Biggles’s Big Rollercoaster Ride


It’s been a fortnight of highs and lows for our little boy. It all started when his occasional bouts of reverse sneezing became an almost daily occurrence and were sometimes accompanied by a small amount of regurgitation. After some research and careful observation of his Biggleship, Susan figured he was suffering from acid reflux. There are plenty of home remedies for this condition – both for humans and dogs – but we decided to take him to the vet just to make sure there was nothing more serious going on. After all, he’d cost us very little in vet fees compared to his sister (apart from that time with the half kilo of grapes) so he was entitled to a bit of medical TLC.

Bad move.

The vet agreed there was probably nothing to worry about – even commenting on what an otherwise unusually fit little Beagle he was – but still prescribed a rather heavy handed and ridiculously expensive drug that reduces acid production in the stomach. We dutifully gave Biggles his medication and for the first day it seemed to completely eliminate his problem. The second day didn’t go quite so well, but by the third day he was genuinely unwell, vomiting and off his food. Susan felt very strongly that the drug was to blame, but off we went to the vet again.

This time Biggles received a gloved and lubricated finger up his bum, an anti-sickness injection and three day’s supply of bland, tinned dog food. Of those three, the tinned food was definitely the winner. He got his first taste of it once the sickness jag had taken effect, and it was awesome! It was the kind of food that makes you wag uncontrollably, announce your good fortune to the whole world with joyous woofing, and boing up off the ground with such power that you nearly KO your Mum as she’s serving it up. We had instructions to serve the food in regular small amounts, and over the next three days Biggles felt like the luckiest little Beagle boy in the whole world. Any time Susan emerged from the kitchen he immediately stopped whatever he was doing (even if it was something really important like receiving a quality chest massage and tummy tickle) and ran to meet her, because more often than not, it was feeding time.

And then – suddenly and without warning – it was all gone. He was back on regular kibble. To be fair he still wagged uncontrollably, woofed and boinged at mealtimes because, well, that’s what furry boys called Biggles tend to do, but I could tell that inside his little bubble had burst. As his reflux showed signs of returning we introduced a small topping of natural yogurt and cider vinegar on his breakfast. This held off all the reflux symptoms, but something else was needed to distract him from thoughts of what he’d won and lost. Something big. Really big. Like.. a mountain!





Ben Dubh Stile [IMG_8358]



The mountain in this case was Ben Dubh. It wasn’t new to us, but what was new was how we tackled it. Instead of doing the whole visit in one day, we drove to Luss in the evening, spent the night in our campervan and did the climb the next day once some of the mist and low-lying cloud had lifted. A few things went a bit wrong on this first proper outing in The BeagleMobile: we had a gas leak that left us without heating and cooking facilities; our fabric travel crates proved impractical and we ended up spending the night all squashed up together on the bed (just like always!); and finally on the drive home the Erskine Bridge was closed, forcing us through Glasgow in rush hour traffic. I’m still having traffic queue nightmares from that last bit, but in two ways the trip was a huge success: firstly and most importantly it distracted Biggles from the loss of his bliss-in-a-tin Royal Canin food; and secondly, I finally got a decent pano of the so-called “Arrochar Alps” from Ben Dubh.

Arrochar Alps Pano

Click to view large

9 Replies to “Biggles’s Big Rollercoaster Ride”

  1. Susan in Delaware

    Poor Biggles, I hope the natural yogurt and cider vinegar continue to help with his tummy trouble. It’s shocking about how medicine sometimes makes things even worse, and then you don’t trust the veterinarians. :( And even worse, now he has to miss the frequent feedings of desirable (and expensive prescription!) food. He’ll get over it, I’m sure. That was like when Lady had to have surgery for her “dietary indiscretion” of eating the dried cherry pits out of a microwaveable heat pack, but she did the opposite and refused to eat “hospital food”. I had to bring food from home and some special people quality roast beef to get her to eat (and meanwhile, she was giving me the cold shoulder for bringing her to that horrible place, ha!)

    And as always, your photos are beautiful! I’m so excited for the new adventures in store for the four of you because of the new opportunities provided by the BeagleMobile!

  2. Julie - JB, Cassie and Buzz's Mum

    So glad his Biggleship is feeling better, hope it continues. A dog walking acquaintance, who also happens to be a nurse, told me some time ago that she gives her dogs bio yogurt when they have upset tummies. Apparently the enzymes work the same in doggy tummies as it does in human ones. Her labs were always eating rubbish on walks (just like beagles) and she got tired of running to the vets every time they got diarrhoea and so tried the yogurt. I’ve used it ever since and providing they don’t have a bacterial infection, it generally works in a couple of days. It has to be live yogurt and it doesn’t matter if it’s plain or with fruit. Fortunately our beags have always loved yogurt and eat it off a spoon, so it’s easily administered. Might be worth a try with Biggly boy, providing he’s not lactose intolerant of course!

  3. Paul Post author

    Thanks Susan & Julie!

    I love the image of Lady being there in hospital but still demanding her regular chef. Good for her!

    We did try bio yoghurt and even a pack of Yakult and it definitely helped (it’s a really good tip for any doggy owner), but cider vinegar seems to be doing the best job right now. Supposedly dogs and humans have a decline in stomach acidity as they get age and this can result in reflux. Treat it with antacids and the problem can actually get worse, whereas supplementary acidity e.g. from cider vinegar can help restore the balance. Or at least that’s one theory we’ve read.

    Anyway, we are now thinking about about keeping some wet food permanently in their diet, just because they both love it so much. We’re trialing a few tins of Chappie (cheap, but well respected in most quarters) and we’ll see how that goes.

  4. Susan in Delaware

    We’ve also been putting probiotic powder in our beag’s meals for years. We’ve used Conklin Fastrack (it is a canine formula), and although I’m not sure if that’s available in the UK, I imagine there are other reputable brands you could get. And just for variety and the sake of fresh food, once every few weeks when we have fish, we’ll cook up a piece of salmon for the dogs and will add a little to their meals for two days (a big slab all in one sitting might not be the best for stool quality, LOL!). They LOVE that! :)

  5. Paul Post author

    Conklin seems to be US-only but as you say there is now a good range of doggy probiotics in the UK, certainly a huge improvement over when I last looked (probably a few years ago!)

  6. Julie - JB, Cassie and Buzz's Mum

    We use Winalot tinned meat to mix with their kibble. We used to use Pedigree but when I found out about the high fat content in Pedigree products I looked for meat lower in fat. Winalot seems to be one of the lowest and both are doing well on it.

  7. Paul Post author

    @Julie: that’s a great idea. We’ll probably end up doing the same, though right now “Chappie” looks like a front-runner for our two (consistent triple+ woof when served up, great difficulty with pre-feast “Wait” command!)

  8. Paul Post author

    Happily we seem to have beaten that particular fear. We did a few reversing sessions with Beanie our of her travel crate and able to receive biccies, and now she doesn’t seem to react to that beep sound any more. We’re just back from another adventure in the campervan – hopefully I’ll get time to do the write-up this weekend :)

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