Monday, June 18, 2018

A Recipe for Golden Paste That Actually Tastes Good (For You and Your Dogs!)

I decided to try my hand at golden paste. But I wanted a golden paste that tastes good. I know of the benefits of it, for both humans and canines. I have been giving the dogs (particularly Neeko) turmeric with a fat carrier for a long time. But turmeric is better absorbed with the addition of black pepper. I myself could never stomach turmeric alone, only as an ingredient in various recipes, such as our Bone Broth.

I did some research, and learned that the amount of black pepper included in a standard recipe recently increased from 2 tbsp to 3 tbsp, so that is one difference in our recipe. They other difference is the one that makes it much  more palatable for humans and canines alike is raw honey! Though its a sugar, and contains carbs, honey has a variety of benefits. It is a natural antimicrobial and antifungal. It can help with environmental allergies. It contains phytonutrients and antioxidants.

golden paste that tastes good

This is easy to make, requires easily obtainable ingredients, and stores in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, if it lasts that long. I eat a bit plain morning and evening. One could add it to smoothies or yogurt. For the dogs, I simply spoon a small amount, about 1-1.5 teaspoons, over their food, morning and night.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup turmeric powder. Turmeric is more cost effective if purchased in the supplement aisle as opposed to the spice aisle.
  • 1/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil.
  • 1 cup water.
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns.
  • 3 tablespoons honey.
Method

I started by grinding 3 tbsp of black peppercorns in a personal blender/magic bullet. A coffee grinder works well too. You can also use an old fashioned pepper mill, but that is time consuming and will likely leave you with sore hands, wrists, and forearms.

Ignore my nails and cuticles.
Mix together the water and turmeric in a small saucepan. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently. A thick paste should form.


Remove from heat. While still warm, stir in coconut oil, freshly ground pepper, and HONEY. Stir until thoroughly combined.

golden paste with honey

Pour into a glass jar, store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, and enjoy! This recipe fits perfectly into a 16 oz Mason jar.


If you're looking for an alternative to golden paste in treat form, read about our liver turmeric treats.

Friday, June 15, 2018

An Alternative to Golden Paste: Raw Turmeric Liver Treats

Are you looking for an alternative to golden paste for your dog? When Neeko became hesitant to eat her golden paste, I brainstormed and came up with a solution that works for us. Her golden paste didn't go to waste, I ate it without hesitating. I'll be sharing *our* recipe for a golden paste that actually tastes good later.

turmeric dog treats

I won't go into the details about how good turmeric is for you, that is very well known, and it is easy to find plenty of documented evidence and studies showing it's benefits. I have written about and have been giving my dogs (particularly the princess) turmeric for a long time now, with various delivery methods. At first I gave it alone, then learned it is better absorbed with a fat. So I would mix it with salmon or coconut oil. I then made a golden paste that actually tastes good (to me, anyways.) Neeko, with her recent struggles, began refusing and eating around the golden paste, so I wanted to come up with an alternative.

Neeko has texture issues, so I decided a frozen treat was in order, as she typically eats stuff frozen that she won't eat thawed - like fish, organs, etc. 

I came up with what might be the most disgusting thing I've made to date.  Raw liver turmeric treats. I used all the same beneficial ingredients of golden paste, and combined them in a form that my dogs love, with the added bonus of raw liver.

Ingredients

1 lb raw liver. I used lamb liver from My Pet Carnivore, but pork, beef, or other liver would work.

1/2 cup organic turmeric powder. It's more cost effective to buy turmeric powder in the supplement aisle, as opposed to the spice aisle.

1/3 cup organic, virgin coconut oil. 

3 tablespoons peppercorns.

Method

I started by cutting the lamb liver into somewhat uniformly sized chunks, 1-2 inches in either direction. It's a pretty disgusting task, so I highly recommend these poultry shears I recently raved about on Facebook.


Toss them into a food processor. I'm a huge fan of my (older model) KitchenAid mini processor. Add in the coconut oil, turmeric, and whole peppercorns. The processor action will grind the peppercorns.


Pulse until well combined and of a smooth consistency. You may have to use a rubber scraper to scrape the sides a time or two. (There's a funny story about me offering the scraper to Bruce to lick. I didn't think that one through. He jerked it away from me and took off with it.) WARNING - turmeric stains. It stained the plastic housing of my processor blade. It still works fine, is just now a lovely yellow shade instead of white.


Divide mixture evenly into a freezer-safe silicone mold/tray. These are the molds I have. It helps to place the mold on a baking sheet BEFORE attempting to add the product.


Depending on the size of your molds, the treats may need to split the treats in half or quarters after freezing. My molds gave us 16 treats (with a small amount of leftover slurry) using the ingredients above.

They are not necessarily the prettiest treats.

Each of (our) treats contains:
1 oz lamb liver
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp coconut oil
almost 1/2 tsp black pepper.

The dogs all eat them willingly, which makes me happy.

Do you offer your dogs turmeric?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Neeko's Health Update

I have been bad about updating the blog, and this is not the post I wanted to write when I did.

A dirty nosed, smiling Neeko less than 2 months ago.
About 2.5-3 weeks ago, Neeko started limping in the front. Her hips have been bad for a long time, but she has adapted and adjusted, and was doing well with them on adequan, turmeric, with some occasional acupuncture and laser treatments. I figured she had played too hard, and would watch it. The Saturday before last, I took her to a groomer for a nail trim and to shave between her paw pads (she has grinch feet, bad.) The following day her limping was worse, and we ended up at the emergency vet.

They did an exam and a bunch of xrays under sedation. The vet on staff noted her hip dysplasia (which I had long known about) and pointed out a possible bone spur in her shoulder. They gave me digital files of her xrays, sent them out to a veterinary radiologist, and sent us home with some carprofen and instructions to follow up with our primary vet.

The next day (Monday of last week) the emergency vet called me back with the radiologist's findings. I don't recall much from that conversation, just a few words here and there. Cancer. Right front paw. Further diagnostics. Follow up with Dr. Baker. 

I was driving. I remember exactly where I was. South split of I65/I70 downtown Indianapolis. I burst into tears. I immediately called my vet, left a message. Then I reached out to a friend of mine who recently lost her Pyr to osteosarcoma. She and Neeko were older puppies together, old dog park friends. She was wonderful, amazing, so kind to me. I felt badly for calling her, with her pain so recent and raw. She offered to go to appointments with me, told me what questions to ask, said that she was honoring Stella by being of assistance to me.

Over the next 24 hours I felt every emotion possible. Sadness. And a great deal of anger.
HOW DID *MY* DOG GET CANCER?? My raw fed, minimally vaccinated dog? A dog who doesn't get nearly enough flea/tick/heartworm preventative. She's only 8! How did she get cancer?

I heard back from my vet. They asked me to drop off the drive with her films. I did the following afternoon. They asked if I could wait, because the always amazing Dr. Cindy Baker was going to look at them then. She came and spoke with me, straight forward, but full of compassion and kindness. Talked about next steps, our plan for the time being. Scheduled an appointment for 2 days later for Neeko to have blood drawn.

I began obsessively researching bone cancer, bone lesions, care, you name it. It's probably not doing me much good, and consuming a great deal of my time and emotional energy.

She had her bloodwork done, the results were "great."

Over the last 10 days, she has become mostly depressed and lethargic, and it is breaking my heart. I have her separated from the boys, and wonder if this is possibly contributing to it. I am spending the majority of my time with her, and feel as though I am neglecting them. Two days ago I spent the afternoon on my couch, sobbing. I cried so much and so hard that it exhausted me.

The universe has excellent timing. A month ago, I had decided to take this particular week off work. I was nearing the ceiling for PTO accrual, and needed to use it or lose it. I was excited, planning a day trip, ordered a new dishwasher to be delivered. I also ordered some day old chicks to be hatched and delivered this week. The day trip was cancelled, the dishwasher delivered and installed. The chicks came as well. They are adorable, and have provided me with some needed smiles. But mostly I have spent time with my girl. Loving her. Talking to her. Observing her.

I dropped her off early yesterday morning at the vet. She was fasting, except water, carprofen, and trazadone. They gave us the VIP treatment. I was allowed to walk her back through the kennels. They gave her the largest, most private kennel. I was told there were a couple of surgeries on the schedule prior to her, and that it would be after 4 before she was ready to be picked up. I was assured they would be with her as she woke up from sedation.

I received a phone call from the wonderful RVT before 10 am, stating they had done her first, and were finished. That she was not yet ready to go home. They had found a nodule on her chest xray, but sedated and did an aspiration of her bone lesion. I thanked them, told them of my extreme gratitude. She said they would call or text when Neeko was ready to go home.

A couple of hours later, Dr. Baker called me. She said they did the xrays without sedation, not wanting to sedate her if it wasn't going to be necessary. They were looking for metastases in her lungs. If they were found, they were not going to proceed with the biopsy. They did find a couple of "areas of opacity" which Dr. Baker said are not typical of metastases. They sedated her, and told me they obtained some really good samples which are now at a cytology lab. I picked her up, and she is sporting an adorable bandage on her lower leg.



And now we wait. We wait for the cytology results. And go from there. Today I feel like she is still feeling the effects of yesterday's sedation. She did eat her breakfast of ground green tripe.

Right now, I am trying to think about the positives. Her blood work was great. She has not lost any weight. The opacities in her lungs are not typical of metastatic disease.

But I don't know what I don't know, and am focusing on her comfort. 2 weeks ago, I never dreamed I would be in this position.

My family and friends are incredible. Kind words, emotional support, actual physical help (a family member drove 40 minutes one way prior to her blood draw appointment to give her some trazadone, because I was working during the ideal administration time frame) and countless offers of help.

She is my princess, my heart dog. I will do whatever is best for her.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Letting Your Bird Spread it's Wings with The Aviator Harness and Leash #ChewyInfluencer

Until recently I did not that harnesses designed to allow pet birds to fly and explore the outdoors existed. The Aviator bird harness and leash does just that.

The Aviator is available in 8 sizes, designed to fit birds as small as parakeets, and up to as large as chickens, macaws, ducks, and geese, and every size bird in between, including parrots.

Our friends at Chewy.com sent us a harness for chickens, sized XXL.

My birds typically free range most of the time, but recently they have not. I am temporarily housing some pigs for my neighbors, and I am not sure how the pigs would react to a chicken in their pen, so my girls have been confined to their "run" area most of the time. They definitely miss the grass, bugs, and weeds.


I'm not going to lie, I am getting attached to the 4 pigs staying with us. The dogs are even getting used to them!

The aviator comes with the harness and leash as a one piece system, with the harness being 10 feet long, and extensions are available.

It includes a 45 minute instructional DVD, with information on fitting the harness, and safety tips. If sized and fitted appropriately, it is escape-proof.

After watching the DVD, I decided to try it out first on my adult Rhode Island Red, as she is a champion free ranger.

harness for chicken, harness for parrot, harness for parakeet, harness for duck

It took her several minutes to get used to it at first. Have you ever seen a cat in a harness? They sometimes flop over and are completely motionless and helpless. That was her initial reaction. It was honestly quite funny.

After a few minutes, she decided she was fine with it, and took to scratching, pecking, and eating vegetation and bugs, happier than a pig in ...

I had to keep up with her! Any sort of tension on the harness caused her to fall over and become helpless, so I ensured we kept a loose leash. My dogs love to pull, my chickens not so much.

Now your chicken can safely cross the road!!
(Sorry, I couldn't resist)

chicken harness, harness for chicken, chicken on a leash

This is actually a brilliant product. I have put it to good use during this time when I am not allowing my birds to free range, and it is a fun way to take a chicken on a walk, although the chicken gets to lead the way.

It is perfect for those with indoor pet birds who wish to allow their pets to experience the outdoors, and potentially flight, in a safe manner.

It is very important to watch the included DVD, and make sure the harness is fitted properly prior to use.

We are having quite a bit of fun with it here at my house, and I am certain my neighbors are laughing at me, but I'm ok with that.

Leashes and harnesses aren't just for dogs.

My Rotten Dogs is a Chewy Influencer. All opinions are strictly my own. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

My Rotten Cats - Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Pouches #ChewyInfluencer

I know, you have heard it from me a million times; cats need wet food. I often repeat myself regarding this. And I will continue to do so, because moisture is so important in a cat's diet.

Our friends at chewy.com sent Juice and Noelle a variety pack of Weruva Cats in the Kitchen pouches and I was more than happy to accepts. Because, you know, I am a fanatic about giving cats raw or wet food.


The variety pack contains 12 pouches, 2 each of 6 different flavors, all fish or poultry based, though 1 does contain beef.


What I like about these pouches:

  • They have a high moisture content.
  • They have limited, simple ingredients - water, named meats, (gluten-free) tapioca starch as a thickener, sunflower seed oil as a fat, and vitamins.
  • My cats love them, and eat them with gusto.

I am comfortable and confident feeding these to my girls. 


One (minor) thing I didn't like is the consistency and packaging of the product made it difficult to get all of the food out of the pouch without cutting it, which isn't very convenient. I feel as though 10% or more of each pouch is wasted, because it is stuck in the pouch. 

Do your cats enjoy wet food?  Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Update

Hi all! We are still here, still alive. I figure 2.5 months is a long blogging hiatus to take for the time being. I have been active on Facebook and Instagram if you want to follow us there for more updates.

I figure it's time for an update on how things are around here.

Spring is here at the farm. Even though it is has snowed at least once a week since the official beginning of Spring last month.

Squinty faces and a drool bubble during a late season snow. 

Though none of them really act like it, I feel as if I run a senior pet retirement home. Both Juice and Noelle (my cats) are 12.

She really is 12 years old.
Bruce is 8.5, Neeko is 8, and Faolan is the young one at 6.5.

While Winter has seemed to last a while, there are some signs of Spring around. We have had some nice mild days, in which to enjoy hikes, mud, and the creek.


One sure sign of Spring (at least to a northern breed owner) is the annual blowing of the coat. As usual, Faolan is the first to start here, and so far the only one.


Over the course of two long brushing sessions, I completely brushed out his undercoat. I made another dog in the process, and he appears to have lost 10 lbs. I only wish Neeko were that easy.

The chickens are enjoying the new vegetation, bugs, and longer days.


One thing they are less thrilled about is the addition of 12 new chicks.


I got these babies about 7 weeks ago, and kept them inside with their Brinsea EcoGlow Warmer for the first 5 weeks here. I moved them outside into a small, enclosed coop setup near the regular coop. They can see the big girls, and the big girls can see them, but no mingling yet. I am hoping this acclimation system will work.

I am 99% certain one of these babies is a cockerel, so we will see how he turns out.

So that's what is going on with us. Nothing earth shattering, simple day to day life. But it's fun, and I like it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My Rotten Cats: Weruva Cats in the Kitchen #ChewyInfluencer

Hey, we are still alive over here! Follow us on Facebook to stay more up to date.

Myself, the dogs, cats, and chickens are all well. 

So our friends at Chewy.com sent the kitties some canned cat food this month. I know, I know, I am always preaching about the importance of wet food in a cat's diet.

In fact I left this comment in a Facebook group earlier today, when someone was asking whether to cut back on their cat's wet or dry food for weight loss.


That's where I stand.

As I was saying, Chewy sent the girls some Weruva Cats in the Kitchen wet food to try out, 12 cans, each weighing 3.2 ounces. The variety pack contains 4 recipes, 3 cans of each.


What I like most - all have a named broth and several named meats as the first several ingredients.

I also love the fact that my cats seem to be crazy about this food!

Unlike my dogs, they an share a plate.
Some of the formulas have a shredded meat in broth appearance, while others are more of a "pate" style. Either way, Juicekitty and Noelle are happy to eat them.

They are grain and starch-free, and can be a stand alone food.

Licking the bowl clean.

I am quite pleased with this variety pack. As stated, it provides protein and texture variety. It also provides much needed moisture, and the girls love it. It's a quality food, and I am happy to feed it.

We were provided with complimentary product. All opinions are my own.