Help! We’re over run!

November 21, 2008

AM Routine

Filed under: Humor, Personal — Tags: , , , — myminizoo @ 3:01 am

various-pete-061

We had a visitor the other day. They seem to be few and far between, hmmm I wonder why! It just got me thinking how bizarre our lifestyle must seem to an outsider. It’s so pet-centric, that we must appear to be mildly insane. The craziest time of day, hands down, is the morning. It also happens to be the time that I am the most fragile, as I am really not a morning person. It goes something like this.

6:30 am- Sencha starts his morning meowing shtick. If I want to sleep in for another hour or so, I let him meow, but if I am getting up soon it sort of functions as a really annoying alarm clock.

6:45 am -Alaska starts trying to open the door by standing up and jiggling the knob, a trick he recently picked up (yay)

7:00 am- The alarm rings. I hit Mike so he hits snooze.

7:05 am- The dogs, woken up by the alarm come over in an attempt to get us up. They proceed to lick anything that is in reach. Toes, fingers, mouth, whatever.

7:10- When that doesn’t work they start to wrestle with eachother, running around the bedroom tackling eachother.

7:15- Eventually we wake up. One of us usually comments ” The natives are restless, time to get up.”

7:20- As soon as we open the door the cats freak out, meowing and trying to trip me on my way into the kitchen

7:25- YUM, nothing like the smell of fresh chicken liver first thing in the morning, or the slimey feeling of raw chicken pieces

7:30- As the cats devour their breakfasts, we get ready to go outside. I place Roxy in her crate so she doesn’t pee on the floor ( sometimes she just can’t wait) Once in there she whines at an incredibly high pitched frequency until we are ready to go. Hats, mits, boots, coat? Check. poo bags and treats? Check. Two very excited dogs? Check.

7:35- We head out on our usual hour long am walk in the bitter cold. It’s better if you stay moving!

8:35- Everyone is happy, fed and exercised, and we get ready to face the day. I need COFFEE!

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November 12, 2008

The Gang

Filed under: Personal, Pets — myminizoo @ 10:31 pm

Some of you may know my zoo, but for those of you who are a bit fuzzy ( I know I know, its hard to keep track) here’s a refresher.

Name: Tulip
Breed: Shetland Sheepdog                                     mont-royal-0151

Age: 4 years

From: Animatch Rescue in Montreal, QC

Tricks : play dead, paw, sit up, bow, under, go around, spin, turn, touch, up, round

Cutest Habit- Sleeping in the middle of the floor on her back completely spread eagle

Most annoying habit- barking when she hears noises in the apartment

 

 

Name: Roxy                                     roxy-3-016

Breed: Sheltie mix

Age: 1 Year and a bit

From: Some people that didnt want her anymore

Tricks: spin, turn, bow, paw, high five, up

Cutest Habit: She knows she’s not allowed to jump 

so she stands up on her hind legs in front of you

Most annoying habit: Insasiable lover of squirrels

becomes totally deaf when she sees one! 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Sencha                                 sencha                                           

Age: 2 Years

From: SPCA Montreal

Cutest Habit: Comes up to you and gives

you kisses

Most annoying Habit: Meowing and meowing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Alaska                                     various-pete-058

Age: 1 year

From: I raised him from a kitten

along with his 4 brothers and sister

Cutest Habit: Purrs for everything,

loves to be handled..you can do

anything to him!

Most annoying habit: His farts can

clear the room in 30 seconds flat!

About: Raw Food Diets

Filed under: Raw Food Diet — myminizoo @ 12:16 am

 

dog_cat_aroma 

 

What is a raw food diet?

 Well, the formal name for raw food diets is BARF. It sounds gross, but its just an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The diet was developed by an Australian vet, Dr. Ian Billinghurst. He felt that the reason there are so many debilitating diseases in dog and cats was because of over processed pet food. So he developed a diet that he felt mimicked the ideal diet, the diet that wolf would eat in the wild.

 Ok, but what do you feed your dogs?

 Well first of all everything they eat is raw, to supply the maximum amount of nutrients. The basis of their diet is Raw Meaty Bones. Raw Meaty Bones supply the optimal calcium phosphorus ration, and ensure than imbalances don’t occur. The bones can come from many different protein sources such as chicken, turkey, lamb or duck. An example of a raw meaty bone would be chicken backs, lamb riblets, or turkey necks. Sixty to seventy percent of the diet should be raw meaty bones, and these bones should have approximately a 50/50 meat to bone ratio. The other 30-40 % of the diet should be divided between muscle meat, organ meat, eggs, yogurt, and vegetables. Vegetables must always be pureed as dogs have a hard time breaking down the cellulose wall of whole raw vegetables.

 

The requirements are similar for cats with a few exceptions. Cats required a diet that is 50% Raw Meaty Bones. The other 50% should be divided between muscle meat, organ meat, eggs and yogurt. Cats have no need for vegetables or grains. This is because the cat is a pure carnivore. They lack salivary amalyse, the digestive enzyme that breaks down starch in the mouth. Many of the debiltating diseases in cats such as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity are a direct result of feeding too many carbohydrates. The other thing to consider with cats is that they don’t manufacture the amino acid Taurine as dogs do. Therefor they must recieve this in the diet, either in the diets ingredients or as a supplement. Heart, red meat, clams and oysters are all high in Taurine.

 

 

You feed them bones? But, I thought bones were dangerous for dogs?

 

 

 It depends on the type of bones and also on how your dog eats. I feed my dogs only raw bones which splinter much less than cooked bones. They also gets mostly non weight bearing bones, such as chicken carcasses or lamb riblets. These are much less brittle than big leg bones. They is very careful and chews then bones well. I know many people who feed raw and have never had a dog choke on a bone. However, if you are worried you can always grind the bones for your dog. Grinding might also be a good option if your dog tends to gulp his food, or if you have a small dog.

Cat’s can also handle raw bones, however I chop the bones up into small chunks to make it easier for them to handle.

 

What are the reasons you feed this diet?

 

 

 Raw food is an alternative to commercial highly processed productsThe pet food industry is very poorly regulated and was invented to get rid of waste products from food manufacturing that companies didn’t know what to do with. There is no way of knowing by reading the back of the bag what quality the ingredients or what their digestibility is. Recently there was a huge pet food recall because food was contaminated with melamine. Many pets died and many are left with permenent kidney damage from this episode. Feeding raw allows you to have more control over what your dog eats. Especially with the pet food recalls this is an important consideration. Also, the benefit of feeding good quality fresh food can not be denied. Everything I feed is in its natural state and none of the vitamins or enzymes are damaged by high temperatures. Ultimately this it the diet for me but individuals have to read and research on their own and come to their own decisions.

 

 

 But why do you need to feed bones? Couldn’t I just give a calcium supplement with meat?

 

 

 Of course, as long as the calcium was given in appropriate amounts. However, the main benefit to feeling bones is that bones help clean the teeth. Dogs that are fed raw bones will never have to have a dental and you won’t have to brush their teeth. Peridontal disease it one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats and cat lead to kidney disease and heart murmurs. Another benefit of feeing bones is that the chewing action exercises the dog’s jaws and provides mental stimulation. If you don’t feed raw bones you will still have to brush your dog’s teeth.

 bowls1

 Can I feed my dog grains?

 

 

 Grains are not recommended in the BARF diet as grains are not a natural food for dogs. The only carbohydrates a dog would eat in the wild would be the stomach contents of their prey, and a small amount of berries or roots. Most commercial foods use grains as filler, but dogs have limited ability to digest them. Grains such as corn can be attributed to many sensitivities and allergies. As well cooked grains digest at a different rate than raw food so feeding them at the time can cause the meat to remain in the digestive system too long and ferment.

 

 

 But why go to all that work? What are some of the benefits of feeding this diet?

 

 

 Well each dog varies, but dog that are fed raw usually experience:

  • shinier coats
  • more vitality and energy
  • less stool volume
  • reduced doggy odour
  • fewer allergy problems
  • decrease in ear infections
  • cleaner teeth and fresher breath     This all translates into fewer vet visits!

 

 How do you know that your dog’s diet is balanced?

 

 

 If you feed a diet that is at least 60% raw meaty bones with the rest being, muscle meat, organ meats, and veges your dog will receive all the nutrients he needs. Remember that everything is fresh and all the nutrients are in their most available state. They may not get everything nutrient all in one day, but over a 2 week period it will balance out. You don’t need a degree in nutrition, just some basic knowledge, and as much variety in protein and vegetable sources as possible.

 

Do you add any supplements?

 

 I add a few supplements. Different experts have different recommendations. If the diet is varied then supplements may not be necessary. I’ve settled on a few that I think are important. My dogs get Fish Oil, for the Omega 3 fatty acids with are excellent for his skin and coat. They also gets Vitamin E and C for their antioxidant value, and kelp for the many trace minerals it provides.

 

 

 How much food do you feed your dogs per day?

 

 

 Well, generally you should feed between 2-3% of the dog’s ideal body weight. If your dog is very active you should feed closer to the 3 % mark. Start with 2% and then watch your dog’s waistline and add or deduct as needed. 

 

 

 But I’m worried about bacteria. Aren’t you afraid that your dogs will catch something?

 

 

  Well actually dogs are much less likely to get sick from bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli than humans. These organisms usually just pass through the dog without causing it any harm. The only time I would be concerned is if your dog is severely immune compromised or is on steroids. These may interfere with his body’s ability to fight infection, so a cooked food diet would be a better option.   Another factor to consider is that bacteria may not affect your dog, but his feces may still have the live bacteria in it, so it’s important to pick up and dispose of it promptly to avoid cross contamination. Also, to avoid cross contamination all bowls and food preparation equipment should be disinfected properly between uses, and the dog should be fed on a plastic mat that also should be disinfected between uses.

 

This all sounds like a lot of work! How much time does it take you to prepare all this food?

 

 

  It’s not as much as you might think. I purchase other raw meaty bones and package them in 1 serving bags and throw them in the freezer. I also do this with organ and muscle meat. Every few weeks I prepare a big batch of vegetable mush. I puree a variety of veges and freeze them in Ziploc bags. Each night I take out a bag of RMB’s for the next day, every few days I take out one of organs or meat and one of vege mix. To put it all together every day takes me 5 minutes. I weigh the portion to make sure I’m feeding the right amount, then I add in the vege mix, an extra such as organ meat, muscle meat, egg, yogurt, or fish. Add supplements and you’re done.

 

 

 Well it must be expensive!

 

 

 It is probably comparable to feeding a good quality kibble or canned product. If you have freezer space and can purchase ingredients in bulk you will save a lot. Shop around and look for good deals!

 

 

 Where would I go to get more information?

 

 

 I suggest you do as much research as you can before you start. There are many authors that have written books on the subject. Do some reading and find out what the nutrition experts say.I can reccomend good books or websites if you wish If possible talk to others who feed raw. You have to get educated and find out what is best for your dog. Consider consulting a holistic vet and getting his opinion. Some holistic vets have nutritionists on staff that may be able to give you valuable advice.

Good Luck and Happy Raw Feeding!

 

 

 

November 11, 2008

The Dream

Filed under: Personal — myminizoo @ 4:17 pm

 

I’ve always known I wanted to work with animals. Depending on the day I think of it as a blessing or a curse! This is because its difficult to know what to do as there are so many options. I’ve thought of doing training, boarding, grooming, vet tech, and opening a dog business. Recently I’ve developed the dog business idea a bit more.

  So, I’ve put it in the 10 year plan to move to the country and start a dog camp and training center. I’ve thought a lot about what people are looking for in a kennel when they have to leave their dogs, and also what I would look for if I had to leave my two. So here’s the pitch, let me know what you think.

The Concept: A free range boarding facility. A camp for your dog. Somewhere where your dog could run or play all day, instead of spending all day in a cage, as in traditional boarding facilities. This could be marketed as a getaway for city dogs, and it would be a big draw for owners of dogs that live in apartments, as it would offer the chance for their dog to run free in the country

 

dog-camp-boarding-kennel-picture21I would have a barn or similar type structure with pens all the way around the interior. Each pen would have a raised bed, ( kinda like a cot), with a fleece mat. The pens would not be made of chainlink but propably plexiglass, so they don’t look like jail cells! The dogs would only be caged for eating and sleeping. The rest of the day they would have full access to the outdoor area. The outdoor area would be at least 3 acres, it would include lots of trees for shade and a pond for swimming. As well I would want some ramps and big tunnels for them to play on. I would also have a seperate area with runs for dogs that were having issues and needed a time out from the large playgroup.

Clientel- All dogs would have to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and very social. They would all be prescreened for dog aggression. Only friendly sociable dogs would be accepted.

I would also offer a shuttle service to and from the nearest city. I would have a drop point, meet all the owners, load up all the dogs in individual crates and head back. If there were two runs a day, I could also market it as a daycare, and city dogs could just come in for the day.

 

 

 

 

dog_bath2I would offer basic grooming services to start ( brush, nails, baths) maybe adding in cuts as the business was more established. Free baths would be offere to dogs staying a week or more in boarding.

Training classes offered while the dog boards, on an individual basis, or group. Also agility classes.

I have lots more ideas…but I’ll spare you all the gory details for now!

November 3, 2008

The beginning

Filed under: Pets — Tags: , , — myminizoo @ 4:03 am

Following in the foot steps of several members of my family ( somehow I keep doing that)!, I’ve decided to write a bit to express myself, and maybe to give you all a glimpse of my day to day life. As some of you know I have always loved animals and my wish has always been to be surrounded by them all the time. Well that came true. These days I’m a personal slave to 2 ungrateful cats, Sencha and Alaska, and 2 slightly more grateful dogs, Roxy and Tulip. To clarify, personal slave means I clean them, feed them, pick up their crap and act as their bed or pillow if need be. ( there is one sitting on me as I write). In some strange way, though, I love it. We really are over run! We live in a 1 bedroom apartment with 4 pets! Yup, we’re crazy. Our day to day life usually entails cleaning up some indescribable mess off the floor( trust me you don’t want to know what it was), cleaning the furballs out of the corners, keeping the dogs out of the cats bowls and out of eachother’s bowls (*(*&*^&*^!!!), about 2 hours of dog walking minimum…oh and of course lots of talk about poo….yes, dog poo.   Welcome 🙂

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