Monday, January 28, 2013

San Francisco City Tour

Even though we are only 20 minutes away and we often tell people who don't know the area well that we live in San Francisco, we rarely visit the city. And when we do, we act like tourists...

We started the day at the Giants ballpark. Though the baseball season was way over, there are still a lot of people hanging around the gift shops. To our surprise, Maya was invited into the shops by the friendly staffs, but we failed to find her a Giants bandana.

Then we got in line for some "grass-fed beef hot dogs". Too bad the hot dogs ran out right when it was about our turn. Look how disappointed Maya was.

Fortunately, there's nothing an off-leash run at the beach can't fix. Maya had some much needed zoomies along the Crissy Field coast with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Then the humans got a really nice dinner. Ah, too bad Maya couldn't join us...

On our way back home, we stopped by Pet Food Express to pick up some dog food. We also went to Diaso (a Japaness "dollar store", where everything is $1.5). We got ourselves two stainless steel bowls for Maya's meals on the go, a hair stopper to prevent Maya's fur clogging our drains again, and a whole year's supply of poop bags!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Controlling the Itchiness

I guess it's time to stop slacking and start updating my blog again! With my new job demanding more of my time and our new addiction to League of Legends, it's been hard to keep up.

Maya has been healing up well since the weather got cold. She still scratches herself a few times a day, but not to the extent of hurting herself. She also still licks/chews on her feet, but has gotten down to focus on only one foot, so I guess that's a bit of an improvement as well.

Since she's not like super itchy every single day, it's much easier for us to get a better idea of what may be triggering her allergy symptoms. We make sure to minimize changes in her daily routine, and only test out one changes at a time. Hopefully, we can get the situation more manageable before the next spring hits us.

Location-wise, we found an area in our local park that makes Maya extra itchy whenever we stop by, so we just stayed away. Thankfully, the park is pretty big, and we still have plenty of space for our daily walks. I'm just glad we can go back to the park, instead of sneaking around in the neighborhood going potty on other people's properties.

We also noticed that Maya gets itchier whenever we visit our relative's, so we've been carrying her between the car and the house, avoiding any contact to the outdoor areas. Though doing so doesn't eliminate the problem, but as least it's not out of control. Not taking her with us is just too cruel, as it's one of her favorite places and those are her favorite people.

As for hiking and dog parks, she's been doing quite well. At least the ones we went to in the past two months haven't caused us any trouble.

Speaking of her diet, Maya's been on the Honest Kitchen Zeal (grain-free, fish-based dehydrated raw) since September. She is doing good on the food allergy-wise, but we noticed her losing weight over the past few months. She dropped down to 16 pounds at one point, which is 4 pounds less than her heaviest weight. It may not seem much for a human, but that's 1/5 of her body weight, which makes it kind of alerting.

I tried increasing the amount of food in the last few weeks, and she did pick up a pound. However, her poop has been massive. I felt like she shouldn't need to eat that much, but her body isn't digesting the food that well. Even if she's doing perfect, I don't think it's good to stay on one protein from one brand forever. I really wanted to start switching her off of Zeal, but I'm kind of stuck.

So far every single new protein we gave her, whether it's cooked, raw, or dehydrated, seems to be making her itchy. I don't know if it's just me imagining things or just coincidence, but she would start scratching a lot more frequently the day after we feed her something different. There are still a few pricier ones I haven't tried, but I would have to wait for her to get back to a "clean slate" from our pork failure a few days ago.

If we somehow come to the conclusion that she can only eat fish, I probably have to give up on feeding her raw, since I really don't know how to balance her diet. I've been searching for other commercial fish-based, grain-free, non-kibble dog food, but so far I haven't found one I like with a reasonable price. The only one that sounds promising is Primal Pet Food's sardine mix, but unfortunately, Maya hated it when I gave it a try over a year ago.

In short, I'm still looking for a solution to Maya's diet.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Monthly Expenses: December 2012

Happy New Year!

It's been a whole year since I've been tracking my pet expenses. Though it's shocking to see the amount spent every time I make these "Monthly Expenses" posts, it's been very beneficial to know where the money went and help budget for the future. I will keep doing this monthly and hopefully the numbers will be much smaller this year.

Let's see what we got for the last month of 2012...

December 2012
  • Food: $5
  • Supplements: $25
  • Accessories: $15
TOTAL: $45
YTD TOTAL: $6,285


Didn't spend much on this category this month, since Maya's still working on her big box of Zeal we got in November. She's been doing good on it and it's easier to prepare when we have another dog around or when she's staying at our friends'. All we got were some canned and frozen sardine this month.


The supplements we got this month were all from Taiwan. I got a bottle of "Dan Gui Yin Zi" (當歸飲子) to help with Maya's allergies. It was suggested by a friend who studied Chinese Medicine. It kind of combines "Si Wu Tang" and "Xiao Feng San", which Maya were both taking previously. Thanks to my mom, who bought this for me at a Chinese Medicine shop just a block away from my parents'.

I also got Maya a bottle of QBow Chinese Herbal Spray (赫蓓司舒緩噴劑) for pets.  It's made of Chinese Medicine that helps reduce itchiness. Because of it's bitter taste, it can also be used to prevent chewing. I hope this can help stop Maya from licking/chewing on her own feet.

While I was shopping at the drug store in Taiwan, I found a bottle of Mentholatum AD Cream. It is made in Japan and just recently imported to Taiwan. I knew about it because it was popular among moms who have kids suffering from skin problems. It's gentle formula works well for babies, so I guess it should work fine for dogs as well. However, since I've been using it for my own insect bites and dry skin, I did not add the cost to the pet expenses.


The last thing we got is also from Taiwan. It's a bottle cap that can be screwed on to any water bottle and the entire thing can be attached to a crate. It wasn't something necessary needed, but we wandered into a pet section of a shop and got it mostly because we missed Maya too much. If we ever need to crate Maya for a longer period of time, especially when traveling, it'll work much nicer than the bowl we attach to her crate now. We can also bring it with us on hikes, since the cap is removable for the base. Well, that was the plan, but besides the one time a put in some milk, so far Maya refused to drink from it, even after a long hike. She somehow got very particular about her water and wouldn't drink from most containers or when we are outdoors. Ah, Shibas!