The Gastronomic Adventures of a Geriatric Newfoundland

by Barb S. on May 25, 2010

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Dulse will be 13 in June!

Dulse will be 13 in June!

Well, it has been a rough couple of months with my senior dog, Dulse, who will be 13 on June 15! I almost made the “ultimate decision” when we had a situation where he got stuck on the porch all day while I was at work.  BAD “mom” for letting that happen- it won’t again! He was so exhausted from trying to get up all day that his front legs wouldn’t support him, so I carried all 100 lbs of him inside and out and to bed for an evening.  I told myself that this may be the time that I had to make that decision, but the next morning he was walking around again and he has not had a bad day since. I have been keeping a mini-calendar charting his good days and bad (none since that day three weeks ago) and have been even more mindful about keeping him out of potentially dangerous situations – until yesterday, that is.

I had been cleaning out my cupboards and had my canned goods in a box on the floor – things like soups, hot sauce, a jar of sauerkraut, black and pinto beans, Bloody Mary mix, etc. These were all sealed cans or bottles. None had been opened. I had two Mylar-type bags of Sabrett’s Onions in red sauce (I’m a former New Yorker), which I very carefully put up and away, because I know from experience that Dulse is a chowhound.

Okay, so I went on my merry way to work and came home on time, only to see old man Dulse on his bed chewing on a can of pinto beans. I immediately took it from him and then I noticed that he was lying on glass (from the sauerkraut jar), sauerkraut all gone. I looked around further and saw five SOUP cans completely crushed with bite marks all over them and the soup sucked out, an empty can of Bloody Mary mix (no alcohol, thank goodness!), and some bitten-into, but rejected, cans of hot sauce and olives. Let me reiterate that these items I had in a box on the floor were sealed (not that I feel guilty or anything).

"What?" Everything is genuine except for the sauerkraut jar.

"What?" Everything is genuine except for the sauerkraut jar.

I gave him a quick once over and noticed that he had no cuts anywhere, even in his mouth. I know that there was a possibility that he had swallowed some glass. I called the vet who said to give him a small meal and watch him. I gave him a few slices of bread and lined the house with Super Large Piddle Pads and thus began my night of watching and dreaming bad dreams and going over to check to see if he was still breathing. These are my “fur kids” after all. It is not a night I care to repeat. Ever.

The night was uneventful and he eliminated the sauerkraut, with no blood that I could see. The dogs had a grooming appointment scheduled the next day, and because my groomer is so knowledgeable about dogs and she is located in my vet’s office, he was eyeballed all day. I will have to continue monitoring him for a while, but so far, so good.

So now, in addition to keeping opened treats up and away from the dogs, I am determined to keep unopened canned goods in a safe, dog-proof place. This to me indicates that even knowledgeable people make mistakes in caring for our pets; but lesson learned.

Update: It is a week later and Dulse is doing fine. We really dodged a bullet with that one!

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About the author: Barb is a Certified Veterinary Technician with degrees in Journalism and German Studies from the University of Minnesota. She lives happily in the northwoods of Wisconsin with her Newfoundland, Rudder, and her tuxedo cat, Max. Barb is Senior Copywriter for Drs. Foster and Smith dog and cat catalogs and has been with the company since 1999. See more articles by Barb S.

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May 25, 2010 at 8:14 am

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brittany May 25, 2010 at 7:54 am

Holy crap.

And I thought my newfy-mix girl Nova was bad!? Wow, that’s pretty amazing… Nova’s claim to fame was stealing a whole pound of butter and eating it box and all and having no adverse affects.

(she is also known for stealing cardboard and eating it… and chewing on walls….)

Barb S. May 25, 2010 at 8:37 am

Brittany- it was so bad that even I couldn’t believe it when I saw it!

Nova and the butter- hilarious, but glad she had no side effects! Although Dulse does not eat walls, he does have an affinity for cardboard, now that I think about it!.

brittany May 25, 2010 at 9:31 am

Nova started in on walls when she escaped her crate with her little brother, Quick (a collie/Border collie mix), and I think it was a frustration thing… she eats walls, she eats bark, she licks gravel when she is put into down stays, she eats my lilacs…

And no. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a side effect in her, no sign of sickness or nasty poops (though there have been some gravel chunks) or any discomfort. She leads a charmed life!!!

Dulse must, too! :)

JulieD May 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

Oh my goodness…how stressful! I’m so glad he is okay. Whew!

Michelle A. May 25, 2010 at 10:53 am

Oh My! I have an 8 month old Newfie who I know would eat anything if he could just get to it. Proof of that was when I discovered him with pieces of Halls wrapper around him and sucking on one in his mouth – I think he got 3 of them. Thankfully there were no side effects (but his breath was minty fresh!). I never thought of sealed jars/cans. Now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t get some more secure latches for the lower cupboards!

Glad Dulse is okay!

Barb S. May 25, 2010 at 12:22 pm

brittany: Dulse and Quick DO lead charmed lives! LOVE your dog names- Quick is GREAT for a Border Collie X!
Julie: Yes it was stressful, in fact, I avoided putting this up for a week because I was afraid something would happen – he is still fine, though!
Michelle: LOL re: your Newf’s Hallsy-fresh breath. I don’t even like the taste of those – ick! You probably know this, but you have another 2 years of puppyhood, at least! My “puppy” just turned 3 today, and he still acts like a puppy! Good luck – it is the best of times….
Also, to be fair, Dulse has never done anything like that before, and even the vets are puzzled. One of my extremely knowledgeable colleagues pointed out that her dog, who had Canine Cognitive Disorder, started doing weird things during the last couple of years of her life, and although Dulse is still acting okay, not confused or anything, he IS going to be 13 soon.

Rosemary June 2, 2010 at 9:46 pm

I have to admit, my Standard Rat Terrier, Lucky, has never eaten canned goods by breaking into them. What he has eaten is, however, scary enough. We can start with the chocolate Easter bunny he climbed onto the dining room table to get. Then, it was the tube of zinc oxide diaper rash ointment. The vet said that has to come up, and it was nasty. Then there was the time he got a stick of butter. The day after the butter, he managed to eat most of a bottle of Immodium tablets. We didn’t discover that until about 12 hours later, so all we could do was keep an eye on him (he was fine). And he LOVES cough drops.

My husband named him Lucky because he was pulled out of the storm sewer less than a minute before the sky opened up with over an inch of rain. He has lived up to it for the last 10 years. He got lost in Aneheim, CA for 6 hours. He has gone through a window without a scratch, and a patio door with only 7 stitches.

Cheri June 3, 2010 at 9:30 pm

My newf is 9 yrs old and all of a sudden problems. It’s so sad/hard, I am not ready to lose her! Right now I think it’s just skin issues and I hope we can get them cleared up. I can’t believe yours ate canned goods! haha Luckily, Ursa would never do that. She is moving a bit slower, having trouble getting up.. but still has many puppy moments! Looking for other for support with my Newf Baby!

Barb S. June 4, 2010 at 9:03 am

Rosemary: Wow- Lucky is indeed lucky! Rat Terriers are tough little dogs. And cute, too!

Cheri: Sorry to hear about your Newf’s recent problems. One of my best friends had a Newf named Ursula – Ursa and Ursula are both very appropriate Newf names, since both names have to do with Latin for “bear”!

Since Ursa is having a has a hard time getting up, are you using a sling like our ComfortLift or a back ender like “Bottoms Up”? Both are great products and help a lot, especially since these pups are so big! Also, I did write a post about dealing with big seniors and a lot of comments other people made may help you. Good luck and give Ursa a hug!

Cindy Soto June 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Poor thing….he has this expression on his face that says, “I can’t believe that I ate the WHOLE thing”. Glad he is alright; hope your BP is back to normal by now. Animals! (Dogs and Cats) are worse then our physical children, haha, at times.

Barb S. June 16, 2010 at 8:20 am

Cindy- Yes, he probably felt as thought he could use a little Alka Seltzer! I still can’t believe that he did not have one ill effect from the whole adventure!

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