Gretchen meets Dr. M

August 2011 018

Summer 2011

I can’t come up with just the right superlative for the “new” vet (it’s been a year now… she’s not new anymore after this post!), so she’s just going to be Dr. M.  This was Gretchen’s first time meeting Dr. M, and the girl was as stressed out as she gets.  I intentionally didn’t give her the pre-ride calming chew because I wanted Dr. M to see her at her worst, and gee…  Gg cooperated fully. 

It’s hard to believe that my normal-looking cutie can have such intense anxiety issues… but she does.  As I predicted just from chatting with Dr. M the first time Sissy & I met her, she is QUITE in tune with little miss Gg.  She has the DIVA’s number too; while she was examining Gretch, she laughed and remarked upon Sissy’s sweet jealousy, and then told DIVA she couldn’t ALWAYS be the center of attention.  Hem.

Before I detail the Gg plan, Sissy’s great.  Eye pressure was normal, bloodwork was clear, etc.  She was uncooperative for the temperature-taking and is holding her tail firmly against herself still this morning, but she’s eating and drinking normally, so this too shall pass.

So, onto Gg’s fear factor plan.  It’s simple in theory.  There are three known causes of trembling or worse.

  1. Her harness.  We assume she associates her harness with the things that cause anxiety, so once daily, she’ll be asked to sit next to her harness for no good reason and will receive a treat for it.  Once that happens happily, she will have to put the harness on for no good reason and get a treat.  When that is a constant success, we’ve won!
  2. Her original source of terror – the car.  Once #1 is checked off, we’ll start sitting at the car for a treat.  Then in the car.  Then a ride, just to turn the car around.  Then, a ride to the end of our driveway and back… you get the point.
  3. The bully dog that sometimes sneaks across his invisible fence to charge the girls…  Well, when #2 is a success, we’ll talk about a plan for that.  Hem.

    Courtesy of Kong's website

More vet info…  Both girls’ teeth are tartar icky.  Sissy’s need to be cleaned within the next six months, unless the dental Kong and the yet to be secured “vegan” doggy toothpaste work magic. 

Sis is only 4, so I’m not very happy about this.  I try to avoid anesthesia personally, and definitely for my dogs.  Dr. M was polite, respectful… but firm.  We’ll also begin brushing the girls’ teeth just as soon as I find meat-free toothpaste.

Gretchen’s teeth aren’t great either, and she chews a lot.  (Sis isn’t much of a chewer.)  Does anyone have a theory on why dogs teeth/gums are suddenly in need of regular dental cleanings?  I only feed dry kibble, twice daily, dry treats, and prior to Sissy and her host of food allergies and sensitivities, there were bones and chews galore.  Again, Gretchen still frequently is chewing on a deer antler or a manufactured something, and I use the vegan “bones” regularly…  ??


Quarter-dog perspective

Now, this last item is a very delicate one…  Gg has been told to lose a whole pound, maybe even 2.  Hem.  I’m positive she doesn’t want me sharing that, but being the owner/editor has its privileges.  This is really just a public service announcment for the Knight and his fellow “but it’s not fair” folk…  Gg weighs roughly 25% of what DIVA does.  Not only do they not need similar amounts of kibble, they don’t need the same amount of treats either.  Gg very literally needs about 1/3 of the calories Sis does.

No, I’m actually great at math, but thanks for asking.  Little dogs bodies have to work harder to do everything.  They have less blood to keep them warm, and while Sis’s stride is actually similar in length to my own, Gg has to trot just to walk with us.  Get the picture?

So, I think the diet will be easier to execute than it might seem.  When the Knight feeds, he knowingly and willfully over-feeds both dogs.  I will do all the feeding for a while now, and even I need to be more mindful of tiny treats for the wee one.

Portion control stinks, no matter what species or activity level.


10 Responses to “Gretchen meets Dr. M”

  1. Hang on to … « Chan Knits Says:

    […] the fur-girls’ annual check-ups and Sissy’s latest eye pressure check, it’s up on their blog.  I can’t say enough how blessed we are to have two fabulous veterinary practices caring for […]

  2. HoundDogMom Says:

    Glad they had good check ups. We went for check-ups Friday and Amiee will be on a diet for a while. 🙂 Hey I don’t know if you have access to or have given your fur-babies Bully Sticks. I had heard a lot about these so I started looking into them. They are very digestable and they work amazing on their teeths.

    Amiee had severe tarter on her back canines and I was really not wanting to pay the vet bill for the dental cleaning and having her put under either. So we tried these bully sticks. Amiee chewed on for like 3 hours and 3/4 of the tarter on her back teeth was gone. I mean really gone, and it was black thick tarter and her gums were really red. But when she got done with the bully stick her teeth were white and her gums pink. I gave her another one a few days later and it took the rest of the tarter off her teeth.

    So each one gets a bully stick once a week and we brush teeth know as well, but I really feel she doesn’t need a vet dental since I did this.

    Let me know if you can’t get Bully sticks where you live and we can send you some to try. These are better than the rawhide bones and stuff.

    Sherri (HoundDogMom)
    The HoundDogs

  3. Katherine Says:

    First, we are so happy to hear the good news about Sissy’s check-up!!

    Macy has had problems with tarter because JRTs have such tight jaws and everything sticks up around the back molars. We finally broke down and agreed to cleaning and will NEVER do it again if we can do anything to prevent it. She was sick and shaken for two days after coming out of the anesthesia. We brush her teeth at least every second day with organic (doggy) toothpaste from the Vet’s office and give her one organic tarter removing biscuit a day. (She can’t seem to tolerate Greenies). I think the tooth brushing is the thing that is keeping tarter down and hope it is a simple as that.

    We also feed Macy and Max with a Kong filled with all natural kibble with a bit of Natural Balance lamb sausage. We struggle with Max’s weight because they feed him junk at home but Macy has weighed 13 pounds for the last 5 years. The Kong gives Macy that needed “hunt for my food” feeling, and Max likes it so much he would eat the Kong if we didn’t take it away from him.

    I hope the fear factor plan helps dear little Gretchen so she can take charge of life as every JRT should!!

  4. Sue Says:

    Ha ha, it sounds like Dr M is a lot like our Dr B. I’ve gotten a few lectures on dental care. He says that some dogs just get lots of tartar and no chewing will help. Little dogs, like JRT’s often have the most dental problems because of the size of their jaws. Fudge loves getting his teeth brushed now and sits next to Rob or me when we do ours hoping we’ll help him with his. Just be sure to start slowly, just a swipe on each side for a couple days till they get the idea. Dr B also suggested giving him a treat immediately when we finished, but as it turns out the brushing and attention is treat enough for Fudge.

    We had a dog, Pylon, who was terrified of riding in cars. She had been tossed out the window of a moving car by her first owner. We tried all those desensitizing tips. We’d get in the car with the doors open and not start the motor and she’d still get sick. We’d drive to the end of the driveway and back and she’d be foaming at the mouth. She never got over it.

    We’ve been pretty successful with dieting. Lucy lost half her body weight, Morgan and Bailey have dieted successfully and Sky lost ten pounds recently. As Dr B tells me often, I control the food, not them. Get a measuring up, our vet has them from one of the dogfood companies, and mark it for the Knight. I did that for Rob and said she gets this much and no more. Around here it’s snacks that are the problem, but there are some low calorie ones available.

  5. KittyplusCoco Says:

    Here’s what we have to say about portion control: PFT! Seems like a solid plan for Gg. Also not a big fan of the dentals, but our vet insisted as well. Kitty unfortunately goes psycho when we brush her teeth, so daily brushings aren’t really an option. I COULD force her, but she is such a very obedient girl in every other way that I don’t have the heart to do it. I’m sure Gretch will be just fine, and hopefully not need another dental for a long time after.

    Kitty+Coco’s Mom

  6. Mitch and angel Maggie Says:

    Diet is such a nasty word!
    My teeth are a whole lot cleaner since I’ve been eating my tripe!

    Love ya lots,

  7. britknitter Says:

    So glad to hear Dr. M. has some ideas for GG’s anxiety. Fingers are crossed here. Excellent news for Sweet Sissy!

  8. fern reed Says:

    You have your work cut out for you!!!!! Good luck!!!!

  9. gMarie Says:

    Sounds like fabulous advice and you have to love a vet who will put your dogs gently in their place. I loved “it’s not always about you.” How is the harness training going? g

  10. Jed & Abby in MerryLand, USA Says:

    Good luck with de-sensitizing Gg. Sure hope it helps her – and you.

    Jed & Abby are about the same size, eat the same things, have the same chews, and Jed accumulates much more tartar than Abby. He’s had to have his teeth cleaned by the vet three times in the 7-1/2 years he’s been here; Abby, never. Genetics seem to play a large part.

    Jed & Abby

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