Shih Tzu Day 295: April 19 (Thursday)
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!
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
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!
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)
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
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)
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
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.