Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Trip to the Vet: Part 1

[editor's note] Please forgive my backslide into all lowercase. I drafted this post a while ago--as in November--and then a million things got in the way. But here it is, now with preface, in all its un-capped glory. Also, please know that the trip to the vet was this past weekend, in May, not November.


We took a little trip to the V-E-T on Saturday, for a variety of reasons:
  • Desmond's having digestion issues
  • Desmond has an ear infection (vet tech cleaned him up and gave us liquid ear meds to give him every day for a week)
  • Desmond works hard not at all and plays harder, so he's often cutting/tearing off paw pads
  • Desmond may seriously need anxiety medication
We wound up seeing not our regular vet that day, so I decided to not even bring up the anxiety thing, as the last time I spoke with this particular doc, he wasn't too keen on that in the first place. He seems to be anti those types of meds for dogs unless the situation is dire. Dude obviously does not live with a creature like Desmond. We did mention the thing about his paw pads but wound up getting distracted by more pressing concerns and never really talked about it.

Here's the story behind Desmond's digestion issues. I'd love to hear your take on things, before I let you all in on what the vet said, later in the week (this post is already long; let's keep it from getting ridonkulous). Think of it as a doggie health guessing game. Fun at parties! Or not.

i never intended to write up a review of this product. i was not approached by the company, and i did not get this item for free, and this is not a traditional/formal review in any way.

(image from roadrefresher.com)

we've been using the Road Refresher now for months, and i've finally come to the conclusion that it's not working for us. this is a bummer, yes, but we bought this water bowl with the intention of using it to solve a problem different from what it was designed to tackle.

so, i'm writing this now to find out if any of you have the same problem and, if you do, how the heck you fixed it.

desmond is a puker. he is a puker because he is a chugger. chug chug chug, then puke. it's like taxes and death--you can count on it.

when we first got desmond, he actually didn't drink much water at all, which we found quite strange. we encouraged him to drink whenever we could. not that we encouraged him to drink a lot all at once, but we tried to get him to slurp often.

i don't think our influence caused the problem, but what we have now is a dog that will chug water until there is no more water and shortly thereafter leave a lovely and large puddle of that water (plus some...other stuff) all over your rug, hardwood, vinyl, tile, laminate, couch, bed, driveway, arm, head, etc.

"who, me?"
we started out with a three-prong approach to solving our problem:
  1. interrupt/distract desmond while he's drinking so he has to take forced breaks
  2. never exercise him after drinking
  3. pour far less water in the bowl at a time
this is basically an OK plan, but it's annoying to have to be constantly monitoring him or listening for gulping sounds on repeat. plus, this doesn't work when we're not home, and it's just a little extra complicated when desmond is somewhere other than on our property (his grandparents and dog-sitter and our friends shouldn't have to deal with this).

that's when my hunt for a slow-the-heck-down-you-crazy-dog water bowl began. this is harder than it sounds, because the market for bowls that slow down eating is ginormo, but a bowl specifically for a chugging issue is harder to find.

let me rephrase: there are some bowls that sort of claim to do this job. like the bowls with obstacles in them (mostly meant for fast eaters), and i've heard about using a big guinea pig water bottle-type thing but desmond is...special...and i know they wouldn't work for him. he has the same problem if we give him water from a hose or bottle, too.

then i came across the Road Refresher, whose job is mainly to be a fabulous travel bowl that will not spill in your car. i 100% believe that claim.

the monstrous Road Refresher is on the right. sadly, it does not fit in the opening in our little stand.

i have seen desmond slam into the bowl headfirst while playing fetch, and no water was spilled. i've also seen the bowl get knocked off the bowl stand by the ball, and barely any water comes out.

what can happen after a rousing game of fetch. [ed's note]: pix of des were added today, in May, which is why you are seeing his snazzy new Texas Two Step collar from Sirius Republic that we were able to get after winning Kristine's blogiversary scavenger hunt. i added a nice, soft, fleece lining inside, and this particular collar happens to be part of the collection that provides funds to Love-A-Bull, Inc.  :-)

plus, because i am sometimes lazy, instead of taking off the top of the bowl to empty & refill it, i will turn the whole thing upside-down over the sink and shake the crap out of it until it's empty. admittedly, this probably takes far more effort than simply removing the top, but i never claimed to be logical. (don't worry, we do clean the bowl, too. properly.)

the ConTech Drink Better bowl seems to have a similar design as the Road Refresher, but i went with the RR because of its dual purpose (and because i was able to get it on sale).

so A+ for travel-ability, RR. you go on with your bad self.

made by Jolly Pets, Inc.

in addition to being non-spill, the bowl also touts (OK, well, the company touts. the bowl just sits there) being able to keep long ears dry, being able to cut down on slobber, and being able to keep your feeding area cleaner/neater due to less dribble and a more gentle lapping motion.

that's another reason i decided to give it a whirl. if you can't tell from the pictures, the bowl has three components that work together to keep only a small amount of water available at any given time: the bowl itself, a floating disk with holes in it, the cover with a big lip.

the floating disk stays just above the water level unless you--or someone with a big snout--pushes down on it. water comes above the floating disk via the holes in it, and, voila, you have just a bit of water to drink.

at first, this worked fairly well for us, but i think desmond figured out that if he kept drinking, more water would appear. i also think he must have, at some point, realized he could push down on the floating disk and get more water. to just keep on drinking that tiny bit seems like a lot of effort, and i think he'd give up (i've seen him give up on looking/sniffing for a treat that was in plain sight less than a foot away from him).

whatever the case may be, he is now back to chug, chug, chugging along. and we're back to our three-pronged plan of attack. no bueno. and in case it's not obvious, this did not do a thing for his tendency to get the whole damn dining room floor soaking wet after each drink. 

oh, sure. puke all over the floor and then make yourself comfortable. whose house is this, anyway?
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