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A Windy Intro from Calgary

January 5th, 2011, 11:14 AM

Just checked out a few intros here to make sure I had signed up to the right BARF forum. Just signed into a bikers forum with the same moniker. (Wondered why they wanted to know my bike kind—don't have one so I made it up. Thought it was a trick question to keep out spammers.)

So, for the second time today, here's my windy intro.

A friend’s dog just died. Ripper would have been 11 years old in a month. She was a Chihuahua-miniature Poodle cross and both breeds have long life expectancies (13 and 16 years I believe). His owner had taken him to the vet three months ago because he had developed a cough. All she said was to watch the dog. Then the little guy woke up at 0500h the day before Christmas and seemed to be struggling with his breath. Fifteen minutes later he died from heart congestion just as they pulled up to the clinic.

This got me thinking about my own dog, Sadie, a Pembroke Corgi, age 10 this month. It seems Pems have an average life expectancy of only 11.3 years. My last little lady was a mutt and may have had corgi in her lineage which is why I decided upon a corgi. Moh died at age 14 and a few months from a virulent, rare liver cancer. I thought she would live another three or so years. I was devastated.

Now the idea that my Sadie might have only a year and spit left has so upset me that I began researching and found out about BARF. Beginning the third days on this diet I have some observations and questions which will come in further posts; however, in short, she is very healthy (heart of an athlete), well exercised, and has clean teeth, keen sight, hearing and sniffing capabilities of a blood hound when it comes to any morsel dropped within thirty metres. However, her listening and understanding capabilities are not so keen when it comes to the skimpy portion she finds in her bowl.

It has been a struggle but she is still the thinnest corgi (32 lbs) I have ever met; only seven pounds overweight. She’s a scrounger and in a shared house, I haven’t control over the slovenistic nature of my housemates that I used to when living alone. Thus, in the past year, she has gained the seven pounds.

Yes, she has the pork chop nature, as all corgis do, but with a skilful exercise routine (who knew a dog could do pressups—“You want this apple core, gimme 40”) and frequent fishin trips (daily) I had been able to keep her tummy flat and her weight to standard (25 pounds) until I shacked up with mates.

With the help of this forum I am hoping to squeeze a further 5 years out of my little girl.

mhikl & Sadie

Dog Dancer
January 6th, 2011, 04:16 PM
Hi and welcome to you and your pup. Sorry I can't help you with BARF info as it's not what I feed, however, I wouldn't stress too much about the age info you read everywhere. I think a lot of those ages are very very general and from many years ago. As with us humans, we are living longer than before and so are many of our pets. Just keep up with what you are doing and with luck you'll get several more good years out of your little pup.

January 6th, 2011, 08:28 PM
Welcome to the board, mhikl! I don't feed BARF, either, but thought I'd say hi and start bugging you for pics of your Sadie. It's a tradition that we bug new members for pics of their furbabies. :D

I agree with DD about the age thing. The lifespan ranges you see are just averages for a breed--it's very much an individual thing, so you can't set much store by the averages. Genetics, good nutrition, adequate exercise and good mental stimulation all affect longevity and your little girl may well be with you for many, many years yet! :thumbs up

January 6th, 2011, 11:51 PM
Appreciate the welcome and encouragement regarding Sadie's life span. My previous dog, Moh (Mozart) actually did very well, save the cancer but she could have lived a couple more years, even with an enlarged heart, I think.

Sadie has the heart of an athlete, according to the vet I took her to when she was about 2 years old. I have a great exercise device I devised for corgis I will write about eventually. But the death of the little dog upstairs got me to checking out the corgi lifelines and that led me to BARF. Kinda cool, actually.

Yesterday she was panting a lot and again today so I got worried that the BARF diet might be doing her in. However, I was wearing only a t-shirt (and jeans) and was hot, too. So I opened some windows and put on a shirt and sure enough, she stopped panting. We've had a little heat wave in Calgary. So I guess paranoia has been a driving force round here since Riipper's passing.

She is doing find on BARF. Her tummy gurgles but she has stopped passing gas. I'm counting her calories and just found a great site to figure out her needs.
Here it is:

Also, a great site to get the calorie count of foods is from the USDA site:

I used this site years ago to compare the food values of meat, fruit and vegetables against the empty calories of grains and bread. A real encouragement to get your carb calories from vegetables (and the occasional fruit).

A raw (fryer) chicken neck, for example, has 154 calories and 17.55 g protein.

She sure has taken to the BART diet, though. She drinks and passes water more. But still torments me for extra food. (She sticks out her tongue and licks her lips, repeatedly. When did she pick that one up? I've only noticed it for about a month.) She does seem to have some difficulty with her bms. Seems a little constipated. Maybe I should mix some psyllium and water into her egg and sardine breakfast.

I can't post any pics at the moment. I've both chargers to my cameras; I have moved a lot in the past few years. But will see about borrowing one from someone. Of course I think she's tops, but even ugly dog owners think theirs are special. I'm joking. There really are no ugly dogs.


January 7th, 2011, 12:01 AM
Welcome to, mhikl :).

She sure has taken to the BART diet, though. She drinks and passes water more. But still torments me for extra food. (She sticks out her tongue and licks her lips, repeatedly. When did she pick that one up? I've only noticed it for about a month.) She does seem to have some difficulty with her bms. Seems a little constipated. Maybe I should mix some psyllium and water into her egg and sardine breakfast.

I thought I'd share my thoughts here. Frequent lip licking may indicate nausea. A dog (or cat) on a well balanced raw diet should be drinking less water, not more. Her constipation would indicate her diet may be too high in bones. What ratio meat to bones to organs are you feeding? On average, it should be about 75-80% meat to 10-15% bone to 5-10% organs. Veggies for us are an extra and don't make up more than 5% of our dogs' diets.

January 10th, 2011, 12:05 AM
Some good points LuckyPenny. I think my Sadie has been sick for the past week and probably running a fever. Unfortunately the roast thermometer wouldn't show her temp so I'll have to pick up one of those ear thermometers as the other end is very uncomfortable for her. I forgot to clean the thermometer up and put it away and one of the lads (we rent a few rooms) cooked up his first roast tonight. He invited me to join him but I declined.:o (I'm kind of off topic, I think.)

Sadie has been panting since Monday or Tuesday. Saturday evening as she lay beside me on the chesterfield, I had to put wet cloth over her which helped. At night she would sleep against an outside wall even though the room is always quite cold. Then this morning she seems to have cheered up and has not been panting the whole day and hasn't been licking her lips as much. (I still thinks her licking lips is Corgish for "feed me" but since she's doing less lick licking, you might be right.)

I have lightened up on the bones, added some broccoli and a Tbs or two of Astro Yogourt 6% fat (my fav) and laid off the psyllium when she laid a turd that looked like something out of a Cronenberg movie. I took one look, grabbed the dog and ran. It froze in Calgary last night so we should be safe.

Her bms and urination frequency are more normal. I guess it may have just been adjustment to her BARF feast. I realize now that I have rarely ever fed her raw meat so of course there's gong to be some settling in. Also, I think I was feeding her too much as she put on a pound so I have cut back on the bones and her meals are now smaller. Tomorrow we begin calorie counting.

Oh, and you mentioned nausea. (She has never had the dry heaves that we have seen.) She did vomit one night (Wed or Thur). I had fed her 4 kibbles and 3 dog vitamin tablets. The kibbles came out un-crunched and intact. The past 2 or 3 nights I have fed her a snack of a quarter apple and her vits. No probs with upchucking since.

I've never had a dog with a fever (constant panting) before. Any other advice would be appreciated.

I am wondering about all the calcium she may be getting. Dogs are omnivores and I am worried about the vitamin and mineral context.

I believe in magnesium supplements for humans. In our family, we need amazing amounts of it or heart problems develop and the electrolytes won't sync and become terribly unbalanced. One doctor who supported my mum taking magnesium said that if all adults would take magnesium it would empty hospitals. Who knows. You never hear anything about it but it makes up one of the four electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium). Most people know only of the first two. I suspect my dog may need (or just likes) natural carbohydrates.

Here's a strange tale about Sadie and her hunt for carbs.
I had to run some boxes to Greyhound after landing from a fly in job. A friend said to would watch over Sadie for me outside the small northern airport. It was late spring and the grounds around there were dusty and very bare of vegetation. Then Sadie began sniffing and went to a particularly bald spot of ground and began digging. There wasn't a sprout of grass anywhere. She had to dig down nearly a foot deep to reach the tip of a root or bulb. She took a bite and then worked more furiously until she uncovered a tuber about twenty-five cm long and maybe eight to ten cm thick at its middle section. Looked like an elongate sweet potato but white, my friend told me. Then she downed the thing in fast time. There were no after surprises.

How did she know there was anything growing deep under that hard bald ground, or that it was edible? She’d never done anything at all like this before. Sadie was almost six and a half at the time. I had always assumed dogs were carnivores. Was she in need of some mineral or vitamin?

This omnivorous nature of dogs just seems to demand more ingredients in this BARF mulligan stew, complicating everything. Magnesium needs go up in humans when they consume calcium and phosphorus. What about dogs? I can't seem to find much on the internet.