Weight Woes.

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?

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8 thoughts on “Weight Woes.

    • Merrick is – it’s available at Petco and they have at least 5 on Oahu. I have yet to find a Honest Kitchen retailer on the island, though. Denise figured out a way to ship a 10-pound bag, without the original box, in a flat-rate box for a good price, so that is an option at least!

  1. Where will you guys be staying in Oakland? I’m a Bay Area native and am happy to do some research for you of what to do and where to stay with dogs! My husband and I have done the cross-country trip from RI to CA quite a few times with our dog, so if you need any help just holler at me!

    • We are actually staying in San Fran – I have friends there who are letting us all stay with them for a few days before the flight. Oakland is just the nearest post for the car shipping company we’re using, Matson. My friend said she’s really excited to show us some of the city – she says it’s really cool! This will be our first long road trip with the dogs…any tips on making it go smoothly?

      • Oh you’re going to have a great time – so much fun stuff to do in the Bay Area with dogs!

        When we go on road trips with Boo, we make it a point to factor in time for a pretty good walk at the beginning or end of the day. It helps us unwind and stretch our legs. We also make sure to get TONS of new puzzle toys and bully sticks, since for the first few minutes of our epic drives our dude needs to be occupied. We’ve also got the Through A Dog’s Ear collections, which are actually really pretty for the people to listen to as you drive through some cool scenery!

        Boo wears a DAP collar as well, which we’ve started using in the last month to see if it helps his anxiety (along with our b-mod plan). Might be a good thing to look into if either Zev or Lexi are a tad anxious!

      • Thanks for the tips! We definitely plan on a nice walk in the mornings to tire them out a bit, and stopping pretty frequently to let them stretch and relax a bit. They will both be in the back seat together and have to get either separated or closely monitored when we give toys or bully sticks, so we will have to save those for our stops. They both ride really well, though, and are always quiet in the car. I have been thinking about a DAP collar for Lexi, actually. I started using a DAP diffuser this week in the room she is kept in while we are out of the house, as she has been getting a bit anxious lately. If it seems to have an effect over the next month or so I will definitely get a collar for the trip.
        The thing I’m most nervous about is the flight itself. We’re working with them to make sure they are both very comfortable in their travel crates and I think I will put a t-shirt in each crate that smells like john or I. They can’t have any toys or treats in the crate for the flight, unfortunately. I’m really hoping they aren’t totally freaked out on the flight :/

  2. Good luck with the weight gain, I know how frustrating that can be! Doodle came from a neglect/cruelty case….she was a puppy and as a result her growth was stunted. It’s been a battle getting her to gain any weight. In stature she’s an itty pittie but she has absolutely no extra fat on her body whatsoever! It can get complicated feeding all of them but it’s definitely worth it 🙂

    • It really does get complicated! She was almost 70 pounds at one point while she was in foster care (she is barely 60 now), so I know she does have the potential to gain. She is pretty tall and lanky, though, so I know she will probably always be on the thinner, leaner side. I’m really hoping it’s less of a battle once she’s finally done with the prednisone in a few weeks.

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