04 December 2014

Tips on Finding a Sitter/Kennel/Boarding during the Holidays!

I'm not one to travel much during the holidays but this year I've been doing a lot of traveling lately. I didn't realize just how hard it was to find boarding and sitting for my two dogs until I actually started the hunt. I will be going away for two weeks at the end of the year and I started to panic. My plane ticket was a but pricey but I had a Southwest Luv coupon of $200 which made it a great deal to fly during the holidays. I started to ask all my friends and family members if they could sit for Bebe and Jolie. Well here's the issue with that, the holidays are busy and everyone is pretty much doing what you're doing, vacationing, spending time with family, and going out. Turns out each and every one of my friends were traveling. Major bummer for me.

My next quest was to search all over DogVacay and try to find a pet sitter. The prices were outrageous. I was quoted for $1000+ dollars for the dogs stay, way more than I even paid for my flight ticket. I contacted over 20 sitters and settled on one that would have done it for $500, still more than my ticket, but better than the $1k price.

This started to make me restless, the sitter had sad she was hosting parties while I would be away and that my dogs would sit in her bedroom with her other dog. I panicked. I lost sleep. I was an anxious disaster. So I kept asking around practically at the point of begging all my friends.

A few weeks prior I had a girls night in with my friends. It was a movie, wine, and puppy pajama party. Yes we are all almost 30 and this is perfectly acceptable behavior for us. My one friend has a long haired Chihuahua and funny enough her name is also Bebe. That Bebe and my Bebe and Jolie all played together and it was all sorts of cute.

I decided to vent with my friend and tell her the predicament I was in, she offered to sit my dogs! Can you believe it? I sure couldn't being that she already had a dog. Imagine that, 3 pups for the holidays.

My advice to you is to check with everyone, and I mean everyone you know. There are people I thought would say yes and who said no. There are people I thought of never asking and they actually said yes, and than there are the people I received price quotes online from who I considered taking out a personal loan for.

I'd also like to mention to research your airlines! I am new to Southwest and have only flown them once before and will be flying them again in 3 weeks and I've got to say they are quickly becoming my favorite. I am a United traveler usually, but more and more I keep running into problems with them. Let's face it, their customer service leaves much to be desired.

Another idea I had was actually traveling with my pets to my destination. Turns out you cannot take two pets on board with you on any other airline besides Southwest. They allow two pets of the same species in the same carrier. No other airline does this. Their prices are also very reasonable - $95 each way. I want to point that out because I have two little dogs, granted Jolie is only 3lbs and shouldn't even count, but she does in the eyes of the TSA.

So there you have it, this is how to prepare to board your dog for the holidays or doing travel times.

In my continued preparation for their stay I am packing all sorts of goodies and necessities that they may need. Think individual zip-lock bags for each day of food, treats, toys, butt wipes, fragrance mist, extra bows, brush, bowls, wee wee pads, sweaters and some dirty laundry with your scent on it.

My next advice, SHOWER the person who agreed to take your pet in for sitting. Remember those numbers that people quoted you? Well take some of that and go shopping for your dog host. Think champagne, wine, cheese platter, gift cards, flowers, and chocolate covered strawberries. You want to treat the person who is treating your fur kids with as much love and respect as possible.

I hope this post helped you and I wish you a very happy holiday!

15 October 2014

American Heart Association Heart Walk/5K Run

As an active runner I'm always down for a local 5k in town, when my company decided to be a sponsor for the American Heart Association I was more than excited to participate.
Being active is a way of life for me. I try to be active as much as possible, and I wear a fitbit to ensure that I stay active. I've had one since 2012 with no signs of getting rid of it anytime soon.

While reading my invitation for the 5k run, I decided I would turn it into a walk. Why you may ask!? Well while looking again at the invite it said you could bring pets too!

As you may have seen from my previous blog post on canine pancreatitis, Bebe is overweight and needs all the exercise she can get, she almost made the 3 mile walk, ending short of it by only a 1/4 of a mile before I grabbed her in my arms to the finish line.

Obesity is one of the most expensive health care problems surpassing smoking. One third of U.S. children are overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

The Heart Walk/Run is a community celebration that encourages people to get active while raising vital funds to support the American Heart Association’s mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020, the American Heart Association has launched the My Heart. My Life.™ health and wellness platform to empower Americans to get healthier. Focusing on increasing physical activity and improving eating habits, the American Heart Association is partnering with businesses, organizations and families across the country to help prevent and treat our nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers: heart disease and stroke. Learn more by visiting heart.org.

Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for as little as 30 minutes a day has the proven health benefits including managing high blood pressure, preventing bone loss and improving self image.

Link love:
  • Special thank you to Subway restaurants for catering this event!

04 September 2014

Canine Pancreatitis

Every year I schedule my dogs for blood work to clear them for surgery. This year, the results that came back on my older Yorkie, Bebe were not favorable. I have two Yorkshire terriers, both female, both spayed, and both seniors. One is eight years old and the other is eleven. The older one, Bebe, was the one who received not so good results. In her blood work she had extremely high levels of amylase and lipase. This is a sign of pancreatitis and diabetes. I hope this blog post will help you if you are having the same issue with your dog. Pancreatitis can be fatal so please, do take it seriously.

After my initial shock that something was wrong with my precious pup, I immediately started back tracking to figure out just where the problem started. My vet told me that my dog was eating a very fatty diet and it had to be changed immediately. As he told me that no more treats would be good, Bebe's ears immediately dropped as she heard the words "no" and "treats" used in the same sentence.
I was really alarmed because I was giving my dog premium and organic food, however when I went home to check the labels it went to show that just because it's organic doesn't mean it's good for you in theory. My comparison to this was if a human ate organic cheese and grass fed beef all day long, well you see there's still fat in that!
The next move was purchasing the food recommended by the vet which was the Royal Canin digestive low fat food. It was quite pricey and I knew that after the bag was up I would find a healthier and price friendlier alternative. The change in diet caused diarrhea everywhere for a few days and even some vomiting. I knew it wasn't Bebe's pancreas because my dog Jolie was also experiencing the same symptoms. 

I visited my local pet store, PetValu in Clifton, NJ where a wonderful sales associate knew everything there was to know about the items in the store. He immediately recommended me two types of food both high in protein and low in fat. He suggested to give Alaskan Salmon Fish oil each day and to administer treats with vitamins already in them. I was basically sold so I gave it a go. This post is 6 months after the fact of all this happening because I wanted to include a real experience. I've since repurchased the food 5 times, and Bebe's blood levels are normal again. The food that I feed both my dogs are:

You can see in these photos below that the food is high in protein and low in fat. I give them 1/2 a cup in the morning and another 1/2 a cup in the evening sprinkled with some salmon oil. They absolutely love it. Their hair, skin, nails, and eyes show a dramatic improvement too. Their breath, well that's a little fishy!
The treats that I give my dogs daily have vitamins in them and can only be found at PetValu. They are from a company called "Head to Tail" 
I give them these two varieties, please click on the photo below if you want additional information:

In addition to drastically changing their diet, I immediately started being more active with my dogs. Taking them out more and having outings with them on the weekends,  Bebe's lethargic state instantly improved but I was still worried about her. I began researching pancreatitis left and right. I wanted to know everything there was to know about the disease and how dangerous it was,  turns out it's very dangerous and often fatal.

In my research I found that the disease is very common in Min Pins, Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, and terrier breeds, specifically Yorkie, Skye and Silky terriers who are elderly, female, spayed and slightly plump. Just my fear, Bebe fit the description perfectly.

To begin let's talk about what the pancreas is and what it does. It's an organ that is located in the abdomen and it's part of the endocrine system. It is responsible for producing important hormones such as insulin and glucagon. It is necessary for the digestion of food. If the pancreas is irritated or inflamed this is called pancreatitis.

There are two types of pancreatitis, acute and chronic. The acute kind means that the inflammation in the pancreas occurred suddenly whereas the chronic type is a slow and gradual inflammation. Unfortunately, chronic pancreatitis can be present without clinical signs of the disease.

Currently, the exact cause of pancreatitis is unknown but there are certain things at are believed to be the causes.

  • A high fat and low protein diet
  • Trauma (sudden fall or accident)
  • Diseases such as diabetes or Cushing's syndrome
  • Tumors
  • Some drugs and toxins such as: diuretics, antibiotics and insecticides
  • Above mentioned breeds are at higher risk
  • Plump and obese dogs
  • Cushing's syndrome (insert link here)
  • Diabetes mellitus (link here)

Signs of acute pancreatitis
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of interest in activities dog used to enjoy
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the abdomen (cries during belly rubs)
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Jaundice

So how do you find out if your fur kid is at risk? Well, this is why routine vet visits are key. Sure your pup may look healthy but delaying the trip can cost you thousands of dollars and the life of your canine companion. If it weren't routine for my dogs to both have their teeth cleaned the truth is I wouldn't have been visiting the vet anytime soon. I took Bebe's lethargic behavior and assumed that it was just her getting old, I assumed that she didn't want to play when I came home because she was tired from playing during the day with my other dog, Jolie. Don't make excuses! Don't assume! Once the blood results came back Bebe had high levels of lipase and amylase and I was stunned, scared, and worried.

Now what exactly are lipase and amylase, well let's dive right into that. They are both digestive enzymes that are produced in the pancreas. Although the tests are not definitive they can be measured in the blood. Lipase levels that show to be 2-3 times what it should be are not good because they show physical signs of pancreatitis. Amylase is non-specific in dogs and is not commonly used to diagnose this disease. Serum trypsin-like immunoreactivity (TLI) is also of limited value. Serum pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity (PLI) will usually be raised and cPLI & fPLI look promising as sensitive and specific markers for pancreatic inflammation.

Please feel free to comment and share this article if you enjoyed and it was helpful

Information found on the following sources:
  1. Canine Diabetes
  2. WikiVet

06 January 2014

Collagen for my Dog! - NeoCell ArthroPet Review

For almost three months now I have been religiously taking Neocell's Beauty Bursts. In a couple of years I will be turning 30 and I want to make sure that my skin stays in tip top shape. I originally found out about the company on Instagram and on Twitter. I've recently become a fitness fanatic the past year and have really been taking care of my body, inside and out.

I guess that this company is getting quite popular because on my last two visits to the Vitamin Shoppe they were sold out of the Beauty Bursts. I saw someone that I followed on Instagram tweet about her recent purchase and I commented that they were sold out by me. Well to my very pleasant surprise, Neocell's marketing team caught my comment and followed the link to my blog and to my twitter. Not only did she send me a bag of Beauty Bursts, but she also sent me their Keratin Hair Volumizer, which I was so crazy excited to try because my aim for summer of 2014 is long mermaid hair and a fit body. I've already started taking it in addition to my Biotin capsules and my hair is significantly softer and shinier. The only thing that I have done differently was starting to take these capsules in my daily vitamin regimen so I know it's working!

Now guess what else Neocell offers that I had absolutely no idea about? Arthropet! "ArthroPet is an innovative formula that provides chicken cartilage (a natural source of collagen type II, glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid), Plus MSM, CMO and Manganese." Those supplements are important in helping with healthy joints, healthy skin and coat, and eye health.
Not sure what MSM and CMO are? Don't worry I didn't know either so I researched it on the internet!

CMO stands for Cetyl myristoleate and is a dietary supplement that contains a concentrated extract of the fatty acid cerasomal-cis-9-acetyl-myristoleate from natural bovine source. CMO is not found in vegetable oils or other common foods but is found in low amounts in animal connective tissue. (hence, the chicken cartilage!) This product is often used by those who wish to treat arthritic symptoms. 

MSM stands for METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE and is used for chronic pain, osteoarthritis, joint inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, bursitis, tendonitis, tenosynovitis, musculoskeletal pain, muscle cramps, scleroderma, scar tissue, stretch marks, hair loss, wrinkles, protection against sun/wind burn, eye inflammation, oral hygiene, periodontal disease, wounds, cuts, and abrasions/accelerated wound healing.

I was especially excited to read about these wonderful benefits in the supplement because as some of you may already know both my dogs are seniors. One is 7 years old and the other one is turning 11 in just two short weeks. My older dog, Bebe suffers from a floating kneecap, also known as a fluxating patella. She's had steroid injections and even cold laser therapy treatments done. I wrote a blog post about which you can check out here. Bebe jumps as if she were a gazelle and even though she's over a decade old, her energy levels are that of a puppy. The vet charged me a small fortune to administer steroids and laser treatments, all of which I was stuck paying off for months. I am so happy to have been introduced to Arthropet. I gave it to my pups for the first time and they ate it without being wrapped in anything which was a surprise because Yorkies are such fussy eaters. Here's a video of how it all went down!
The bottle comes with 60 pills. Perfect for a one month supply for my two little girls. The suggested use is as follows: As a dietary supplement give one (1) wafer for pets under 50 lbs, two (2) for pets over 50 lbs preferably in the morning on an empty stomach. Allow 20 minutes before feeding.

I am really very pleasantly surprised with the results, but don't take it just from me, read some reviews from other people as well!

The folks at NeoCell have agreed to have a giveaway! In order to enter please do the following:

1. Like us on Facebook
2. Follow us on Twitter
3. Subscribe to us on YouTube
4. Comment below telling me about your pet and how he/she would benefit from these supplements!

Winner will be selected at random!

Hugs and wags!,