned his nose up at any food but now he eats alone and then goes out back by himself. Bess comes out to the kitchen once in awhile but I have to remember to pick up her food dish before Ruff comes back indoors or he walk through the kitchen and scoff it up. I let my wife stay in bed for a few more hours while I do my email and read the news. Then around 10-11am I get her up, dress her and feed her. Axl does not leave his Mom's bedroom until she is up and dressed and then he comes out and has breakfast with her. This is also Bessie's last opportunity to come out and eat and sometimes she does.

Over the past few days Bessie has been averaging one meal a day, at dinner time. Since she eats her food then I am willing to add some leftovers from the table. Breakfast seems to be a waste since she is never seems to be hungry.  I have read that some dogs only get one meal a day so I am trying to make Bess' dinner meal bigger than what Ruff gets to make up the difference. I am waiting for the appetite and food enhancer to arrive that I wrote about. I hope it works as they say.

Meanwhile, here are two pictures I took last night while watching TV. I haven't posted any in awhile.

By the way, over the weekend I had a few nice email exchanges with Sam from Cornell University. He told me he was a micro-biologist and he started visiting this blog after he got a Rottweiler. The conversation got to the point of nutrition and he sent me two links to web site that detailed the minimum daily food requirements for dogs based on age, breed and activity. Basically they are both calorie counter formulas.

At Bess' age the calculators say she needs about 2000 calories a day for growth and Ruff needs the same amount for his size. I tried to figure out what she is getting now but it is not close to the 2000 number. To make matters more confusing, neither is Ruff getting the right amount. The cans of dog food are about 400 calories each and the manufacturer recommends 7 cans a day, an impossible figure. Ruff and Axl get a half a can a day plus four cups of kibble. The bag of Eukanuba large breed kibble doesn't mention calories but the manufacturer recommends 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 cups a day for a 120 lb dog. I had to cut down on some of Ruff's food when he lost his waistline and started getting overweight. He is now a trimmed down 120 lbs, 10 pounds less than last year.

  Small update: Yesterday was a pretty good day, today not as much. Yesterday Bess ate most of her breakfast and all of her dinner. This morning she wouldn't touch breakfast at 8am so I gave it to Axl to eat when he got up. Then at 11am Bessie got her peanut butter pills and a large Milkbone biscuit and I opened a can of dog food for her. I tried to spoon feed her and she took about four mouth-full's, less than 1/4 of the can. Next up is an early dinner and then off to the obedience training class. That schedule is a mess with this eating problem.

Friday, March 27, 2015

I think the hunger games will take a bit longer.


Apologies for borrowing the title of that movie but this business at home is the real deal. The reason I think its going to take longer to fix it is because Bess is not exactly starving herself completely. This morning I tried a new dog food with chunks and gravy instead of the usual ground-up variety and Bessie licked all the gravy and left most of the chunks. Then it came time for the morning peanut butter pills followed by the large Milkbone biscuit. I don't recall the way this started years ago, it may have been with my wife, but we have always given our Rottweilers Brewer's Yeast tablets every day to prevent fleas. They get 6 or 7 pills daily, depending on weight, and it has always worked. Besides, the peanut butter is a foolproof way of getting them to take other pills and Bessie is still getting two pills twice a day (Ranitdine 150 MG and Metoclopramide 10 MG) for indigestion. I haven't tried substituting kibble for reward treats for training yet, but the minimal amount of food she is eating is going to keep her a little hungry but not starving. 

I reread the piece on Hyporexia from the Viyo medical product web site in Belgium several times and their suggestions sound very workable. I think I will try and find some of their Viyo Recuperation but first I want to find and read some testimonials. Here is a copy of what they wrote.
When a dog is not eating well every day, there is a risk that he/she becomes anorectic. A lack of appetite is something that dog breeders are confronted with day in day out. There are a lot of different reasons for this problem but a stress factor is certainly one of them in kennels. Anorexia is defined as the lack or loss of appetite for food. In veterinary medicine, it is one of the most important and most common complaints indicating a myriad of diseases with greatly varying pathogeneses. It might be more appropriate to talk about hyporexia here.

Hyporexia means a reduction in appetite rather than a complete loss. Dogs that are completely unwilling to eat can rarely be forced to eat a sufficient quantity to meet their daily energy intake requirement and need assisted feeding (nutrition provided parentally or by tube feeding). After appropriate medical therapy, the most common initial strategy to get a patient to eat is to enhance the palatability of the pet food. What techniques are currently used and how efficient are they? Increase moisture. Switching from dry food to canned or pouched food may prove effective. The reason is the higher moisture level, but canned or pouched food also typically contains more fat and protein. Care should be taken that these increased fat and protein levels do not cause any adverse effects. One should also be aware of the fact that canned or pouched food is not always exactly the same as dry food. An alternative for switching to canned or pouched food is to simply soak the dry kibble (2.5 parts of water + 1 part of kibble). Increase fat. This is mostly done in therapeutic food to increase the energy uptake so that less food has to be consumed.

Note that increasing the fat content is not without danger, so we do not advise to increase palatability by increasing the fat level of the diet. Increase protein. Care should be taken when increasing dietary protein in certain disease processes, such as hepatic failure with hepatic encephalopathy and renal failure with acute uremia.

Sweet and salty. Adding a sweet flavour by using sugar or syrup as a top dressing may increase the palatability of the food for dogs. Artificial sweeteners should be avoided because they have little or no nutritive value and a common artificial sweetener, xylitol, can cause a hypoglycemic crisis in dogs. Prudence is in order when treating diabetic patients. Salty foods can be effective in getting some dogs to eat but be careful with patients with hypertension, edema, ascites or renal disease. We don’t find this strategy very effective because the preference we saw for some salty foods (potato chips, salted nuts, peanut butter) may in fact be a preference for fat or treats in general that is somewhat independent of the food’s salt level.

Freshness, aroma and food temperature. Warming food (not higher than body temperature to prevent burning the patient’s mouth) can be helpful because of the additional release of aromas. This is of course important in patients with a reduced sense of smell such as older dogs and renal patients. Keeping the food fresh during storage is very important. Rarity. Rare food may be more enticing than common food, but types of food that are completely novel may not be the best choice.

Variety. This may be an effective approach but there are several cautionary points. Polypharmacy avoidance. Common pain medications, antibiotics, antifungals, diuretics, anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressives and chemotherapeutics can reduce appetite. Try alternative ways of administration that might mitigate some medications’ adverse effects on appetite.

Eliminate physical barriers to eating. Examples of such physical barriers are Elizabethan collars, poor bowl location and dental or oral pain. Appetite stimulating drugs. Diazepam, cyproheptadine and low-dose propofol are not recommended because their effects seem to be unpredictable, intermittent and of short duration. After careful consideration of the 10 techniques described above, it is clear that no effective treatment was available, until today. Viyo Recuperation, a liquid formulation, increases the palatability of the food for dogs in a safe and healthy way without any negative interference with daily meals.
OK, I found the Viyo Recuperation product on Amazon.com for $27.95 for a 16 oz bottle and read all of the 16 positive reviews so I ordered some today. Most of the people who posted comments had tried it successfully for the same type of problem I'm having with Bessie and had good results. More to come on this.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Things are getting clearer about Bessie's eating problem.


Several things happened today. I took Ruff and Bessie to see the Vet this morning and showed her the print from the online Merck Veterinary Manual that I mentioned in my blog yesterday. The gist of the discussion we had was in line with what the lady instructor told me on Monday at the dog training school (I do not know her name). Let her get hungry from missing her meals and in three days she should start eating again. Bessie is forcing me to give in to her demands and I must be strong in resisting her. I must not give Bessie treats of handouts in between meals even is she doesn’t eat her dog food. And other than the occasional boiled chop meat, I should not give her people food. One more thing Bessie does is she refuses to come to the kitchen to eat when I feed Ruff and Axl before me and my wife site down to eat. She does this so she can have table food before or in place of her dog food. That also has to stop. The other thing is Bessie still weighed in at 77 1/2 lbs this morning. While her weight hasn't changed much in the last three weeks she has continued to grow taller which makes her appear thinner.
After we got home I received an unexpected surprise email from Cornell University in Ithica, NY. I have noticed from checking the visitor hits on my blog that someone using a computer from a Cornell University server has been following us for several months. Well the man said he was concerned about Bessie and he suggested I search Google for "hyporexia in dogs" (I only searched for the word) and the search produced an interesting link to a medical product web site in Antwerp, Belgium that explained all about hyporexia that was mentioned in the online Merck Veterinary Manual. It just so happens that it is a mild form of anorexia in humans and it contained some useful information. http://www.viyorecuperation.com/en/tags/hyporexia Thank you Sam, you put us on the right track.
Now I am left with one lingering problem. If I allow Bessie to go hungry for a few days I must also deny her all forms of treats which will make obedience training difficult. Well, when you think about it this will also be a form of training. As opposed to that the Vet suggested I substitute kibble dog food for the treats and continue her training. Tonight I tried to encourage her to eat dinner by putting some Swanson’s Beef Broth on her kibble. She lapped some of it up but did not eat the kibble or the expensive Eukanuba canned dog food with gravy. I also found out I shouldn’t put milk on her kibble. While it seems to work and she eats her food when I do, the Vet said dogs are lactose-intolerant and it causes stinky farts. Now I know where they come from. LOL.
I must try to remind myself to stay strong and win this fight. I am bigger and older and smarter than she is. But she has the sweetest, helpless little girl look that melts my heart. All I have to do is avoid making eye contact. Lots of luck with that.
  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The problem that just won't go away.


It has been six days since my last post when I happily reported that Bessie had just eaten her regular meals. The situation went downhill after that. Following my brief success at confusing Bess into thinking she was being given some people food from the table, she began to turn away from dog food again. At first I sprinkled some table scraps on top of the can of dog food but then she began to eat just the table scraps and leave the dog food. I was determined to weed her off the table scraps and give her nothing but the dog food and that led up to the present crisis. To reinforce her need for regular dog food I have not given her any biscuit treats or training reward treats. This last point has made her lessons from school impossible. Without the training rewards she refuses to work. Withe the training rewards I think she spoils her appetite. I am convinced now there is something else going on besides her having some bad eating habits and tomorrow I will be taking her back to the Vet for the third time.

I am writing this post today for a different reason. There are some apparent repercussions to this crisis that may have a longer lasting effect. I have been advised by some experienced dog trainers that the simplest way to deal with the problem is the direct approach, limit her entire access to food to her meals and give her no treats, and wait until she gets hungry enough to begin eating. The other night at obedience school the instructor said she had a similar problem and after three days her dog decided she had gotten hungry enough to eat. But I am getting some uncomfortable stares from Bessie and it makes me feel she thinks I have been making her hungry on purpose. Will she blame me to the point that she will lose her trust in me and no longer want to be my best friend? Last night she got no bedtime biscuits and she did not want to sleep on my bed. How much difference is there between physically abusing a dog and in denying her food? Her food gets put in her dish and she walks over to it and sniffs it and then walks away. After 15 minutes or so I remove the food from the floor and she sees me doing this, so in her mind am I responsible taking her food away and making her hungry? In her mind am I treating her badly?

And what if there really is an, as of now, undetected medical problem? I have pored over the Internet searching for answers. I have even searched for Eating Disorders through The Merck Veterinary Manual online. The only thing I found was a one sentence teaser that said: "Dogs with hyporexia may have an anxiety disorder, and some may develop specific taste preferences and aversions that reduce what they will eat." Whatever hyporexia is, it is not explained in the manual and from what I can find the word  hyporexia does not exist. But the description seems to be exactly what Bessie has, a "specific taste preferences and aversions that reduce what they will eat".

I will update the situation after speaking to our Vet tomorrow.

 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Finally, some very good improvement in Baby Bess


Yesterday was the first day in the past four weeks that Bess ate two regular meals. I am very happy to write that there was nothing medically wrong with her. We had just developed some bad habits that needed to be corrected.

The problems I've had with Baby Bess' eating disorder continued through last weekend. At first the boiled chop meat and rice seemed to coax her appetite but it didn't last. Once again she turned her nose up and wouldn't eat. So either I was doing something wrong or there was a more serious problem. On Tuesday I took Bess back to the Vet's office and had a visit with a different doctor. We discussed how I was feeding her and the Vet suggested a different approach. Bess has learned to beg for handouts at the dinner table when my wife and I were eating. She was no different from the other two Rotts except she seemed to prefer the table food to her dog food bowl.

The Vet suggested that I take her dog food and put it in one of our dinner plates and keep it on the table. When Bess came over to beg for a handout I would place the dish with her food down for her to eat. As soon as we came home from the Vet's office I took a soup bowl and filled it with a half-can of dog food, sprinkled some grated Cheddar cheese on it and warmed it in the microwave. When I sat down for a cup of coffee Bess came over and I took the bowl off the table and laid it in the feeder stand. She gobbled it all up. Tonight at our dinner time I feed Ruff and Axl first and got them out of the kitchen and repeated the breakfast routine. Bess ate the entire meal, this time a whole can of dog food, warmed up with Cheddar cheese.

The Vet told me that Bess was forcing me to give her people food - she said Bess was training me, and because I didn't have the heart to let her go hungry I gave in to her. So now there will be no more biscuits for treats to keep her a bit more hungry when its time to eat. When Bess gets back into a regular eating pattern I will give her more treats for being a good girl.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Our Rottweilers become famous. Their stories were published in two books.

   
Originally posted on 10-15-2000

My web site, The Rottweilers of Abby's World had been visited by thousands of people from over 50 countries world wide during the 10 years it was on line. One of those visitors was Kim Dearth, an editor of Dog Fancy magazine, and a author of several books on dogs.

My web site had several stories about the day to day experiences living with our Rottweilers and Kim asked me if she could put a few of them in her book. Of course I said Yes. Kim Dearth has compiled a guide with everything you need to know about owning and living with Rottweilers. As she goes through each phase, from bringing a puppy into your home to acquiring a rescued Rott, she adds some real life experiences from Rottweiler owners from around the country. I am particularly pleased that Kim chose a few of my own experiences with my Three Bears to include in her book. Thank you, Kim, for making our three clowns so famous.

A few years later, Kim Dearth has wrote another book, The Compassion of Dogs. It, too, contains a story about our beloved Felony.


How dangerous are Rottweilers? Mother Nature knows.
In our house we have two cats and three Rottweilers and everyone lives in perfect harmony. One of the cats, a female, six years old, goes outside and hunts every day. Since we live in a populated suburban community we seldom see any wildlife other than birds, squirrels, chipmunks, moles, garden snakes and an occasional rabbit. Casey, the cat, has managed to catch everything except the elusive squirrel. One day my wife and I were in the back yard with one of the Rotts, Felony, the old momma. Casey spotted a rabbit in the next door neighbor's back yard and began to stalk it in her usual fashion. She crouched down and slowly inched her way across the grass toward the rabbit. Now you have to picture in your mind that Casey was on the other side of the neighbor's yard furthest away from us, my wife was moving away from me toward the back of the property, Felony was between my wife and my position and the four of us has the little rabbit surrounded. The rabbit spotted Casey and looked around and saw that the two humans and the large dog were all closing in. So which direction do you think the rabbit chose to flee to safety? 

Of course, the rabbit decided that the Rottweiler was the least dangerous of the four creatures. In a few short hops it headed straight for the Rottweiler and for a moment sat in front of Felony with its little nose twitching away. Felony lowered her huge head and went nose to nose with this little creature before it hopped right past her and bounded off across our property.  

We are still learning Rottie Rules.
In our house there are two humans and three Rottweilers and sometimes this presents a problem that we have had to learn how to deal with. Not the kind of problems that you would expect, its just a matter of learning what the Rottie Rules are. For instance, one rule we have observed is that no human can be alone in any part of the house without a Rottie present for protection. Since we don't have a fenced yard it is necessary for us to take them out back on leashes so they do their business (poops and pees). But when they are called to go out, if either my wife or I remain in the house one Rottie will always stay behind while the other two go out. And they do take turns at this.

If one of us gets up early and goes downstairs to start the morning coffee pot, at least one Rottie always remains on the second floor to protect the human that has not gotten up yet. If one of us is upstairs taking a shower there will be a Rottie laying outside the bathroom door waiting. 

Here are a few more of my favorite stories that show the true nature of the Rottweilers, the side that is ignored by Hollywood and the newspapers.


Rottweilers are very protective and do not like violence.
I was sitting on our front porch one day with Nikko Bear the largest of our Rottweilers. We were just enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. A woman walked out of the house diagonally across the street from us and as Nikko followed her with his gaze she entered the house next door to hers. A few minutes later this same woman exited the house accompanying an old white-haired woman and was holding her arm to help her walk. Nikko again looked on with great interest as these two slowly walked back to the first woman's house, only this time I heard a low growl coming from him. He continued his intense gaze and low growl until the two women entered the other house. 

Rottweilers (in this house anyway) seem to sense that when anyone puts their hands on another person it must be a form of violence and they don't like it. This Rottie Rule, as we call it, even extends to  our own home where our Three Bears get very upset whenever my wife and I hug and kiss each other or even hold hands while sitting on the couch. (Yeah, OK, we've been married almost 40-years, so what.) We have begun to refer to the old mama Rott, Felony, as the Mother Superior. Whenever she spots us hugging or kissing she gets a look on her face that seems to say, "Oooooh!".

One day a man and his adult son were visiting us and when they were about to leave, the son shook hands with my wife to say goodbye. Nikko Bear was sitting nearby and literally snapped his head in the direction of the man's hand when he was took hold of my wife's hand. Nikko's sense of alertness came on like a light switch and his usually placid expression turned to instant intense seriousness. I explained to the two gentlemen that no one is allowed to touch the Momma and demonstrated by putting my arm around her shoulder. They learned very quickly when they saw the reaction from the three Rotts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Good news from the Vet. But the mystery continues.


Dr. Matt from Ft. Wright Pet Care called and told me the blood work on Bessie came back normal. That's the good news but the problem hasn't gone away. Bessie has had three doses of her medicine since yesterday and the only food she has eaten were two bowls of cooked oatmeal with some milk and sugar along with a cup-full of dry kibble mixed in. I mentioned this to the Doctor and he can't explain why Bess prefers the oatmeal but he said a bland diet won't cause any problems. His only thought was she may have a mild form of gastrointestinal discomfort that should slowly go away.

We have lots of oatmeal in the house as I make for my wife every morning.

Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes. This little girl has captivated my heart and has become one of the most precious things in my life. (almost, besides my wife, of course) and Ruff and Axl. Oh, you already know this.



Monday, March 9, 2015

Teacher's Pet


This was Ruffin's night to remember, but first an update on Bessie.
I have been very concerned for the last few days about Bessie not eating. I went to a new pet store here on Sunday and bought a few cans of outrageously expensive Merrick brand gourmet dog food and believe me, the beef stew looked just like people food you would make at home. In spite of this Bess was reluctant to eat it until I coaxed her for several minutes. So first thing this morning I took Bessie to see our Veterinarian. As expected she has lost 2 pounds from not eating but it was good to hear after a barium x-ray there was no sign of any blockage or intestinal damage. The Vet also took a blood sample for a full panel blood workup but we won't know the results for a day or so. The x-rays showed some signs of gas pockets and the Vet prescribed two different drugs for her. I gave her the first dose when we got home.

I decided not to take Bessie to school tonight because of the medicine I gave her and not wanting to go there by myself, I called ahead and asked if it was OK to bring Ruff. Angie More, the lady who runs the Amore Obedience Training class has already met Ruff so she said it was fine with her. And it turned out to be one of Ruff's most enjoyable evenings.

The classroom was in a large room with chairs set up in a large circle. We sat in the class next to where Angie had laid out her training materials and was speaking. It was pretty obvious that Ruff had made a new friend. Ruff was very interested in listening to Angie's voice and he kept staring at her while she talked. So much so that he managed to grab her attention and distracted her on several occasions and she kept glancing down at him and breaking into big smiles. That is the way Ruff gets most people to react. He has that "hug me" look that really grabs people.

When it came time for the class to take a short break, Angie took out her cell phone and asked me to take some pictures of her giving Ruff a hug. I sent her an email and told her I already had a title for this blog post, Teacher's Pet, and asked her to send me the pictures. She said that calling Ruff a Teacher's Pet was an understatement. "If I could take him home I would in a heartbeat! He is probably one of the sweetest dogs with the best temperament I have ever met."
Now for some good news. When we got home from class I made Bessie a big dinner of dog kibble and oatmeal and she gobbled it all down. So I think the medicine was already starting to work. I hope the bloodwork comes back normal.

 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

On the subject of my little girl getting bigger.


I took the nice Kong bed out of Bessie's red fold-up travel crate and brought it into my den today. Since she's been sleeping on my bed every night she hasn't been going in her crate. Because Bessie likes to hang out with me and she is getting too big to lay under my chair I thought the bed would be a nice place for her to lay down on. Well, as soon as she did I suddenly realized how big she has gotten, aside from my concerns over her weight. Take a look at these two photos.
And maybe the Vet can tell me why this little girl has such a sad look on her face all the time when she is surrounded with love.
I know I have spoiled her since she was a baby but her problem lately is she no longer likes to eat dog food. At first she enjoyed her Diamond brand puppy kibble. That was the kind they fed her at the dog shelter so she had gotten used to it during her short stay there. Then I began to sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on the kibble like I do for Ruff and Axl. When that didn't work any more I started to add a half can of ground dog food. That worked for a few weeks until last week she wouldn't eat it. So then I tried to spoon feed her the canned dog food. In the last few days even that had mixed results. So as a last resort I fixed up a batch of cooked oatmeal and she gobbled it right up.
When we go to Obedience School they taught us to give them small treats to get their attention and  follow commands. I have been working her this way every day and I thought maybe the treats spoiled her appetite.
So Monday morning we're going to see the Vet. I want my little girl to get her happy face back.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Bessie starting to slow down her growth rate


This is an update to my post on January 15th.  I think we're going to need a bigger boat.

Bessie turned 8-months old on March 1st. Last night I managed to pick her up and get on the scale and she weighs 77.5 LBS. That means she has only gained about 10 pounds in the last two months, a drop from her previous weight/size gain of over 10 pounds each month prior to January.

Bess is getting bigger in size but not as heavier as before. She has also not been eating as regular and I think I will be taking her to the Vet next Monday to see why her appetite has slacked off.

 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow and Temperature records falling all over the place. Rottweilers overjoyed.


The weather out here has been changing. In the past week we briefly enjoyed one day with 60-degree temperature followed by 24-hours of rain that washed all of the remaining snow pack away that had been on the ground for several weeks. Thankfully, that muddy mess only lasted one day. And then last night it started snowing again as the daytime temperatures slowly dropped to several degrees below freezing.

So this morning we woke up to a brand new Winter landscape with a fresh coating of snow about 6-inches deep. And baby Bess and her playmate Ruff thoroughly enjoyed every minute they spent outside. One side note was that when the rain washed away the snow I managed to find five of Bessie's Kong toys that she had taken outside to play with in the snow. I picked them all up and laid them on one of the chairs on the front patio and as soon as we went outside today she stopped to grab a few to run around with.
First look at 8am. Gee, there are no footprints anywhere. It was a little too dark to take pictures so we went inside for breakfast.
An hour later we came back outside.

As Bess gets bigger she poses a formidable challenge when she plays with Ruff. She can easily topple him over.


 Ah, the power and agility of youth. Bessie runs like a deer.

 It all about challenges. Bessie taunts Ruff to try and take her ball away from her.

Ruff puts up a good effort to chase Bessie but his age and size work against him and slow him down. Bessie literally can run circles around him.

The weatherman reminded us that Spring is only a few weeks away as if to add a glimmer of hope. I can fully sympathize with the people in Boston who have endured record-breaking snowfalls this Winter but we have broken a few records for ourselves. I, for one, can't wait for Spring.