Today’s pet care needs require cheddar cheese and a dog wrangler

image Most of us expect to begin taking medication at some point in our lives, particularly those of us with small children. What many of us don’t expect, however, is for the family dog to begin taking medication. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is the first generation to actually provide dogs with things like health insurance, plastic surgery, organ transplants and dentures.

When I was a kid, our dog seemed content eating table scraps, chewing on car tires and barking at the hot water heater. Those things were referred to as character.

Now, of course, these things are referred to as a schizoid embolism requiring psychological treatment, a diet plan and regular nightly flossing. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that we shouldn’t provide our pets with the kind of health care they deserve. I’m just saying that I should have the option of being covered under my dog’s health plan, which — with its dental coverage — is far superior to my own.

A few weeks ago, I took our Labrador to the vet after a series of “accidents” in the middle of the night. I believed this was the result of either a) our dog having an incontinence problem, or b) the cat dipping our dog’s paw in warm water while he’s sleeping.

Our vet said the only way to be sure was to obtain a urine sample from our dog for testing, at which point he sent me home with a plastic container roughly the size of a shot glass. As I feared, our vet explained that the sample had to go DIRECTLY INTO it in order to eliminate any chance of contamination.

There was never any question that I’d be the one stalking our dog with the shot glass, trying to catch a free pour until I either got the sample or was reported by a neighbor to the SPCA.

I should add that our dog has always been a little jumpy, and a week of being stalked by someone trying to steal his urine hasn’t helped.

After obtaining the required sample, I took it to the vet for testing and had my worst fears confirmed, which is that our dog does indeed have better health coverage than we do. I also learned that a dog’s incontinence problem can be solved through a very simple, easy-to-follow combination of prescription medications, with one pill given once every other day, and a second pill given twice a day, every other day, but not on the SAME day as the first pill. After a month, the sequence is then reversed and continues until the incontinence stops completely, or both you and your dog are so confused that you don’t care WHO pees on the floor.

Being that I am an organizer, I came up with a plan to keep track of everything by color-coding the pill bottles, then color-coding the calendar to match the correct sequence. As an extra precaution, I also created a spreadsheet that can be checked-off each night and, if necessary, used as a back-up in the event that we all go color blind.

Of course, none of this really mattered because our dog refused to swallow his medication.

When I tried sticking the pills in his favorite treat, it worked great. But it sort of defeats the purpose of having a prescription discount when you’re spending $40 a month on cheddar cheese.

That’s when I, the dog-wrangler, decided I could force our dog to swallow his pills by placing them on the back of the tongue and poking them down with my finger.

In retrospect, this was clearly a bad idea.

On one hand, I can tell you our dog did swallow his pill; on the other hand, I can also tell you most of his stomach contents from that day.

This brought me back to the cheese option, which I’ve stuck with for the last several days. While this has made giving prescriptions to our dog a lot easier and helped with his incontinence, the high rate of cheese consumption has created a different kind of problem — which has prompted a return to the vet.

And I’ll tell you right now that if he wants a sample of THAT in a shot glass, he can do it himself.

(You can write to Ned at, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439, or visit him on Facebook)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

63 thoughts on “Today’s pet care needs require cheddar cheese and a dog wrangler”

  1. Reblogged this on I Just Love Dogs and commented:
    Choosing a Dog Breed
    By Armand Diaz

    Have you decided to adopt a new puppy and need help choosing a dog breed? Many people have found this to be an extremely difficult task. There is a countless number of dog types to choose from and determining which one is right for you, and your family can be a real challenge. Below you will find a few things to consider when trying to decide which canine you should choose. One of the most important things that should be taken into account when choosing a puppy is children. Do you have children in your home? Are they going to be rough with the animal? How old are the kids who will be around the dog? If you have little ones running around you will want to find a breed of a dog who is patient and good with kids.

    How much time are you going to be able to give the animal once they are in your home. There are many things about a dog that can prove to be quite time consuming. If you have planned to adopt a dog, it is likely that you have already thought about the basic things you will need time to do. However, there are some breeds of dogs that require more attention then others. Especially smaller breeds of dogs, they are extremely attention needy and cannot be left to themselves for long periods of time.

    When deciding what kind of dog you would like to have you should ask yourself how much special attention you are willing to give it. If you decide to pick a dog who has a long coat you will find yourself grooming them more often, then if you chose a short-haired dog. Other types of canines require special diets in order to live a healthy life. When trying to pick a kind of puppy you should do your homework about the breed. This will help you to decide if you are able to care for that type properly.

    Finally, you should think about the amount of exercise that the breed of your choice will require, and the health conditions that they are prone too. Small dogs need just as much exercise as a large dog, but they get it in quicker doses because of their size. On the other hand, larger dogs are usually not as active as small dogs. There are differences in the type of health conditions that each one will be prone to as well. You may not need to worry about this as much when they are young, but as they get older, some of the health issues could be quite expensive to remedy.

    Believe it or not choosing a dog breed is actually a pretty important decision. You will want to make sure that the breed you choose reflects your lifestyle and hobbies. There have been many cases of dogs being abandoned or given up because the type of breed that they did not suit the owner. Make sure you have asked yourself all the questions listed above before you make a final decision.

    Robert Bridgen

  2. If I had to collect urine from my dog, I’m not even sure how I’d go about that. You sort of yadda yadda yadda’d us on that one, Ned! Lol.

    My dog, well we have two now, so my dogs have a $300 a year limit on all non food and toy related expenses and it doesn’t carry over.

    1. I was worried if I got into detail about my urine extraction procedure, I’d have to change my blog rating. Coincidently, your annual non-food and toy expense limit is the same one we have for each of our kids.

  3. thanks a lot…
    by the time i got to “none of this really mattered because our dog refused to swallow his medication” i was laughing so hard i dropped my laptop off my lap…
    omg that was funny ( in a horrible been there done that deja vu kinda way)

  4. Your dog must be part cat. I’ve never had a problem giving dogs meds, but my 5 lb cat, supposedly on death’s door was able to take on two adult humans and smack her meds across the room.

    Stick w/ the cheddar–buy it at Costco.

    1. Yeah, cat wrangling is much more dangerous. You can’t get a cat to do anything it doesn’t want to. We’ll stick with the cheese until I notice the yard never needs scooping.

  5. Reminds me of a piece I read years ago called “Cat bathing as a martial art”…equally traumatizing for all parties.

    Don’t worry too much about your current situation…there will come a day where people will be trying to pill you and you’ll be too doddering to cooperate…then you too can whiz on the carpet.

    Keep smiling! (Oh, and for god’s sake, don’t mix up the shot glasses!!!) Randy

    1. You know, Randy, sometimes that day can’t get here soon enough. By the way, if you’re ever in town, stop by and we’ll do some shots. Don’t worry, the glasses are marked 😉

    1. Thanks, Judy. “Delightful” was exactly what I was thinking. Just like that time in Red Robin when my son vomited everything he’d swallowed since graduating to solid foods. “Delightful” 🙂

  6. Very entertaining read; chuckled throughout the whole story. We love to hear about the other side of the fence. Often times, being in this profession, we forget that owners don’t feel comfortable administering meds to the stomach directly via dropping them down the throat.

  7. Hahaha! Thanks for the great laugh. I could not imagine collecting urine from my chi-terrier. Not gonna happen!! I feel we have the opposite problem. Is it weird that the last time we took him to the vet he said “Everything looks fine. See you in 3 years.” Aren’t they supposed to visit the vet every year?!? Ah well, I won’t question his expertise. After all, he does wear scrubs with adorable puppies on them.

  8. LOL!!! I have been there!!! well, except I haven’t had to chase him with a shot glass for his pee… bur for some reason, I don’t think I would have much of a problem; Landon is pretty compliant with me. I have made the excel sheet with his meds when he had a really bad skin infection (I think he was chewing it off himself 😦 ). I would check off with different colors on the bottle to make sure it was take, an alarm was even setup. I would use little pieces of bread. But honestly, how is it that Landon has health coverage and I don’t even have any yet (I hope to get some soon with my position here)?!? I tell you, before we had to put down my first baby Scooby he had bladder problems. I bought the doggy diapers, but that son of a bitch would just take them off!!! I loved him, and still do, I loved that even though he was a white little miniature poodle he was like Clint Eastwood… a complete bad ass.

  9. I’m going to have to disagree with the vet. I completely blame the cat!

    Good luck with figuring out the doggy bathroom inconsistencies and giving me one more reason to NOT have a pet.

  10. Dogs are worse than children sometimes. I often tell people that I didn’t realize how much of my life would be spent taking care of others poop! I draw the line at a shot glass, too, though.

    1. I used to think, “how sad” when I heard of parents who need their children to change their diapers when they get old. Now I think, “Ah, sweet justice…”

  11. This was fantastic! Anyone who’s owned a pet can identify. When my brother had to medicate one of his cats, he’d pull on welding gloves. He lost dexterity, but kept an extra pint of blood.

  12. Poor doggie … weird human pet pee stealer! he probably thinks you were taking away his marking privileges. You know he was made fun of at the weekly neighborhood canine meeting for this.

    1. And for WHAT? They don’t appreciate it, complain all the time, always want more… oh, wait. Sorry! I forgot! we were talking about pets, not kids!

  13. This was gold! You’re hilarious. I’ve been there too, I had a cat who was able to spit pills a fair distance or hold them in his cheek and casually spit them out like sunflower shells. The latter was extremely frustrating since I held him until he swallowed a few times and I was sure it was gone, then he would spit it out as he sauntered away. I switched to using Pill pocket treats and they worked like a charm, and might save your lawn a good…browning…

  14. Pet care *can* be kind of ridiculous. My brother’s dog ate rocks and they ended up with a huge veterinarian bill. In addition, the vet recommended they feed the dog eggs while she recovered. Now she won’t eat her regular food without eggs on top!

    1. That’s crazy! It’s a good thing the vet didn’t say your brother’s dog should eat eggs Benedict while recovering, or your brother would have to make Hollindaise, too.

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