While listening to the radio in my car earlier this month, I heard that January has been named Veganuary by a nonprofit organization in the UK. They provide education on veganism and promote a 31-day challenge for people to eat vegan during January (veganuary.com). But this post is not about veganism or any other type of diet that supports healthy eating, just the opposite. I mention the announcement because it triggered a memory, not about my own year-long experience with eating and living vegan, but more specifically, eating green “stuff.” Eating green is not always necessarily healthy.
This is where I should warn you—if you are squeamish, even just a little, you should not read this post. If you are a dog parent, you will be fine; you can continue reading. You may or may not have read my post on Mastering The Fine Art of Begging; I wrote about the difficulty we experienced finding something that our dog, Lemon, would eat.
What I didn’t mention in that post is that during our struggle, she was suffering on and off from intestinal parasites—yes, worms. Horrible creatures! She was treated for worms when we adopted her, and I was giving her the recommended oral and topical preventative treatments, but we had so much more, oh so much more, to learn about dogs and treatment-resistant worms.
I recently read a blog post from The Soulful Introvert on pet parenting. One of Jinty’s tips was “keeping it alive.” I laugh-snorted, not because I thought it was ridiculous, but because there is a lot of truth to this tip! Jim, my husband, often asks, “how on earth have dogs managed to survive as a species?” referring to Lemon’s self-destructive activities.
There are many ways for dogs to get intestinal parasites, but Lemon’s favorite is the fecal-oral route, more specifically, by eating green “stuff.” This diet includes but is not limited to fresh green scat or doo-doo from unknown mammal sources, slimy green goose droppings, cat turds—which, while not green, do smell of rotting green eggs, and the obligatory blade of grass.
Prevention is critical, and that includes doing whatever is necessary to prevent worms from squatting in your dog’s intestines. So, I give Lemon her preventative medications, wipe her feet after coming in from outside, and include foods in her diet to help ward off worms, such as ground pumpkin seeds and carrots. However, never, and I mean NEVER, did I ever think prevention would include prying open my dog’s mouth and removing a big green doo-doo roll. I’m a nurse, and I’ve seen all sorts of icky stuff, but nothing in my career prepared me for green doo-doo in an oral cavity.
The entire traumatic event lasted months but has since been resolved, and we have all been comfortably living worm-free. This experience reminded me of why I have always been a cat person—cats don’t eat green! Has the experience changed my mind about being a dog parent? Not one bit. It’s going to take a lot more than “green stuff” to chase me away. I’ve just become a little more observant of Lemon’s snacking habits on our walks, and I now carry sanitizing hand wipes—just in case.