Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Monthly Expenses: January - March 2014

Starting this year I decided to make some changes to my expenses report. Since I've already been tracking my spending in a spreadsheet, copying out the data directly would be a much easier task than re-typing everything. Presenting the numbers in a table format also helps with viewing and comparison. Hopefully, this will be informative to my readers as well.

Vet & Medical$133$133
Treats & Chews$30$14$17$61
Daycare & Boarding$35$450$485
YTD Total$91$692$1,257


In the food category, most of the expenses went to the Honest Kitchen, including 2 boxes of 10 lbs Zeal and 1 box of 3 lbs Preference. We also got some frozen fish fillets, fresh vegetables, juice, beans, and a can of fermented veggies. 

I wasn't really planning to purchase from the Honest Kitchen in March, but because I left a few items in my shopping cart, they started to send me coupons. At first it was 5% off, then they offered 10% off. I was a sucker and fell for it. 

Vet & Medical

Despite her face healed up nicely, Maya still continued to chew on her feet, lick her vulva, and was troubled by ear infection through winter. As spring approaches, we noticed that she started to scratch her face more often as well, so we had another appointment with Dr. M.

Besides the vet visit, we also purchased a bottle of Zymox Otic ear solution and a tube of Zymox topical cream. So far, I've been pleased with the result. She stopped shaking her head in a day, and it smells/looks much better in a few days. The frequency of her licking her feet and vulva has greatly reduced as well. (Read more about them in the Ear Infection and Itchiness posts.)


For supplements, we got Maya a few different types of probiotics and digestive enzymes, as well as a bottle of THK Perfect Form. Keeping her digestive system healthy has been an important part of combating her infections, and the supplements definitely helped.

Treats & Chews

I got Maya a box of Salmon Skin Bones. I wish I have known about this sooner! It lasts much longer than a bully stick, and is made from Maya's very few "safe" ingredients. I do have to be careful and leave her alone (while supervising in range). One time I was brushing her when she was chewing on it, and my hand got too close to her mouth. She was afraid I would take it from her and chocked herself by swallowing the whole end piece. Luckily I remembered the first aid video I watched and helped her puke it out, but it was really really scary! 

I noticed Maya's teeth starting to have tartar built up since we switched her off raw. I got a bag of C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews in hope that it can help with the situation. However, I still haven't been giving it to her as frequent enough to tell the difference. 

Besides the chews, we also got a bag of Wellness Pure Rewards and a bag of Real Meat treats.


For grooming, because Maya's "little white skirt" was touching the floor and getting in the way of her poop, I had to trim it down again. Last time I used regular scissors and was bothered how there seems to be a straight line through her butt. For my own satisfaction, I got a pair of thinning scissors. Looks better?

I also took Maya to the groomer for a nail trim. I used to take her to Petsmart for nail trims when she was a puppy, but after a few visits, she got so scared of the place and even peed out of fear when I tried to get her into the room. Ever since then, I've been doing her nails myself. However, I am afraid to hit her quick, so I always only cut off a little bit, and trimming her dew claws is super hard. After hearing good reviews of this place, I decided to take her in for some professional help. Well, the groomer said her nails were short, so she didn't take much off, so I guess I was doing it right and probably won't need to come back for another few years. Since I heard her whining and crying and being a drama queen while I waited outside, I gave an extra dollar tip to the groomer for not complaining. (After being in the US for so long, I'm still not sure when tipping is necessary... Is it for this type of service? Is one dollar enough?)

Daycare & Boarding

The biggest expense thus far is for the 8 nights Maya stayed with the doggie daycare while we were in Asia for Chinese New Year. We paid for a 10 nights package, so we still have 2 more remaining for future use.


While we faced some challenges with agility training, we are not giving up. We went back to Agility 2 and worked our way back to Agility 4 again. She is doing much better after I decided to take it easy. She still walks "elegantly" through the courses and occasionally embarrasses me in front of the whole class (such as refusing to move till another owner offered a different treat), but I still enjoy going to class once a week to have some bonding time with her. A gift card I got helped reduce some of the cost for the classes.


As for the Misc category, I got two Squeeze Dispensing Bottles to bring aloe gel with me on the go for Maya's hotspots. I had been using small travel jars, but often found myself contaminating the remainder by my dirty fingers. Squeeze bottles work much better.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Easter

I never really cared about Easter. I'm not Christian and it's not a holiday. But this year was a bit special, as NW Shibas4LIfe Rescue put up a photo / video contest. 

I thought it was a good chance to make use of Maya's new trick, "put your toys away", which she learned at Zoom Room Belmont. I got a small bag of Easter eggs at the grocery store and dug out an old basket. Thanks to Sakura the Diva Dog, who gave us a rabbit toy for Shibamas, our theme is now set.

When we started to practice, Maya was a bit confused about what I want from her, and ended up putting her front legs inside the basket. I took the opportunity and actually made her climb in the basket herself for another photo contest! 

A few NG's and broken eggs later, I got the footage I wanted. Then with the help of iMovie on iPad, the video is finally ready!

I was really honored that we were chosen as the winner for the "Eastah Egg Hunt" video contest, and thrilled that they sent us a lovely Shiba blanket as the prize. It was a fun experience making our training extra rewarding. I also got to teach myself how to use iMovie to edit videos and LINE camera to doge-fy photos. 

Contest and Easter aside, NV Shibas4LIfe Rescue is a wonderful rescue that provides long term care for Shibas until the end of their lives. Please help support their good cause. Every bit helps!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

And the Itchiness Begins...

It's spring again. And the itchiness begins... The wounds on Maya's muzzle that finally healed up in February, started to show up again. We have been giving her 1/2 Benadryl in the morning and another 1/2 in the evening. It seems to have some effects, at least keeping the itchiness "manageable". She is usually itchier in the morning, probably because the effects of Benadryl faded.

As much as I wanted her to not itch at all, realistically, my goal for this year to prevent secondary infections. Last year, her conditions dragged much longer than the allergy season, because of getting into a bad cycle of infections, itchier, steroids, weak immune system, more infections, itchier, antibiotics...


To combat the infections, I have been using Zymox Topical Cream. So far it has helped reduce Maya's licking on her paws and vulva. I got both versions of the cream, with and without Hydrocortisone. The one with Hydrocortisone seems to be more effective, but I'm worried about side effects for using long term and Maya licking it off. I use the one without on her muzzle and the other one on her paws. I also apply before going for walks, in hope that she won't be able to lick it off. Her vulva is no longer swollen, so I only apply the no Hydrocortisone cream when she shows signs of licking. 


Fingers crossed that this treatment will continue to work on her.