June 28, 2013

Salty Dogs

I meant to share this a few weeks ago, but didn't feel like spending much time on the computer or inside when there was so much going on outside and so limited time to enjoy!

But here I sit in a parking lot in Illinois with time to kill. And I think this is worth sharing because for dog owners there's some good to know information in this story.

There are no pictures. Sorry! I had some sad, forlorn Chinese Cresteds on film, but I'm not going to do battle with my computer just for those few sad pictures. If you don't know what I'm talking about, refer to the previous post.

So, let me set the scene:

We arrive home and it feels so good! Everything in it's place, everything well taken care of. Only two minor problems:
1: there is, after nearly 7 months living in the house, a dead mouse in the trap. The first, mind you, after several years of living with mouse issues, and so I count my blessings, discard of the dead mouse, and feel the blessing of the miracle that I can live in an old farm house and not have a mouse problem. And why is that? I was fascinated but relieved!

2: my kitchen sink and counter is covered in tiny ants, going busily from the cupboard to the back of the counter and disappearing beneath the sink.

Turns out they'd found the sugar bowl in the cabinet above the sink where I keep the glasses and coffee mugs and coffee additives....like sugar!
So I cleaned that up and moved the sugar bowl and anything else accessible to an inaccessible location.

Problem solved! Right?

Ummm...no! If you've ever had ants in your kitchen maybe you know what a pestering problem it is to get rid of them. The little demons persisted in plaguing me for days and days! I had to check the sink each evening to make sure we hadn't left any dirty glasses or anything in it. The rotten little buggers found a way into the dishwasher, where I'd stashed half a load of dishes waiting till morning to wash after breakfast. It was a constant frustration to me!

And since it was around the sink mostly and I have limited counter space for food preparation, I really didn't want to use one of those anti-ant sprays, with the overspray getting on everything nearby. So I was just dealing with them till I could find a natural-ish way to give them an eviction.

I had some suggestions from friends but wasn't having much luck getting my hands on the required materials, and finally in one big gigantic fit of frustration and disgust, I went to the store and bought some Combat ant bait strips.

I put one by the sink up against the back of the counter, and I stuck one to the inside of the cabinet between the dishwasher and the cabinet wall. Two little strips in safe out of reach places, where the ants could get them and no one else could!

And then I had two of my high school friends over for lunch and we had a lovely time and there wasm't an ant in sight, even though I'd put the bait strips out just that morning! I was thrilled.

Visit, laugh, and play with the new baby who was adorable, and then hugs goodbye and I went to the kitchen to clean up and get ready to go out and see if Malcolm needed help. I finished the dishes, wiped down the counter, walked into the living room, and walked right into a heart stopping sight.

Ella, proudly standing on the ottoman guarding her new toy...an EMPTY any bait strip!

The bait was totally licked out and the other two girls were bouncing around trying to get a turn at what Ella had.

I was sick! I was panicked. There was a storm coming, and Malcolm was down the road at the neighbors helping them with the creek crossing at their place, and my dogs were going to die right there in the living room from eating ant bait that I'd foolishly put out instead of some natural ant deterrent.

I snatched up my cell phone and called the vet, the new vet, the very one we'd just had out three days before on a Sunday morning when we thought Fancy was having problems (another disaster story). I called and had no signal!
Next room, call, no signal!
Another room, call, no signal!
And by now I was getting really upset!
I finally flew out the front door onto the porch, closing the door behind me so the girls would be quiet and so I could hear. I finally got the vet on the phone, and proceeded to explain what had happened. And half way through his instructions, the storm broke and I could barely hear him because of the thunder and down pour. But eventually I was able to make out what he was wanting me to do, and so I hung up and turned around to go back in and suddenly realized I'd just locked myself out of the house with no key.

So there I stand on the porch with a downpour and lightning storm between me and Malcolm and my poisoned, possibly dieing as I stand there dogs on the other side of the locked door, near tears of frustration and heart ache, and I heard Malcolm coming on the bobcat.
Which was a relief and a sickening feeling at the same time because I had wanted to get this done before he returned so that he didn't have to walk into our chaos and more stress.

However, I did need in the house! So his arrival was very timely!

Back inside, and the girls are over joyed that we've returned to them! Life is wonderful! They think! No signs of death or serious illness yet! Thank the good Lord!

I scooped up Ella, and since I didn't really know who exactly had licked out all the ant bait, they could have been sharing for all I knew, I called the other two and the four of us hurried into the kitchen.

The vet taught me something very interesting and I think, especially now, valuable for all dog owners to know. So I'm sharing it with you.

If you cram a teaspoon of salt down your dogs throat, they will start throwing up within minutes!
Its a near guaranteed way to get your dog to throw up if you need it to.

And so that's what I did. I took my happy, bouncy little dogs that thought we were going to get a treat or play a game in the kitchen floor, and one by one I held them down and poured a teaspoon of salt down their precious throats.

And it was effective. Ella was first and before I'd finished getting Carlie's dose in her, Ella was already heaving. By the time Paris had swallowed hers, Carlie was starting up and Ella was still going.

I no longer had three bouncy happy dogs. I had three traumatized girls, heaving their guts up, and between bouts looking at me as if I had lost my mind and broken their hearts. And they were breaking mine!

Ella had a full tummy and I think that saved her a lot of discomfort. She only threw up a couple times and after that was fine, though a bit warry of me.
Carlie and Paris apparently were running on empty, and as a result, they heaved and heaved and heaved with little to show for it but slime and foam, and they felt awful and were so upset. It killed me!

There was a mess to clean up obviously. And in her trauma, and also juggling three sick ones, I'd not been able to contain Carlie towards the end and so I had three rooms to clean up, as well as a hallway.

It was while I was cleaning that the vet called me to see how it was going. He was pleased with the results (at least someone was). He also told me that if we'd been in the office, he would have also given them a charcoal paste to absorb any residual poison that might be in their tummies. Well I had some charcoal tablets and he was thrilled to hear that. And so I was instructed to shove a couple of those down each dogs throat.

More trauma.

And then poor Carlie Jean apparently hadn't been done with her vomiting, so I had to clean more up, and then force tablets in her again.

And after that it was a wait and watch game.

By that time it was late in the day. The storm had passed, and shortly after Malcolm came back in. We cleaned up, had dinner, and retired to the living room to watch some TV. By this time Ella had returned to her normal bouncy "the world is a marvelous place" self. Paris was pouting and content to snuggle in the blankets and watch me with a wary eye. But I wasn't worried about her. Carlie Jean, however, was acting very lethargic and shivering, which is normal for her when she thinks she's been mistreated in even the most minor way. She was just not herself at all, and since she'd had some blood in what she'd managed to throw up, and also lost control of her bowels towards the end of the episode, well to tell the truth I was worried. More worried than I tried to let on to Malcolm, because Carlie is his baby.

Later in the evening, when it was time to take them out, I forced her to go with us, and once outside, when she went to pee on Ella's pee spot, because Carlie always has to mark Ella and Paris's spots, and then growled at a real or imagined movement off in the dark, I felt like she was going to be all right. I think she was just really traumatized from the whole event and plus she got a double dose of the charcoal tablet cramming. And the vet had not seemed concerned when I mentioned the blood to him, saying something to the effect that it was probably just from the trauma of so much heaving.

The next day all three girls were alive and well and back to normal and had even seemed to forgotten that their lady tried to kill them the previous day. Life resumed its normal rhythms, I discarded all ant baits except the one high on the counter where there was no way the girls could get at it, and enjoyed the rest of our vacation at home....now ant free!

So here's what I though was note worthy that every dog owner ought to know, because you just can't tell when it will come in handy!

If you need your dog to throw up for various reasons, whether you think it's poisoned or it ate a pair of underwear (as our neighbor shared with us his story of dog retching trauma), pour a teaspoon of salt into the back of their mouths and force them to swallow it. You're pretty much guaranteed instant results. And according to my vet, if the salt doesn't work, a teaspoon of peroxide will do it, and won't hurt the dog. Also you can try mustard, but he prefers the other two first as mustard is extra unpleasant to them, although I doubt anything about the experience can be counted as anything but unpleasant!

I'm relieved to have had this whole situation turn out ok. As I mentioned before, this was only three days after we'd had the vet out for Fancy, after sitting up with her all night in the barn, watching her sweat and strain and panting for breath and giving every indication that she was having this foal...early...and then no results in the morning but no changes either. We had the vet come out and the first thing he said upon arrival was that it didn't look good and that we'd probably lost the foal, and maybe the mare too. After an examination in which he discovered she wasn't even dialated, he changed his diagnosis to "she's uncomforatable and going through the motions cause she wants it over with." Yeah...thanks Fancy for the trauma and the weekend vet call bill just cause your uncomfortable!

Anyway, to say the least the week was rather emotionally packed! But it all turned out ok. And a week later we had three healthy bouncy dogs AND a healthy bouncy foal! Fancy was more comfortable after that, and though my purse was a bit lighter (thanks again Fancy) I was healthy and happy too, and the rest of our vacation at home ran a lot more smoothly and pleasantly, no more drama or trauma!

But I have to say, there is something to be said for being back at work! Malcolm's said before and in this instance I have to agree....
We had to go back to work to get a break!


Cindy D. said...

Oh I am glad they are ok, that is super scary. I was going to tell you about the peroxide too, but my mom the breeder says to dilute it with water some.

Kellie said...

HOly smokes! What a story!! I laughed and cringed with you lol

Thanks for the tip though, never know when it'll come in handy :)

gowestferalwoman said...

now what part of horse ownership did someone ever tell you was going to be inexpensive?


So grateful your "kids" are going to be okay - and wise advice to pass on... !

Dreaming said...

OMG I can't even begin to imagine the emotions you were going through. And, the poor girls being so 'woman-handled' and mistreated! I don't blame them for giving you the stink-eye!
Thanks for the tip. I had never heard about the salt treatment before.

Muffy's Marks said...

Oh my, what a day!! I would have run away!! Glad all ended well. And how did the visit with your class mates go? and what did you serve?
Enjoy the upcoming week!!

Rae said...

How scary. I can't imagine how worried you must have been. That is great info. Thanks for sharing it. I will store that away in case I ever need it. I dropped by your blog and enjoyed my visit. I really liked seeing all your photos.