Urpy dog and what to do about it

There’s nothing guaranteed to wake a dog person faster than the sounds of an urpy dog getting ready to upchuck on your sheets. You would think some clever maker would have built the sound into alarm clocks. Works every time. 

It happened last night – Hope woke up to Torque making “ocean sounds” as we’ve always called it, and Hope was upright in milliseconds. Torque lost his dinner, all of it, all over the bedroom floor. Then he was fine, climbed back up into bed, and went to sleep. While Hope got the carpet cleaner and went to work.

He’s fine – urpy dog no more

This morning, he’s fine. Ate his breakfast with no hesitation. No sign of stomach upset. She washed his face and he’s his normal, cuddly self again.

Torque, my urpy dog

So why did it happen? We’ll probably never know. Just like us, dogs occasionally get an upset stomach and after the bout is over, it’s over. It could have been (probably was) something he ate while browsing in our yard. Dogs, like toddlers, stick everything in their mouths. And, if we don’t notice in time, down it goes. Only to reappear after the lights are off and it causes maximum commotion.

What if it persists?

Fortunately, Torque’s problem was a rare occurrence. What if your dog isn’t as lucky? We’ve been hearing about more dog who suffer from frequent nausea.

We’ve had a couple pups who had more sensitive stomachs. 

Roc, Hope’s Brussels Griffon and Golly’s nephew, had acid reflux. To keep his tummy on an even keel, he had to take Pepcid every day. Once we got the diagnosis and got him on the medication, he was fine. Unless he was particularly anxious about something. Back then we didn’t know about bone broth. We wish we had. Even when urpy dogs don’t particularly want to eat, they’ll still try a little. 

There are lots of recipes for bone broth for both people and dogs. We make our own, then, when it’s cooled, we freeze it in ice cube trays. That way we always have a supply on hand if one of our dogs is a bit under the weather. 

Stubborn case

Teddy was another of our dogs with a less-than-iron stomach. It took years before we figured out he got nauseated if he ate anything orange. And, of course, we’d been making matters worse. Because the “go-to” remedy for home treatment for dogs is canned pumpkin. 

Teddy didn’t actually vomit much. He drooled. That’s such a small word to represent the volumes of liquid that poured out of his mouth when he was urpy. He soaked through multiple towels, was restless, and thoroughly miserable. Once we figured out what was going on, we felt terrible. 

Hard to figure

If your dog is frequently urpy, paying attention is the best thing you can do. While it’s happening, you just want it to stop. But finding the cause may be even more important.

As mentioned, it took us forever to figure out that Teddy’s nemesis was orange – carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin. All the things you’re “supposed” to be able to give dogs. 

So the next time your dog is having an urpy episode, try to remember all the things she ate before it happened. Was anything different? New? Different brand or batch? Did he go anywhere unusual? Pick anything up from the ground? Does it always happen at a particular time? 

The answers may help you, or your dog’s vet, find the answer that will give your dog some relief. In the meantime, stock up on bone broth.

Dog food supplements that help

Would dog food supplements benefit your dog? How do you choose? Which ones are beneficial? Are some unnecessary? How do you decide what’s best?

Lots of opinions

In the world of dog care, few topics are more controversial than dog food. Everyone has an opinion. If you’re on social media and belong to any dog groups, just take a look at the number of comments any post about dog food gets. Or if a new dog owner asks for dog food advice, the number of comments will be impressive.

Everyone who loves their dog wants to feed the best, most nutritious food they can. And we all have to balance that against what we can afford, and what our dogs will eat. We have two good friends whose dogs are incredibly picky. One Havanese we know keeps her “mom” in a constant state of anxiety over food. Her favorite on Tuesday may be an attempt at poisoning by Friday. 

Make your best guess

After considering all the options, reading enough labels to go cross-eyed, and finding no perfect answer, we’ve cobbled together a regimen of food that works best for us and our dogs. It’s a combination of commercially- and home-prepared foods based on sources from canine nutritionists, to veterinarians, to holistic practitioners.

Our food choices probably won’t be anyone else’s, but we do have some good ideas for supplements that anyone can use to enhance their dogs’ diets.


All of our dogs get about a half teaspoonful of milled flax once a day. We just mix it into their regular meal, usually dinner. We started using a homemade flax gel a couple of years ago when we had a house-wide gastrointestinal upset episode. The gel did help and the gut-storm eventually passed. 

Milled flax is a good dog food supplement

Then our regular veterinarian suggested it to help with some dry skin issues that Booker was having. His dandruff was a wonder to behold. She also let us know that by making the gel, we’d compromised some of the benefit of the flax – it should be used raw. She also suggested using a mortar and pestle to grind it. We used a little food processor/grinder. And then we found commercially-available milled flax and never looked back.

All four of our dogs now have beautiful coats and we believe the flax may also help keep their tummies more balanced. It’s also a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for everyone. And the other major source (fish) smells way worse. And Torque hates fish.


The other thing everybody regularly gets is ground-up egg shells. It’s a source of calcium and, basically, can’t hurt. Again, ground up and added to the “Pup Loaf” that we make for the home-made portion of their meals. 


Because we want to avoid any more tummy explosions if we can. And, again, it can’t hurt. 


Because our dear friend, who’s a doctor of Chinese medicine, told us to. We probably should have a better rationale, but we trust her and she loves our dogs, too.

Your choice

With so much information available on the internet, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the “best” thing to do. The best advice we can give is to use reputable sources for information and make the best choices for you and your dog. 

Don’t be afraid to try something for a couple of weeks and see how it works. As an observant dog owner, you’ll know how it affects your dog. And of course, bring your veterinarian in on the decision, especially if your dog has a medical condition to consider.

Is hugging your dog a good thing?

Does hugging your dog stress him out?

Back in 2016 Psychologist Stanley Coren, who’s made a specialty of dog psyches, published an article saying, basically, that dogs hate hugs. The dog’s stress levels rise, possibly to bite level. His article was based on looking at internet pictures of people hugging their dogs and noting the signs of stress in the dog. Stress signals included: ears back, head averted, lip-licking, and showing the whites of their eyes.

Stress is bad

Let’s face it. We do lots of stuff that our dogs find stressful. While we try not to tease our dogs, lots of people do find it entertaining. And those people’s dogs learn to expect and accept it. Dogs are highly adaptable beings. 

These days we’re all under stress, to some level. Since our dogs are attuned to us, they’re probably feeling it, too. But dogs are conditioned to handle life in a human world. It’s their specialty. 

We know lots of reputable dog breeders who make it a point to thoroughly and happily socialize their puppies before letting them go to their forever homes. And it’s always a joyous day when they recruit people, especially children, to meet the puppies. There are always happy “puppy hugger” pictures on those days.

That’s what responsible breeders do – they expose their puppies to all kinds of experiences so they learn to adapt to all kinds of situations. 

Hugging is good for us

While dogs may not enjoy hugging the way people do, most dogs tolerate it just fine. Especially if their owners are huggers. Hope’s French Bulldog Torque even has a “hug” behavior – when Hope puts her arms out, he dashes over and puts his front legs around her neck. They both love it!

Hope hugging her dog Torque

We don’t recommend anybody runs around hugging every dog they see. That’s just silly and asking for trouble. But if it’s your dog, you know what they like and what they don’t. 

Sometimes we all have to do stuff we don’t enjoy; renewing your driver’s license, waiting in line, cleaning, laundering, vacuuming, dusting, doing dishes. (There may be a theme in the previous sentence….)

Dogs have to do stuff they don’t like, too: baths, nail trimming, tooth-brushing, hugging. It’s part of the package living with people who care.

Hugging your dog

If your dog truly hates getting hugged, we certainly wouldn’t force them to do it. Booker is okay with it, but doesn’t really like it. We find other ways to show Booker we love him. He adores ear rubs. So he gets lots of them. 

All of our dogs are cuddlers, so apparently dogs don’t equate the two. When we’re relaxing in the evening, all of them like to be “in touch.” And they’re all bed-hogs, taking up all the night-time territory they can. 

That’s another kind of “hugging your dog.” And as long as it works for the two of you, there’s no other opinion that counts.

Mysteries with dogs

Dog obsession extends to every aspect of our lives. It’s an illness we don’t want to be cured of. It even extends to reading, our favorite non-dog hobby. Except some of our favorite books are mysteries with dogs!

Hope is currently reading “Gone to the Dogs” by Susan Conant. It’s part of a series with main character Holly Winter, a dog columnist, owner of Malamutes, and Obedience devotee. One of the things we love about this series is how closely we identify with someone doing obedience training with a breed not known for its obedience. Another thing we adore about it – we’re Facebook “friends” with Conant! We’ve actually “messaged” with her to talk about dogs and books! We may even forgive her for currently owning a stellar obedience breed – she has a Sheltie now.

Lighter fare

cartoon of dog sniffing out mysteries

We’ve always been big readers – our family used to own a book store. And, despite the reputation that booksellers may have, we’ve always enjoyed “light” reading. These days we actively seek lighter fare for entertainment. We need the break from all the uncertainty this year. 

So we’re revisiting some of our favorite authors of dog mysteries – because dogs always make us happy. There’s something connective reading about a character you know you’d be friends with – you have so much in common. Or maybe absolutely nothing but your love for dogs – but that’s enough!

Lots of choices

We just searched for “mysteries with dogs” and there are bunches of them! Lots of names that are new to us. Since the family bookstore closed and we brought home all the books we didn’t sell and couldn’t part with, we’ve been “shopping” on our own shelves. Lots of the new series look terrific – we’ll have to post an update when we’ve tried some of them.

In the meantime, these are the authors/series we love. For everybody who loves dogs and enjoys a “cozy” mystery, you should give them a try!

Laurien Berenson is a Poodle person and author of the series featuring Melanie Travis and her Poodles! Her Aunt Peg is a recurring character and an absolute delight.

Melissa Cleary’s main character is Jackie Walsh, whose sidekick is an ex-police dog named Jake.

Susan Conant’s books feature Holly Winter and her Alaskan Malamutes Rowdy and Kimi.

Virginia Lanier writes about Jo Beth Sidden and her tracking Bloodhounds. 

Mysteries with dogs reviews

If you try one (or all) of these authors – let us know how you like the books! And if there’s someone we’ve missed, please let us know. The books don’t even have to feature dogs, although dogs do enhance most things in life.