My faithful little shih tzu Coco Chanel has been with me for the past 13 years of my life. I hope to have her around for many more years to come! If you are a pet owner, you can see the signs of your pets aging - harder for them to get up, stiffness in the joints, slower and shorter walks.
Coco first started losing her eyesight maybe 3-4 years ago, but we didn't catch on until maybe last year I would say. She would flinch on our nightly walks, and move slowly if the lights were not on, and click her tongue incessantly. We really didn't notice at first- I know, you would think caring pet owners would notice right away, but I must say the signs were so subtle. Or, maybe we were just so immersed with our daily lives to notice.
We took her to the vet for yearly checkups and even for another skin issue, but the eyesight issue went unnoticed. We took her to the vet and insisted there was something wrong when the flinching became so often it was hard not to notice. Our vet informed us she had cataracts in both eyes. They did a test to see whether or not it was hereditary. If it was not hereditary, we could have her operated on just like a human to fix the cataracts and she would regain her eyesight. The tests came back and unfortunately, her condition is known as "retinal atrophy", which is a hereditary issue.
At first I was absolutely devastated, but as time wore on, she adjusted to the new way of life. She moved around easier, she became more at ease with other dogs and the flinching stopped altogether. Her "handicap" (which I do not believe is a true handicap afterall. She has managed to adjust as all dogs are just so wonderful, they don't really sweat the small stuff in life. They enjoy what they have) and older age made me treasure her even more.
I typically feed her wet food 2 times a week along with her dry food, but I love to spoil her with homemade dog treats and here I share one of her favorites with you! It is very easy to make!
This is a Sweet Potato and Apple Dog biscuits, which is so appropriate for the fall.
3/4 cup cooked plain mashed sweet potatoes ( you can microwave the sweet potatoes for faster turn out)
3 tablespoons of water
2 cups organic 100% whole wheat flour
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Line one large backing sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together sweet potatoes and water. Add flour, cornmeal, mint and apples. Stir until combined.
Knead the dough several times until it holds together. Roll out half of the dough until about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters (2 inches thick) to cut out treats.
Transfer to baking sheets, reroll and cut the scraps. Bake until dried , about 35-40 minutes.
Take treats out of oven, let cool before serving. Good in the refrigerator for upto 1 week.