Shih Tzu Week 43: April 19 (Day 295) – 25 (Day 301), 2012

Shih Tzu Day 295: April 19 (Thursday)

BIRTHDAY CLOTHES

Candy shih tzu in peace sign outfit.Candy’s birthday is April 30, and I stumbled across a very cute peace sign “outfit” for her at Ross Dress For Less, my favorite place to find inexpensive dog clothes. I think it was only about $5. It’s a little top and Velcro skirt. I couldn’t wait, so I tried it on her. She is so small, that the skirt kept falling off her. I think she is going to have to pass it on to Flower, who will be able to fill it out a little better!

Dog walking

I made a step towards my goal of getting the female shih tzus walking this summer by taking Nigel out today. I hope they will see how excited he gets and be interested. He seemed a little tired when we came back. He stopped on the sidewalk a few houses away and lay down for a little rest. I guess I took him a little too far, or his toe nails need clipping!

Shih Tzu Day 296: April 20 (Friday)

Candy’s rub down

Candy seems to be getting more and more comfortable with John. She sat on his lap for a while this evening while he gave her a rub down, which she seemed to enjoy. While that was going on, Dottie slept beside me, snoring peacefully. I am so happy she and the others have a good home and humans who love them.

Shih Tzu Day 297: April 21 (Saturday)

Training pad holder success

The shih tzus are getting used to the training pad holder. Someone recently asked me if a training pad holder would help with my problem of the dogs moving the training pads all around. I mentioned that I had unsuccessfully tried one before, but the shih tzus wouldn’t step over the edge to use the pad. But, I decided to try again. I bought one at Walmart by Simple Solutions. It cost $14.98 and holds pads that are 21”x 21”. It has worked much better this time.

Usually, I put three pads down, since Candy and Nigel like to sit on the pads when they are clean, and that gives them a little cushion. There is at least one spot on it every morning, so one of the dogs (probably Candy) is using it regularly. Nigel can wait until we bring him downstairs and he goes out, and I think Dottie waits too. Flower is a different subject. She doesn’t always wait, but I don’t think she regularly uses the pad either, either out of rebellion or for some other reason.

Shih Tzu Day 298: April 22 (Sunday)

ROYAL CANIN SWEEPSTAKES WINNER!

Penny with her gift bag goodies, courtesy Royal Canin.Our Royal Canin sweepstakes contest ended on April 21. The winner was Michelle and Penny! Michelle sent a picture of Penny with her goodies and told us a little bit about her. Penny is an American Lo-Sze pug. She is 6 years old and was diagnosed with canine liver disease in September 2009.  Michelle says, “Penny has come a long way and is doing great today!  She is my best friend and inspiration.” Penny is the muse for Michelle’s pet product line, Sophisticated Pup.  She is the lead model and featured in most of the photos for the products.  Michelle says, “She loves to get dressed up and knows when the spotlight is on her!”

We are so happy to have gotten to know a little bit about the people who entered their dogs. We hope we can host more giveaways in the future. Congratulations, Michelle and Penny!

Shih Tzu Day 299: April 23 (Monday)

Hard-boiled eggs

I treated the shih tzus to some small pieces of hard-boiled eggs today. They all like them.

kiss me, kate, um, flower

Flower continues to sit on “her” couch more these days. It makes me said, because I love it when she sits with us. But she doesn’t like to share me with Dottie, and Dottie is possessive too.  She did come over this afternoon and let me pet her for a while. For some reason, when I look at her with those long eye lashes, I think of the musical, “Kiss Me, Kate,” so that’s what I always say to her.

Shih Tzu Day 300: April 24 (Tuesday)

Homemade chicken jerky and other treats not made in china!!

I mentioned earlier that one of our readers, Jessica, brought up the problem about treats made in China. Sadie Shih Tzu’s Human, Liz, wrote and suggested I make my own treats, and she sent me a recipe for dog biscuits. Although Nigel likes them and Flower will eat them when nothing else is around, Dottie and Candy don’t like dog biscuits. They absolutely love chicken jerky and next to that, they love sweet potato and chicken and sweet potato and apple treats. Since I experimented making chicken jerky in the oven, it got me thinking about taking it one step further and try a food dehydrator.

I initially bought a typical round dehydrator, but then I saw some good ratings for a square one by Nesco, and ordered it from Walmart.com. I looked at a couple of jerky recipes, but settled with this one from Coco the Blogging Dog.

Basic Chicken Jerky

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon (optional – add ingredients to the marinade, like Dogswell treats. Such as dried cane molasses, flaxseed, peppermint, parsley, etc.)

First, you cut the chicken into strips, according to this recipe, 5 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick. I’m not sure how close I got, but I tried. Then, in a bag, combine the oil, lemon juice, and optional ingredients. I added dried mint and parsley. The recipe says to squeeze out the air in the plastic bag, making sure all the chicken surfaces are covered with marinade, seal the bag, and refrigerate for 24 hours. However, I have an old vacuum sealer machine and a container that allows you to marinade for only an hour, so I did that.

You can do this in the oven, but I used the dehydrator. Sorry to say, I didn’t keep track of the time, but I think the jerky was done in about 8 hours. Basically, they have to be leathery. I really love the fact that I can taste test their food. I didn’t think it was bad, and the shih tzus seemed to love it.

Sweet potato and chicken treats

The shih tzus loved the homemade chicken and sweet potato treats.I couldn’t find a recipe for homemade sweet potato and chicken treats, so I improvised. I took some of the chicken strips and cut them into very thin pieces. Then, I cut sweet potatoes like I was going to make french fries. I wrapped the chicken strips around the sweet potato and dehydrated until chicken was leathery. The sweet potato were slightly spongy.

I’m not sure how they compare to store bought, but the shih tzus liked them! I know they cost less then store bought, and best of all, they come from my kitchen and not from China! Next time, I plan to make chicken and apple treats.

By the way, the dehydrator also came with a sample package for Nesco Spice Works beef jerky, so I made some for John. He thought it was the best jerky he’d ever had, and so did I. I have a feeling that dehydrator is going to be a great investment!

Shih Tzu Day 301: April 25 (Wednesday)

Welcome home

John and I have started riding our bikes in the morning before he leaves for work. The shih tzus aren’t quite sure what to think about me leaving the house that early. When we get back a half hour later, they are as excited as if I had been gone for hours. They were also excited later when I gave them a homemade sweet potato and chicken treat. I am so happy that they like them.

Now that I am making my own dog food treats and people treats, I am investing in some food preparation items. I bought an OXO Good Grips V-Blade mandoline from Bed, Bath and Beyond. One thing I am going to probably use it for is slicing sweet potatoes, if it will work, for the dog treats. I know sweet potatoes are harder than potatoes, so I am not sure if it will work.

FLEA AND TICK PREVENTION

PetArmor makes an inexpensive flea and tick treatment.As a family, we seem to be lucky in one area where a lot of dog owners have problems. I don’t think any of our shih tzus have ever had fleas, ticks, or lice! I did some research and read that Colorado is home to approximately 80 different species of fleas. Colorado dogs and their owners seem a little luckier than others because fleas need moisture to develop, and Colorado mainly has a dry climate. Still, there are some cases, as evidenced by the medications available anywhere that sells pet supplies in Colorado. One reason is that pets that come to Colorado from other states can carry these pests along with them! Wild animals also can share problems with your dogs. Both reasons are why I am not crazy about the occasional squirrel or cat that enters the yard without permission.

Beyond that, I think our shih tzus are probably relatively safe, mainly because they are presently “antisocial.” They don’t go to dog parks and they don’t go to groomers. We still haven’t gotten them to the point where they want to go on walks (but that is my biggest goal for this summer). Still, one of the reasons for flea and tick treatments is prevention, and since I do plan on taking the dogs out of the yard more, I began investigating flea and tick treatments recently.

The first thing I did was a Google search. I saw some good information on the PetArmor website other the heading of “Flea and Tick 101.” Fleas cause several problems, including anemia, and they can transmit tapeworms and cause allergy dermatitis. The site also goes over the four major species of ticks, and health problems caused by them, including transmission of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, canine tick paralysis, and the spreading of Lyme disease.

How can you tell if your dog (or cat) is scratching if he has fleas or for some other reason? You will need a fine-toothed metal “flea comb” and a white towel or sheet. You will also need to prepare a bowl of soapy water. Run the comb along your pet’s back or underbelly, making sure the comb touches the skin. If the comb pulls out any fleas, drown them immediately in the soapy water. Then, have your pet stand on a white towel or sheet, and brush or rub its coat. If you see any small black specks, they might be fleas or flea dirt (which can look like sand).

If you see no evidence of fleas but your pet has symptoms that could indicate other health problems, see your vet. If you do find fleas, don’t worry. You can easily treat your dog. I’m not going to go into how you check for ticks, but the site covers that too.

You can find flea and tick treatments online or at local stores that carry pet supplies. PetArmor’s site said the main ingredient was an insecticide called Fipronil. That is also the main ingredient in Front Line Plus, with the same concentration (9.7%). With that in mind, I checked into prices for PetArmor and Frontline Top Spot, first at Walmart.com. I usually go there initially because it will tell me if something is carried at my local store, and, if not, if they will ship it to the store, eliminating a shipping charge, which is often the case. I also usually check Amazon to compare prices. In this case, Walmart disappointed me. A three-month supply of PetArmor for dogs under 22 pounds was $25, but it was only $15.97 at Amazon (I’m not sure what the shipping charge would be). Frontline Top Spot was $36.50 at Amazon and Walmart didn’t carry it, from what I could tell. From the reviews I read, Frontline usually gets a slightly higher rating, but PetArmor wasn’t very far behind.  That made my decision, after doing the math. Even going with Walmart’s higher price, for four dogs I would pay $100. That’s bad enough. Through Amazon, Top Spot was $146, without shipping. With that savings, I could buy ingredients for a couple of months of Sadie Shih Tzu homemade dog food!

I did decide to experiment at first with two dogs, and I chose Nigel and Dottie. John followed the instructions to apply the product. You open the applicator and apply it to the dog’s hair between the shoulder blades. Then, you have to make sure you don’t touch it until it dries. I was a little nervous, because I don’t like the idea of putting insecticides on dogs. I had read that dogs can have reactions to these products, but we did it a few days ago, and Nigel and Dottie haven’t shown any problematic signs.

What I read was that if Nigel or Dottie had fleas, the little nuisances would get active as they began to die and move to the top of the pet’s coat, where they would be more visible. Good news! I haven’t seen any! However, if we had, we would know the product was working.

By the way, if your dog does have fleas, you will also need to treat your house and possibly your yard. This includes thoroughly vacuuming carpets, especially upholstery, if your pet goes on your furniture. You will either need to throw away the vacuum cleaner bag or clean the dust cup with soap and water. It is also recommended that you wash your pet’s bedding in hot water or replace it. You might also need to cut down tall brush and grasses near the house or pet runs.

I know I haven’t covered how to check for ticks, but you can find that information at the site mentioned above.

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Shih Tzu Week 42: April 12 (Day 288) – 18 (Day 294)

Shih Tzu Day 288: April 12 (Thursday)

Release the Kraken!

Flower has been spending more time on “her” couch again, instead of with us. So far so good; as long as she doesn’t pee on it, she can have her space. I assume she has been spending more time there because Dottie growls and tries to hiss her away when she comes to our couch. When she does that, John says, “Release the Kraken!” Nobody seems very afraid of her, so I don’t think her acting ferocious is working.

Come out and play

The shih tzus loved the homemade chicken jerky.Around 4 o’clock, Candy decided it was time for something other than napping and started prancing around the living room. I think she’s a little disappointed these days with her playmate choices. Nigel used to go play with her instantly, but lately he’s been as lazy as Dottie, and lies on the couch next to Mom a lot of the time. Flower finally joined her for a tap dance across the floor. And Nigel eventually got up and romped around with both of them. When they took it outside, he grabbed Candy’s tail in his mouth and wouldn’t let go, so she couldn’t get very far. He finally turned his attention to Flower to play the bitey face game.

Shih Tzu Day 289: April 13 (Friday)

Happy Birthday, Flower!

Flower shih tzu wearing a birthday crown. Today is Flower’s birthday! She is now 3 years old. I made up a batch of chicken jerky for her treat. One of my friends suggested Frosty Paws and I couldn’t find any at the closest Wal-Mart, so I found a homemade Frosty Paws recipe:

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together and freeze in 3-ounce paper cupsShih tzus eating homemade Frosty Paws. .
  2. Microwave just a few seconds before serving.

The dogs loved the treats, once they found a way to get their tongues in the cups. When I make it again, I think I’ll use shorter containers. One of the fun parts of making dog treats is you can try them without feeling you are eating dog food! I actually thought the Frosty Paws  treat was good! I had a few bites myself.

Candy shih tzu wears a birthday crown in Flower's honor.I dressed the girls up, with Flower in a new dress that says Girly Girls. And I bought them Happy Birthday crows from the Dollar Tree. I gave her a stuffed animal and rubber chicken from the Dollar Tree, too, but she ignored them. She was far more fascinated with the cardboard insert I took out of the wine box. She carried it to Shih Tzu Central and spent probably 20 minutes seeing how much of it she could tear apart.

The shih tzus investigate the homemade chicken jerky.Dottie didn’t care if it was Flower’s special day. She was sitting beside me, with Mom to herself, when her shih tzu half-sister came up to the couch this morning, Dottie didn’t want to give up her Mom time and did her growly fixation thing.  I think she particularly doesn’t like it because Flower wants to be petted when she jumps up.

Indoor mess

This shih tzu loves cardboard!Someone pooped on the floor near the training pad and on the mat I have under the pad. It was the runny kind, and I hope it’s not from my homemade treats. They shouldn’t have anything in them that would cause that.

Shih Tzu Day 290 – 292: April 14 – 16 (Saturday – Monday)

I didn’t realize it, but I neglected to record any information in my journal for three days! I guess that means nothing exciting happened.

 Shih Tzu Day 293: April 17 (Tuesday)

Celery treats

I passed out celery today. Candy doesn’t normally take it, but she did this time and chewed on it for a while. Dottie is the only one that wouldn’t take any.

Not so close

The shih tzus wait for the party to begin.Dottie was scratching the sofa arm this afternoon, so to stop her, I reached over and picked her up and sat her on my chest facing me. She wasn’t sure what to do, but she stayed there for several minutes staring at me. She finally moved off, but stayed next to me instead of retreating to her corner.

Shih Tzu Day 294: April 18 (Wednesday)

I was gone most of the day, so I didn’t have very much shih tzu time. Someone seems to be having tummy problems, because I found more poop on the floor.

Back it up

Dottie was peacefully sitting in her corner this afternoon when Flower jumped up, right next to her. Instead of sitting down, she started backing her butt up into Dottie. I’m not sure what the purpose was, but Dottie started making her Kraken sound. Flower seemed oblivious to it. I guess she knows Dottie’s growl is worse than her bite.

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Happy Birthday to Flower (Day 289) April 13

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, Dear Flower! Happy Birthday to You!
Flower is now 3 years old! This is Flower’s first birthday at her forever home. She spent her first birthday at a puppy mill and her second at a foster home.
So glad that Flower, Candy and I have a Forever Home together! Nigel too, although he didn’t come with us from the puppy mill!

Mom says she will have pictures later of our birthday party, including the homemade chicken jerky!!

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Shih Tzu Week 41: April 5 (Day 281) – April 11 (Day 287)

Shih Tzu Day 281: April 5 (Thursday)

Nothing much to report. It’s been a lazy day.

Shih Tzu Day 282: April 6 (Friday)

Contemplating Flower’s birthday

This shih tzu needs a trim!Flower’s birthday is a week away. I feel a little sad that she will be 3 years old! Her and Candy are so cute at 2 years old. There is such a big difference between Candy and Flower, who can be so playful, and Dottie, who, at 6 years old, is so “stationary,” with just brief moments of playfulness.

Candy looks like a baby shih tzu after her trim.And to think that Candy will be 3 years old soon too, on April 30. I guess Nigel will remain forever young, since we have no idea when he was born!

The stick game continues

Nigel chewed contently on a rawhide and chicken stick for some time this morning. I imagine he stole someone else’s, because no one else still had one. Flower kept one eye on him, and when he went to get water, she jumped down from her side of the couch, walked over to where he was sitting, walked up the milk box step, took his chew stick, walked back down and sauntered over to Shih Tzu Central to enjoy it. To be fair, it could have been hers to begin with, since Nigel always seems to have an extra.

When Nigel came back, he looked carefully at the blanket where he had been lying, trying to figure out where the stick went. When he realized it was miss, he snorted his disapproval, and then finally gave up.

And speaking of treats, it’s amazing how long the Christmas bone-shaped rawhide has lasted. Flower trotted by with it in her mouth this afternoon. It will vanish for a while, and then it will resurface again.

Flower’s couch

Flower sat on her couch for a while today. Since she seems to have given up on peeing on it, I don’t put the cushions up anymore. However, I am not used to her sitting there, and I carelessly left a picture lying on the arm; she got it and started chewing on the corner. I rescued it just in time.

She sat there for a while until something Candy did caught her attention, and she dived off to join in the action.

Shih Tzu Day 283: April 7 (Saturday)

Much better

We couldn’t put it off any longer, and gave Candy a trim today. She looks so much better. We are painting our kitchen cabinets and worked on them all day after that, so the shih tzus got little attention.

Shih Tzu Day 284: April 8 (Sunday)

Easter lunch

The shih tzus' Easter lunch.My mom came over to have Easter lunch with us. I fixed the shih tzus each their own small bowl of ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, and part of a hard-boiled egg. They loved it.

They weren’t so happy later on when the children and grandchildren arrived. They went back to Shih Tzu Central and didn’t come out until the coast was clear.

Shih Tzu Day 285: April 9 (Monday)

The shih tzus enjoy their Easter lunch.Flower is quite a character. She was sitting next to me, and I bent over to pet Candy. She started pawing my head with her paws. I guess she wanted me to give her attention, and not Candy. A little later, the two of them tap danced across the floor, playfully biting each other’s faces.

Shih Tzu Day 286: April 10 (Tuesday)

your stick’s better than mine

I never tire of the chew stick game the shih tzus play. This morning, Nigel was sitting on the couch chewing on his, and then jumped down, leaving it there. This time, Flower was sitting on the floor below where he had been, watching. As soon as his back was turned, she jumped up on the couch, grabbed the stick, and ran to Shih Tzu Central to chew on it. In the meantime, Nigel came back to the couch, with the exact same type of stick he had left behind. He had gone to Candy’s “apartment” and stolen hers, probably because he figured his would be gone when he got back.

Squirrel!

Drats! The squirrels are back in town! When I let the shih tzus outside this morning, and sat down their food, Flower tore off towards the back fence and started barking like crazy. And then I saw the attraction. I couldn’t get her attention back, so I finally picked up her bowl and saved it for her. That always makes things difficult, because the other shih tzus want to help the late eater with their food.

Shih Tzu Day 287: April 11 (Wednesday)

Flower’s birthday is two days away. As a special treat, and to avoid treats made in China, I decided to try to make chicken jerky for the shih tzus. I found a recipe at Raise a Green Dog that I modified a little. I had John cut some chicken very thin. Then, I lighted coated the chicken with oil and sprinkled parsley on it. I put it on a baking sheet and put it in an oven heated to 200° F. Although the recipe said to bake for about two hours, it didn’t seem done, so I left it in longer. I ended up baking for at least 6 hours.

Truthfully, I don’t think it looked much like the jerky I buy them. It more looked like very thin, slightly dried out chicken tenders. I gave the shih tzus a sample, and they liked it. I taste tested it, and it was okay, but I can probably do better. Since the experiment was sort of successful, I am now going to go a step further and buy a dehydrator to experiment more!

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Shih Tzu Week 40: March 29 (Day 274) – April 4 (Day 280)

Shih Tzu Day 274: March 29 (Thursday)

 Tug-of-war with Nigel

Nigel and Flower rest between bitey-face sessions. I decided to perform a test today. I put one of the fuzzy holiday blankets on the floor. The dogs can lie down on it, unless someone uses it as a training pad. While I was putting it down, Nigel grabbed it with his teeth and stared pulling on it, thinking it was a tug-of-war game.

 Attention, please!

Dottie and Flower have been very demanding today, wanting attention. They love petting time. I think it’s so sweet when I put my hand against Dottie’s face, and she presses against it, not wanting me to move it.  When I pet Flower, if I move my hand, she bats her paw at me, until I pet her again.

I guess I am lucky Nigel and Candy don’t demand petting. It’s difficult petting two dogs at once, and petting four at once would be impossible. Candy does wander up to get attention now and then, but that’s easy to do. And I am glad John picks her up and gives her attention when he is here. She doesn’t stay long, but I can tell she enjoys it. I am so happy to see how far they have come in this area.

Shih Tzu Day 275: March 30 (Friday)

 At my feet

The vampire shih tzus are at it again.After John left, Candy came over and sat at my feet, near Nigel. That was unusual, so I investigated. I forgot to put a training pad down for her, which is one of her favorite resting places. I am glad that she only chooses to sit on clean pads!

 Vampire shih tzus

Nigel was in a very playful mood today. Flower was sitting next to him and he started biting her neck. She seems to like it.

Shih Tzu Day 276: March 31 (Saturday)

 Tidy puddles

I don’t know why I have been forgetting to put down training pads. I did it again last night. Someone needed to pee before I got up, but they made a neat little puddle on the mat I sit the pad on. That’s quite an improvement from even a few months ago.

Since I no longer put the cushions up on Flower’s former couch, she has jumped up on it a few times over the last couple of days. Thank goodness, she seems to have lost interest in peeing on the couches!

Shih Tzu Day 277: April 1 (Sunday)

 Dottie can fly

Candy is still waiting for her hair cut! I didn’t feel like getting up early this morning. I got up, fed the dogs, gave them their morning chew sticks, and then went back to bed for two more hours! It felt so good. The shih tzus didn’t try to come and get me.

After I came back down and sat on the couch, Dottie came up to it. I was just getting ready to help her up, when she “flew” up onto it on her own. It was amazing; one second she was on the ground, and the next, she was beside me. It was like watching a cat jump up. She didn’t even get a running start like Flower does. Has she been faking all this time that she can’t get up on her own?

Baby Nigel

We decided it was time for Nigel’s grooming session. He got a close hair cut, like his sisters. Three down! He looks like such a little baby now. He acts like one too. When John was trimming his fur, he kept walking over to me and putting his paws on my shoulders for comfort.

 Shih Tzu Day 278: April 2 (Monday)

 Feisty Flower

Flower sat with me for a while this morning, but left when Nigel came up. She was in a feisty mood. She snuck my rubber finger I had been using to go through papers off of my laptop stand and wouldn’t give it back. I had to pry it from her mouth. Later, her and Nigel had one of their bitey-face sessions. It sure looks like that should hurt!

Shih Tzu Day 279: April 3 (Tuesday)

Me or peanut butter?

I’m not sure what Flower was doing earlier. She was on the couch and was stretching with her paws up on the top, and leaned over and licked my nose. I think she wanted to know why I smelled like peanut butter and why she didn’t get any. Then, she started growling — again, either for peanut butter, or for attention. I had already put the peanut butter away, or else I would have given her a little. Instead, I gave her a little attention. She seemed satisfied with that.

Nigel and Flower had another long bitey-face session this morning. Afterwards, Flower hauled out the Christmas rawhide bone, started fighting with it, and then trotted off to Shih Tzu Central with it. Nigel succeeded in crawling into my lap. I let him sit there for a while, before I moved him to my side so I could use the laptop.

jicama

I gave the dogs some of the jicama I was eating. They all took it except Candy. Nigel and Flower seemed to inhale theirs, but Dottie chewed on hers daintily for a while.

Shih Tzu Day 280: April 4 (Wednesday)

Lonely shih tzus

The shih tzus didn’t get much attention today. I was gone most of the day and then did a lot of organizing when I got home. Dottie was so lonely for attention that even she ran up to greet John at the door when he got home!

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