It's been a pretty interesting few weeks for our old beagle, Sadie - she's ambling toward sixteen years old, and has been exhibiting geriatric type issues for a good while now. Little energy, grumpy, no longer running or able to get up on her back feet, much less jump, and when we moved into our new apartment in August, we realized she couldn't handle the one flight of stairs necessary to get to our door.
We'd resigned ourselves to thinking this was just the way it was going to be now, and we did what we could to keep her happy and comfortable. She did enjoy slow rambling walks through the neighborhood, and we've been seeing to it she gets one or two good excursions a day.
Left untreated, it can lead to organ failure and death, and while it can happen at any age, it is underdiagnosed among elderly dogs because of how much it just looks like old age.
The treatment is simple - a daily dose of prednisone does the trick. And it worked, almost immediately, to return our eager, active, happy dog back to us.
The downside of prednisone, is that it also made her more assertive, stubborn and demanding, especially where food was involved, and she quite quickly took on more weight than is good for her, after a few months of finally getting it under control.
I'm leading with all that, because coincidentally, at the same time, we were testing out Open Farm Dog Treats for review, and I think they saved the day when it came to having good-for-her treats I could feel fine with letting her have when she's behaving like she's withering away from starvation because we are being strict about portion control.
Open Farm is an amazing company that not only cares about the quality of food and treats your dog or cat gets - it cares about where the meat is sourced, putting strong emphasis on humane and sustainable practices. And it does something I have never seen in a pet food before - it allows you to look up the farms that sourced each bag individually by using a code number on the bag!
Open Farm makes 3 varieties of dog food, 2 varieties of cat food, and 5 varieties of dog treats. I reviewed three of the five treat varieties for this review: Dehydrated Turkey Treats, Dehydrated Chicken Treats and Dehydrated Cod Skins.
The turkey variety is slightly lighter in color but otherwise I can't tell all that much difference in them.
The two varieties we didn't try were beef and pork, and looking at their ingredients online, they use the same formula, so selecting on over another should be simply a matter of choosing what your dog might like best.
Sadie enjoys them a lot - they are rather more lightweight than the look (because it's all dehydrated), but has a great time catching them and crunching them up (and then hosing the ground for any possible dropped crumbs). She not only recognizes the bag on sight, but she knows where they're stored, and will go stare at the cabinet door, dancing around and barking at us to give her one. (This is much more demanding behavior than we are used to!)
I had a feeling she was going to be a fan - she's got a long history of chowing through any cat food that ever comes her way, and when we have salmon for dinner, she goes into ecstasy when we let her have the skins.
I was very, very right on this! The first time I gave her one, her eyes rolled up in her head with joy.
And I feel great about letting her have them, because the ingredients list is: cod skins.
That's it! Sustainable, Alaskan wild caught cod. The skins are dehyrated into a lightweight crunchy wafer that provides great crunch, and miraculously isn't giving her a terrible case of fish breath.
These have also proved to be highly motivational - not only did she finally crack the code on tackling our apartment stares after being confronted with a Cod Skin waiting for her at the top, but she'll now jump up to get them when we put one up on the ottoman for her. She's not yet tried to completely jump up onto the chair, so we don't know yet if that's a skill she can still handle - but even if not, it's so good to see her willing to work to get something she loves.
Since she's going to be stuck on prednisone for life, I will be buying the Open Farm Cod Skins to keep her hunger monster at bay without loading her up on unnecessary fillers.
Open Farm is available at local pet stores and some online venues, and you can look on their store locator to see where it's available near you. There's a store just a couple miles away from me, and I'll be picking her up some more cod skin treats, and trying a bag of their dog food as well.
Sadie and I highly recommend Open Farm!