Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pooches: Update On Dog Food, Health and Convenience

As our dogs have been aging, we've been researching ways to keep them healthier, happier and at a good weight. We know how important diet is, though we've realized what worked for our pups a few years ago doesn't always work as they age. When we learned late this past summer that Mr. B was in early stages of kidney disease, we panicked and started him on a prescription diet, but after a couple months, his weight ballooned and he became really sluggish.
We reexamined his food and we modified his diet to one that consists of a limited ingredient canned diet dog food supplemented with fruits and vegetables, lean meats, goat's milk and probiotics
We went in to our veterinarian this past weekend for their 6 month blood and urine test and amazingly, Mr. B's levels went down from early stages of kidney disease to normal (high end) and Miss M's level went down to ideal levels.  
In addition, since we've been adding a dehydrated vegetable mix to their meals, Miss M is no longer 'rubenesque' and vet was so proud to see she is at the ideal weight.
Before Photo:

We are really lucky in Chicago to live near several local pet stores, where we do have options, especially one in general, Liz's Pet Shop. Liz's Pet Shop is a no-frills pet store, packed to the brim with all high quality pet food. Liz is very knowledgeable about the products she carries and she was instrumental in modifying our pooches diet. The pooches used to eat high quality kibble, but now they have a quality canned diet. The extra moisture in the food is also important for their kidneys and keeping them hydrated.
Though we choose to always shop local, one main issue that we have faced is traveling to the store to pick up food for our pooches.
We love being a single car household, especially since I enjoy commuting by bike all year round. However, we can never find time to go to the dog store now that A goes directly to her graduate classes right after school and she gets home well after 10 pm. After one serious scramble when we realized we were out of food and I didn't have a car to carry anything home, we were introduced to Mr. Chewy. 
Mr. Chewy is a newish online store with high quality food that ships free for orders over $50. They offered us a gift certificate to try their service and review it, and we were happy to try it since they carried our hard-to-find canned food, and it would be one time we didn't have to worry about the car schedule. Just like an online grocery store, our order arrived via FedEx to our door and it was nice that I didn't have to bike with several pounds of dog food through major Chicago streets. We are lucky that we do have options, but we think this is a great way to get some hard to find food that we've found is often out of stock in our local stores. Plus A remembers when she didn't have a car and it was so hard to carry Miss M's food, even though the pet store was relatively close. Even Miss M had a hard time carrying her own food in her backpack.

26 comments:

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

SO excited to hear the pups are healthier! Love the Mr Chewy idea! Sounds like our Fresh Direct love!

jet said...

we get locally made dog bikkies delivered to our door - very convenient, and good for the pooches too :)

loveandaleash.com said...

I was noticing that Miss M is looking a little slimmer, but I wondered if it was just in comparison to her somewhat rubinesque foster sister Bessie. I often find myself thinking that Mr Chick is getting chubby, because our fosters area always so darn skinny!

Carrie C said...

Can you tell me more about this diet please? I just lost a 10 year old shih tzu to kidney disease after having him on prescription food for over a year-to no avail. I still have my 7 year old pit mix and I am researching options to change her diet to be less harsh on her system as she gets older. Do you have a post about what you try specifically so I can research-I dont have as many good resources here in my town so I need some info before I go into the local pet store. Thanks

Toad734 said...

HOw old are they ?

SherBear said...

Miss M is looking great!!! Glad that Mr B is doing well :-)

Sarah said...

Congrats on finding the right food to help with Mr B's kidney problems! So often those prescription kibbles just aren't right - animal nutrition science has advanced much and major food brands are way behind. Sounds like you've got a great local pet store to help you find the right solution for your Elderbulls. :)

livierules said...

Has anyone here experience what I can only describe as break outs around their dog's mouth? Thanks!

Froggy said...

This week I took pug to the vet and was just told to remove some kibble and supplement with green beans since he cant exercise like he used to. This morning I tried it for the first time and he loved it! I am going to check out Mr. Chewey's!

Emily said...

What brand of canned food do you use?

Two Pitties in the City said...

We're not doctors or nutritionists, so we were weren't sure how much to share about our specific products as we don't want to mislead anyone if it doesn't work for your dog. We did find out that there are several limited ingredient canned products, made of real food, that give more offer more hydration and are less harsh on their system than a dry kibble (even if it's high quality protein kibble) and the price can be comprable What we've been using is Natural Balance limited ingredient can, which we can only find in certain stores and can be out of stock, so we were super-excited to see an online option....especially when it comes to lugging home a bunch of cans. If you live in Chicago, we can't recommend Liz's pet store enough. She really knows a lot about a lot of different products and pet issues. We have Bessie on our dehydrated vegetable mix with proteins and she lost a pound in her first week with us and has a new spark in her step. We are using goats milk with Mr B, though Miss M can't seem to handle the goats milk and has thrown up. We were really excited to see the results from our dogs, who are 7-8ish, though again...we don't want to mislead anyone that this will work for all dogs. Though we would recommend Liz's Pet Shop in Chicago for all nutritional questions.

Alanna said...

That's great the pups are healthier! Even though my 4 and a 1/2 yr old dog always been healthy and slim I often feel guilty that I feed my dog grocery store brand food. I don't have a car and can't afford the vet brand food (I'm also not convinced it's worth it) so I've ended up just trying to supplement her diet with veggie "treats" (which luckily she loves) and healthy leftovers from my own meals. Ideally I'd like to give her more "real" food and less kibbel but have been unsure as to how much and what I should give her. The online store sounds awesome - I'll have to check that out.

Kate said...

I'm so glad that Mr. B is doing better on his new diet :) I was wondering how that was going.

HoundDogMom said...

We love Mr. Chewy as well. You will have to stop by tomorrow for the big announcement. We won't disappoint you. Sniffs,The HoundDogs

Carrie C said...

Thanks-very good information. I have learned so much from your blog!! Really apppreciate it:)

Corbin said...

Corbin eats Natural Balance and I've been nothing but pleased with their products. This is a great post on the importance of nutrition.
-Corbin's momma Jenn

Kimberley said...

I never heard about Mr. Bs Kidney Problems. My eyes teared up a bit, but I was relieved to know his tests came back better this time. We are keeping our paws crossed for him to keep recovering.
www.hatethedeed.blogspot.com

Two Kitties One Pittie said...

YAY for Liz's and goat's milk! As I told you before, the cats love it too. So glad the pooches are healthier. They look great. :)

Tucker The Crestie said...

So glad to hear that Miss M. and Mr. B. are doing so well on their present diet. I am 100% convinced it makes all the difference in the world. Prescription foods, IMO, often create more problems than they are allegedly solving. As you stated, the most important thing for optimum kidney health is getting as much moisture into the diet as possible. It's awesome that you have such a great local resource for these wonderful products and the opportunity to receive guidance from someone who is familiar with all of them and which ones will work best for your dogs? And who is Bessie? How have I missed hearing about her?

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Congratulations on the good health report. YEAH!!!! Good news is so refreshing and uplifting.

Just wondering... do Miss M and Mr. B brush their teeth? We were told that keeping our teeth brushed can help prevent heart and kidney issues. Actually the Dr. would like to do a professional cleaning on my teeth but Mom's not liking the idea of anesthesia and has increased our brushing. Be very careful of the liquid additive you can put in water some contain ingredients toxic to dogs like xylitol. Luckily we read the label before using and returned it for a refund.

May I ask why goats milk? We are always interested improving health and nutrition.

Emma

Virginia said...

Thank you for the Mr Chewy tip!! We have three dogs plus usually a foster dog, and we are about 25 minutes from the nearest pet supply store (which is a chain anyway, so no love lost!). Ordered two bags of Wellness yesterday from Mr Chewy, and saved about $7 per bag - plus gas money! :) Yay!

road-dog-tales said...

haha We just posted our Mr. Chewy review today! And you two are looking mighty fit and trim!

The Road Dogs

Two Pitties in the City said...

Livierules: Our dogs haven't had that type of problem, but maybe check with Two Pitties and a Kitty: http://twokittiesonepittie.blogspot.com/
I know Zoe has been having all kinds of allergies.

Emma: I don't know the specifics on the goats milk; I think it has something to do with their diet being all grass, but a lot of people swear by it. We just pour a bit on top of Mr B's food. Whatever we're doing, the pooches love it and they're in great health now.

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Thanks for the info. I might have to try some goats milk.

Thank you for the link to Mr. Chew it looks like they carry our special food too. It's hard to find and we have to special order it from our local pet store.

Emma

Emily said...

We are big Natural Balance fans! We do the dry kibble with a mix of the wet canned food. I feel it's affordable but still a good product.

Virginia said...

First order from Mr Chewy arrived today, and perfect timing because we've had snow and sleet for two days and there was no chance of me doing any errands today! Very reassuring to know that we are well stocked in case the weather continues. Thank you for sharing the info about mr chewy!

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