The green bean issue started with a search for a solution to a delicate problem: Greta’s solid waste. Dog food manufacturers put way more fat into their recipes than Greta needs, and the unfortunate result is sometimes three, sometimes four daily bowel movements. The unfortunate result of that situation, in turn, is . . . . well, remember the scene in The Lion King where the hyenas advise that when things get really itchy at your rear, all you have to do is “hunker down and scoot” ? http://lionking.wikia.com/wiki/The_Madness_of_King_Scar
Greta knows about that—scooting, that is. She’s never seen The Lion King, but when her anal glands get too full, she lifts her tail and drags her butt along the ground until the itching eases. Scooting is, at best, only a temporary solution. Someone has to take Greta to the veterinary clinic to have her glands cleaned out. No, I can’t clean them out myself. Love my dog, but there’s a limit.
The cleanout experience is embarrassing for Greta. When the resultant odor is particularly bad, the veterinary technicians put baby powder on her rear. It’s not a dog-approved scent.
Greta and I have been running to the veterinary clinic every two to three weeks for a cleanout. It’s only $10 per visit, but Greta is becoming apprehensive every time we pull into the parking lot, and even at the very reasonable price her doctor charges, I am looking at about $250 a year for Greta’s butt work.
Is there a better way?
“Green beans,” the veterinary technician said.
“Yes, canned green beans. They’ll give her the fiber she needs in her diet. My dogs love them. Just put them in with her food.”
We went directly from the clinic to the supermarket for a can of green beans.
At dinnertime, I opened the beans and put a few of them in Greta’s food. She sniffed. She took the beans delicately between her teeth and placed them on the floor beside her dish. Then she resumed eating.
Well, I thought, maybe she would eat green beans if I hand-fed them to her. Green beans, it seems, can be spit out almost as far as pills, given a sufficiently long tongue and sufficient motivation to get rid of the beans.
I tried fresh green beans. Same result.
My friend Mike brought home green beans from a restaurant. They had been cooked only to crunchiness, not overcooked as the canned green beans had been. We put some in Greta’s dish and waited. She lifted them out and put them on the floor. She turned around and gave me the “Can’t you people get it through your heads?” look.
How can green beans possibly taste any worse than a mouthful of dead squirrel intestines? Greta has attempted to sample those and other delicacies such as sun-dried rabbit hide and slightly green bologna left by the side of the road.
You can explain to your dog that what you’re doing, such as trying to get her to eat green beans, is for her own good. But you may not be able to convince her to believe you.
Switch dog foods, a friend said.
I am in the process of doing that, but it must be a gradual change to avoid further upsetting Greta’s digestive system. She is okay with the switch in dog food, and hasn’t even tried to spit out the new brand.
Greta is willing to be flexible about meals, to a point. But she’s not eatin’ no stinkin’ green beans.
(c) 2013 by Donna Engle