A pup with allergies needs your help!

Hello Golden lovers!

Miley, one of the pups from a Wednesday Friendsday feature, is having some allergy issues and she needs your help! Her mom Jen wants to know if anyone else is having the same problems with their dog. Please read about the allergy issues Miley is having below, and comment on this post if you have had the same experience or have any advice for her. Thanks for your help!

Here’s what Jen wrote me:

Miley started itching about 6-7 months ago. Our normal Vet gave her a steroid injection and started her on Benadryl daily. This resolved her itching for about 2 months until one day we ran out of Benadryl and couldn’t get to the store. In that one day her allergies caught up to her and we could never get it under control again with just Benadryl (or any other antihistamine available over the counter). The Vet was reluctant to do another steroid injection due to the side effects of excessive steroid use.

This is when we took her to the Dermatologist. She had itched herself so badly that she had the red, pimple type bumps on her tummy (his was a Staph infection on her skin that was treated with antibiotics). The itching and licking had gotten so extreme that she was bleeding between her paws, under her armpits and on her belly.

The dermatologist started her on a low allergen diet to rule out a food allergy. For 6 weeks all she was allowed to eat was Rabbit and Potato (brutally painful for Miley who was accustomed to treats and bones on a regular basis).

She has now finished the diet and a food allergy has been ruled out because she is still extremely itchy. Miley was also treated for parasites with an antibiotic to rule out a parasite allergy. So now we are left with environmental allergies…

My question, and point in rambling on, is…Has anyone ever had their dog allergy tested? If so I’d love to hear from someone who has. I’m wondering if it is worth it? Not only from a financial aspect but also from the results aspect. Has anyone been successful in pinpointing an actual allergen in the environment and treating for this specific allergen?

It sounds like the allergy testing and desensitizing is a long drawn out process (sometimes 1-2 years to actually see results). Are long term steroids a better option? I’ve heard that the steroids have horrible long term consequences…

We want to make the most informed decision possible and do what is right for Miley so any input is appreciated!

12 Days of Christmas Health Products

12 Days of Christmas – Golden Gifts – Day 12

And so our 12 Days of Christmas draws to a close.. But – before we go, we wanted to share this final gift suggestion!

Golden Gift #12: Homemade dog treats

Personally, I think a homemade gift is the best gift of all – something that someone put a lot of heart into.. and nothing says that more than a warm homemade baked biscuit! There are tons of recipes available online – but here’s one that is super simple (great for beginner bakers) and affordable! Plus, they’re healthy! The peanut butter provides just the right amount of protein while the canned pumpkin is extremely high in fiber, excellent for your doggy’s tummy!

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Doggy Biscuits


2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour

2 eggs

1/2 8 oz can of pumpkin (approx 1 1/2 cups) – just eyeball it

2 heaping spoon-fulls of smooth peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

pinch of salt

Cookie cutter of your choice (I used the small Martha Stewart dog bone cookie cutters from PetSmart)


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Place all ingredients into a stand mixer and whisk together (or whisk it yourself – it will be tough though so be ready to get an arm workout!). You may have to add a bit of water (tablespoon or so) if the dough is really hard to mix. Confession: I’m embarrassed to say this is the first time we have used our Kitchenaid stand mixer. I’ve always been so intimidated to use it.. but it was surprisingly really easy to learn and so easy to clean. Can’t wait to use it again!

3. Roll out dough onto a floured surface

4. Use cookie cutter to cut out individual cookies. Take excess dough, roll it out again, and repeat until you’ve used most of the dough.

5. Place cookies on a cookie sheet coated with some Pam and bake for approx 40 minutes – until hard. Warning: while cooking your dog’s nose will be going crazy with the lovely smells throughout your kitchen!

6. Remove from oven and let cool – enjoy! I tried a bite (you know you’re going to do the same!). Let’s just say these biscuits better suit your dog’s pallet – so don’t be expecting super yummy human food. 🙂

Once whisked, dough will be in a big lump
Use whatever cookie cutter you'd like!
The best part..
Ready to go into the oven!

You can wrap several of these up in some basic cellophane wrap with holiday ribbon and take them to your friends’ pups. Easy, inexpensive, yet a very thoughtful and appreciated gift – done and done!

Whoa mom, those looks really dog-gone good!
12 Days of Christmas Health Products

12 Days of Christmas – Golden Gifts – Day 8

One of my favorite times of the day is enjoying a nice morning speed-walk with the pups. Here’s a great gift for those who love walking their dogs as much as I do!

Golden Gift Suggestion #8: Nike + for the iPod, iPod Nano & iPhone

This amazing gadget syncs with your iPod (3Gs or later), iPhone, or Nano – and tracks the distance, speed and calories burned during your workout. I love ending a good power walk with a little voice saying “You have burned 429 calories” – makes me feel even better! Your workouts are then uploaded and synched with your Nike+ account, tracking all of the miles and workouts you have done. I’m proud to say that since I purchased the Nike+ this summer, the dogs and I have walked 297 miles together!

We love our walks!

I have the iPod Nano because I unfortunately I don’t have the iPhone. However, I really like it because it’s super tiny with a clip that can hook right onto my yoga pants, and the battery lasts for weeks! I didn’t purchase the special Nike shoes for the sensor because I love my New Balances.. but for less than $5 I bought this silicone sensor pouch on that straps right onto my shoe laces and it works perfectly!

Rain, snow, or shine – I love a good walk with my pups 🙂



Swollen Face from Allergic Reaction

Last weekend we had a bit of a scare with Roxy. She was fine when we woke up, had a nice morning walk, and her usual breakfast. I left for a quick trip to the grocery store, and when I came back Roxy greeted me at the door. But, it didn’t look like our Roxy – her face was so swollen! She almost looked like a cartoon version of herself – her muzzle had at least doubled in size, and the rest of her face (around her eyes, forehead, and cheeks) were really, really puffy. She wasn’t acting like she was in pain at all, but I FREAKED OUT! (I apologize for not having photos to show you – I was in such a panic! Didn’t even think of it!) Brad calmed me down.. after doing some quick research online we discovered it’s pretty common. Online forums suggested that we give her Benadryl, so I rushed to Walgreens to buy some.

Within five minutes of giving her one 25mg tablet of Benadryl (basic over-the-counter Benadryl pills), the swelling drastically went down.We gave her 1 more tablet about 6 hours later because she was still a little swollen, and when she woke up the following morning she was back to herself again. (Note: Online resources suggested to give 1 mg of Benadryl per pound that the dog weighs. We only gave Roxy one 25mg tablet and it worked just fine even though she’s nearly 3 times that. I’d be safe and start with small doses).

Although we’re not sure what caused this reaction, it’s very likely that it was a bee sting. Roxy does this thing where she nips at bees that buzz by her. I think this time she finally caught one!! Hopefully she learned her lesson. But just in case, I will always make sure to have Benadryl in my medicine cabinet!

Here are some pictures I found online of other dogs that looked similar to Roxy

Swollen Face from bug bite

Has this ever happened to your dog? I would have taken her to the vet, but like I mentioned before she was acting normal – she just looked like Sloth from “The Goonies”! 🙂

"Heeeey yooooou guuuuuuys!!"



Road trippin’ with your pup – Do’s and Don’ts

The dogs get SO excited when they get to go for a car ride. All I have to do is jiggle the keys – and they get up and run to the door. Recently, we took them on a longer than usual road trip where they were in the car for over 9 hours. We could tell that Roxy got a little uneasy having to sit in the car for so long. Of course we made several stops for potty and water breaks – we didn’t want her getting dehydrated. She does love to stick her head out the window every now and then to get some fresh air – and take in the views 🙂

In Arizona, we have to be exceptionally careful when traveling with our pets in the summertime.Today it reached 117 degrees here in Phoenix! Here are some tips that Brad and I learned from our road trip across the desert we thought we’d share.

1. Have PLENTY of water stocked in your cooler. Make sure your pup has access to a bowl of water at least every 30 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much they will want to drink. Roxy and Quincey downed a full bottle just about every time we offered it to them.

2. Be prepared to make several more stops than usual. We kept our eye on the dogs, and stopped when we could tell they were getting anxious – probably once ever 1.5 hours. When stopped, find a place that is cool and in the shade – be careful of hot asphalt as it will burn their paws.

3. Throw their collar or a bandana in the cooler with the ice water for a while, then put it around their neck to help cool them down.

4. Never leave your dogs alone in the car, even if the windows are rolled down. When traveling and are in unfamiliar areas, you never know what will spook your pup or make it jump out of the car. Also, rolling the windows down does very little to cool the car. Always have the air conditioning on, and someone in the car with them.

5. Avoid feeding them too much food or snacks along the way. Stick to chew toys and water. Some dogs do get carsick -so be careful!

6. In Golden Retriever fashion, you can also expect your car to be filled with dog hair during your trip. The stress and heat when traveling will cause them to shed more than usual. There are a lot of fancy car seat coverings you can buy – but we’ve found that a fitted bed sheet works like a charm. Tuck it into the seats really good so it stays tight. It washes very easily, too.

7. Our dogs are very good about sitting in the back seat, they never distract me when driving. However, if your dog does not stay in place, it would be wise to harness them to the seatbelt so you can drive safely.

Do you have any other tips for car rides? We’d love to hear them! Safe travels everyone!


Junk In The Trunk – Update

Wanted to post an update to my “Junk In The Trunk” post from a few weeks ago (explaining Quincey’s recent weight gain of 10 pounds!). Well, we reduced his food by a quarter cup a day, and swapped his usual treats for carrots and green beans – and I’m happy to report Quincey dropped 6 pounds!! Way to go Quincey boy!

Once the weather cools down, we’re going to up his exercise quite a bit. Hopefully he can lose those pesky additional 4 lbs!

What tricks do you have to help your pet lose weight?


Junk in the trunk

Quincey had a check up this morning at the vet, and we were a little disappointed when he stepped on the scale.. in the last 6 months he has gained 10 pounds! The vet gave Quincey a goal to lose 5 pounds by his next check up in 2 months, so we are going to be starting a little “Biggest Loser – Doggie Edition” at our house. Keep your fingers crossed for an awesome weigh-in this August!

Quincey gets plenty of exercise, but I think we can easily cut back on the treats. The vet suggested replacing his treats with baby carrots and green beans. Not a bad idea, maybe I should start doing the same with my “treats” 🙂 It’s so hard to say no to this face though, whatever Q-man wants.. he gets!!

PS – She was amazed when she heard how well bananas have helped Quincey’s seizures. She told me that the medicine they put epileptic dogs on contains potassium bromide, and that bromide is usually what helps it – but maybe the potassium isn’t getting as much credit as it deserves!


Bananas & Seizures

About the third or fourth month after we adopted Quincey, he had his first seizure. We did not know at the time he was epileptic, so needless to say when he had his first episode it scared us to death! After doing quite a bit of research, we learned that is is somewhat common with Golden Retrievers. How do you know when your dog is having a seizure? You’ll definitely notice. When Quincey has an episode, his entire body goes stiff (arms and legs straight out), he does not blink his eyes, and his jaw is locked down tight causing him to drool profusely. It is so sad, but the best thing to do is just pet them and keep them calm. When they come out of it they will be confused, so the more calm and peaceful you can keep them the better.

We immediately took Quincey into our vet, and he suggested that before we put him on medication (since it is so hard on their liver), to document and track his seizures. If they happened more than once a month, medication would be needed. For the next several months, Quincey averaged about one seizure every 4 to 6 weeks. Sometimes they would only last a minute, but he had a couple of really bad ones that lasted about 5 minutes. One time he even got really sick after having one, it was so sad.

Brad had a pet photographer suggest bananas to us to help with seizures. She said her dog used to have seizures all of the time and ever since she started feeding it bananas they had stopped. I was a little skeptical, but we decided to give it a try. We have been feeding Quincey 1/2 a banana in his food every morning for the last 5 months, and he hasn’t had a seizure since! Bananas are the miracle fruit for our family. We buy big packs at Costco, peel and freeze them since fresh bananas never last that long. Quincey is a happy boy 🙂

Does your dog get seizures? We really want to see if this works as well for others as it does for us. Here are some great resources on learning more about canine epilepsy:

Canine Epilepsy Resource Center
Canine Epilepsy Network