27 December 2018

Mental and Physical Treats for your Pup

Hello, fur fam!

This month (and several times during each month) I stock up on treats for my girls, Bebe and Jolie. I stock up on a different type of treat every month for their chewing, trick performing, and bad breath occurrences. However, one treat that I keep on reaching for time and time again is the Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Tender Beef Recipe Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. They are small enough to fit in my small dog's mouth.
  2. They fit perfectly in my Furbo dog camera!
  3. They are heart-shaped. Check out my post about Bebe and Jolie's most favorite food you'll understand the fascination.
  4. They are chewy and moist, perfect for any dog and especially toothless senior ones like mine!
  5. They are good for your pup!
    • Formulated with omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health.
    • No artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
    • Made in the USA with zero chicken or poultry by-product meals, wheat, soy, corn, or artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
So this month when Chewy.com offered it in their influencer option I was delighted to snag a bag, as I am already a fan of these yummy treats. You know the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" well, that's simply not true! I'm going to share some different ways you can entertain your dog with treats! And also, my oldest was about 7 years old when I taught her how to *sneeze* and *speak*, proof that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks!

Pick up an interactive dog training toy

I picked up this cute and small dog toy at T.J.Maxx for just under $4. It's a small wooden plaque with little pieces that look like chess pieces. They have holes in them so that the treat scent will be available for your pets to know there's goodness hiding underneath. You hide the treats under each little piece and allow your pet to either lift up the piece with their mouth or knock them over with their snouts. Either way it causes them to work for their treats and figure out how to get the treat out. When I first got this toy, my dogs had no idea how to get to the treat, they would just stare at it and bark. Now they enjoy playing with it and grabbing the treats from underneath. If you want to DIY you can use mini/regular sized cupcake pans and place the treats under some tennis balls. Your dog will have to lift the ball to get the treat. If you don't have all that lying around, you can find some interactive toys here.

Scent games

As a fur momma of two senior pups, I have noticed that my dogs are not as sharp as they once were. Many dogs, as they age, lose some visual acuity and their hearing dims but thankfully, their ability to smell remains strong. Using that sense of smell to play scenting games is something that dogs can do long into old age. Take your treats and hide them around the house, my dogs know what the words, bathtub, door, bed, and sofa mean. Exercise their minds and tell them to go look for a treat by the bed, or the door. It's really quite fun watching them search for the treat.

Crinkly bag of treats in your pocket

Whether I'm at a dog park or at a friends house for a doggie play date, I always like to keep a crinkly bag alongside me filled with treats. As you may know, dogs get very excited over the sound of treat bags, bags of chips, or plastic. When I expose my dogs to a social situation I like reminding them that I've got the goods and make a sound from my pocket. I will proceed to ask them to sit, stay, or be a good girl if they get too rowdy. This works 90% of the time, teaches them discipline, and they are being rewarded for good behavior!

Sneaky exercise

Dogs, just like humans need exercise. It's good for them to get up and out and stretch their legs. It keeps them healthy, happy and helps with food digestion. I live in an apartment and so there isn't too much room to do this with my pets. Luckily my dogs are small and so not too much is needed to get them tired. Take your treats and place them in places where they can see. Top of the stairs, top of the bed, under the table, and scream GO! Run alongside your dog to help her see where the treat is and do it fast, like a human and dog agility course. Careful how quick you do it, I've knocked over some vases, and broken a few things while doing this. I wasn't' terribly upset because my dogs love this game!

DIY Dog Ice Cream

I don't know where you live in the world, but we live in Arizona. It gets pretty hot here. Take some of your treats and fill up an ice cube tray with yummy fluids filled with electrolytes or vitamins. I personally love this one, putting a treat inside the ice cube keeps them busy for hours, and hydrated! They won't even know that playtime is good for them!

The most important thing is to treat your dogs with love and shower them with affection and attention. They are around for such a short while, spend time with them when you can, rewards them for good behavior and feed them the best treats while doing so!

I received these goodies free of charge from Chewy.com in an exchange for my honest review.

21 December 2018

Doggie Dental Discussion

The "it's time for a dental cleaning" look.

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know I post a lot about dental decay, dog gingivitis, and oral health. The reason for that is because I am the proud fur mom to two senior Yorkies. Yorkies are notorious for being many things such as intelligent, hypo-allergenic, and downright adorable, but they are also known as one of the top ten breeds that is prone to dental disease. Periodontitis disease and gingivitis is a very serious thing that can cause serious issues for your pup, including death.

To be fair, Yorkies are genetically predisposed to the disease, and so don't worry if you cannot keep up with the decay. It's genetic and needs to be addressed as it comes. I've religiously had my dogs professionally cleaned by the vet with anesthesia 2x a year along with giving them dental bones, and brushing their teeth every 5 days. It's a constant battle but I've gathered some stories and articles on just how serious and costly dental disease with your pup can be:

  • Seven years ago I shared an article on dog gingivitis and how my oldest Bebe had already started to lose teeth. You can find that article here.
  • Three years ago after giving my dogs a bath and a foul-smelling tooth fell out of my dogs mouth I quickly scheduled an emergency cleaning and ended up spending several hundreds of dollars, I had my dog's teeth cleaned, scaled, and mostly removed at with Dr. Alex Casuccio at Scottsdale Animal Healthcare. That post really shows the effects of plaque build up. 
  • Then sadly, this year I had experienced the most traumatic event a fur mom could never prepare for. My dog almost died during a routine dental tooth cleaning. A dirty needle was administered in her IV and she became paralyzed and bacterial sepsis nearly killed her. As you can imagine we no longer are going the anesthesia route!
  • Last month I found a holistic vet that did anesthesia-free cleanings. The process took 25 minutes but the vet only did my younger one's teeth. The older dog, the one who had almost died earlier in the year was too agitated and didn't want her mouth touched. Below is a photo of Jolie getting her teeth cleaned without anesthesia.

Now that my dogs are seniors and at risk of being put under anesthesia, a real concern of mine is how to keep them healthy as their age now constricts them of certain things. I scaled and have been on a daily basis trying to brush my eldest teeth with a toothbrush and some enzymatic toothpaste. It's a struggle, but I am successful with some of that plaque removal. Due to the fact that my eldest was denied teeth cleaning, I am more aware and observant to the state of her decay and plaque buildup since I need to find a way to tame it myself. I was downright delighted to discover that this month Chewy.com featured a product called Perio Dental Support Pro Powder for Dogs
The description of the product is what immediately grabbed my attention, "Take the hassle out of cleaning your pup’s teeth". The hassle is putting it lightly, try to envision holding your dog in between your legs and trying to gently pry their mouth to get a toothbrush in there, all while getting the toothpaste everywhere except in their mouth! I was happy to read that this was a powder administered in their food instead of another toothpaste challenge.
This powder is a tasty, aromatic powder that’s designed for use between dental cleanings to promote clean teeth, fresh breath and oral health. The instructions state to simply sprinkle Perio over your pup's meals, and allow this pawsome supplement to help prevent tartar buildup and plaque formation by working organically to eradicate bacteria. Perio Support contains natural zeolites that may help prevent plaque from forming and the cranberry powder helps to support gum tissue health, and probiotics to help displace plaque-building bacteria.

The claims say that it has been clinically proved to remove 18% of tartar and 20% of plaque in just 28 days. I have not had this product for a full four weeks yet but have been using it religiously for a full two weeks. What I've noticed is the following
  • my fussy yorkies are picky eaters and actually eat this with no problem
  • their breath has gotten better, more kisses for mom and from mom!
  • Bebe's tartar has become easier to clean off after using this product!
Being that Bebe only has about five teeth left I believe that the percentages of tartar and plaque removal are definitely in her favor. I am excited to see the results after a full four weeks and will post an update here when that time comes. This product also comes highly recommended by vets and so I do trust that the results will be positive! 

I received these goodies free of charge from Chewy.com in an exchange for my honest review.

29 November 2018

Bebe and Jolie's Favorite Food EVER!

Hello, fur fam!
So back in August, I shared a photo on our Instagram showing my tiny teacup Yorkie Jolie, who is mostly toothless now, getting into her favorite food. That so mentioned food has been a godsend to us! For starters, Yorkies are notorious for being fussy eaters. If you own one, well you already know. But if you don't, Yorkies will sooner starve than eat kibble that isn't tasty. If you'd like to laugh you can revert to an embarrassing blog post I posted yesterday about me trying my dogs treats. Yes, you read that right, a human taste testing the treats. Luckily, I didn't have to taste test this kibble, but I assure you it has to taste good to get a tiny dog to ferociously make her way into the bag as pictured here:
Cute right? I'd like to tell you all that the packaging of this brand of dog food is originally what drew me to it, and how could it not? My dogs practically look like they modeled for the bag. However, I have been a big fan of the Solid Gold brand for quite some time. In fact, there's a blog post I wrote 4 years ago where I was supplementing low-fat dog food in support of my dogs' canine pancreatitis. Solid Gold was what I used back then, and they still continue to surprise me with their quality kibble. 
Aside from the adorable packaging what I really enjoy about this kibble is that first and foremost my dogs enjoy it and that it is actually good for them. Over the past few years, I have purchased about 20 of these bags of food. They have different proteins and varieties. If you read and monitor your pet's fat and protein intake, Chewy.com always lists photos of their dog food, front and back, along with a text box portion in the description stating exactly what's in the food. I really like that. Solid Gold offers various options in the Mighty Minis food. I specifically purchase the Mighty Mini, because as my dogs are tiny and have some difficulty chewing I am relieved to know that the kibble is ultra small, and might I add, ultra cute? 

The kibble is in the shape of...drumroll...tiny, little hearts! So tiny in fact, that I placed some small delicate pearl studs as a reference for you to see. That's pretty small, isn't it? You can see Bebe is staring me down as I hold the kibble in my hand. I cannot make this stuff up, my dogs really and truly do enjoy this dog food.

Let's talk about dog food, shall we? As I mentioned earlier their are different types of proteins offered. They have a dry kibble version and a wet food version. I prefer the dry kibble version due to cost and mess, but that's just my personal preference. The different types of Mighty Mini's that Solid Gold offers are:
  • Chicken, Chickpeas & Pumpkin Grain-Free
  • Lamb, Sweet Potato & Cranberry
  • Turkey & Hearty Vegetable 
  • Beef, Sweet Potato & Apple
  • Weight Control Salmon, Lentil & Green Bean
These are all grain-free which is a nice added bonus for sensitive tummies! Since I control my dogs' diet I've only ever purchased the Salmon and the Chicken, and they really enjoy those two! I am never without a backup in the house, and so when Chewy decided to feature this product in this months Influencer program I just about screamed. The Mighty Mini foods are made with healthy Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids which are important for skin and coat health. This food also has live and protected probiotics which is essential for a healthy gut and digestion. Their number one ingredient in the kibble is the protein! So for us, the protein is always either chicken or salmon which helps to build healthy and strong muscles. Lastly, but certainly not least, the kibble has nutrient-dense superfoods for your pups immune health and wellness. That's pretty pawsome isn't it? Oh, and the food is made in the USA, is grain and gluten free, has no artificial flavors or preservatives added and is made without any potatoes, corn, soy or wheat!

We'd think that deserves a high five to the fine folk over at Solid Gold and when I told my little one to give me a high five she gave me one down low! 

*I received one small bag free of charge from Chewy.com in an exchange for my honest review.

This brand is honestly my favorite when it comes to healthy, holistic kibble for my fur kiddos. If you're an extra dog mommy like me and concerned with weight, fat and pancreatic issues I highly, highly recommend the Solid Gold brand. I've been a fan for over 4 years!

28 November 2018

Grandma Lucy's Organic Pumpkin Oven Baked Dog Treats

Image result for Grandma Lucy's Organic Pumpkin Oven Baked Dog Treats
Have you ever inspected what ingredients are in your pets food and treats? Do you make sure that you know what all the ingredients are and that you can pronounce them? Well, that is definitely something that I do as a pet owner. I've even been one to *try* the treats sometimes, because, I'm THAT crazy dog mom. I must be doing something right because I have one dog who is about 45 days shy of turning 16 years old! It must be all those years of reading the labels right?

This month, Chewy featured an interesting product. At first glance, it looks like Teddy Grahams for dogs, really cute ones too.

However, upon second glance this dog crazed momma read the ingredient list: Organic Wheat Flour, Organic Dehydrated Cane Juice, Organic Sunflower and/or Organic Canola Oil and/or Organic Palm Oil, Organic Cane Juice Syrup, Organic Pumpkin Powder, Organic Mace, Organic Cinnamon, Soy Lecithin. Wow, I think to myself as I hold the bag of treats and a cup of black coffee in the other, these treats sound like a quality cookie. I rip open the bag and my dogs run towards me. I feel like dogs will run toward you if you open anything crinkly. I pick up one of the treats and examine it, they are as cute as you'd expect them to be. They are a blondish brown color and super adorable, however not too adorable to eat. I hold the treat up in front of me, and think about being humane and not taking its head or extremities off one by one, and just pop the entire teddy in my mouth. It smells of cinnamon and pumpkin and it tastes...DIVINE. I quickly get on my knees as the dogs are clawing at them, and hand out treats to them. They are going to town on these things! I have another, my goodness these treats are so good, they taste delicious. I dunk one in my coffee, and it sweetens it up a bit. One turned to five, and then ten, and in about ten minutes in we are halfway through the bag and there are blond crumbs all over the floor, my shirt, and the dog's backs. Yup, we are those people right now.

Feeling absolutely no shame, I stand up and put the bag of treats on the counter. I instruct the Roomba to spot clean and vacuum up the mess that we made and I decide to head to work. I tell myself that I'll check in on the dogs later on my Furbo dog camera and that I will not be dispensing treats because it is quite obvious that my pets and their human have already indulged a bit too much.

Midway through the day, I checked in on the dogs and noticed that they weren't in range. They usually sleep on the couch or on their bed but they weren't. I activated the microphone and called for them. They came running and laid down on their bed. That's weird, I thought to myself. Usually, when I call for them on the camera they expect a treat, they only lay down on their bed when they are tired, sleeping, or have done something naughty. I shrugged it off to them being tired of doing nothing all day and headed back to work, I was only a few minutes from being done with work and would soon see them.

Fast forward to the moment I got home, I open the door and I see little shreds of orange. How in the heck did they get to the treats?! Not only are my Bebe and Jolie both seniors, but they are also missing quite a few teeth. Here is what I came home to:

Needless to say, the photo and tiny teeth marks speak for themselves. Bebe and Jolie (and me) are huge fans of these treats. Grandma Lucy's uses human grade ingredients and I can personally attest to them tasting like a fine gourmet Teddy Graham. I don't know who Grandma Lucy is but I would sure
like to meet her in person and hug her, I'd also like to offer myself as a tribute as a granddaughter to taste test all her yummy treats.

*I received these goodies free of charge from Chewy.com in an exchange for my honest (and embarrassing) review.

31 October 2018

Pumpkin & Chicken Wet Pour Overs by the Honest Kitchen

Coming to you this month is a pawsome pet product that I loved receiving for review. Now, if you've been following me for a minute you know that my dogs are senior pups, are missing some teeth and have been at risk for pancreatitis. I always like to monitor their food and check for the protein and fat content. Not only does this pour over smell and taste great (per the dogs) it is low calorie and healthy! Per serving it has 64 calories and is made up of Chicken Bone Broth, Chicken, Pumpkin, Apples, Butternut Squash, Tapioca, Potato, Cinnamon, Ginger.

Each of these ingredients provides a beneficial boost for your pup.
  • chicken bone broth - protects the joints, is good for the belly and digestion, and keeps a coat and nails shiny and strong.
  • chicken - rich in protein and essential for muscle growth
  • pumpkin - high in vitamin a and antioxidants, contains lutein which protects eyesight
  • apples - rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber and vitamins A & C.
  • butternut squash - rich in vitamin A & C, fiber, and potassium. These vitamins and minerals support the health of your dog's vision, immune system, colon, muscles, and more. Butternut squash also helps your dog's digestion system.
  • tapioca - provide some B vitamins iron and essential fatty acids
  • potato - contain vitamin A, C & B6, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
  • cinnamon - regulates blood sugar
  • ginger - Ginger is high in antioxidants, making it great in the fight against heart disease and arthritis as it is a natural anti-inflammatory. A dog suffering from inflamed joints could gain some relief from taking ginger.
Bebe and Jolie really enjoyed this pour over in their food and I was quite the happy fur mom knowing that it was jam-packed with yummy goodies for my senior pups. I especially like that this product is human grade and contains no corn, no wheat, no soy, is GMO-Free, Grain-Free, and Gluten free. You can head on over to Chewy.com where they have a ton of flavors! As you can see from the photos below, this was a hit with my pups. This also makes for a perfect on the go snack when traveling with your pup. If you have toothless senior dogs that are #hairnotsoscary, you can wipe their little whiskers and mustaches after eating this with a baby wipe. Or don't wipe at all and let your fur kiddos kiss you with some human grade pumpkin deliciousness! 

I received these goodies free of charge from Chewy.com in an exchange for my honest review.

11 October 2018

Life Hacks to Make a Dog Owner's Life Simpler

Just like a regular fitness account showing off the results, but little of the struggle to get there, most dog-inspired Insta accounts are all about the gooey, cutesy, they-are-so-precious moments every dog owner experiences – every once in a while. No one ever shows the potty training accidents on the pillow or the barfing incident on the laptop. 

Most people who have never had a pooch in their life think – I should get a dog, look at them, they are amazing! And they are, rest assured, but they also come with a slew of responsibilities that make the dog parenting role all the more challenging. 

Whether you’re a newbie in the pet parenting world, or you’re simply craving for a few clever tips to simplify your already complex existence, read on for a few handy hacks that might just do the trick.

Homemade cleansers in a jiffy

Even the most obedient of breeds such as German Shepherds can make a mess when left alone for the first time, or while they’re still in the home-training stages. However, if it’s Sunday evening, you’ve picked up a stray pupster and you have no clue what to do, there are a few ingredients in your kitchen cabinet that will come in handy throughout your most difficult training period.
Mix equal amounts of water and apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle, and add some baking soda in the mix. You’ll have an incredibly simple cleanser that’s not harmful to your dog or you, and that quickly removes any dirt and odor from your carpets, floors, and furniture.

Pre-cover your furniture

For those who allow their pets on the furniture (hooray for you!), consider getting a few extra sheets, pet-friendly furniture covers, think blankets, and pillow cases to cover the spots your pooch likes to visit. They are easy to wash regularly, durable for those who like to play-bite, and they are skin-friendly even for allergy-prone dogs if you go with cotton or fleece.

Go natural with their food

Kibble is designed to provide your growing pup with all the macro and micronutrients they need, so it’s natural that most dog owners prefer the store-bought to cooked meals. However, choosing quality dog food does matter, since additive-free, all-natural types are far more likely to prevent food allergies and keep your dog’s digestive system happy. It’s a preventative measure that will help your pooch stay a strong little rascal, one that will not get sick easily.

Refresh your rooms

Some puppers smell worse than others, and whether your dog spends plenty of time outside only to stink up your own place or their natural scent bothers other family members, you can make your own doggo-friendly deodorizer. Another great solution for keeping the air in your rooms fresh and odor-free is getting an effective HEPA air purifier that removes pet dander successfully.

Soothe an anxious pooch

While we’re on the subject of essential oils, lavender is a known calming ingredient that you can use to help your pooch cope with anxiety or any kind. Put a few droplets on a bandana, tie it loosely around their neck, and see if it works – some dogs may need extra training and patience, while others will respond exceptionally well to the scent.

Cool treats on summer days

Some dogs are picky eaters, while others will munch on anything they get their paws on – but you can make their summer days easier with frozen treats. For example, most dogs love peanut butter, and even if they don’t, they’ll definitely go for some chicken broth. Just pour some into your ice-cube trays and you’ll have a supply of frozen treats for a few days.

DIY dog bed

This is especially handy for owners who are helping their furry friend get rid of separation anxiety. They will be much more likely to calm down if they have access to something that carries your own scent, such as an old sweatshirt. So, why not make the most of it by turning it into a homemade bed? All you need is a pillow (or a few, for larger breeds), some extra fabric, and a sewing kit. If your dog is indeed a Great Dane, you may need several hoodies instead of a single!

Protect their paws

A little can go a long way when it comes to keeping your dog’s paws safe for those cold winter walks as well as hot summer pavement. Using a dab of Vaseline to massage into your pooch’s paws will help them prevent chafing and irritation, so always keep some in your doggy supply bag.

Keep hydrogen nearby

Another must-have for pet parents is hydrogen peroxide, a solution you can purchase in any pharmacy, which will help you induce vomiting if your dog eats something they were not supposed to – hopefully you will not have to use it, but this is one of the very few ways to prevent poisoning if you catch them in the act right away.

We hope you enjoyed this content. This blog post was brought to you by our pawsome guest blogger Zara Lewis. Please head on over to check her awesome content out!

Contributing editor at Ripped.me
Contributor at TheWellnessInsider
Contributor at NaturelyShop

03 October 2018

Zignature Kangaroo Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Review

Woof bark fam! Last month we received a product to review that Bebe and Jolie did not enjoy. They are notoriously fussy Yorkies and very selective when it comes to kibble. We've tried Zignature brands before but when given the chance to try Kangaroo, we hopped right to it. Well, they weren't a fan. My coworker Daniel has a dog named Layla, she is 5 years old and also notoriously picky when it comes to kibble. I offered Daniel the food as I hate to waste food, dog and human alike. Well as you can see from the pictures it was a win!

Layla is a 50% German Shepherd, 50% Siberian husky, with sprinkles of sloth in between. She lives in sunny Arizona and is also "the laziest & prettiest dog in the world" according to her furdaddy!

This kibble is grain free and made from real, Kangaroo from Australia, wholesome peas, chickpeas, and flaxseed. This meat-first recipe offers pups the protein they need to thrive, while Zignature’s limited ingredient recipe throws out troublesome ingredients like chicken, corn, wheat, soy, and potatoes, creating peak hypoallergenic, low-glycemic nutrition. Combine that with key antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and a complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals for a well-rounded meal that goes beyond nature to become your pet’s signature food for life.

Did you know that Kangaroo contains nearly twice the Vitamin B12 as other meats and is rich in Iron, essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids, other B Vitamins, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)?

Most pups have some sort of allergies. Bebe and Jolie love the Zignature brand because they are allergic to corn. This dry dog food is free of the most common potential canine allergens: corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and chicken, making this recipe ideal for pups with sensitivities and picky eaters.

You don't have to compromise for nutrition either as Zignature food contains wholesome fruits and vegetables round out the recipe with powerful antioxidants, and fiber-rich, low-glycemic carbohydrates. Go ahead and give the many different flavors a try!

Disclaimer: I received these goodies free of charge from Chewy.com in an exchange for my honest review, and here you have it!

04 May 2018

Product Review: Nutramax Cosequin Maximum Strength (DS) Plus MSM Soft Chews Joint Health Dog Supplement

As a fur mom of two senior Yorkies, it is no surprise that this breed comes with joint problems later on in their lives. Yorkies are part of the terrier family, and are extremely active. My oldest dog is 15 years old and still flings herself from the bar stool onto the couch. I nickname her my giddy gazelle. Both of my dogs have fluxating patellas which is pretty common in this breed and to prevent arthritis and swelling I have been supplementing them with glucosamine for the past few years and it's worked really well. Glucosamine is more commonly known as Cosequin® and its main use it to help promote mobility and joint function in dogs and cats. Arthritis refers to inflammation or swelling in a joint and what these supplements do is help provide the necessary nutrients for cartilage repair and function. 

These treats were a win in the Prisky Paws household. I gave my 10lb Yorkie one full chew and my 5lb Yorkie 1/2 of one chew as per the weigh recommendations on the back of the packaging. As an added bonus these chews are contain omega-3’s for a healthy skin and coat. The chew is soft and chewy, perfect for my two little girls who are missing most of their teeth!

Disclaimer: I received these goodies free of charge from Chewy.com in an exchange for my honest review, and here you have it! I've been feeding my dogs glucosamine for years and so I was super happy to try this product due to the added benefits in the treat of the omega 3's! 

19 April 2018

My Dog Almost Died

On Thursday, April 5, 2018 my beloved Bebe started limping. Bebe has been with me for three decades of my life, in my teenage years, the entire part of my twenties, and now in my thirties. She has been an immaculately healthy puppy, and still is at 15 years and 2 months of life. She surpasses the average age of Yorkshire Terrier Bebe is active, and playful, loving and sweet. Anyone who has met her has instantly loved her, and quite frankly how could you not? She is pure love.

After I came home from work on Thursday, I noticed that she was limping. I immediately thought that she flung herself off the couch, bed, or bar stool. Despite her age, I often call Bebe a gazelle because if she sees food on the counter, she turns into a trapeze artist and will jump incredible heights. For example, I once witnessed Bebe on my doggie camera jumping from the couch, onto a bar stool, and to the kitchen counter to eat a bag of Doritos. I immediately rushed home to get her from jumping off the counter and got home just in time to save her, the Doritos, however, gone.

I had some left over Tramadol and the morning of the next day, I gave her some and tried to take her for a walk. She wouldn't budge and wouldn't eat, so I shook it off as she was probably in pain from the fall. I had a work conference that day from 8am-8pm and I figured I would just check in on her via the doggie camera throughout the day. She didn't move from her bed every time that I checked, but again I just assumed she was resting it off and that maybe the Tramadol was making her sleepy. When I got home it was pretty clear she was in pain. I tried massaging the area but she whimpered and so I iced her on and off for about an hour. There wasn't much improvement, and in Bebe's eyes I, for the first time saw something different, there was a sadness about her I can't describe but it broke my heart and I decided that first thing in the morning I would take her to the vet.

I was so confused as to what was happening. My dogs were just at the vet one month prior getting a checkup, blood work and dental cleanings. Bebe and Jolie, due to their age and genetic predisposition to canine gingivitis need to have this done and are left with very little teeth now as each time several extractions are made. 
4/7/18 Alta Vista Veterinary Hospital

The morning of Saturday, April 7, 2018 I rushed Bebe to the vet. I opted to go to a new vet as I had a not so delightful experience with Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic. Bebe was seen immediately and the vet came and assessed her. She ran a body scan with her fingers and touched her shoulder and her legs. She looked up at me and said the words that still haunt me today: "Oh my goodness, there's something here, right here, and it's not good." I stood up and rushed over, the vet took my hand and had me feel her and there was in fact a difference from one shoulder to the next. The vet than continues to say that it wasn't a fatty tissue but rather a mass or a tumor. Those words...mass and tumor. My heart dropped, I froze, I couldn't make a sound even though inside I felt like I was screaming with tears and anguish. I looked at her and just started to cry. I asked the vet "what do I do?" The vet quickly said that we needed to "make Bebe as comfortable as possible". That's another sentence by the way which haunts me. The vet offered to aspirate the cell to immediately check for cancer, and that she was going to put her on a pain medication to again "make her comfortable." I, without power to even stand, cried and accepted the diagnosis and allowed her to take Bebe to the back and aspirate her mass in her neck. A fine needle aspiration was performed on Bebe in the back, and as if I wasn't in enough despair, I heard her let out a howling yelp that sent me running through the vet room and into the lab in the back. I told them I wanted to be with my dog and that I couldn't wait in the room while listening to her scream and cry. I think they just allowed me to do that because I was completely covered in tears and shaking with fear. The aspiration came back inconclusive and the vet told me that it would need to be sent out to a lab for a culture and further processing and that the results would take three days. This test was several hundreds of dollars and I complied, because I had no choice in my mind and in my heart. My angel was sick and was suffering and it was up to me to help her. The vet Bebe a dose of pain medication, Gabapentin in a oral suspension form, which basically just means that it is in a liquid form vs. a pill form. 
It is faster acting that way. The vet took the bottom of Bebe's jaw, pulled on her hair, opened her mouth and shot the fluid down her throat. My Bebe turned her face is disgust and looked at me with eyes watery and her coughing. "That medication must taste bad," I thought, as she kept shaking her head violently and licking her lips to rid the taste. But than, slowly but surely, she calmed down, and became soft and limp. That medication knocked her out and I was hysterical with emotions. I held her in my arms, and she struggled to keep her eyes open. She bobbed her head up and down while resting and panting on my chest. I cried and I cried and I couldn't stop crying, the vet kneeled down next to me and began handing me pamphlets of oncologist specialists and treatment centers for cancer that included radiation and chemotherapy. I couldn't keep it together, and so I asked to have some time as I tried to process that my perfectly healthy dog had some sort of cancer in her body. I was angry, my angel was just at the vet last month and was FINE. I picked up my girl and left the vet and headed to my car. I stayed there for almost two hours crying and rocking her back and forth. I've never felt pain like that in my heart before. Bebe's head and back were so saturated with tears I could have wrung her hair and created a puddle underneath her. I called some of my closest friends and my parents and they were all devastated for me and for Bebe. My close friend Dana started a GoFundMe page for Bebe's medical expenses, which I am so grateful to her and those who donated, because without it I would have just placed myself in severe credit card debt. I would have and still would do anything for Bebe. The rest of my Saturday was gloomy and sad, I went to grab Bebe's organic baby food and organic chicken broth to be able to feed her as she wasn't eating her kibble with too much gusto. I spent every single second with her for the remainder of the day and Sunday as well. Every. Single. Second.

On Sunday, April 8, 2018, Bebe wasn't showing signs of improvement. In fact she was getting worse. She couldn't stand straight and would fall over when she tried, she fell over so hard at one point in the day that her head head the floor and bounced like a ping pong ball. She laid there, lifeless, looking at me confused and drowsy. "It's the damn medication," I thought! It was much too strong for her as she couldn't even stand. I didn't give her any more of the pain killers as it was much too strong, I could see Bebe trying to move but failing. I spoon fed her organic baby food and warmed up broth for her to sip. It was incredibly hard and emotional watching her try to eat, so slowly and with such effort. Later that afternoon, she tried to move and couldn't. I figured she needed to pee or poop and so I took her to do so. This part breaks my heart, and I will never be able to look at my pink scarf the same way again. I wrapped a long scarf around her belly and straddled over her using the ends. She looked like a puppet and I was holding the strings. I kept saying "Come on Bebe let's go for a walk, let's go outside, let's go pee pee!" It was twenty minutes of me helping her walk so she could relieve herself, I was trying my best to sound cheery because she loves her walks so much, but the tears continued to pour out of me, down my cheeks, my shirt, on her head and back, and on that pink scarf. Hours passed and it started to hit me that, she was dying and I couldn't help her.

I didn't sleep that night, in fact I didn't sleep, shower, or eat for most of the week, because I was afraid that if I took my eyes off of her for a minute, she would die. I could not let that happen, I needed to be there for her until the very end, it is after all the very least I could do for her, she's been there for me always. I laid in bed with Bebe on Sunday night, and Sunday night turned to early hours of Monday morning. I kept scratching the back of her ears (her favorite spot) and kept a hawks glance at her belly. In, out, in, out, in, out, I watched her belly move, she was still breathing, she was still alive...and then, at 1:55am, something happened. Bebe woke up and tried to get up, she couldn't and fell over onto the pillows. This happened several times, she was trying to tell me something but I had no idea what, and then it happened. She stood up and her leg completely folded over. It was just dangling from her body and I panicked. She must need to pee or eat or something, and so i grabbed her and took her to where I thought she wanted to go. First stop was her wee wee pad, she relieved herself on it and on myself. I repeated over and over again "that's a good girl, you're such a good girl" because she, despite not being able to walk still made the effort to go on the wee wee pad. What an angel. I held her up on my hip while I warmed some broth for her and grabbed her water. She was thirsty and hungry and the picture below depicts just how weak she was getting. After she finished lapping up her alkalized water and broth, I rushed to the emergency 24 hour vet at 4AM.

Bebe, unable to stand, but very thirsty and hungry.
The next four hours in the emergency room were exhausting. Several vets came in to examine Bebe. They first said they needed diagnostics which included a round of blood tests and three different imaging x-rays. The bloodwork showed that WBC was high and RBC was low, calcium was high (could be due to long chronic inflammation infection/valley fever, tick fever, hyperparathyroid etc), globulin was high as well (indicates chronic inflammation/infection - usually see this with severe dental disease, skin disease, valley fever, tick fever, cancer etc.) The X-Rays looked pretty unremarkable besides narrowed trachea (collapsing trachea). The vet said we needed to rule out valley fever and so another blood test was done and sent out to a lab. In the interim, Bebe was placed on Clavamox and Metronidazole which are antibiotics. At this point the vet basically told me that it was a waiting game and that I could do further tests but they recommended that I wait a few days and monitor her every move. I kept a journal and took pictures and videos of everything. I wrote down when she ate, drank, and relieved herself. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty sad days for us. Bebe was completely lethargic and didn't walk at all. She just laid on her side for hours upon hours, only getting up with my assistance to fulfill her basic needs. On Wednesday, April 11, 2018 finally all the test results came back. She tested negative for valley fever and the test for cancer came back negative as well. However, the lab that tested for cancer cells also ran some other cells and confirmed that there was a sepsis bacteria. This was bad. Very bad. A bacterial infection of the blood is called sepsis in Dogs. Bacteremia and septicemia occur when the persistent presence of bacterial organisms in a dog's bloodstream becomes systemic, meaning that it has spread throughout the body and is also referred to as blood poisoning, and septic fever. So later on on Wednesday I, along with my notes, copies of x-rays, test results, food and behavior journal headed back to the vet. The vet called in the strongest antibiotic available for dogs, it's called Orbax. Bebe was to finish out her other two by the end of the week and start the new medication on Friday, April 13th. The vet also noted that Bebe was chronically dehydrated and instructed me to give her prescription food. It's 78% water and she loves it. I mixed in supplements with this food and slowly but surely nursed Bebe back to health. I vividly remember this Friday, because it was the first time in over a week that she wagged her tail, and when she did, I knew in my heart that I still had some time with her.

Bebe was starting to walk again and was strong enough to go for a car ride and spend Saturday and Sunday in the sun and at brunch with me. I made sure to view how she walked and the effort she took to stand and sit. I wanted her to have a nice weekend as the testing and new medications would continue on Monday. I had scheduled another appointment on Monday afternoon with a different vet to begin cold laser therapy sessions on her leg. I am a fan of cold laser therapy and have seen great improvement with it on Bebe. I first started this six years ago and even wrote a post on it which you can find here - it's pretty interesting stuff and it works so I was happy to learn of a place that offered it here in Arizona.

Bebe's name was on display upon check-in! How sweet!
On Monday afternoon I took Bebe to an Integrative Veterinarian - a holistic vet. My coworker had seen this woman on the news here in Arizona and immediately thought of me, there was a story like mine, of an injured pet that the vets couldn't pinpoint how or what caused the infection but Dr. Julie was able to help. I booked the next appointment the same day that I learned about her, and it was the best decision by far. Dr. Julie spent an entire hour feeling Bebe's muscles, legs, back, and checking for sensory points/reflexes. She looked over the 38 pages of work Bebe had previously had done. Yes, 38 pages of x-rays, blood panels, vet reports, list of medications, etc. Dr. Julie had her own educated assumption on what happened to Bebe and honestly it made the most sense. Bebe. while under anesthesia for her dental cleaning, must have been handled in a rough manner which caused the strain to her leg and neck. It was also the same leg that was hooked up to the IV and her collapsed trachea could have been because of the catheter. Honestly, I did have to agree with her because it was too much of a coincidence that a perfectly healthy dog suddenly became paralyzed after dental cleaning surgery. Dr. Julie said I was doing everything correctly for her recovery and she was even impressed on the homeopathic approach I added in on my own through my own research, more on that later! Dr. Julie found Bebe's leg to have suffered severe atrophy and in order to rebuild her muscles, she is swimming 3x a week for 5 minutes each time, doing the doggie paddle which is known as canine hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy, which involves moving and exercising in water, has been known to help with recovery for surgery, injury and to improve the overall health of animals(and humans too). What is of great importance is the fact that movement in water provides a safe way to regain or improve movement through low impact exercise. 
Dr. Julie Mayer using cold laser therapy on Bebe
Today is Monday, April 23, 2018 and I am happy to report that Bebe is walking and ALIVE. She is still on antibiotics and will continue on for another week, placing her to a full three weeks on antibiotics on April 30th. Once she is finished with the antibiotics she will be returning back to the vet to get another full blood panel done, and I will be doing monthly blood panels until the vet clears her as healthy. 

Things that I used during Bebe's recovery in addition to her medication are stated below, these are items that I use on myself, it's a holistic, superfood approach which I'd like to share with you because maybe your pup can benefit from it as well. All opinions are my own and these should be cleared with your vet first.

  • Alkalized water - there are a ton of benefits to upping your water game. I've recently been into drinking water with a specific PH level and got into this practice because Arizona tap water is notoriously bad. I gave Bebe this water exclusively as it helps neutralize acid in the bloodstream, which leads to increased oxygen levels and improved energy and metabolism. It contains anti-aging, anti-disease and antioxidant properties, cleanses the colon, rejuvenates the skin, lubricates muscles and joints(super important for this particular case) and has ultra hydrating capabilities, which was important since she wasn't easily eating or drinking water when she was paralyzed. 
  • Arnica pellets - I swear by this stuff and am NEVER without it. These pellets have helped me over the years with swelling and bruising like no other remedy I've tried. The human dose is 15-20 pellets per day to reduce swelling and bruising and I administered 3 pellets to Bebe in her food for one week. It drastically improved her swelling and aches.
  • Bentonite Clay - this one may be weird to some of you, but I am a firm believer in this stuff, and created a paste and placed it on Bebe's sore and weak muscles while I let it dry in the sun. The best hours of sun are from 10am-2pm. For two days at noon, I made this little paste on Bebe's leg. This clay extracts impurities from the skin. This is marketed mainly for beauty, but if you do research on it, it actually pulls more from your skin than just blackheads. "Healing clay has an uncanny ability to recognize and pull out toxic substances from the body, irrespective of anything between the "contaminants" and the surface of the body" When Bebe had her needle cell aspiration her shoulder became red and irritated and inflamed, this along with the arnica pellets reversed that almost immediately. 
  • Probiotics - just like humans, taking an antibiotic for too long will kill and destroy your good bacteria too. It is important to supplement with probiotics to support their immune system and replenish good bacteria. These tasty tiny chews were a hit with Bebe, and she sees it more as a treat than actual supplement. Win, win!

I wanted to take this blog post as a way to share my experience with my dog, what happened, what I did, how I handled things. I hope that this never happens to anyone, but if it does and this blog post even helps one person than it was worth it. 

To all my friends who called me, texted me, and made sure I was eating, sleeping, and showering, thank you forever and ever. It is deeply imprinted in my heart who reached out, and who didn't. Bebe and I are forever grateful to the love, care, concern and donations we received. We have a California beach vacation planned this coming weekend that I booked in January. I was afraid she was going to die before I took her on this trip, but today I am looking forward to recreating this photo with her, taken on her first time at the beach in 2004...
Bebe's First Trip to the Beach, Lavallette, NJ 2004
Update: September 6, 2018
Bebe is alive and well, and if you were wondering if I was able to recreate that photo in California on the beach 14 years later, well the answer is yes, pix below!