Sunday, May 31, 2015

Black and White Sunday

Nikon D3300
35mm lens
ISO 400
WB Cloudy 
Join me and my co-host Sugar for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop! Grab the badge and link up!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Dachshund Nola Mini Reviews: GoMotion LiteBelt

Hey, everyone! I just have a super quick review for you today since I don't have much time and am cramming to schedule a few posts. Between my work, starting my own business, running two blogs (both this one and my brand new book blog, which you can find here if you're interested :D) and their corresponding social media, gardening, reading, and of course the pups, I'm super busy!

Okay, let's get to it. Today's review is of the GoMotion LiteBelt 100. Here's a quick bit about it:

100 lumen CREE LED mounted at waist level on a super-comfortable waist belt for comfort and convenience. Breathable hex mesh - our lightest belt to date! Two pockets in safety orange. Built in red flashing LEDs. Reflective badge and trim. Light weight for recreational running, nordic skiing, and walking. Great for walking the dog after dark (or before light). 
  • 3-Level Beam Intensity 
  • Flood to Spotlight Beam Control 
  • Adjustable Beam Angle 
  • Two Flashing Rear LED Tail-lights 
  • 3 AA Energizer batteries Included  
  • Low Battery Signal

I really loved how this belt had two generously sized zippered pockets on either side. Great spot to put a few dog treats, poop bags, or even your clicker. One side has a special spot to put your phone/iPod earbuds through, but fair warning for iPhone 6 or 6 Plus users: it's a very tight fit. Mine is just the 6, so I don't think a 6 Plus could even fit in it and zipper.
There is a flashing red light in the back, and an adjustable light on the front. They're easy to turn on and off, or brighten or dim. The belt is easy to put on, and comes in one size. I wish it was sized though - I'm thin with no hips to speak of, so there was a lot of slack left dangling against my leg. Being in Florida, it was fairly warm to wear but not as bad as I was expecting. Again with my small frame, it felt a bit bulky, but overall it's a very well designed product.

- Dachshund Mommy

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monday Musings on Tuesday: Feeding Our Dogs - Butt The Fuck Out Of Other's Choices

Hey, everyone! Today's post is going to be on food (always a touchy subject, so let's keep it friendly, a'ight?), and the increase I'm seeing all over social media of bashing others for their choices in what they feed their dogs. Mainly kibble bashing, but it goes both ways. You know what, though? At the end of the day, it doesn't matter worth a damn what someone else feeds their dog, or what others think about what you feed yours (within reason; O'l Roy, Kibbles n' Bits, Benefel, ect are just awful foods no mater how you slice it). You know your dog, and you know what works for them. Fuck what anyone else thinks.
This little talk was partially inspired by a recent change I've made to The Merle Moron's diet, and my struggle with accepting it. I've felt a bit ashamed, even though there's no reason to, and that's sad. No one should be made to feel like a bad owner for doing what's right for their dog. Hopefully I can help someone else going through a similar issue, or just show that you don't know the other person's side of the story, and you should think before you speak.

Over the course of Nola's four and a half years of life, I've fed practically every form of dog food. Dry kibble, wet food, home cooked, dehydrated, raw (both pre-made and prey model raw), grain inclusive, grain free, novel protein, common protein, sky high end, midrange, you name it, and I've more than likely tried it. I've quiet literally tried every diet form for my dogs, so I feel I'm in a competent position to discuss this topic from all sides. My dogs are all different, but only Nola and Pike have really been troublesome with food, so this post is focusing on them.

We'll start with Nola. I do a rotation style diet, changing out the flavor or brand every bag I feed. She is fed a high protein (28-34%), grain free diet. She has allergies to corn and soy, and is sensitive to pork. She is 4.5 years old, medium-high energy, and 9.5-10lbs. She's been fed everything, but is currently on kibble and is absolutely thriving. Gorgeous coat, clean ears, lots of energy, clear eyes, great muscle tone, no smell, no gas, doesn't act like she's starving, tiny poops, ect.
This is the first time in her life she's ever been absolutely perfect on any type of food.
Home cooked was the closest match to her current condition, but even then she'd had occasional gunky eyes, gas or large/soft poop. She looked and acted atrocious on raw, even though I did it the "correct" way. Wouldn't hold her weight, runny eyes, constipation no matter now little bone I fed, itchy skin, filthy ears, low energy, anal gland issues, shedding, and the list goes on and on. Before a raw feeder cries out "it sounds like detox", this issue lasted the entire near 4 months I fed it. If the "detox" takes longer, that's not something I want in my dog's body.
On dehydrated she was painfully thin, low energy, gunky eyes, shedding, and lots of poop. On wet, her breath stunk and she pooped enough for a beagle sized dog instead of a 9-10lb Dachshund.

She looks amazing.

For my girl, a grain free, high protein and higher fat (if she has a low fat and low protein food, she looses so much weigh and her energy plummets. She is 100% healthy, has had blood work done, ect and is normal) kibble is the healthiest choice. This one isn't too bad, since I am feeding her top quality brands like Fromm, Orijen and Acana (with Fromm being the current favorite), but I've still been chastised for not feeding raw. My dog would be sick if I went with what everyone else thought was "best".

Now we have Pike, The Merle Moron. That boy is my special guy, and that carries over with his food. Not only is he insanely picky (oh my god, I can't even describe how picky that boy is when it comes to food...not treats or human food, though. Just food...of course.), has a sensitive stomach, and his coat is finicky as well. He is very, very high energy, and struggles to hold much fat. He's naturally lean, but I try to keep some weight on him.

Pike is 18 months old, 8.5-9lbs, and is on the high end of high energy. He has been fed kibble, raw, wet and dehydrated, grain free and grain inclusive.
Raw made his eyes water constantly, made his coat dull, and he was constantly itchy. He isn't a fan of dehydrated, and barely nibbled it. Wet is hit or miss with him, but gives him huge poop. He also does best on kibble. However, grain free is way too rich for him, even when it's a lower protein/fat formula. It gives him soft poop to flat out canon-butt.
For kibble brands, he's had Wellness (grain inclusive), Wellness CORE (grain free), Orijen (is grain free), Fromm (grain inclusive), Taste of The Wild (is grain free) and Blue Buffalo (grain free and grain inclusive). For each one there's been a big enough problem that I've had to switch.
The latest one has been Fromm Classic, grain inclusive adult dog food. He lost more weight than he's ever lost before (yes, he is completely healthy and has had a full blood panel done), so much that I started feeding him 2-3 raw eggs and scraps in addition to his kibble every day. His coat has also been extremely dry, though I'm not sure if that is because it was very dry here up until a few weeks ago or due to the food. He'd pick at his food, and never had much zest for meal time.

This isn't even fully wet down. You'd have to have put your hands on him to get the full extent.
He was so thin I could count every rib and vertebrae with the lightest touch, and could see his hip bones through his coat. I read everything I could find on dog related Facebook groups, and finally found an interesting thread on my favorite food one (The Dog Food Nerds of Facebook). Someone had had a similar problem with their dog, and they recommended two specific brands that helped their dog immensely. I knew the stigma attached to those brands, and can even admit to buying into it myself. I wouldn't ever chastise someone for what they feed their dog in 98% of cases, but it was still the thought of "I'd never feed my dog that". However, a few days later I gave Pike a bath, saw how thin he was, swallowed my pride, and went with one of the brands I said I'd never give my dog.
Holy hell, the difference it made in just a week and a half was incredible. His energy has improved by leaps and bounds (literally, haha - that guy has springs for feet!), his coat is thick, glossy and gorgeous again, and he's putting on weight at a perfect rate. He is eager for breakfast and is happy to eat all his food in one go, within 5 minutes. This was unheard of before. He looks and acts so healthy, and is the embodiment of a young, healthy, active 18mo old dog. I do not have a single complaint on this food, for the first time ever with him, and he looks and acts incredible.
He's on Eukanuba Small Breed Adult.

Yeah, I know. I had the same reaction before I saw how Pike did on this. And now? Now, I'm just happy to have my dog looking like he should, and enjoys eating.

Hearsay, trends, and personal experiences have no  affect on how my dog will do on a food. Simply because you don't approve of something, or your dog doesn't do well on it, doesn't mean it won't work for someone else. It is not a crime to feed what your dog needs, and it doesn't make you a bad owner.

So that's what's been going on with us in the food department. Lesson of the day is to think before you speak, and to mind your own damn business. ;)

- Dachshund Mommy

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Everyone have a safe and happy Memorial Day, and remember and honor those who have lost their lives fighting for our country.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Black and White Sunday

Nikon D3300
35mm lens
ISO 400
Join me and my co-host Sugar for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop! Grab the badge and link up!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sibling Saturday: When Pike Goes Too Far

Pike loves to do this hideously obnoxious squeal/bark/chirp right in Nola's ear when he instigates play, and the She Devil hates it. She responds by nipping his flank, and always looks so smug afterwards. 

"I warned him, momma!"

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dachshund Nola Reviews: Sojos Wild Dehydrated Raw Dog Food

Hey, everyone! Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes on Wednesday. They made my day!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Sojos about reviewing their new line of Wild dog food. The Wild line offers more novel protein sources such as Boar, Venison and Salmon, so it's a great option for pups that may have allergies or sensitivities to the common proteins like chicken or beef. It's also much higher in protein than there other lines, with each product averaging about 40% protein vs the average 22% of the Complete mix.
I chose the Venison flavor for my dogs, and here's the ingredients for it:

venison, whole egg, cranberries, celery root, green peas, purple sweet potatoes , Flax Seeds, parsnip, green beans, almond bran, coconut, tricalcium phosphate, dried kelp, chard, dried alfalfa, ginger root, vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, zinc sulfate

The Wild line is a completely raw dehydrated food, and you can absolutely tell when you rehydrate it.  The meat looks raw, and you can see the veggies. It's 100% grain and gluten free, USA made and has no added salts or sugars. 1lb rehydrates to 5lbs of food.

This is a sample of the salmon. The dogs love it, but hoooolllyyyy shit does it stink.

How cute is her little tongue? <3

I added a bit too much water to this since Nola is a gulper and floating her food is the only thing that slows her down, but you can see that it's real meat. 

Nola approves!

While I did not feed this consistently, Nola has had several meals of it without any issue. I like the option of adding in a new food source, and this is so easy and convenient. I've also used the pieces as treats, and that was a huge hit.
It's a little bit expensive, but for the way I use it it's not too bad and I would use it again. I recommend this if it sounds like something your dog would like!

- Dachshund Mommy

Thursday, May 21, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life: Week 21


Nikon D3300
35mm lens
ISO 400
WB: Shade

I love the way the evening sky looks through the trees in our front yard. Makes for some great bokeh! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's Not All Glitz and Glamour + Dental Care

Miss Nola is usually thrilled to do product reviews, but sometimes....well, life as a blogging, product testing diva isn't as easy as it seems. ;)

I've worked extensively with my dogs to be tolerant of bathing, and stay put during the scrubbing and rinsing process, so it's an ordeal like it is with most dogs. She's a good sport. ;)

Yesterday Laura of Rubicon Days asked about Nola's food and dental routine. I personally don't think food has too much to do with how good your dog's teeth look, but Nola is on Fromm Four Star Grain Free Dry Dog Food. She is absolutely thriving on it! The kibble pieces are the perfect size, her coat is gorgeous, poops are small, ect.
As for her dental care, I've been brushing her teeth every night since she was about five months old, and she's now 4.5 years old. I don't use any special brush or toothpaste, just diligently do it for around 20-30 seconds every night. It works!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Musings: My Thoughts on Vaccines, and Our Vaccine Protocol (As of Now!)

Hey, everyone! Hope you all had a good weekend. :)

On Saturday, Nola went in for a few vaccines, so I thought now would be a good time to share my thoughts on vaccines, and kind of show our vaccine protocol (which is always changing as I research more!). I'd love to hear y'alls' thoughts on this topic, so please feel free to share in the comments!

Disclaimer: I am not a vet, and this isn't meant as a how-to guide. This is just what works for my dogs at this point in time.

Vaccinations are one of the hottest topics in the dog community (and human, but that's an even bigger can of worms), and it's the one that I'm the most torn on. Unlike with something like food, where you should do what works for your specific dog, vaccines are a bit tougher to gauge.
I constantly go back and forth on my opinion of them as new research comes out, but one thing that never changes is that I am pro vaccine. I'm for vaccines for both animals and humans. Vaccines are life savers, and our world would be a very different place without them. However, I am not okay with the amount of vaccines that are often pushed upon our pets by more "old school" vets, or the people that refuse to look at new research and reevaluate their opinion based on facts. I'm also not okay with every vaccine being given across the board to dogs, without taking the individual's lifestyle and health into account.

Beyond that, my views on the topic aren't solid, and I personally think that's for the best. Not being stuck in my ways allows me to keep up to date with the current studies, and adjust my protocol to fit my individual dog's needs.

My Vaccine Protocol as of May 2015:

There are core and non-core vaccines for dogs. Core are considered necessary for all dogs, and non-core are more optional, and are regional and risk based. 

Core vaccines consist of the following: rabies, canine parvovirus, canine distemper and canine adenovirus-2. 

Non-core vaccines are: canine parainfluenza, canine influenza, distemper-measles (according to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. I haven't heard much about that one, personally), bordetella (kennel cough), leptospira, and Lyme.  There's also canine coronavirus, canine adenovirus -1, and rattlesnake envenomation (not recommended even for dogs that are regularly around snakes from what I'm seeing. Not useful to my dogs, so I haven't looked much into it.

I do not, under any circumstance, give Lepto to the girls (I don't like it at all, but especially not for dachshunds). Dachshunds nearly always have horrible reactions to that particular shot. That said, vaccine reactions are common in the breed, and many other small dogs have the same issue. I give Benadryl 45 minutes before any vaccines per my vet's advice, and haven't had an issue *knocks on wood*.

I have all my puppies vaccinated with the core vaccines, and booster at a year old. I do not utilize the non-core vaccines, with the exception of parainfluenza and adenovirus -1. I've also used Lyme and bordetella in the past, but no longer do so. The rabies vaccine is mandatory here in the US (unless your dog is unable to receive it due to a reaction, and then you must get a written exempt form from your vet), and is either every 1 year or every 3 years. In my area, it's every 3 years. 

On Saturday, Nola was given her 3 year rabies as well as a combo vaccine for distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza and adenovrius 1 and 2. Excluding her rabies, these will most likely be the last vaccines she has. She's currently 4.5 years old, and hasn't had one since her 1 year old boosters and her last rabies. 
The reason I chose to give the DA2P+ Parvovirus is that Nola is the most at risk of all my dogs. She is the one that is out and about the most, and she's the one that travels with me. Therefore, she has the most exposure. In addition to that, Nola will be coming on vacation with me this fall, and will be flying in-cabin with me, so after weighing the pros and cons of revaccinating I decided that it was best for our situation. After these though, I will not be giving her any more, excluding the rabies.

Some may wonder why I chose to give a combo vaccine instead of spacing them out over the course of weeks. There's two reasons for that, and the more major one is that each time your dog gets a shot, there's a risk of reaction. Since Nola is already predisposed to vaccine reactions due to her breed, I feel much more comfortable giving it in one go, rather than spreading and repeatedly chancing a reaction. It's also not fun or comfortable for dogs to get their shots, just like with people. I'd rather her be sore for a day and be done with it. Second and much less important reason is that Nola just does not like the vet. It's one of the few places that actually stresses her out.

My other dogs, who are more homebodies than Nola is, will not be getting any more vaccinations (as of my thoughts now!) after the one year booster, and excluding the 3 year rabies. Their risk is minimal.

Side note that has nothing to do with vaccines: our vet can't believe that Nola is now 4.5 years old. Judging by her teeth, he guessed her to be around a year old. I was praised for the condition that her teeth are in, and preened like a proud peacock. :D

Poor girl was worn out after her shots.

So those are my thoughts in a nutshell, and what I currently do for shots. What do you think of vaccines? Are you for or against them? What is your dog's vaccine schedule like?

- Dachshund Mommy

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Black and White Sunday

Join me and my co-host Sugar for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop! Grab the badge and link up!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dachshund Nola Reviews: Wellness CORE Superfood Protein Bars for

Hey, y'all! It's time for our monthly product review. If you haven't heard of you've been living under a rock, they're an amazing online pet retail company that offers a huge array of products, fast shipping and have the best customer service I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with. I buy all my dog items from them and can't say enough good things about them.

This month I chose Wellness CORE Protein Bars in Beef, Bison and Blueberry flavor. These treats are around $8 for a 5.5oz bag, and are all natural, grain free, USA made treats that have a limited ingredient list. You can find that below (this is obviously the beef flavor):

Beef, Peas, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Bison, Cane Molasses, Salt, Broccoli, Carrots, Blueberries, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Dried Cultured Skim Milk, Rosemary Extract

The dogs all really liked these! They don't have much of a smell, are not at all greasy (huge perk!), and are fairly easy to break up for training or if you have smaller dogs. There's a good amount in the bag for its size, and the treats themselves are 1"-1.5" long. They have a jerky-like texture, and I'm not sure why I was expecting something like a granola bar. :p They come in Beef and Bison, Chicken and Turkey, Salmon and Whitefish, and Duck and Turkey flavors.

Check out that drool!

These are good, healthy treats for a fair price. I would buy them again and recommend them to anyone!

- Dachshund Mommy

I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.