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June 30, 2010

Poooh Busters Blog: Oscar & Mr. Goo's Weight Loss Diary - Part Three

Well here we are on day ten!

I am happy to report that things have been going very well. All the animals have settled into their new feeding routine and we have started to broaden their horizons.

On the last blog I weighed all our pets in. Mr. Goo coming in as the heavy-weight champion of the world with an astounding 25lbs! This coming weekend on July 4th I will weigh them again to see if anyone has lost a pound or two over the last two weeks of being on their new, raw food diet. Mrs. Big Nate and I have noticed that Oscar seems to have dropped an inch around his chubby, little waist. I can't wait to see if he has indeed lost weight!

We purchased two Wizzer Belly Bands from Pawhaus Pet Boutique a couple of months ago. These are cloth bands that wrap around Oscar's waist to cover his "willy" and keeps him from peeing in the house. These are a godsend! Since we have been using them, we find very little "markings" around the house (only when forget to put them on him). We had originally ordered a small size thinking Oscar is a small dog. We got the Belly Bands and discovered our "little" Oscar was a large size, not a small! So Amanda from Pawhaus was kind enough to exchange them for larges. We just couldn't believe Oscar was a large! Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because lately we found Oscar's Belly Band has fallen off sometime through the night. He must be losing weight because we can't tighten the bands any further to keep them on him. Very excited about this!

So back to the food. Last Sunday we ran out of our original supply of raw food including any samples Holly was kind enough to send home with us. So we visited Holly's store and really stocked up this time. We picked up 8 boxes of various types of meat for both the dogs and cats. The nice thing about Tail Blazers is they give you discounts when you buy more. We have found the animals like Urban Carnivore. The meat comes in easy-to-measure patties of various types of meat.

The girls at the store were also knowledgable enough to suggest a good poweder supplement for the dog's food. It has all kinds of great vitamins to help them get more nutrition from their meals. We also picked up bottle of fish oil to add in as well. This helps with digestion and a few other things too. (I think, Holly can correct me if I'm off here).

A few things I have noticed along the way:

  • Nobody seems to enjoy the beef much. The cats especially love the poutry types (chicken and turkey). Both the cats and the dogs just turn their nose up at the beef for a while and then eventually tackle it. I usually have to put a little extra "enticer" in to get them to eat.

  • The dogs are now always hungry. They hover over the cats while they eat hoping to get some leftovers if they walk away without eating the entire dinner. We need to look into what to do about making them feel fuller. I remember Holly suggested adding fibre to their meals, I hope this helps.

  • The dog's pooops are smaller, darker and harder. It's almost like they're "using" what they are eating more, creating less waste. This is something Poooh Busters could either love or hate! The pooops are easier to pick up but less pooop means bad things for us! LOL

  • The cats are shedding like crazy! Holly said this could happen as they "detox".

  • The cost so far has been comparable to what we would have spent for dry food from our vet clinic. We certainly spend more on the food from the vet than from a grocery store or large pet store chain. So for us, the switch to raw food has not been a burden on our pocketbook.
To wrap up, I look forward to blogging again after the weekend to update everyone on the weight of our four subjects.

Thank you for visiting and reading, see you next time!

June 22, 2010

Oscar & Mr. Goo's Weight Loss Diary - Part Two

Well here we are on day three! It is going very well actually, much smoother than we had expected.

The feeding routine is as follows:
The cats get fed twice a day, once in the morning before work and once again around 5:00 after work. The dogs get fed once a day, usually around the same time as the cat's dinner time. So everyone is eating around 5:00 all at the same time.

Day One
The morning of the first day was pretty much a wash, the cats wouldn't touch their breakfast. We left the untouched bowls out all day while we were at work. To our surprise, upon our arrival at home, we found the food was all gone. Not sure if the cats or the dogs ate it.

At dinner time all the animals decided to turn their noses up at the raw food. This was the dog's first exposure to this strange, new meat. To entice them, we added a little bit of kibble in hopes they might just give it a taster. The note that Holly Montgomery from Tail Blazers wrote states we are not to mix dry in with the meat. The simple fact is that the meat digests much quicker than the dry kibble. This causes digestion problems such as gas and indigestion. We weren't sure what to do to get them to eat so we broke this rule right off the bat. It didn't matter either way, they just picked out the dry and left the meat behind. We left the food out for most of the evening but neither of the dogs touched it. I picked up the remainder and put it in the fridge to try again the next day.

The cats didn't touch their dinner either so we added a half can of the Fancy Feast we usually mix with their kibble. This worked beautifully! They ate about half each and walked away. All in all not too bad for the very first day.

Day Two
On day two, things went a little better. Again I added a half can of Fancy Feast to help with the transition. Mr. Goo was probably starving at this point (he is always hungry!) so he gave it his best shot. He got through about half and said that was enough for this morning. Chloe ate some too but threw it all back up and then walked away.

In the evening, we had no trouble with the cats eating their dinner. This time they ate most of it and happily Chloe kept her food down. The dogs again did not really want to eat. We discovered Oscar with his short snout was having trouble picking up the bits of meat so Mrs. Big Nate thought it would be easier for Oscar if we put his dinner on a nice, flat plate. He ate most of his after adding just a little bit of cheese to further entice them both. This also seemed to help Mojo as he actually ate three or four bites before giving up. Mojo is picky at the best of times, he was the one we were worried about most.

Day Three
I'm happy report that this was the day of turn around! The cats pretty much ate all their meals before I left for work in the morning. I think were getting pretty hungry by this point and just wanted to eat something, anything!

When we got home, we fed the entire clan all at the same time. It was like someone turned on a switch or something! All four animals pretty much devoured their meals. We are still adding little enticers to help with the transition but I will start cutting those in half as of day four.

We couldn't be happier with how things have gone so far and I can't wait to start seeing some of the positive side effects that come with this new diet. Namely of course, weight loss!

Here's the stats:

Mojo - Age: 5 - 15lbs (Goal: 13lbs)

Oscar - Age 4 - 19lbs (Goal: 12lbs)

Chloe - Age 1 - 9 lbs (Goal: Maintain Current Weight)

Mr. Goo - Age 9 - 25lbs (Goal: 15lbs)

June 21, 2010

Oscar & Mr. Goo's Weight Loss Diary - Part One

It seems that not only us humans struggle with the never-ending battle of the bulge. Our pets are dealing with this issue everyday too.

Pet obesity is a major health concern. Overweight pets suffer more physical ailments and do not live as long as animals of recommended weight. Obesity often reduces a pet's enjoyment of life. An estimated 25-40% of dogs in the United States are obese. Pet obesity is not an issue involving dogs alone, cats and all domestic pets are at risk from this potentially fatal condition. I wasn't able to find a decent statistic for Canada but I think we can safely assume our overweight pet population is roughly the same as in the States.

Being in the pet industry I get to know a lot of different people with a lot of different opinions. Vets have a completely different view of what a pet should eat compared to dog food reps setting up displays in your local , large pet store chain.

I am very fortunate to have come across an excellent source of information on what a pet should consume to be healthy and to maintain a proper weight. I met Holly Montgomery after becoming involved with Poooh Busters. Holly owns and operates Tail Blazers in Copperfield, SE Calgary. Tail Blazers, "Health Food Store For Pets", is a store where pet guardians can find only wholesome, healthy food and treats, a wide variety of supplements, accessories, knowledgeable staff and lots more!

This store, especially Holly's store has an extremely welcoming and warm atmosphere. It's almost like walking into a store in the middle a very small town. It's casual, fun and very personal. Holly knows many of her customers and their pets by name. She knows what they are there to buy and offers up her expert advice on all things related to raising a well fed, healthy dog or cat.

Mrs. Big Nate and I own four pets. Two dogs and two cats. One dog, Oscar is overweight and one cat, Mr. Goo is what I would call obese! The other two animals are of a healthy weight, which in itself is weird. How can two animals be fat and the other two be fine? They all eat the same things and pretty much the same amounts.

Well, I thought it was about time to use Holly's knowledge and products as a resource to resolve the overweight issues Oscar and Goo are experiencing.

So what is Holly's suggestion to get a fat pet on its way to a lean body?

A Raw Food Diet!

I've heard about raw food from several different sources and even did some research on it over the internet. As always there are arguments for and against the feeding of raw food. So what better way to test this science than by performing my own little experiment. Subjects? Oscar the Japanese Chin dog and Mr. Goo the Long Haired, Blue-eyed Burmese cat!

So the over the next few months I will be blogging our progress and experience. Please be sure to follow along, and you might learn a little something along the way. I sure hope to!

On my next blog, I will weigh in both pets and talk about our first few days of transistioning our pets to their new diet. Stay tuned, it should be interesting to say the least!

June 9, 2010

Common Dog Behaviour Problems

Another great article from our friends at Dogster...

If you've obedience trained your dog, you have a pooch who is a good listener and a savvy learner. But some dog problems and behaviors cannot be solved with the basic commands such as "Sit!" and "Come!" And a dog who follows every command during a training session can still have behavioral problems.

When the peace and quiet of the home hearth is suddenly disrupted by your dog's bad behavior, it's not time to get frustrated and lament how this can be. You may ask why they didn't cover digging in obedience class or excessive barking or shoe chewing. But you can find the answers to these mishaps right here.
The first step is to analyze the destructive behavior by asking yourself a few questions:

What - What exactly is he doing?

When - When did this behavior start? Does this behavior occur at a certain time of day or during the week?

Where - Has there been any change in my dog's environment, big or small? Does it always occur in a certain room or outside or in a new space?

How Often - Is the behavior consistent or does your dog just misbehave when something is different, such as having guests over?

Why - An analysis of these questions will give you a "why."

Consider ruling out an illness before you begin your strategy. Any significant change in a dog's behavior warrants a visit to the vet. Look at the time the behavior started and tie that into any possible change. Change means something big like a newborn or something small like a change in your dog's routine. If the behavior occurs at a specific time each day, consider what goes on during that time - is it when you leave the house or come in? Or is it when the trash truck comes? Also, consider your dog's environment where it occurs - has there been a rearrangement of the furniture in the living room? Or new sod in the backyard?

Keep notes about the time, place, and activity going on when your dog misbehaves and follow these tips to correct the behavior.


What - If your dog is digging small holes, it's not a huge problem. If he's digging a crater in your yard, something must be done.

Why - Dogs dig for many reasons. Some dig when they're bored, some dig to bury things, some dig to create a sort of den for themselves, some dig to try to get out and some dig to follow a smell.
Where - Does your dog only dig near the fence? Then he is likely trying to escape? Near the trashcan? Then he's following a scent.

When - If your dog is digging when the sun is high, he's likely trying to cool off.

The Solution: Determine what is going on in your dog's environment outside. If he's reacting to noise or heat or the neighbor's cat slinking into the yard, bring him inside. To cure those who bury things, do not leave any toys or bones out with your dog. To keep a dog from digging to get out, place patio stones along the fence. And to thwart a scenthound, cover areas in cedar to distract his nose.


What - A few warning barks should not be curbed by a dog owner, However, excessive barking must be stopped.

Why - Dogs bark mostly to warn their humans of some danger. A dog may also bark in response to another dog or a sound such as a siren.

Where - Barking inside bursts your eardrums, outside bursts your neighbors'.

When - If a dog only barks at a certain time of the day, it is likely a sound outside.

The Solution: Unfortunately, we don't have much control over our outside environment. There are a few humane tools we can use, though - the Citronella Collar and the Ultrasound Anti-Barker. Both of these are harmless and can deter barking.


What - No chewing of human items is acceptable.

Why - Your dog may be bored or he may be lured by the new pair of boots you bought.

Where - If your dog only chews on things in the kitchen, it may be that those objects are particularly desirable to him. If he runs outside with something, He may be more interested in burying it.

When - If your dog chew things while you are away, it actually isn't some sort of revenge. But it is a sign of boredom.

The Solution: the easiest thing to do is to put everything away. It will mean a more organized house for you and less temptation for your dog. You can spray items with a deterrent such as Bitter Apple or switch his focus from the bad item to a toy. Always leave him durable chew toys when you leave the house.


What - No jumping should be allowed.

Why - Dogs jump on people to get attention and/or to assert dominance.

Where - If your dog only jumps on people at the door, it is likely both a greeting and a way of showing who is in charge. If your dog jumps up on people in someplace like the kitchen, it is likely to get that bit of chicken off their chin.

When - Perhaps your dog is not a jumper except when he goes out for a walk. Or maybe he jumps on you only when you wear a hat.

The Solution: The best command to use when a dog jumps on you is "Off!". As you say the command in a firm voice, gently raise your knee into a larger dog's chest or gently move a smaller dog away with your foot. Make your dog sit and reward him. To stop jumping on other people, make your dog "Sit!" and "Stay!" away from the door when guests come in. Have a lead on him so you can easily correct any movement. Another tip is to spray your dog with water when he jumps or use a loud noise to distract him. The key is to firmly remind him that you are the alpha.

Many of dogs' behavioral problems stem from something we do or some change in the environment. Perhaps you didn't know that being a dog owner can also mean being a detective and the code you're deciphering is your dog's mind. But with a little detecting, you can solve your dog's problems easily.