We had our first unexpected vet visit this summer. While reading up about getting a dog (before we had any) I read a lot about the cost of a dog. I wanted to make sure we could afford one before we brought a dog home. It was clear to me from reading articles that the biggest factor in how expensive or affordable a dog is, is how often they require vet care. For example, my neighbor is a vet tech who adopted a bulldog last fall when she was 8 weeks old. She was backed into with a lawn mower and has had a few variations of cast on her leg since then. She also jumped down off of a bed and hit the side of a dresser (or chest?) and injured her jar so she had these elastic wrap things around her mouth for a while. Being a vet-tech, she had insurance on the dog but they still paid over 6,000 in vet bills! It would have been much worse without the insurance.
So, I consider myself really lucky that we went an entire year of having both Frank & Beans before we had an emergency & that our emergency was really quite small. We don’t have a washer and dryer hookup at our apartment and our bedroom ceiling leaks when it rains really hard (have I mentioned that I am counting the days until our lease is up? Ugh..) anyway, it rained hard twice in one week so both sets of fitted sheets that I have for our bed got wet. So we opted to sleep on the bed without a fitted sheet for a night until we could get to a laundrymat. The dogs sleep in bed with us.
In the middle of the night I sit up straight in bed because Frank lets out a yelp like I have never heard before. I am in that weird half awake state of confusion and I can tell that he’s kicking his leg frantically. So we turn on the light to discover that Frank is stuck to the bed by a piece of thick thread. Ryan runs and grabs scissors to cut him lose. We eventually realize that his nail got caught in the top layer of the bed and he must have yanked his leg so hard that it cracked the nail. Somehow, the thread of the top of the mattress wound up running through the crack on his nail but his nail was still fully attached. The crack as high enough on the nail that I was afraid to try and cut it myself so we promptly made a vet visit. Here is what the nail looked like with the material from the bed running through it.
I’m sharing this story for two reasons. One is so that others will learn that this can happen to your dog – it’s important to keep a sheet or mattress pad of some kind over your mattress. But it’s also likely that it would have been prevented if we kept his nails really short. Frank submits to having his nails trimmed SO much better at the vet than he does at home, so we used to take him in monthly to have it done but his nails would get long before the month was up. It’s a good idea to have them trimmed more often.
Have you ever had any accidents with your dogs nails?
With any dog, it’s important to be conscious of how well (or how poorly) they handle various temperatures. With my senior pugs, it’s extremely important to be conscious of the heat because they overheat very easily. They start panting before humans even feel uncomfortable. So on days when it’s uncomfortably warm for humans, we have to be careful to make sure they don’t overheat. Since bringing Frank & Beans home over a year ago, we’ve learned several ways that help dogs beat the heat.
10 ways to help dogs beat the heat:
1. Use air conditioning. Prior to getting the pugs, we were cheap and would try to avoid using A/C here in Michigan unless it got realy unbearable and then we would only turn it on for an hour while the place cooled down adn then we’d kick it back off until it got uncomfortable again. With the pugs, particularly Beans, we use the air conditioning more often to keep her comfortable. Fans can help a little bit too but many dogs won’t lay directly in front of a fan and fans aren’t nearly as successful at truly lowering the inside temperature so AC is better if possible.
2. Avoid spending long amounts of time outside when it’s hot. We try to avoid going outside during the peak heat hours (roughly noon to 3 or so). To get in play time (or walks) we go early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.
3. Keep plenty of fresh water available at all times.
4. Doggy popsicles – similar to how we enjoy ice cream or popsicles when we’re hot, dogs like them as well. Some dogs will even enjoy plain water ice cubes to lick or play with. My dogs are pickier so we make Homemade Dog Ice Pops with healthy ingredients that help with their digestion, too.
5. Cooling dog mat. There are a handful of companies that make mats that can be frozen or have water added to give your pup a cold place to lay. On my other blog, Emily Reviews, I reviewed the Cool Pet Pad which doesn’t have any ‘prep’ required which is nice.
6. Put on a cold bandana or shirt. I just use bandanas or dog t-shirts that we already own and soak them in cold water to get them cold and put them on the pugs. If the material loses its cold feeling, just re-soak.
7. iCool scarf cooling dog collars. I got these for review on Emily Reviews as well. They are more convenient than soaking a regular shirt or bandana because they stay cold for hours.
8. Frozen water bottles. Fill old water bottles or 2 liter soda bottles with water and freeze. I had a friend tell me that her dogs love playing with and laying on them. I tried making some for my pugs and they were scared of them but it’s worth a try.
9. Baby pool swimming. If your dog enjoys playing in water, you can buy the blue baby pools at many stores for under $10. They are a fun, fairly inexpensive way for dogs to cool off if they enjoy water.
10. Grooming. If your dog is a longer haired breed that requires grooming, be sure to keep up with their grooming during warmer months to help them keep cool.
How do you help your dogs stay cool in the summer?
Warning – this blog post discusses dog poo.
We’ve tried a variety of different dog foods with Frank & Beans. Some of the foods that we’ve tried have resulted in their bathroom habits being very irregular, while others have been much better for their digestive systems. Yet, we’ve never found a food that made them completely regular on it’s own. So, they get a spoonful of pumpkin puree which does a great job of regulating them because it’s high in fiber. You can find canned pumpkin in the baking aisle near pie fillings but make sure that you get 100% pure pumpkin so that it doesn’t have added sugar and other ingredients.
Because we only use two spoonfuls of pumpkin a day, we used to waste a lot of the can. So I started trying to brainstorm ways that we could stop wasting the pumpkin and I decided to make doggy popsicles using pumpkin which turned out great. Beans isn’t a fan of eating the pumpkin by itself, I usually have to stick a treat in the middle of the spoon of pumpkin for her to try it. So, I took a can of wet dog food that I had on hand and mixed it with a half-can of pumpkin.
I added about a half of a cup of water to the mixture and then filled up an ice tray (that I found at a yard sale for .25 so I wouldn’t have to use the ones we humans use for our ice). I had a bit left over so I made two bigger popsicles in small bowls that I had. In the smaller bowls I added more water to compare how the popsicles would turn out.
The ice-cube tray popsicles were able to be chewed (while still frozen) by my dogs. If you want your dogs to lick them instead of chewing them, I would recommend adding at least a full cup of water when making these. The bowl-popsicles that I made with more water weren’t able to be chewed so the dogs licked them for probably half an hour before they were completely consumed. These also make a great hot-day long lasting treat for dogs.
Doggy popsicles that aid in healthy digestion:
1 can wet dog food
1/2 can pure pumpkin
1 cup water
Makes about 1.5 ice-cube trays worth.
Our main expense this month was a trip to the vet which I will talk about in its own blog post.We had food remaining from months prior and didn’t buy any treats. We did place a “chewy” order and then I got tons of chewies for review (doesn’t it always work that way? lol). But of course, they love their chews so they’ll get used up in time anyway.
Vet visit – $47 and change.
Petflow “chewy” order – $15
Frontline – $34
Adams Flea Spray – $20
Total out of pocket: $116
We had a lot of dog products sent for review this month as well, mainly because of the 1 year furever family celebration that I did on Emily Reviews. That list:
handmade dog bed – $168 value
3 bags milos treats – $4.50 per bag, $13.50 value
4 bags wellness core dog treats, $7 bag, $28 value
2 icool dog scarfs – $13 each, $26 value total
A dog bowl mat, bag of bully sticks, and two bags of treats from Loving Pets. Total value – $45
3 “random assortment” chew bags ($25), 3 bags of treats ($18), two bags of windee rings ($9) from Jones Natural Pets – $52 value
Solvit dog kennel – $180 value
4 bags Zukes lil links – $6/bag so $24 total
2 minimus.biz travel towels, $20 value total
3 bags of treats & a toy from Bartleys – $42
AKC BFF box – $45 value
Pet Wellbeing supplements – $63
Total review item value – $706. Wowza.
Today, July 15th, makes a whole year since we drove across town to pick up Frank and Beans, my two pugs. It’s our one year furever family day. If you haven’t already, feel free to check out our pug adoption story blog post to learn how it all came about.
A few weeks ago, my pet hedgehog Henry passed away. I went to fill his food dish one day and realized that he hadn’t eaten much since the last time I filled it. So I started looking him over and realized that he had a strange looking growth on the roof of his mouth. I gave him a tiny piece of chicken and he chewed it but couldn’t seem to swallow. So we took him to the vet who told us these oral growths are very common in hedgehogs. She said she had tried to remove several but had never had one be successful. There isn’t any way to ‘shrink them’, and they just grow over time until they are unable to eat at all. I knew it was already affecting his ability to eat and didn’t want him to suffer so we had him put down. It was really difficult. Henry was the first pet that I ever had as an adult and even though I only had him for 3.5 years, it’s strange to not have him around anymore.
Anyway, my reason for sharing about Henry is it’s made me really aware of the fact that my time with Frank & Beans is limited. I would love to see them both live another ten years (I’ve heard of pugs living to 20 and 21, though its of course rare). But the reality is that they are now 9 and 10 years old. They both still get around really well, and will run and play whenever I start roughousing or playing with them. Maybe once a week they will still get sassy and invite a play-session on their own. While they clearly aren’t puppies, they don’t seem like they have truly ‘slowed down’ to me. My mother in laws 7 year old dog is much more sedentary than Frank & Beans. Yet, we really have no way of ever knowing how long they have. It could be 10 years or it could be 2 weeks. Since losing Henry, I have found myself being so conscious and “in the moment” to play with them, give them extra-long petting or scratching sessions. My pugs are truly such precious gifts. Someday they won’t be here to jump on me, wake me up, sneeze in my face, or to play, cuddle, run or just BE with. I am so thankful that I decided to take the risk and bring them both home a year ago today. It’s easily one of the better decisions I’ve made. I have no idea how many more years I have with these two pugs but I’m going to try to make the most of the time that we do have.
Happy furever family day Frank & Beans.
(32.66) 3 pack of frontline
(22.99) 20lbs of diamond naturals lamb meal & rice formula.
$24.97, Dremel. Just arrived yesterday, hoping it will cause less anxiety than traditional nail trimmers.
$8.57, bag of bully bites
Total out of Pocket for April: $89.17
I also got stuff for the dogs through blogging. I am going to keep track of what I get them through blogging but in a separate area. Some things I get through blogging are necessary and I would have purchased if I didn’t get them via blogging and others aren’t.
(47.63 total)(2) Puppia harnesses. $21.64 + $25.99
$10 value. (2) small bags of milkbone brushing chews. Roughly
($24.99) Ecloth dog shammy size small
(roughly $20) Dingo Market cuts jerky 16oz
$6 value - (2) 2.7oz dogswell treat bags. Sponsor says they are a $9.99 value but they lasted like 2 days I would never have paid that much out of pocket for how tiny the bags were. The same brand has 32oz bags for $12-$14 on amazon so these seem really high priced. I would say they are more like a combined $6 value.
Total value from blogging ($108.63)
Less than two months ago I shared our pug adoption story. In it, I explained that when they were with us for about 2 months they began to play with toys with us. I said that since then, things had always been the same. I had thought that it took about 2 months for them to completely relax around us and be themselves.
Until yesterday. Yesterday, I was cooking and Ryan was playing with the pugs. Suddenly there was this yelp. Frank has what I assume is some arthritis and/or joint pain in his back legs/hip area. If we pet him too rough in that area, he sometimes yelps. His yelps always sound the same, though. This time, the yelp sounded completely different. I headed for the living room and Ryan answered the question that I hadn’t yet had time to ask “That was Beans!”
It was the first time she had helped around us. They are very attatched to us, almost always within 2 feet of either Ryan or myself. She inevitably gets stepped on at least once or twice a month by accident. She never yelps. She once came into contact with a lab easily four times her size. He sniffed her, very gently at first and then in a split second his entire mouth was around her neck. My heart stopped. I let out some kind of noise as I yanked her up into my arms away from the big dog. She made no noise.
So, while it may seem strange to some, it felt great to her her yelp. It felt great that she finally feels like she can tell us when she is in pain. I hope that she continues to freely express her discomfort when needed.
Did your dogs hold any aspect of their personalities or behaviors back until they had been with you for months? What was it?
Yesterday, Ryan was playing a video with a cat meowing in it, these videos are what followed. Beans LOVES to chase kitties (and anything else that runs). We had a good laugh watching her try to find the cat.
& part 2:
This is the second part of our Pug adoption story. Click the link below to see read part one first.
I had heard that bringing home a pet usually goes one of two ways. Sometimes there is a “honey moon” period where the pet is really well behaved for a while and then starts being naughty. The other thing I’ve heard is that when dogs struggle with the transition, they might act out and have potty accidents at first and then things get better. Neither of these seemed to happen with Frank & Beans. They never had any potty accidents or showed any aggression while transitioning into our family. Neither of them were very interested in eating for about two weeks. They did eat, but not very much. I didn’t think to weight them early on, but they were both overweight when we got them and showed physical signs of weight loss by week three, but then they began to maintain their weight after that. They could still each stand to lose a pound or two but their body shape suggests that they are at a healthier weight now. Frank lost his big belly and now has a slight waist, and so does Beans.
At about day three, Beans was completely glued to me. If I went potty, she sat on the bathroom floor. If I took a shower, she stared at me. If I checked the mail, she came with me. If I made lunch or did the dishes, she came along too. Frank bonded to Ryan in the same way (though even early on he’d trade to being my shadow if I were cooking – his true loyalty is always food!). I think it was about two weeks after that that Frank also came to bond tightly with me and Beans began to bond more with Ryan at that time as well. With us both working online from home, we spend a lot of time on computers. After a couple of weeks of both dogs wanting to sit on our laps while on our computers, we broke down and bought a used recliner that we positioned in front of the computer desk. It looks absolutely crazy but the dogs were so much happier once they were able to have “laptime” for hours a day every day. They are such true lapdogs.
A few weeks after getting the dogs, I checked the previous owners Facebook and saw that she tried to get rid of them in March of 2012, 15 months prior to when she gave them to me.
Working from home means we get to be with the dogs a lot and only leave when we run errands or go to birthday parties or to meet with friends, which is maybe once or twice a week for a few hours at a time. Even just a few weeks in, it was obvious that they experienced pretty severe separation anxiety. Ryan’s mom loves them and she’s home most of the time so we’ve been blessed to be able to have her ‘dog-sit’ when we do go out. She tells us that they cry while we’re gone. They cry a little bit when we take them for rides to the vet or on the drive to Ryan’s moms house. When we moved to our new apartment about a month and a half ago, they whined LOUDLY the entire drive, almost a sob-like whine. Of course, they had seen us move our belongings out of our old place piece by piece. It really felt like they thought we were about to go drop them off and just leave them. It haunts me to think of how they cry when I leave or when they think I am leaving but they didn’t cry when we first got them from their previous owner, or in those first few days at our place. I hope that isn’t a sign of the lack of a bond that they had with that owner but instead is just a behavior that they didn’t feel comfortable showing in front of strangers. Yet, they cried in front of Ryan’s mom right away. I don’t know. I just try not to even think about it.
The first two months or so that the dogs lived with us, they showed no interest in any toys. I had actually came ot the conclusion that they didn’t even like toys and then one day, we had a dog toy come for review and they went crazy for it. While they love to play with Ryan & I now, they don’t play with other people. They have come to know various family members including my kid sister, 3 year old nephew, Ryan’s mom, step-dad and brother, etc but if any of them try to get the dogs to play with a toy, they show no interest. Even if they try using one of the dogs’ favorite toys. So clearly, they take play to be a very intimate thing that requires a great deal of trust.
After learning that they do like toys at about two months in, we haven’t really seen any changes in the dogs since then. They sleep in our beds, beg for our food and they prefer to be physically touching us at all times. Beans is definitely still more bonded to me, though she absolutely loves Ryan as well. Frank adores Ryan and wags his tail every time Ryan even glances at him. When Ryan talks to him and tells him things like “You’re such a good boy” or “You’re a sweet boy” his curly little pug tail wags so quickly that I think he’s going to liftoff the ground like a helicopter. I barely ever get tail wags from Frank, but we have a special bond as well. Sometimes when I wake up at night to roll over and get comfortable, I (intentionally or by accident) wake Frank up while moving and he will wake up groggy. Every time that this happens, he does the exact same thing – he walks up near my pillow, sniffs my face, licks me and then goes back down to his spot and gets comfortable again. It almost seems like he has to come sniff me to see if its still me and then once he realizes it is he has to show a little affection before heading back to sleep. It melts my heart every time.
Last week I listed some things online that I had gotten for the dogs but they never liked or used (including their old kennel) I had someone ask me if I had gotten rid of the pugs.
My answer was “I can’t imagine that I could ever do that.”