December 21, 2014

Checking In - Not a Lot to Write About

Since it has been a few days since my last post, I thought I'd stop by and write a post. Nothing has really gone one since my last post and as you see I've not posted any photos here like I have promised. Sorry about that.

I have found it very hard to take a lot of pictures when the temperatures are in the 30's. That's just me. I've never been a fan of really cold weather to hangout out outside, unless it was skiing in Colorado and Washington. Even though this winter in the 'tropics' of southern Indiana has been pretty mild so far. The weather experts are predicting a little snow this week, but weather is always changing here, so who knows.

Heidi is looking the best she has in a while. I know, I need to take some new photos and post them here with a before and after shot. By the vets direction last visit, I am now giving her 100mg of Atopica every other day instead of daily with plans of reducing her doses as much as possible.

Her recommended dog bath with medicated shampoo every 3-4 days ... I have failed miserably. It's such a hassle giving hounds a bath, even when they don't mind it. She is getting one this morning though.

I am still in my book reading mode, can't seem to stop. It must be the cooler temps outside that keep me reading books inside. Maybe I have traded my yard work in the good weather for book reading in bad weather.

A lot of college basketball on the television and I must say that I am thrilled with Indiana beating Butler yesterday. The college football bowl games are just starting, but I only watch the ones where I like the team match-ups. There are really too many football bowl games but as usual in sports it's all influenced by money. Even though many of the games are not attended well, I guess those few that do attend do bring enough income to the host city to make it worth it. Cities still want to host some kind of college football bowl game. You would think they are about to run out of sponsor names for those bowls.

Some colleges that are selected to play in those bowl games end up losing money for the trip. Yet at the same time a bowl for a college team gives them extra practices, a boost to their recruiting and an increase in alumni donations to their college.

For those following my house heating experiment, I have had to turn on the electric heat since the outside temperatures dropped to the 20's and 30's. A few times it was cold enough inside the house that I didn't see any need to be cold just to save a few dollars. Since I can see my kilowatt usage every day on the utility company website, I can tell from the usage, how to use my 1975 baseboard electric heat in an economical way. I am still spending below my budgeted amount.

This past week I was asked by a different people what kind of dog food I feed the hounds. It was kind of funny because these questions came from people that didn't know each other, were from different parts of the country, was asked via different ways of communication and all about the same time ... within a couple of days of each other.

Looking back at my list of dog food purchases, it looks like I have changed the food a lot, but it's all been good dog food. Some was 'no grain', some wasn't. The reason for the changes were the allergies that Heidi had ... I wanted to see if it was the food or was environmental.

A few years ago you might remember me taking photos of the cart full of eight 40# bags of Nature's Domain bought at Costco. That food is made by Diamond dog food, with the ingredients very very similar to Taste of the Wild, which is also made by Diamond dog.

With a 200 mile round trip to get to my closest Costco, last year I stopped making that trip and started buying dog food locally. At that time it was Diamond Naturals 60+, now called Diamond Naturals for Large Breeds. Recently they changed not only their packaging but also the list of ingredients. They have more fruit and vegetables added but still had 'grain' but has never had corn, wheat or soy. I can buy that at the local farm feed store, 40# bag costs me $33 including tax, cash or check, no credit or debit cards....yes, it's an old fashion feed store.

With Heidi's skin allergies, which she had when I bought her from Guardian Angel Basset Rescue in July 2011, she had those same allergies, and they were noted on my paperwork along with all of her medical records. In trying to find a possible source, I tried different dog foods, some of them were 'grain free'. A raw diet was never tried and 90 days of a Dinovite supplement did nothing for improvement.

Hoping I could solve her allergies with 'no grain' dog food, I tried Taste of the Wild and Fromm dog foods. Fromm is a family owned business in Wisconsin that deals in only manufacturing dog food. They are one of three dog food manufacturers in the USA, that only deal with dog foods. It's really a great dog food.

Well over a couple of years of trying the no grain food, then switching back and forth to the Diamond Natural for Large Breeds ... I didn't find that Heidi's allergies were dog food related. Her skin rashes did not improve by feeding her 'grain free' food. All three hounds have the softest coats and vets have told me multiple times they have never felt a basset hound coat feel so soft.

So the food I am feeding them is good, since the hair would be the last part of a dog using the ingredients of the dog food that is used.

Yes, for people that laugh (in a good way) about all of my Excel spreadsheets, I do have one that lists the top five ingredients of each dog food I have either bought or were interested in, along with the percentages for calories, fat, water etc. I can look at them side by side and compare them.

I have a different Excel spreadsheet I did a few years ago tracking the "true cost" of a bag of different dog foods, by adding using the miles driven to buy the food, fuel cost estimate and frequency of trips to come up with a cost per pound.

Even though it is a 200 mile round trip to my local Costco, that was the cheapest dog food per pound. Although it would increase the amount of fuel used for the month.

Am I crazy with all the analysis I do?  LOL ... at times I think I am slightly insane ... or maybe it's nothing more than curiosity.

Some have said you have to be a little crazy to keep from going insane.

I have deactivated my Facebook account, again. 

In case I don't make it back to blog until after the holidays ... Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday's to all that read this blog .. A Happy New Year!

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