Thursday, December 11, 2014

The New Normal (Bailey Chair Part 2)

Cody's food has been a journey. When he first arrived he refluxed so bad I struggled to find anything he could keep down. He dropped weight, but the more I gave him the more he refluxed. Eventually I learned that he could eat Ziwi Peak, so for a long time he ate that. I tried him on everything I could think of, eventually getting a very small list of foods I could feed him. None of them were kibble. As a foster parent, its important for us to make our dogs as adoptable as possible and that includes from a financial perspective. A dog who has to eat the very expensive Ziwi Peak may not be adoptable to a wonderful family who can afford a high quality kibble. So when possible we want our fosters to be on a 5-star kibble (based on the ratings from .) I didn't know if Cody would ever be ok on kibble, but it was something I strove to reach.
Are you making my dinner?
A couple months ago Cody saw an internal medicine specialist at Seattle Vet Specialists. Dr. Vaughn thought Cody might have acid reflux, and put him on a couple medications. The first was a short-term drug to coat his esophagus and let it heal from any acid damage, and the second, a drug called cisapride, helped empty his stomach faster and reduce the chance of acid coming up into the esophagus. He also moved Cody from famotidine (pepcid) onto omeprazole (prilosec.) What a difference that has made. Cody refluxs rarely now and it usually has more to do with his activity levels. For instance, Cody eats dinner after he goes to NoseWork class because the excitement of class can cause him to reflux if he eats before hand.
Cody's meal set up.
The new medications have worked together so well that we've reached our big goal - kibble. In the picture above, that container of mush is ground up and soaked kibble. I grind it in a blender with water and keep it in the fridge until I use it. He gets a rounded 1/3 of a cup with each meal. I add in his salmon oil, his cisapride (currently I'm trying the liquid form, but the next round I'm trying the pills - both are pictured.). His prilosec and fluvoxamine are put into 1/2 a pill pocket, and if he needs it I'll add in some Honest Kitchen Perfect Form to help his digestion. That all combines together with a bit more water into a nice slurry. Tonight he also got a few slices of banana.
I'm sitting so pretty!
 The second part of the equation remains the Bailey Chair. I don't leave him in there long - I hold the bowl while he eats, then immediately release him and let him lick the bowl clean on the floor. It all takes well under five minutes and I usually check email on my phone while he eats.
He waits for me to head to his chair...

Waits for me to sit down in my chair..

Backs his little rump into the Chair and sits up...

I close the door, latch it, and put his bowl down.

Sometimes I take it away and stir the mush a bit.

He is patient...mostly.

Cody never met a meal he didn't like.

Afterwards I release him and he licks his bowl clean.
This is the new normal for Cody, and likely will be forever. It isn't any more work than feeding my other dogs outside of grinding the kibble up. We have everything down to a smooth operation and I don't even bother cueing Cody to get into his Chair anymore - he just goes in and expects me to handle the door!

While Cody is on kibble, his adopter will have the same range of choices as any other dog. He does great on Ziwi Peak, Honest Kitchen, and fresh raw. He should do fine on canned foods as well. It was important to me to make him as adoptable as possible and hopefully have kibble be an option, but by no means is Cody restricted to it if his adopter wishes otherwise.

In the above picture you may notice his stubby tail looks a little odd. Cody has this adorable feature where his tail sheds all at once and it poofs up into a big fuzzy clump. He doesn't want any help getting it out, so he goes around looking like he's got a big brown bald spot until you get closer and see its all underfur. It doesn't help when he backs in the Bailey Chair and rubs his tail against it as he sits down. He's a bit of a ruffian!

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your blog, and I think what you have done (are doing) for Cody and all of your dogs is so wonderful! I honestly cannot imagine Cody ever wanting to leave you. You have a very big heart!