Monday, February 24, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Wysong Dream Treats from Chewy.com



Another month, another review! This time, I chose something that all of the (non-human, warm-blooded) animals in the house can enjoy. Wysong Dream Treats are raw treats for dogs and cats packed with vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, probiotics, enzymes, and more. They're processed with Wysong's True Non-Thermal manufacturing technology which preserves all of the nutrients and gives you a convenient snack to feed your fur kids. Even ferrets can enjoy these raw, meaty treats.

We chose the quail treats. The package arrived in a timely fashion and without any damage. A+ for Chewy.com! The dogs knew the drill and immediately got excited. Shadow, however, was clueless and in for a big treat. Literally.

The treats give off no odor that I could detect, but the super-sensitive canine noses in the household sure could. The discs are decently sized, they should probably be broken into smaller pieces for smaller dogs and cats. My three pups enjoyed them whole, but Midget made a bit of a mess at first(which she immediately cleaned up with gusto!). They are easy to break in half or even into many small pieces, which is how I first offered it to Shadow and she took to it. I later discovered that it's also relatively easy to crumble the discs into a dust which makes a great kibble topper.


Wysong foods and treats are manufactured in Michigan by a family-owned company, utilizing holistic recipes developed by in-house pet health doctorate professionals. Their products are designed to prevent diseases and optimize your pet's health. Product lines include:

  • Epigen for dogs or cats, a premium grain-free formula containing 60+% meat and organs and over 60% protein
  • Optimal Performance for dogs, one of the first natural pet diets to offer the benefits of raw feeding and superior kibble in one package
  • Anergen for dogs or cats, a hypoallergenic formula containing non-allergenic high-quality protein sources
  • Uretic for cats, a maintenance diet for felines prone to Urolithiasis, struvite crystals, bladder stones, and FLUTD. 
Intense

Dream treats are made with human-grade meats, vitamins, and minerals, available in three protein-packed flavors(Chicken, Quail, and Rabbit), suitable for all life stages of dogs and cats, and can even serve as a yummy, convenient meal replacement on the go. They're even grain free, which makes them great for our sensitive furiends.

If you're interested in Wysong's holistic brand of pet food, head on over to Chewy.com. They've got a wide range of Wysong products available, including Epigen, Anergen, Uretic and more. Even better, feel free to enter to win a Chewy.com promo code or treat pack before. Only 3 days left!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Nutro Ultra Oatmeal & Pumpkin Biscuits from Chewy.com


Like I mentioned in my previous post regarding Jack's allergies, our dogs' digestive health is something we're constantly working for and keeping an eye on in our household. We still haven't identified all of the triggers of Jack's episodes, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve for when they do happen. Oatmeal and pumpkin happen to be two food items that work really well to get things back to normal, if you know what I mean. That's why, when Chewy.com contacted me and asked me if I'd review one of their new products, I was very happy to let my furry kids give the Nutro Ultra Oatmeal & Pumpkin Healthy Digestion Blend Dog Treats a try. You can bet they were happy too.

Her tail is wagging so fast, you almost can't see it!
The package arrived in a timely manner and in good condition, which was not a surprise to me coming from Chewy.com. Their deliveries have never arrived on my doorstep late, and that's important if your ordering food and (like me, sometimes) realize you're running low only a few days before you'll run out.

When I opened the package, I could immediately smell the pleasant but strong pumpkin aroma. So could Jack, Zora, and Midget, and they were very excited. I could hardly get them to hold still for pictures! Silly pups. They enjoyed the biscuits with gusto, and it felt good knowing that I was not only giving them a treat to show my love, but also something that would help in our constant struggle for digestive health.


These treats make an awesome daily, yummy supplement, and there are even guidelines on the back of the package that recommend how many treats you should feed your furiend every day, based on their weight.

Beyond oatmeal and pumpkin, all Nutro Ultra All Natural Biscuits are made with Nutro's Ultrassential Superfood Blend, in which each ingredient offers its own benefit.  (Almost) straight from the package:
  • Tomatoes, packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants
  • Spinach, high in antioxidants and essential minerals
  • Pumpkin, a natural source of Beta Carotene and fiber
  • Blueberries, more immune-boosting antioxidants!
  • Egg, one of the most digestible proteins
  • Oatmeal, one word: fiber(did I mention "digestive health"?)
  • Pomegranate, there are those antioxidants again
  • Sunflower Oil, rich in linoleic acid which can help with a dull coat and dry skin(symptoms Jack also struggles with)
  • Flaxseed, for Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids - more skin&coat help
  • Carrots, one of the most concentrated sources of Beta Carotene
  • Cranberries, for more Vitamin C
  • Brown Rice, an easily digestible, nutrient-rich grain
They're also made with a unique blend of 3 lean, healthy, allergy-friendly proteins.
  • Farm-raised chicken
  • Pasture-fed lamb
  • Salmon
And if you wanna get more technical, here's the ingredient list as it appears on the package: Whole brown rice, ground rice, oatmeal, whole oats, chicken meal, pumpkin, flaxseed, lamb meal, salmon meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), oat fiber, dried plain beet fiber, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), egg, natural flavors, inulin, tomato pomace, dried blueberry, dried pumpkin, dried pomegranate, dried spinach, dried carrot, dried cranberry, preserved with mixed tocopherols.

Like I said, I just love giving my pups foods with benefits! It's like giving them vitamins, except without the nasty synthetically processed part of it or the whole "close their mouth and rub their throat" technique. Everyone's much happier when they're enjoying health benefits just by chompin' down on some yummy noms! Nutro's Ultrassential Superfood Blend for the win!

And - woop woop! - last, but certainly not least, here's a giveaway sponsored by the generous folks at Chewy.com.

First Place: $50 Chewy.com credit
Second Place: $25 Chewy.com credit
Third Place: January treat prize pack

Enjoy and good luck!

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Jack's Allergy Treatment

In the Summer of 2012, we finally decided it was time to get serum allergy testing done on Jack. I mentioned it briefly in the last post before I temporarily disappeared. The constant veterinary visits, antibiotics, and, most importantly, corticosteroid treatments were really getting old, and they were just barely keeping Jack's poor head above water. Even with all of the medications and supplements I was giving him, he would still have his bad days.
Took two of us to hold his scaredy-butt on the table for blood draw

The test and treatment were definitely a financial investment, and our veterinarian warned us it was a bit of a gamble. Even though the test is fairly accurate at detecting inhalant and environmental allergens, the food allergen panel's accuracy is not as foolproof and furthermore the hyposensitization treatment had the chance of not being effective for Jack. We figured that, worst case scenario, we'd have a list of things that we should try avoiding, and we hoped that this would save us money in the long run. Our biggest wish, however, was for Jack to be happy, itch-free, and live like a normal dog.

It took about a week for our veterinarian to get the test results. The laboratory that we used(Spectrum) allows for up to 21 allergens per treatment vial. If he had had more than 21 offending allergens, we would have had to decide to either select only the most common ones, or order a double set which would mean twice the cost and twice the number of injections. Luckily he has only(hah! "only") 16. We quickly made the decision to proceed with treatment.

Yea.. try remembering that!
The first treatment set included three vials of varying concentrations. Luckily, a treatment diary was included that listed a schedule for the acclimation phase, because it was complicated. In short, we
started with a small amount of the weakest concentration one day apart and worked our way up to higher amounts, higher concentrations, and longer intervals. In the end he was(and currently is) getting one injection of 1 mL of solution every 30 days.

As far as the potential food allergens go, these can not be treated with injections and so the only treatment available is avoidance. We decided to see how hyposensitization treatment went before we proceeded with limiting his diet, and luckily we haven't needed to be strict. As a precaution we don't feed him foods that include his allergens in the main ingredients, but through trial and error we have found that he can have a bit of beef here and there, or treats that include allergens far down on the ingredient list. He does have bouts of digestive upset(a.k.a. diarrhea), but they are seemingly unrelated to his exposure to "no-no" foods. This is why we tend to focus more on supplementing his digestive system to keep it healthy rather than avoiding certain foods.

Treatment has far exceeded my expectations. We've had one blip in the road, and it was a tiny blip. Jack is not miserable anymore. He no longer stinks from constant skin and ear infections, he no longer shakes his head constantly, his skin is in better overall shape, and I no longer hear him cry out when he's scratched a certain spot too long or too hard. He still does scratch sometimes, and he still does lose some hair seasonally, but things are so much better and different now. He has been off of prednisone since before we began treatment, and he's only needed one course of antibiotics. It's been a year and a half. Jack's SPOT test and treatment have been life changing.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Where's the Zoo Headed?

No, we aren't moving physically. We're staying right here in good ol' Indiana.. for now. What I'm going to address is content, frequency, etc.

Last time I blogged regularly, I set challenges and goals for myself such as blogging daily, scheduling, posting about a certain subject weekly, things like that. This time around, I'd like blogging to be a more leisurely hobby for myself. I want it to be completely relaxed, no pressure, I post when I want to and have the time, and I post what I feel like writing about. Because that's what this blog is about. An outlet where I can share about my life with "the zoo". Hopefully it's interesting enough for at least a few of you! ;)

So... what's the subject going to be? What, and who, is included in this "zoo"? And what parts of our life am I interested in sharing? As you all know from my post last week, we have a new addition to the family, "Little Keeper". I'm going to try to keep the blog mainly about my pets and not go all mommy-blogger on you guys, but I am sure some posts about him will sneak their way in, especially when it's something big. For example, his cleft palate repair surgery is coming up, and I'll most likely share about that, even though it's not quite pet related!

As far as pet-related content goes, I'll most likely continue to post about fun outings I have with the dogs, veterinary medicine info I find interesting, events such as birthdays and sick vet visits, and fun, cool DIY ideas I come across, from training to treats and more. Last, but certainly not least, reviews. I love sharing my furry kids' opinions(and my own!) on new products we come across. I love being contacted by companies interested in letting us try their product in exchange for a review, but beyond that, I will most likely be writing reviews for products we win from giveaways and/or products we purchase as well. I'll try to include giveaways as often as I can, because I love those, too. In fact, I'm going to "organize" my personal Pinterest board at some point so that I can have one board exclusively for pet giveaways from other blogs to share with you all.

I'll also take hints from you guys. So, leave a comment, share your thoughts. I will more than likely be driven to write more about what you all enjoy, and slowly fade out the things you don't take the time to read.

Til next time!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's Been Happening at the Zoo

Wow.

Can you guys believe it's been, like, a whole friggin' year since I blogged? Craziness.

Time has flown. Well, things have calmed down just a little bit(who am I kidding..) and, more importantly, I've got the "blogging itch". So here I am, ready to tell you about all of the exciting changes that have happened since last September.

1. I completed my veterinary technology externship(similar to an internship, but shorter) at one of the country's top aquariums. A.K.A. I turned my dreams into real life. This was an eye-opening, amazing, educational, inspirational learning experience. Seriously. I can't really divulge very much, but things like giving a fish an injection, listening to and recording the heart rate of a dolphin, and assisting in the life-saving surgery of a tiny dart frog are experiences that will stay with me for ever.








2. I graduated!! Woohoo! That, right there, is my Associate of Science degree in Veterinary Technology. And those 2 other ladies? Well, they were my graduating class. It's a smaller college that works with monthly classes(thus monthly graduating classes), and we started out in the introductory class as 12. Then there were 3.

3. We purchased and moved into a new home.

 4. We've had a significant number of losses.

All of the rats passed away due to age-related factors. Some had symptoms of brain tumors, while others passed peacefully overnight.

Lilly passed away during transportation to our new home.

Due to changes in (human)family dynamics and living situations, Princess and Zoomie, the kitties, now live with my grandmother.

I "shut down" the mice and ASF breeding operations and now purchase the snakes' food from a semi-local breeder who practices hygienic and humane breeding and euthanasia.

5. On the flip, there have been some additions.

Shadow, the cat that I proclaimed to be "mine" and demanded that my grandma never ever get rid of or lose, has moved from my grandmother's home into ours.
 
We got a new African Clawed Frog. We got him before Lilly passed away, but have decided to name him "Pad" in her memory. He's a little bit deformed, in a cute way.








A new baby! No, not a furry baby. Not a scaly baby or slimy baby, either. A hairless baby! For now, for the sake of "privacy", we'll call him Little Keeper. As in, My Household Zoo's littlest zookeeper.














I think that's all. I'll be back tomorrow to let you all know where the blog is headed from this point as far as content, frequency, etc. I missed you guys; hope you missed us!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pilling A "Horse".. or a Normal Dog

I've been meaning to post about these two things for awhile, but I haven't gotten to it yet, or until today in the case of one of those things. Firstly, Jack is undergoing immunotherapy/hyposensitization/allergy shots, whichever you'd like to call it. More on that later, because it's a lot of cool and interesting stuff and I recommend it to anyone with an allergic dog.

Secondly, he had his first little "infection relapse" a couple of weeks ago so we took him into the veterinarian. Luckily, he wasn't itching, which is something new to us. However, it started out with a sudden large, oozing, seeping, nasty hot spot under his ear which we treated by trimming the area and cleaning it twice daily with a Povidone Iodine solution. That was his first "real" hot spot, but he always used to get little dry red itchy patches - about dime-sized - that I called hot spots. Only when I met that oozy thing did I realize the true meaning of "hot spot". I considered posting pictures, but I didn't want to gross you guys out.

Anyways, after it cleared up, which only took 2-3 days, his skin started turning dark and crusty. Rather quickly, little crusty patches started to spread from that side of his neck down to his shoulder, chest, then armpits. The hair on these patches would come off in crusty clumps. Again, he wasn't itchy, so I'd never seen anything like this. Cleaning them wasn't helping, so off to the vet we went!

Luckily, Jack didn't have to take the dreaded prednisone because he wasn't itching. He did get a horse-dose of cephalexin, an antibiotic, though. Two of these giant pills twice a day for three weeks. Look at the size of them! Look at the size of the bottle! Bet you've never seen a prescription bottle that big.

His three week course is over now, and his skin is all cleared up. Yay!

I'll share some tips that I use to pill my "horse" and my other dogs. Maybe they can help you too.


  • Cheese. Forget the peanut butter, it's too messy. Plus, I don't know about you guys, but my dogs lick peanut butter, rather than just swallow it like some other dogs do. Eventually he would uncover the pills.
  • Feed an insurance piece before the hidden drugs. It helps, I swear.
  • Really, you don't need a lot of cheese. Check out the small strip I used to cover up two of those giant pills. It's literally like, 1/5th of a slice, and some of it is going to the "insurance piece".
  • Sometimes that fails. Actually, it failed after I took the photos of this pilling, even though it works about 75% of the time. In that case, have your dog sit, quickly open his mouth, push the pills back into his mouth as you can, then hold the mouth shut. Do it quick, because it's really not pleasant for the dog or for you. One thing that I only learned after starting school is that the further you push the pills back, the quicker they swallow. Don't be afraid. Obviously, this is easier on small dogs than large dogs. With Jack, I literally stick my whole hand into his gaping mouth, and end up with slime all the way up to my wrist!
  • And just something that I find amusing:
From: The Frog Man


-Cynthia

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Plea From My "House Mates"

Adopt These Kittens
...Before I bring them home!

Seriously, these buggers are about the cutest darn things I've ever seen. I want to bring each of them home with me. Their personalities are all pretty different. One of them is a foodie. Always seems to be eating. The other is super affectionate. The larger one is a bit more aloof, and he's either sleeping or getting into trouble.

video

Dooo it! Here's their Petfinder page.

video

-Cynthia