Oh No! My Dog Is A Fussy Eater.

I believe many of us have faced this problem in our lives. Sometimes, our dogs are just not interested in what’s in their bowls. I have faced this issue too. Not with Junior, but with Casper. Casper had turned his nose up at his own food, but was always interested in what I was eating. This meant that he wasn’t ill, but had become a picky eater.

Let me tell you how it started and the ways I bid to make him start eating his own food without him throwing a tantrum.

Just like any other Labrador, Casper was a big time foodie. He would eat anything and everything that I would put in his bowl, along with some veggies that I gave him as snacks. He always maintained an ideal weight and was a very active dog. Unfortunately, he fell ill and was diagnosed with Tick Fever where his survival was nearly impossible. But, by the grace of God and expertise of the Vet, Casper not only lived, he thrived. Obviously it wasn’t easy. After some months of his treatment, and when Casper was absolutely normal and healthy, I noticed that he had started withdrawing from his food. Eventually, he stopped eating his kibble completely.

I was scared, because I thought he was relapsing. I spoke to the Vet and briefed him about Casper’s behavior. That’s when I came to know that Casper had turned into a fussy eater. Since this is not a medical problem or an illness, there is no medicine also to it. So I had to find a different way to make him start eating his own food. In the meantime, Casper happily ate Curd Rice and Vegetables. But that was not enough as he was not getting all his nutrients and vitamins which he would get from kibble. Being a vegetarian myself, I was hesitant to introduce him to meats and fish, even eggs. I would have done that eventually, had Casper not started eating the dog food. But that was Plan B. I was reflecting on a way to make Plan A work, i.e. make him eat his kibble happily.

Dogs are not picky. It’s an acquired trait. My biggest challenge was to find the core of his new behavior. Which I found! He had become finicky about his food because when he was recovering from Tick Fever, I had fed him chicken soups, eggs, curd, sugarcane juice, etc. Basically, he was off dog food for some time and he was relishing on the other stuff. Now, you must be thinking why sugarcane juice. It has so much sugar and sugar is poison for dogs. In India, if anyone has jaundice, we give them a lot of sugarcane juice. According to traditional Ayurveda, sugarcane juice is a boon to strengthen your liver and a proven remedy for jaundice. The antioxidants in sugarcane juice protect the liver against infection and maintain the bilirubin levels in control.

Alright, since I was aware of Casper’s core issue, my next step was to slowly make him like his kibble. Please remember, it’s not magic. It took time for him to get back to his schedule. So be consistent and patient. Do not scold your dog or scream at them. There will be a time of frustration, but that won’t solve anything.

I bought home a few samples of dog food from the vet and introduced them one by one to Casper. Some of them Casper sniffed and left, and some Casper ate a bite or two and left. So I discarded the ones which didn’t eat and narrowed down to one food brand which Casper ate the most. Now I had to work around only one food brand.

My next step was to make Casper eat more and more of it daily. I knew he wouldn’t start eating it at once, so I activated a little of my acting skills to make him eat atleast a handful of it. At the same time, I also reduced his intake of Curd Rice and Veggies. There were times when Casper skipped him meals completely. That’s ok for a dog skip a meal or two, since he didn’t have any medical issues at that time.

I stopped filling Casper’s bowl in front of him. I never hand-fed him or even bribed him. I would keep his food and if he didn’t eat till half n hour, I would take it and discard it. I would go in the kitchen, fill his bowl and then bring it outside to his eating place, so that he is not pre annoyed by the smell of the food and he gets to smell it only at the time of eating. Most of the times, he would eat a little and then leave it. So as I said I activated my acting skills, I would tell him that I am going out and start walking towards the door. Casper would immediately go to his bowl and complete his food. Different techniques work for different dogs. Since Casper always wanted me around, he ate his food thinking I would leave. But I couldn’t do this forever, right!

Then, I bought wet food of the same brand and started mixing it little with his dry food. That’s when I had to stop acting and Casper started finishing his bowl on his own. And eventually, after reducing the wet food gradually, one day came, when Casper for the first time in weeks ate his dry food completely on his own. And, that was the first time I rewarded him for completing his meal on his own. But always keep a check on them, as they may tend to get back to being picky again.

In all this process, under no circumstances fall weak and give them anything that they want like human food or table scraps. This will delay their process of getting back on schedule. Also, there can be various reasons why dogs suddenly become picky. They could be ill, or have some kind of anxiety, or maybe in pain, etc. So, rule out the medical causes first. There are also myths that fussy eaters cannot be fixed or changing the food often leads to fussy eating or they get bored of kibble after some times. These are nothing but MYTHS.

Like all responsible parents, we want our pets the always remain healthy and safe. And anything can be achieved with consistency, patience and lots of love.

Indo Western Food

Typical Gujarati Lunch – Bajri (gravel) Rotla, Baingan (brinjal) Bhaji, Bhindi (lady finger) and Dal.
Garlic Buns
At midnight, I suddenly had a craving to bake buns. So now I call them – Midnight Buns
Pesto Noodles
Mushroom Risotto
Diet Pizza made of Wheat Base, homemade Pizza Sauce and Cottage Cheese.
This is a Gujarati dish called Handvo. Filled with veggies, crispy on the outside and healthy.
Masala Khichdi. Again, lots of vegetables and protein rich.
When I make art with Oil Pastels (crayons)
Post bath
Little cuddle baby he becomes after bath
Big Rat 😅

Birthday Week 😀 with Food

I finally succeeded in making layered parathas. Here’s, Masala Laccha Paratha with Cardamom Tea.
My signature dish, Paneer Butter Masala, Salad, Naan and homemade Shikhand (made by my Mom)
We recently encountered a cyclone. It was windy and raining heavily. The best weather to have Aloo, Pyaaz and Paneer Pakoras with Kadak Masala Tea.
Rawa Dosa in the making
Cauliflower Manchurian
Junk food – Samosa Pav 😍
Junior shares his birthday with his elder brother Brad and Pitt. They live in Kolkata and I made this as a gift for them in Soft Pastels.
Birthday boy with his Grandparents
Mammu (Mumma’s brother) and nephew goofing around
Mumma and Baby 💞

Junior turns 9

My baby is turning 9 years old tomorrow. After Casper’s death at a young age, I always had this fear in me if Junior could make it to old age. Touchwood, insipte of having some grave health issues in the past, Junior will be celebrating a healthy 9th birthday. I am beyond happy and wish him more and more healthy years to come.

But, we are not celebrating. Last year I had thought that we will celebrate next year as we were in lockdown. Who knew, this year we would be in the same situation. Infact worse. The second wave of Coronavirus came like a disaster in India and we lost a lot of our loved ones.

However, let’s look at the positive. Junior has already received so many gifts from his friends, especially from Kolkata from his friends Brad and Pitt (Labradors) who happen to share the same birthday as Junior, that I am jealous…..ha ha ha ha! Each year, he gets more presents and wishes than I get on my birthday. And I am so glad to see so many dog lovers all around who do not consider their pet’s birthday lightly. Each birthday is mile stone that our dogs lived another year of being healthy, and moreover, they are still with us; as we know they do not live as long as us.

But I have planned to make this day special for him. Unfortunately, I cannot feed him anything besides his medicated dog food. So I am going to take him to his grandparents’ house (my parents). He hasn’t been there since last year because of the pandemic. And my parents too are super excited for him to be with them. Not that my parents haven’t met him. They come to my house to meet him, but tomorrow Junior will be spending his day with them. Besides my parents, my brother too is highly anticipated in spending the day with him. And my brother is Junior’s second favourite human after me.

Aren’t grandparents’ so cute! My mom has been telling me that she will bake a cake for him, even though he cannot eat. And she has warned me to not say a word in this case. Yes, she won’t feed him as his health is a priority. But she wants to still bake one and complete his birthday.

My brother has decided to then take him for a small drive as Junior loves car rides. We cannot wander around much because of the lockdown restrictions. And my Dad has just decided to clear the house and make space for Junior to run around. That’s his way of showing love.

Let me inform you, these are the same parents who never wanted dogs…..ha ha ha ha! And now they are planning his birthday. He is the same Dad who had once asked me to give my dogs for adoption so that I can remarry. But now, if I get any marriage proposal, his first statement is, “my daughter will get married only if Junior is also accepted, or else we are not interested.”

As I have mentioned before, Casper’s death changed the entire perspective of my parents. They never hated dogs. But his death left a void even in them that made them realise how important my dogs are in my life and even in theirs. It hit them harder than accepted.

Though I wish I could have called Junior’s friends home and had a little party. But looking at the circumstances, it is better to be safe and not meet many people and keep everyone safe. Hopefully, next year when everything is over and Covid19 becomes history, I will celebrate Junior’s birthday at a pet café or restaurant with his friends, or take him out of town where he can run and play freely without any leash.

As of now, I am excited to take him to my parents’ house after 1.5 years and waiting to see his reaction. Have a good time with family together and this way, my parents and brother will also divert their minds from the ongoing stress and anxiety. Hopefully, it all turns out well. I would be happy to know how you’ll celebrate your pets’ birthdays and do share some pictures. It’s always a pleasure to see these pooches happy and goofing around.

Cook, eat, sleep, repeat……

Sevaiyan on Eid
Potato Carrot Rosti
Kung Fu Paneer
Sulemani Tea with Lemon
Khao Suey cooked by my sister
Rotis, Mango, Aloo Pyaar ki sabji, Dal and Handwa
Gujarati Dessert – Fada ka Sheera
Basen wali Bhindi Pyaaz Sabji
Breakfast on Mother’s Day – Samosa, Dhokla and Patra
Young soul departed too soul. Made this for a brother as a memory for his younger brother.
No concept of personal space
Yup!

Do you have your Dog inspired tattoo?

Tattoos hold a significant meaning for its bearers. While we all know that tattoos are permanent, there may be some concerns about which tattoo one wants to get embalmed on their body. Besides the designs, there are questions as to which part of the body the tattoo should be done.  

The idea of getting a tattoo done is not new. The art of tattooing has been a practice since the beginning of time. When I go to my village (Kutchh District in Gujarat), I still see a lot of old people; basically Rabari people and many other tribes who has traditional tattoos on them. They believe that tattoos, not prosperity or wealth, are the only substantive things that accompany them into the afterlife. There is also a proverb for it, “We may be deprived of all the things of this world, but nobody has the power to remove the tattoo marks.”

Well, nothing much has changed even now. Many of us get tattooed as we know they are permanent and will stay with us for all our life. Tattoo is also a form of body modification. But it is always a good idea to research about the tattoo one wants to do, which body part and from which artist. If you are getting inked for the first time, don’t get anything done in impulse and regret it later. Also make sure the artists equipment’s are sterile and has a clean work area.

Getting a tattoo done is a painful procedure. So be prepared, choose your design carefully, and make your artist aware if you have any illness or on any medications. Do not consume alcohol and eat well before getting inked. Also, keep an energy drink or a protein bar handy to consume incase you find the procedure unbearably painful and you feel nauseous.

My first tattoo was the names of Casper and my ex-husband. I had got it done on my left hand wrist and loved it too much. It was a simple tattoo but held a lot of meaning. I was even planning on getting another tattoo of Junior’s name. They were the names of the most loved ones in my life. Unfortunately, Casper passed away and I got divorced. Ever since, I find name tattoos jinxed.

I got a cover up done. Since the position of the original tattoo was a little difficult, I couldn’t get the tattoo that I wanted. However, I always wanted a memory of my dogs on me, so I got it covered up with a paw and dreamcatcher.

There are so many beautiful designs available on the internet for tattoos on pets, and one day I will pick a memorable one, modify it and get tattooed again. It’s amazing to see how we pet parents don’t even shy away from getting something permanent done on ourselves, and that too which is painful; for our pets. We consider our pets as our children and we would want them to be with us all our lives. Woefully, that’s not possible, so tattoo is the best way we can express our eternal love for them.

Though we have even faced some flake from people who considers dogs as just dogs and not even a family member. I have been told by someone not to spoil my body look by getting a pet tattoo done. But did I care – NO! I am not saying everyone should get a tattoo done. It’s a personal choice. But it’s so good to see people out there dedicating huge parts of their body to tattoo their pet’s portraits or anything which hold a memory of their pets.

Please feel free to share your pet tattoo pictures. I would love to see them and also get inspiration for my next dog tattoo.

Finger Foods

This is Gujarati Special finger food. Dhokla and Sabodana Vada.
Mango Milkshake in a Beer Glass hand painted by me.
Mint Tea and Fryums
Pav Bhaji is a Mumbai Special dish
Tandoori Maggie
Common Red Curry which can be mixed with any vegetables or can be had as it is with garlic bread.
Lockdown Moments. When I paint 🎨
Dance with your demons. When I paint 🎨
He hates bath 🤷🏻‍♀️
I asked him to look at the camera 😁