Gus' Belly Ache

by Cheryl Poulin
(Ottawa, ON Canada)

Gus showing off his shaved leg.

Gus showing off his shaved leg.

Ah the Christmas holidays. Time to head out of town and visit our elderly parents. We kenneled our boy at his favorite boarding kennel with his "Uncle Rob".

As much as Gus loves it there, he does stress and hence it affects his belly, which is a sensitive area of his anatomy. Change his diet a little and you're cleaning up a yucky back end!

So we pick him up on the fifth day and he's pleased as can be to see us and readily let's us assist him into jumping into the SUV. Yes, he needs a boost!

The return home is typical... sleep the remainder of the afternoon and evening away.

However, we noticed he had runny stools. So we got him cleaned up and offered him some food. He wouldn't eat. Odd. Everyday that followed was the same. Just lay in front of the bowl. It's now December 23 and he hasn't eaten in 3 days nor has he had much to drink.

And so off to the vet we go. Vet says he's dehydrated so now we're off to the hospital for a day-long stay on I.V. fluids, home for the night. Then back to the hospital the next day, which is Christmas Eve, for more of the same.

I'll bet you're starting to wonder how much all of this is going to cost... we sure were!

That night he comes home and we're loaded down with prescriptions, stomach coating agents, liquid vitamins and something to rebalance the flora in his belly. Both prescriptions warn that they have to be taken with food. OK, but he won't eat!!!!!

It's now Christmas eve and finally he has his first drink. We are relieved. I administer the coating meds that night and on Christmas morning another dose. Imagine trying to enjoy yourself when your dog is starving in the other room and won't even come and be with you.

At 11 am I decide to sweeten the food bowl with his favorite Dirty Dog all natural salmon cookies. As I re-join my husband for more gift giving, I hear the sweet sound of my dog eating for the first time in nearly a week!

Over the next weeks I keep up the routine of giving him the salmon cookies in the morning. These I keep in the freezer drawer. And for his late afternoon meal, I give him his kibble plus a crumbled cookie.

It is two weeks later and he's now completely back to normal. But get this...

I ran out of salmon cookies yesterday. Without giving it a moment's thought, I filled Gus' bowl with kibble and a regular cookie. Do you think he would eat his breakfast? Not a chance! So why was he off his food again? Anxiety gripped me. What now? I removed the food bowl from the floor.

The puzzle came together when I again put Gus' food bowl back down a bit later. Again he refused the food. So I ignored him and proceeded to the freezer to pull out something for supper. As soon as that drawer opened he was up in a flash peering inside for his salmon cookie. I just couldn't believe it. I told him "No" and with that he went to eat his now very late breakfast. Unbelievable!!!

Oh, and the vet bill? $1,200.00 Merry Christmas!

Comments for Gus' Belly Ache

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Jan 10, 2011
Gotta love them!
by: Marianne

They are world class manipulators, aren't they?

I don't know if there was some parasite involved in the runny stools but I suspect that Gus was punishing you for going away. I have found that a great number of them are able to control their metabolism and some other systems at will. One would almost think they learned yoga somewhere along the way and internalized that focusing ability!

I see no reason why not. They can read our minds! All you have to do is think about maybe going for a walk and they're at your side nudging you on.

I can't even guess why, but the stressing (all too real) certainly does resemble what used to be called canine hysteria and for which the old "horse doctors" gave a herb remedy to calm down a "hyper" animal.

Since I feed mostly raw, I can't comment on the ingredients of your kibble but I would have given some meat balls of well boiled brown rice mixed with the ground chicken or other meat for a couple of days, hand fed if need be (just as bad as salmon cookies as a spoiler, though). Rice is a great stomach lining coater and absorbs the surplus acid very nicely.

Hopefully Gus will let you go away again another time. I am sure he likes the boarding kennel fine but just this time he didn't seem to want to go.

Cheers and a big hug for the big boy!



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