GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!
Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes they can be REALLY BIG mistakes and they can become life-threatening!
My own, recent mistake has left me with cold shivers and a serious taste of bile in my mouth. Even though my error of judgement could have had serious consequences, (and I am likely to be slated by my readers) I feel that I should share it ... in the hope that another negligent person won't make the same mistake as me.
Today, my very earnest apology goes to our sweet, ageing doggie...
Regular readers will know that KING TOFFEE is already 15 years old. Up until now, he's been very active in his reign. He does, however, suffer from arthritis, is almost totally deaf now and has very little vision left. His teeth functionality is substantially diminished which has necessitated us changing his diet to totally soft food.
For a while we tried all the high quality tinned foods, as well as cubes (which had to be watered down into a soft mulch). Toffee hated almost everything I offered him, until we discovered the Pedigree range of soft food. My vet's opinion was that, since Toffee was so old, we should honour his tastes.
"Give him whatever he wants..." he suggested.
"And Soft Pedigree dog food?" I asked
"If that is what he prefers, give it to him! Why should an old dog spend his twilight years being forced to eat food that he hates? Give it to him!"
At first, I purchased the tinned food and would feed KING TOFFEE half a tin in the morning and a spoonful at night. I kept the residue in the fridge, but have always hated feeding 'left overs' to my animals. I was overjoyed to discover that Pedigree made small, sealed pouches of the same food for easy dispensing, so I purchased a large quantity for my little dog. The 'jack russell terrier' picture on the front of the packet suggested a similar size dog to toffee. All I thought at the time was "Yay! A full meal in a single pouch."
TOFFEE enjoyed one pouch in the morning and one at night - and he relished every last morsel.
What I didn't notice, however, was that the poor little guy was getting thinner and thinner over the weeks that past. He has always been blessed with thick fur and always been remarkably independent. In addition, he's been sleeping more, so he's not wanted to be cuddled excessively. We simply let him be.
About two weeks ago, Toffee became ill. He started licking his paws excessively and also developed a penis infection. He also started shivering and panting at the same time. More veterinary checks (which suggested that everything else was okay) secured him the correct meds: We put him on Prozac (which stopped his habit of paw-licking) and anti-biotics for the infection.
But Toffee wasn't getting any better..?
He was getting more listless by the day.
Despite all this, he was still enjoying his food and his regular walks. It was puzzling.
Last night, the shivering got worse and an inspection of his gums showed them to be extremely pale. We gave him his supper and the shivering stopped for a short while but, as he was sitting on my husband's lap, he started shivering again.
My hubby remarked: "I think Toffee is hungry."
By this stage we have been prepared to try everything, so I took him back to the kitchen and gave him another packet of the food.
Thankfully a small voice inside me told me to "READ THE LABEL!!!"
Only then did I discover my terrible, terrible error...
Over the past month, I have been slowly starving my poor little dog. We have been giving him only TWO packets of the food instead of the required FIVE per day. The pale gums, the shivering, the excessive sleeping and the general deteriorating condition now all make sense. My error may have have been extremely costly to my poor little dog. I just hope he recovers fully.
Yes, I have rectified it: Toffee is back on his required volume of food and is doing much, much better (after 24 hours), but it doesn't make me feel any less guilty. He's been suffering in silence all this time.
I accept that this is all my error, but I would also like to give a caution to the manufacturers of these pouches. PLEASE ...Your labelling can be made clearer!
Is it not reasonable to think that one of these packets is the correct quantity for a full meal?
I thought so and Toffee has paid the price.
READERS PLEASE DON'T MAKE MY MISTAKE!!!
READ THE LABELS ON THE DOG FOODS!
I am so, so sorry, SWEET KING TOFFEE!