Sunday, April 15, 2018

Nulo Freeze-Dried Raw #chewyinfluencers

Yesterday, I met up with my friend Heidi for a fun day at the coast. I brought along Ptera and Flight, and she brought along Pallo. The dogs all ended up getting along great after a few minor grumbles when they first met in the car. Pallo is 9 now, and is doing fantastic. I don't think I would believe how old he is if I didn't know it as undeniable fact.

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My pro poser 

We did hit the beach first, then lunch, then we took a hike with the dogs, with the goal of getting them another blow out before heading home, and grabbing some pictures on some of my favorite hiking trails ever.

I brought along Nulo Duck Recipe freeze dried dog food to use as treats. Flight is still learning his recall (this was only his third totally off leash hike with no drag line, if you count the beach that same morning as off leash hike #2). Pallo and Ptera have great recalls, but treats keep their recalls snappy and are used to pay them for posing for photos!

The Nulo was sent to us to review, and while it is a food that is a complete diet in and of itself, we just had a smallish bag, so I thought the best way to use it was for treats. I do love that I can feed as many "treats" as I want without worrying that the dogs will get sick from overly rich treats. I can just lower the amount of their regular food later if they eat a ton of the Nulo.

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Hiking and photos require accessories. Poop bags and treats!

The Nulo comes in little nuggets, which worked great as treats, and would make scooping out a cup or two for meals super easy as well. They crush easily enough if you deliberately crush them, but weren't too bad when I just wanted to hold some in my hand for handy recall treats.

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Mr. Pallo

Pallo thought the Nulo was fantastic, and tried to take my fingers with the treats pretty much every time. Ptera loved them too, but was more polite about it.

Flight drank the salt water at the beach (obviously he was discouraged, but he still drank more than he should have) and ended up with a queasy stomach. He ended up taking his treats and then burying them for "later" in the forest along our path. (He ended up not feeling great that evening and part of the night, but I have no doubt next time we go to the beach he will be just as happy to drink all the water in sight, salt water or not.)

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Flight

Overall, the Nulo was a big hit. I would happily get it again to use as treats, and the ingredients are fantastic. If I were to switch to a dehydrated raw food in the future, Nulo would be on my list to look at for sure.


Also, for anyone wondering- Koira is now doing fantastic. As my mom refers to it, she is "fat and sassy" now. The canned food she is on made her gain some weight initially, though she is now maintaining, and she is acting playful and happy. The tooth extraction sites are pretty much healed at this point.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Busy Busy

March was a crazy busy month. Koira went in for a dental cleaning and ended up getting her two bottom canines removed due to wear and fractures. They weren't causing her problems yet, but were almost certainly going to soon. Also found out her heart murmur was upgraded from a 1 to a 3. Not good with anesthesia, but the cleaning needed to happen, and better sooner than later.

She started coughing the next day, which led us back to the vet for another x-ray (we did two before surgery to make sure her heart wasn't enlarged) to make sure fluid wasn't building in her lungs. Luckily, the cough appeared to be tracheal irritation from the surgery, not something more serious.

But then she just wasn't recovering. She seemed like her mouth was, if anything, getting more sore. Back to the vet, and we left with instructions for eating only super watery, mushy food, and getting the extraction sites rinsed out after each meal. She did not approve.

And she didn't improve either. After rinsing blood out and observing something white that just would not rinse out of her mouth, back in we went for another follow up. Vet wasn't happy with how things looked, but Koira's mouth involves lips that basically flop in over her teeth, and with how sore she was, she just didn't want to cooperate very much. The vet was able to get a look and do some flushing, and got the white piece out. It was a piece of gum tissue that had died. Gross. The sutures had come open.

So, I was given two options. Keep flushing and hope it got better. Or put my ten year old dog with a grade three heart murmur under anesthesia for the second time in two weeks and hope that there was something they could do to fix things, knowing that there might be nothing they could do any different than the original closure once they got in there. I made the call to go with surgery, which was horrible and the hardest call ever, and then I sat in my car in the parking lot, too shaken up and worried to be safe driving to work, let alone functional at work.

In the end, surgery was the right call. The original extraction had missed a piece of the root of the canine, and it was causing a lot of the irritation. They were able to clean up both extraction sites, flush everything out, put in tiny biosponges, and re-suture her gums back together. She did good under anesthetic.

That was a week ago. She is doing great. Much less painful since the second surgery, though still sensitive. She has been eating three cans of food a day for something like three weeks now, which exhausted my backstock of canned food pretty quickly. We'll be using canned food for at least another week before switching to soaked kibble. Probably over cautious, but I don't think me or Koira can take another trip to the vet at this point (other than a final follow up at the end of this week, at least).

All this to say, I've had a lot on my mind, and a lot on my plate. I totally forgot to do any kind of reviews for Chewy.com like we were supposed to in March. I'm not always the most on-the-ball person, but not normally this spacey about things.

So I'm trying to play a bit of catch up. Koira stayed with my mom over the weekend (with a flat of canned food) while I went to Canada for a flyball tournament.

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While at the tournament, I did some trying of the Honest Kitchen cups. I actually tried them for Koira as well when she first came home from the first dental, but they didn't work great. They were too full of chunks, which got stuck in her extraction sites, and she wasn't all that excited about the food. So I decided to use it for the trip instead.

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Honestly, it was not the best choice I've ever made. I fed it to two dogs, one of whom was racing for the weekend, neither of whom had eaten Honest Kitchen before. Both of them ended up needing to poop roughly ten thousand times the next day, all of it green and chunky, looking exactly like the Honest Kitchen did going in. Needless to say, I didn't repeat that the following day. Actually, I went to the store and got canned pumpkin instead, to try to fix what the HK caused, luckily with good success and only a tiny fraction of the number of poops.

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I should admit that I am probably not in a super positive and upbeat mood as I am reviewing this food, due to Koira's dental issues. My honest reaction to these travel cups was that the cup took up a lot more space in the bag than just a ziplock baggie of the food would have, though it would probably be really nice while traveling and in a hurry, assuming your dog eats exactly the amount in each prepackaged cup. None of the three dogs who tried it seemed super excited about it. The smell actually kind of grossed me out a bit, it smelled kind of like a blended salad with lots of kale once water was added. It didn't work as a smooth/soft food for Koira, because the chunks never really re-hydrated, so it was just chunks and green water.

Like I said, I'm really probably not in the best head space about this product in general, and was somewhat underwhelmed. BUT- I should also say that I don't feed Honest Kitchen on a regular basis and got this product more to just try it out. I think the cups are good in theory (if you don't mind the extra garbage they create), but unless your dog happens to eat that exact amount per meal, the regular Honest Kitchen boxes are probably reasonable enough unless traveling or specifically needing a small amount for some reason. They were easy to use, just open, add water, let sit, and then feed. No measuring needed, and you could feed right in the same cup if you wanted, no bowl required, which could be really nice while traveling.

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Here's to no more surgery, and only one more vet visit for the foreseeable future.


We did receive this product for free in exchange for our honest review. Pretty sure it is obvious we were completely honest about our experience with this product. We were not compensated in any other way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Happy 2nd Gotcha Day, Ptera!

Two years (and two days) ago I brought home the Tiny Terror for an overnight trial. I actually called and told her people I didn't think it would work, before changing my mind and deciding I couldn't possibly give her up.

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The announcement picture I shared on Facebook the day I decided she was staying

She has been sweet, great with cats, other dogs, and kids.

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Too many cuddlers, not enough lap

Natural rat hunting ability, but also a natural desire to want to learn and to do things with me, rather than just off by herself.

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Her first competition, first ribbon, and first title

She learned to be an excellent poser for photos in no time. From no understanding of leash walking and a fear of just about every noise outside on her first walk to this.

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One year old

I couldn't be more happy about bringing this little girl home. Here's to many more years.

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All the way to getting her Flyball Master title

Monday, March 12, 2018

February Snow (take two)

Ptera really prefers not having snow. She gets cold quickly. But as long as there is a ball to play with, she will put up with the snow for a little bit. And despite getting almost five inches, the day was actually pretty warm.

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Ball


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Ball?


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Doing terrier things


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Sunday, March 11, 2018

February Snow

Towards the end of last month, we got a decent amount of snowfall. Koira loves the snow, except in the backyard- she doesn't like having to pee in the snow. 

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dental Health Month #chewyinfluencer

For February, I was given the opportunity to try out and review two different dental chews for dogs, fitting for Dental Health Month. This is the second of our two reviews. Check out our first review here. (We were sent this product in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way.)

The biggest thing I did in February to help my dogs' dental health was take them in for vet visits. Ptera was cleared as not needing a cleaning. We scheduled Koira for a dental cleaning for early March. As much as things like brushing your dogs' teeth and giving dental chews can help with dental health, nothing compares to having them go in to the vet for a full professional cleaning.

Dental chews are something that are sized to the dog, so I had to choose if I wanted to give them to Ptera or Koira. Ptera comes to work with me some days and waits in her kennel, so I thought having dental chews that take a little bit to get through would be nice for helping keep her quiet when she gets put back in the kennel after our lunchtime walk, so I decided to order the chews sized for her.

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Sad pup in kennel


We tried both Whimzees and Greenies. I posted a review of the Whimzees earlier. For the Greenies, we ordered the Petite size, which ended up being perfect for Ptera. The Greenies were also a much bigger hit with her.

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Waiting eagerly


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Taking it gently


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Om nom nomming her Greenie


Both the Whimzees and Greenies have similar ingredients. The Greenies were a much bigger hit with Ptera. They don't take very long for her to eat, but longer than just giving her a treat. Both chews did a bit to freshen her breath, though it is hard for me to tell if they did much for her teeth since she already has pretty good teeth.

In the future, we will probably stick with the Greenies over the Whimzees simply because Ptera likes them better.

February Dental Health Month #chewyinfluencer

For February, I was given the opportunity to try out and review two different dental chews for dogs, fitting for Dental Health Month. (We were sent this product in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way.)

The biggest thing I did in February to help my dogs' dental health was take them in for vet visits. Ptera was cleared as not needing a cleaning. We scheduled Koira for a dental cleaning for early March. As much as things like brushing your dogs' teeth and giving dental chews can help with dental health, nothing compares to having them go in to the vet for a full professional cleaning.

Dental chews are something that are sized to the dog, so I had to choose if I wanted to give them to Ptera or Koira. Ptera comes to work with me some days and waits in her kennel, so I thought having dental chews that take a little bit to get through would be nice for helping keep her quiet when she gets put back in the kennel after our lunchtime walk, so I decided to order the chews sized for her.

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Sad puppy waiting in her kennel at work, treat bags on top for her breaks.


First up, the Whimzees. These came in a large bag, which is awesome. Lots of chews means being able to give them regularly without spending very much. We went with the x-small size, which is pretty tiny. We probably could have gone with the small and been fine, but the x-small are find for Ptera. I wouldn't give them to any larger of a dog than her, though.

The ingredients on the Whimzees seem pretty similar to most dental chews, being mostly starch. I don't give these for their nutritional content, so I don't mind giving something like this occasionally.

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You can see the Whimzee chew on the bed next to her, being ignored.


Unfortunately, Ptera didn't care much for the Whimzees. She would only eat them if I broke them in half (I think it gave them a stronger smell), and even then would sometimes ignore them. They didn't do much for occupying her since she wasn't very interested in them. In terms of dental health, Ptera had pretty good teeth to start with, so it is hard to tell any differences. Her breath was better after eating one of these than before, though, which is something.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hike at Mike Miller

Last weekend, I spent Sunday at the coast for my birthday. One of my favorite things to do while there is hike the trails at a tiny little local park called Mike Miller. The trails wind through old growth spruce forests that just embody Oregon to me.

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The littles, with a creeper in the background

I've done this hike enough to know which are my favorite places to stop and take photos, though the lighting and time of day make a difference as well.

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Dash

Even though this is a short little trail, about a mile loop, I absolutely love stopping and hiking here. The loop may be short, but there is a lot of up and down hill, which makes it feel more like a real hike.

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Flynn

I am sure it won't be long before I head back to Mike Miller again.

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Ptera, who wasn't cooperating


Monday, February 5, 2018

Halo Live-a-littles #chewyinfluencer

In January, we also had a chance to try out and review Halo Live-a-littles. These are chunks of freeze dried chicken, and are basically dog crack. Ptera and Koira both totally lost their minds for this stuff. A friend's dog went hiking with us, and despite being a super picky dog who has never taken treats from me before, she happily chomped some of these.

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Halo Live-a-littles


Unlike many freeze dried treats, these ones aren't too powdery and don't splinter apart. They are breakable, though not easy to break into small pieces. I was easily able to break the larger chunks in half to share between two dogs.

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Overall, the dogs loved these things. I don't find the size ideal for doing lots of training, but they are perfect for things where I want a high value reward, such as for recalls when hiking. The container is also great, and will be getting reused for treats around here once it is empty.

As usual, we were given this product for free, but were not compensated in any other way, and the content of this post is 100% our honest opinion.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Happy 10th Gotcha day Koira!

Ten years ago today, I brought home a teeny tiny adorable puppy.
Koria
Koira's baby photo, 7 weeks old



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Koira earlier this month, 10 years old

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Benebone #chewyinfluencer

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"But dis is mine"

This month, Koira tried out the chicken flavored, jumbo sized Benebone from Chewy.com. A dog her size, 40 lbs, can have the regular size, but I wanted to try out the jumbo size for her and see how she liked it. I'd say she loves it. She immediately started chewing on it after I took it out of the package, and has been chewing on it off and on all month.

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You can see that this is going to last quite a while, since after a month it has minimal damage. This is a month of chewing, leaving it outside in the rain, and generally just using it with our normal daily routine. Koira is not a super heavy chewer, and she doesn't just go to town on this for a ages at a time.

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"Mine"


Overall, Koira was pretty pleased with the Benebone this month, and I was too. We'll be getting plenty of use out of it.

We did receive this item in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely our own, and we were not compensated in any other way.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Winter Beach Trip

The beach in Oregon is actually better in the winter. At least, that is what I've always felt. This past weekend, the temps at the beach were in the 60s, and it was solid sun all weekend. Of course that meant we took a trip to the coast.

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Of course, about everyone else in Oregon had the same idea. I think it may have been the most crowded I have ever seen the beaches here. But we were still able to find a place to park, and walk far enough to be away from everyone for the most part, with just a few people in the distance in either direction.

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The dogs absolutely love the beach. Koira has always loved the beach, and Ptera, while a little less crazy about it, also has a great time as long as it isn't wet and windy.

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The dogs like to spend most of their time at the high tide line, smelling all the stuff that has washed in on the waves. Or else up in the dune grass, rocks, and logs at the edge of the beach, checking out the smells there. They are really good about not trying to eat anything, even things like dead crabs, and I'm lucky in that neither of them are inclined toward rolling in gross things, so I'm happy to let them do their thing as long as they stay in sight and come back when called.

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We always keep our eyes out for other people on the beach, especially if they have dogs, and make sure that we keep the dogs away from them. Not everyone wants a large dog running at them, even if they like dogs, and not all dogs are going to get along, so it is just plain courtesy to make sure they don't go off bugging anyone. I'm always pretty happy when I see other dog owners doing the same thing.

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The day was absolutely gorgeous. The sunset pictures I shared earlier this week were from this past weekend- the one I shared a while ago was from a different trip entirely. We've had some awesome sunsets lately for sure.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Beach Sunset

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Standing on a retaining wall, with the beach, ocean, and sunset in the background


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Just the pretty sunset colors with dune grasses


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This is was the view north along the beach. The pinks and purples were really evident. That tiny light off to the left of the land is the lighthouse.