First of all, hi everyone!! I feel like I haven’t posted in forever. I have been working a ton lately and things have just been really busy. Now that it’s July, we only have one full month left in RI before the big move! We still have a lot to do, of course. After I do this post I am going to book the shipment of my car from Oakland, CA to Honolulu. The company we are using has convenient online booking, and I don’t have to pay for the shipment until we actually drop the car off (nice!). This week we also need to contact realtors/property managers and get an idea of housing. I have been doing a lot of browsing to see what is out there, and now we need to move to the next step of at least having a few places in mind to look at when we arrive, as we will want to move in as quickly as possible. We are also hammering out the details of how we will get our stuff to HI – I think we are going to sell some big items, like John’s beloved 55″ TV, that will just be too expensive to ship. We’ll go through all our stuff and ship what we really need through USPS in several large boxes, upon the advice of our friend who works for UPS. This will help keep costs down, if we only ship what we really need. Aside from those big steps, we have a lot of the rest squared away. We have loosely planned our road trip and looked into the pet policies of hotels along the way. It looks like we shouldn’t have a problem finding pet friendly hotels for a reasonable price (yay!), and we have estimates for gas and food costs. The move is coming up so soon, and the stress is really starting to build up. I am trying to be as prepared as possible and get everything squared away early so that I can enjoy the trip and have some stress-free time in Hawaii before school starts!
As for the dogs, they are both good! Zev has recovered so well from his surgery and is back to his usual goofy, active self. He is generally a very easy keeper – his appetite is great and his weight is perfect right now. Lexi is almost done with her antibiotics, ketoconozole, and prednisone (finally!). She has been responding well to the generic Atopica she started on a few days ago, but to be honest I haven’t noticed much of a difference from the lower dosage of compounded cyclosporine she was on before (except for the hefty price tag, of course…). Granted, all of the wet weather we’ve been having doesn’t help much – wet grass especially wreaks havoc on her allergies and leaves her feet inflamed. It’s been a bad allergy season, regardless of the meds she has been on.
One thing we are still struggling with is Lexi’s weight. I have been working really hard to put weight on her over the past few months, but I think I am in a constant battle with the prednisone in her system, which seems to have revved up her metabolism. I was mildly happy with the two pound increase she had a few weeks ago, and I was sure that she seemed to be filling out since then. Alas, our trip to the vet’s scale showed that she had since lost a pound. ARG! She is no where near emaciated, or even scarily skinny, but she is definitely ribby and underweight, and I feel like I can’t do anything about it.
After talking with Denise at Dogs In Harmony, who has a vast knowledge of different dog food products, I decided on a number of things. First, I changed the formula of dehydrated food she is on – The Honest Kitchen’s Thrive to THK’s Love. Love is grain and gluten free (whereas Thrive has quinoa), and a higher protein content. As you may recall, Dr. Tapp had suggested I add extra protein to her dehydrated food, which I had been doing almost every day. Perhaps upping the protein level on her main food source will help. Denise also suggested I try Stella and Chewy’s raw dinners – the one we chose is like a mini chicken patty, also with a high protein content, and added fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. It can be fed alone or as a topper, the latter of which we are doing at a rate of 1 patty per meal.
I also decided to put her back on a high-quality, high protein dry food, for at least part of her meals. She has been on dry food before and can tolerate it, but she doesn’t seem to do as well on it versus just the dehydrated – she gets a bit gassy on it and her stools are looser. BUT, I can’t seem to put weight on her with just the dehydrated, so something needs to change. Denise suggested that, as another option to play around with, I mix Love with dry food (I feed Zev Merrick Grain-Free, and Lexi has eaten that before as well). Complicated, huh? I am playing around with her diet a bit (while also being sure to transition her to and from different foods slowly), and right now this is what she is eating, per meal: 1 cup of dry food, 1 cup of dehydrated food, 1 Stella and Chewy’s patty, and her meds. In the past we have realized that there is a delicate balance as to giving her the right amount of food – too much dehydrated food and she poops 4-5 times a day – but I obviously don’t want to give her too little food, either. Oy vey. We are going to stay at this combination for now and see what happens. She is certainly happy with her mushy sludge, which now has some fun crunchy pieces in it! It is partly convenient for us, since Zev also eats the same dry food, and feeding 2 cups per day of Love helps to keep the cost of it down (of course, it is even more expensive than Thrive…). Hopefully a few weeks of this will help put a few pounds on her, and then we can figure out the best combination for the longer term. Who knew dog food could be so complicated?