>The Dog First-Aid course

>I honestly don’t know why this post is taking me so long to write. I started writing it a few weeks ago, only got a couple of lines in and then my computer took a poop, taking it down with it. So here I go again.

Remember when I said I was going to take a dog first-aid course? Well, I took Corinna Bollmann’s course, and found myself pondering a lot more than first-aid. I did end up being the only student in the course, but that was kinda cool. It was a really good course, even though some details I already knew.

She went over how we should check our dogs from time to time to make sure everything feels right. Yuppers, do that all the time. She talked about a bunch of people foods that were bad for dogs, like grapes, walnuts, broccoli. She talked about ways to prevent your dog from getting something it shouldn’t, like something dropped on the floor or an electrical chord, etc. One thing she told me that still gives me the shivers whenever I think about it, *feels my arms get covered in goose bumps* is the idea of the dangers of those shredders that start to shred as soon as you put something in them. Dogs’ ears, apparently, can fit really good into them, *shiver shiver shiver*!

It’s amazing how similar some parts of dog first-aid are to human first-aid. Landmarking for the spot to do compressions is really easy. But I wish they had doggy dummies that made clicking noises like the human ones do to tell you when you’ve gone hard enough. I didn’t leave with uber confidence in the knowledge that I was doing compressions at the right strength. I guess in an emergency, too hard is better than being a wuss about it.

I did find that bandaging a dog’s paw seemed easier than that of a human arm. Trix took it amazingly well. She even tollerated me bandaging her ears and then holding the bandage on with a pair of pantiHoes with the legs cut off. We did the tail the same way. That would have been useful in preventing her from wagging when she had rudder tail. I wish I had pictures of Trix in pantiHoes. Silly doggy. Good thing she’s female.

But here’s the part where I was left to ponder more things than first-aid. This woman is very holistic-oriented, and has done a lot of research into what she thinks is good for dogs. She doesn’t feed kibble at all to the dogs she adopts, she feeds raw. I don’t think I’m brave enough to do that, but she did say something weird. She said, “What are you feeding Trixie? I’m going to guess, by the feel of her coate, Iams or Eukanuba.” Gulp, you’ve got it. She explained how Eukanuba was one of the worst foods to feed because it has so much grain in it, which dogs apparently can’t digest, so it cuts down on the amount of nutritious stuff they’re getting, and they use roadkills and sick animals in the kibble. I had known some of this, and was already contemplating switching foods, but I had no idea what to switch to, or how to do it, or what to look for in a good food. She explained that if the first few ingredients were an actual meat and not meat byproduct, and there wasn’t some corn or grain right up near the top, that was a good sign. She even recommended a first food to try. She called it “Orijen Fish”, but when I google that, all I get are forums. I see something that says “Orijen Six Fish and Sea Vegetables”, but I’m not sure if that’s the same thing as “Orijen Fish”.

So, … I took the plunge. I switched slowly, like they always say to do, and noticed a few things write away . First, she love love loves her new food! I have never seen her jaws snap in anticipation for food when I fed her the old stuff. As an aside, it’s comforting when it says it’s fish, and it smells like fish. Second, I can feed less of it and she seems satisfied. I’ve had her weighed once since, and she’s still a good weight. Third, she seems to have even more energy. She’s not crazy, but we can go on areally long walk, take a rest, and go on another walk of a pretty good length and she still feels like she has one hell of a lot of pep. She always had pep, but this is even more. She was never much of a huge scavenger, but she’s even less so now. I’ve also noticed her coat feels different. She’s right, it does change the feel of her coat.

She mentioned a few other kinds of food that she said were good. They were: Innova EVO, Taste of the Wild, Fromm and Horizon-Legacy. Has anybody heard of them? I had heard of some in a good light, so that sounds good. I still have to do some googling about them. She said to keep switching between the good quality foods, slowly as usual, to give her variety in her diet. That’ll be confusing, but if it means a healthier dog, I’ll do it.

The only sucky part about this food switch is I still have a bunch of old Eukanuba kibble. I don’t really want to just heave it. If someone can find a use for it, I’d love to give it to them. I don’t think shelters in the area will take it since it’s been opened, but I guess I can ask.

There were some other things she told me that I thought were worth a try, but I haven’t either needed to yet, or … I haven’t got them into my routine. One thing she said was good to help prevent the start of an infection was to get organic honey from a local beekeeper and add it to her water. She also said it was good to rub on a wound or some such. I have the honey. Thank you Stone Store! She said it’s good to help people who have allergies to bring down the reaction.

She recommended something that I should have started on right away, but it’s something I have to get into the routine. She said to buy apple cidar vinegar “with mother.” That’s what it’s called. Apparently it means it’s unfiltered and cloudy. So I did. She said to add a couple of capfuls to her drinking water, or for humans, a capful to a glass of juice every morning, and it would repel blackflies and mosquitos. She says she uses it, and she can put her arm through a bunch of bugs and they run away. She says you have to do this every day through the bug season. I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I’m a wuss. I thought it would make her water taste nasty and then she wouldn’t drink it. But I also never tried it on myself either. So I’m a double wuss. I’m regretting it now, especially with the vicious bugs this year.

There were two things she said that make sense, but I still am conflicted about them. She says vets tend to overvaccinate, and the chemicals in those vaccines, and the mercury, can do more harm to your dog. I get that, but I’m also too afraid to undervaccinate. I would never forgive myself if I caused my dog to get some horrible disease.

She also said a natural way to repel parasites, instead of giving flea/tic/heartworm preventative is to give the dog a few drops of grapefruit seed extract every day for 14 days before every third full moon until 10 days after. I don’t think I’m brave enough to give up my flea/tic/heartworm preventative though, even though googling seems to give lots of benefits of the other. Maybe it’s a guilt thing. But I would also feel guilty if I’m poisoning my dog with this stuff. Has anyone else done this whole grapefruit seed extract thing?

So, that’s my woof first-aid course in a nutshell. I learned a lot more than first-aid, and it was pretty neat. Everybody probably thinks I’m pretty crazy to even give this stuff some thought, but I’ve always believed in keeping an open mind.

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