What do my dogs eat?

Top: Dovah's Bowl Bottom: Kyro's Bowl

Top: Dovah's Bowl
Bottom: Kyro's Bowl

I'm often asked what I feed my dogs after people notice their teeth and their shiny, silky coats. I am alway happy to share that they are both fed raw. This is met with a variety of responses depending on people's backgrounds and what their understanding of 'raw' is.
There's this funny idea that raw feeding is taking a steak or some hamburger meat out of your freezer and giving it to your dog.... which is wildly inaccurate. Raw diets require extensive research and an understanding on what is required for your dogs nutritional needs. Each and every dog is different, which means bowls vary depending on dietary constrictions, needs and overall activity levels. Balance is key for the success of a raw diet.

When Kyro first came into my life I was completely clueless when it came to raw diets, let alone good dog food brands vs popular brands. Kyro started off on 'Science Diet: Puppy' which I later found out is a very meh dog food. It was pretty apparent that something wasn't right when he was only 3 months old and couldn't stop itching. He was itching like he had fleas and itching to the point of causing his hair to fall out. I sought out advice from a Primary Vet and was recommended another Science Diet type food. Skeptical of this solution I started seeking out other resources via the Internet.

I ended up finding a dog food brand called 'TimberWolf Platinum', which was immensely more expensive than Science Diet. However, the website I had found it through had excellent reviews (5 stars) on the food. It was grain free and high in protein as well as oils for coat health.

The website I used was Dog Food Advisor. I highly recommend checking out that website if you want thorough break downs for food and are looking to switch up your dogs diet. They cover kibble, canned foods, some raw foods and also dehydrated raw foods.

This switch worked really effectively until Kyro was about 1.5 years old. I started to notice he always seemed bloated, tired and uncomfortable after eating. The amount of kibble that needed to be fed daily for his size certainly was a lot. With this in mind I started to research once again. This time I discovered dehydrated raw food. The idea of a more natural option intrigued me and I switched over to feeding I and Love and You. I had great luck with this brand and Kyro seemed to really like it. After a few months though... I came to discover Kyro had lost interest in the food. He was absolutely crazy about their dog treats, but just really wasn't eating.

Once again.... back to the drawing board. This was when I finally found something that has changed my entire perspective on dog food- raw food. The idea at first was a bit uncomfortable to me. I knew dogs could eat raw meat, but could they sustain off of it? I found a large amount of mixed reviews on the pros and cons of feeding.... finding myself more confused than anything else. I wasn't discouraged though- something in the idea of knowing what went into my dogs bowl really intrigued me.

Continuing my research I discovered an amazing raw feeding group on Facebook. This group is full of experienced raw feeders, education, graphics- pretty much everything you could ever need. Any question you had- they could answer and provide sources/backing for those answers. I was able to delve into a whole new world of feeding and felt like I had a support system to do so. Kyro was 2 at the time I made the switch and it was honestly the best decision I've ever made.

His hair regrew.
His itchy spots resolved.
His coat had a new shine and softness.
His breath no longer smelled, his teeth are sparkling white.
His weight management was better.
His energy levels increased.
He seemed happier.

The results weren't instant, but I noticed them starting after just a few weeks on raw. As time has passed and more and more education is coming out about raw diets- I've been better able to really craft his bowls to his needs. Now with that backstory passed... let's get into what I use to raw feed my boys and some of my favorite brands!

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There are a lot of different sources in which you can find top grade meats/organs/bones for your dog (or other animals). The point of feeding raw is to understand where your meats/organs/bones are from. You aren't just feeding some random freezer burned meat you found somewhere. Your dogs should be eating meat you'd feel safe cooking up for yourself. Many feeders establish connections with their local Asian Markets, Butchers, Hunters and Farmers to source their food for a excellent price and freshness.

I get my organs/bones/meats from a amazing company called Reel Raw. I started getting products from them almost a year ago and am in love with the way they run their company. My food is delivered every two weeks to my door. Pre-packaged in easily storable baggies for my freezer. They pre-measure the ground organs, meat and bones for your dogs weight which takes a lot of the work out of feeding. We are always on the go- so saving time means a great deal to me.

I, personally, prefer to prep all my food myself as I add in additional supplements and items I have found to be beneficial to my dogs. This means that every 5 days (used to be 10, but now I have two mouths to feed!) I dethaw baggies and food prep. I invested in some awesome stainless steel bowls from Amazon that work for both serving the food and storing it in the freezer. The bowls aren't all the same size, but I measure everything that goes into their bowls anyway. If you're interested in the bowls they can be found here: Food Prep Bowls. 

What all goes into my dogs bowls aside from raw meat/bones/organs?

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One of my favorite supplement brands is The Honest Kitchen. They make a variety of amazing supplements, foods and treats that are all full of awesome health benefits. Their labels are clear and the instructions for feeding are easy to follow.

Shown above is a supplement I always include in both Dovah and Kyro's meals. Much like humans, probiotics are really important for a dogs gut health. This is something often overlooked and can lead to a variety of digestive problems. What are the benefits of Goats Milk?

Goat milk contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes, protein, and fatty acids. Raw goat milk is a source of easily digested probiotics that can help with many chronic diseases. It 5 billion active probiotic cultures and digestive enzymes to promote general health and immune support for cats and dogs of all ages

Diseases that it can help with:

  • Liver disease
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Malnutrition
  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes
  • GI disease
  • Poor digestion
  • Diarrhea

There are many different brands out there of Goats Milk, but for my lifestyle I prefer the use of this brand. It comes in powder form and is easy to make. It's great for those who have limited storage and only want to make a certain amount of servings at a time. 

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For those out there that want their dogs to have beautiful coats and skin- this stuff is amazing. Salmon oil is very high in both EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are omega-3 fatty acids. Notably, there are the two main types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA. These are plentiful in fish and shellfish. Algae often provides only DHA.
  • Short-chain omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). These are found in plants, such as flaxseed. Though beneficial, ALA omega-3 fatty acids have less potent health benefits than EPA and DHA. You'd have to eat a lot to gain the same benefits as you do from fish.

Proven benefits from EPA and DHA include:

  • Improves the coat and skin, making it soft and shiny.
  • Reducing inflammation that can lead to conditions such as arthritis.
  • Helps to prevent skin allergies.
  • Helps with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
  • Regulates the immune system.
  • Calming overactive immune systems for dogs with allergies or autoimmune diseases.
  • Aiding in mental development of fetuses and puppies.
  • Improves cognitive function in older dogs.
  • Lowers blood pressure and triglycerides.
  • Provides support for dogs with kidney disease.
  • Fights heart disease.
  • Is preventative against cancer.
  • Helps promote weight loss in overweight dogs.
  • Helps in producing more collagen.
  • Useful in the treatment of kidney problems (frequent urination, loss of appetite)
  • Appearance of joint problems is lessened.
  • Can help to slow cancer cell growth.
  • Helps cachexic (the muscle wasting associated with some cancers).

These powerful fatty acids have even been linked to improving the brain development in growing puppies!

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This next featured supplement is directed more toward Kyro than Dovah. While Dovah does get a small dose of this, it is purchased more for Kyro. Before Kyro had his surgery I had already started him on this supplement. It is very common for large dogs to suffer from injuries, arthritis and inflammation as they age. Introducing some type of joint supplement can help ease a lot of their pain and keep their joints from wearing out as fast.

Benefits linked to this supplement:

  • Features a unique blend of glucosamine hydrochloride, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and rich whole foods and food concentrates to provide joint support in combination with great nutrition
  • Glucosamine to support healthy joints and flexibility. Great for mature and older dogs who may be starting to show stiffness, lameness, or arthritic joint pain. Helps improve mobility and joint function
  • Omega fatty acids to support intercellular health, for absorption of fat soluble vitamins, and to maintain energy levels
  • Dietary fiber to promote a healthy digestive system. Phyto (plant) nutrients to support general health and nutrition
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Bone broth! Bone broth is well acknowledged as a nutritional powerhouse for dogs. Not only is it excellent at settling upset stomachs, but it's jam packed with nutrients that support joint health, allergies, immune system and more!

Benefits of Bone Broth:

  • Digestive Health
  • Joint Health
  • Immune System Support
  • Appetite Encouragement
  • Skin & Coat
  • Helps Detox The Liver

  • What bone broth contains:
     
  • Arginine
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline.
  • Chondroitin
  • Gelatin
  • Glucosamine
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Iron
  • Thiamine
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Silicon, sulfur
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus potassium
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Zinc

    I purposely buy the Bone Broth that has Turmeric included in it as Turmeric has been proven to be a very powerful anti-inflammatory. It's been a huge help in maintaining/preventing inflammation around Kyro's back.

    Benefits of Turmeric:
     
  • Relief from joint pain
  • Lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind)
  • Support for the liver’s detox processes
  • Antioxidant with potential as a cancer preventative
  • Allergy relief
  • Anti-Inflammatory
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   This supplement is directed more toward Dovah. Dovah seems to suffer from seasonal allergies (quite possibly grass). He used to be itchy all the time and I couldn't find a way to resolve it. I tried a variety of coat supplements, anti-itch sprays, allergy sprays, allergy supplements, aloe puppy sprays and so on and on- no luck.

I stumbled upon this supplement when I was refilling one of my other supplements. I had heard that honey can help dogs with allergies and figured I would give it a go. Just two days with this in his food and his itching has 100% stopped. No more little belly rashes, no more itching whatsoever.
Please note: honey must be fed in moderation as it is a sugar.

Benefits of coconut:

  • Clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis and itchy skin
  • Reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health
  • Makes coats sleek and glossy- gets rid of doggy odor
  • Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, including candida
  • Protects against fleas, ticks and mites
  • Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Aids healing of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis
  • Reduces or eliminates bad breath in dogs
  • Expels or kills parasites
  • Contains powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agents that prevent infection and disease
  • May reduce risk of cancer
  • Regulates and balances insulin and can help prevent or control diabetes
  • Promotes normal thyroid function
  • Increases energy and helps reduce weight
  • Helps build strong bones
  • Eases inflammation and can help with arthritis discomfort
  • Promotes good nerve and brain function and prevents dementia
  • Improves oral health and can be used to clean teeth

    Benefits of honey:
     
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Gastrointestinal Problems: such as gastritis, IBD, colitis, and so on.
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A supplement I was using even when Kyro was on kibble... Green Juju Kitchen. I love this stuff. It's extra special to me that this is made here in Washington state. This company is so passionate about what they do it's genuinely inspiring. 

What is in the amazing Green Juju?

  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • Dandelion greens
  • Zucchini
  • Buffalo bone broth
  • Coconut oil
  • Lemon
  • Tumeric
  • Ginger
  • Nettles

    This stuff seriously packs a powerful little punch. It's easy to add to any diet and the owners of this company are immensely passionate about their own pets as well as those they cater to.
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There are a few other ingredients that rotate throughout Kyro and Dovah's diet such as whole mackerel and eggs with shell. Both are excellent for coat and skin health. Eggshell is also a great source of Calcium. Shell can be fed whole, crushed or ground into a fine paste depending on your animals preference. I also really like the supplements from Kin + Kind. Not only do they make great supplements- they also make awesome dog skin products.

Important notes regarding raw feeding:

As I stated in my starting post... there are some misconceptions and myths about raw out there. Balance and meeting the nutrients needed for your animal is a must. If you don't want to invest the time, or effort in feeding these diets properly- I highly recommend against it. As with any diet- you can do far more harm than good if you are not feeding it properly.

There are a couple 'simple' rules to be followed for raw feeding. When feeding raw you should be feeding at least 2-3% of your dogs body weight daily. I feed a little less than 2% for Kyro as we're maintaining a lean weight to reduce stress on his back and knees. Dovah gets a little closer to 4% as he's growing so quickly. The boys will get an increase in food depending on what activities we've been doing/have planned. It should also be broken down into a 80/10/10 make up. This stands for 80% meat, 10% bone, 10% organ. The 10% organ splits into 5% liver and 5% other organ meat.

Raw bones are another thing that there is a great deal of misunderstanding out there. While raw bones are excellent for cleaning teeth and maintaining oral health- you have to feed the right kind of bones. Any weight bearing bones of large animals are a big no-no. While these are popular in stores to sell for dogs they are very dense... this means there is the risk of causing damage to teeth. Bones cut by a bone saw are also something to avoid as they can have sharp edges. Marrow bones are another that should be avoided. They are great to be used in Bone Broth, but the cut makes them a risk for a dog getting their lower jaws stuck. These bones also tend to be made from weight bearing bones and therefore are dense. You should also always supervise your dog when eating bones to ensure they don't decide to shallow a piece that could cause problems. If you're uncomfortable with feeding whole bones you can seek out a butcher or company they provides them pre-ground into your food.

There are a couple different raw diets out there that both are great for your dogs, but are different styles based on owners preference. I'm adding some educational links below for those interesting in reading a little more in-depth on topics related to raw feeding.

PMR vs BARF

Myths about raw feeding

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Some awesome sources of information:

Raw Feeding Community

Perfectly Rawsome

Raw Feeding Miami

I could go on and on about this topic, but tried to condense it into something easier to read. This is a very light touch on what I feed my dogs personally and should not be exactly what you replicate for your own dog. As I stated above- each and every dog is different and has different dietary needs. Tailoring your dogs diets to it's needs are extremely important.
Please do extensive research before considering any changes to your dogs diet.

Embark Results

Kyrö's results:

Kyro has been a mystery since they day I met him. He was a rescue from a bad situation and all I was told was that he could possibly have '1/16th' Australian Shepherd in him. I did a couple DNA tests through a few vets and all came back with mixed results. One came back saying he was 100% husky and another came back saying he was all husky with a possible great dog parent having a small amount of Aussie in them.
As I learned more in the dog community and Kyro grew- I began to have more and more doubts that these results were accurate. I learned that the majority of dog DNA tests out there are highly inaccurate. One of the most inaccurate being Wisdom Panel- which I believe is what one of the Vets used.
Kyro's overall appearance read husky to me; however, his size and some behaviorisms did not. As well as his stockier build and ridiculously curly tail. When I found out about Embark- I was beyond excited. It's been raved about online and is currently one of the most accurate dog DNA tests on the market. They have reduced their variability for results down to around 5%.
I ordered the tests- swabbed both Kyro and Dovah and waited... My guess was that Kyro would come back with Malamute and possibly GSD DNA in him due to his overall size, build and behavior. I also expected a little Australian Shepherd DNA due to the fact that two of the pups in his litter came out Merle.
I was completely off!
Here is the big reveal!

Kyro actually came back being more Siberian Husky than I expected; however, this matches with the fact that he pretty much looks like an oversized, off standard husky. The Keeshond totally caught me off guard at first, but as I researched the breed I can certainly see it now. Keeshond's have a longer coat and a beautifully curly tail- which is where I believe Kyro gets his coat and floofy tail.
The Collie and Labrador Retriever surprised me as well. I can see the Collie (not in Kyro) by the fact that a couple littermates were Merle. Merle is a coat coloring Collies can have. The Labrador Retriever in him could explain his more mellow overall behavior as well as his stockier build and large size.
Kyro also came back as having an Agouti colored coat which I was correct about due to the banding on his hair- I was excited about this since it was something I was correct about! He also tested clear for all 160 genetic health diseases Embark screens for- yay!
To check out the results more indepth, click the link below!
(Summary, Family Tree, Breed Families, Maternal Line, Paternal Line, Traits and Health)
Embark Results- Kyrös

Dovahkiin's Results:

Dovah's results were not as much of a surprise as Kyro's were. Dovah's breeder was incredibly transparent about everything regarding him- so I knew generally what to expect. I figured he would fall in the low-low content Wolfdog range and have the breed mix of Husky/Malamute/GSD.
Several of Dovah's siblings from previous litters have also been Embarked- so I assumed he would be close to their overall results.
Let's take a peak at his results!

Certainly no surprise here with Dovah's results!
The only adjustment to his results is that after emailing Embark Dovah's relatives results as well as pictures of him- they actually place him closer to 20-21% Gray Wolf vs 18.2%. This does fall within their 5% variation for results, so isn't something completely abnormal.
Something Embark is also currently reviewing is that Dovah came back as DD vs Dd in his results. This would mean he isn't Dilute Blue. This does not make sense as both his parents are Dilute Blue and both other siblings tested came out as Dd. Dovah certainly has a blue/gray coat coloring and lacks pigment around his eyes and lips. The skin around his eyes and lips is actually more of a brown/pink coloring vs a true black- this is a trait of being dilute.
Embark is currently reviewing this and we will hear back next week on what they find. It's apparently been a common occurrence with Wolfdogs and even Solid Blue Wolfdogs are coming up incorrectly. There's a possibility that something else in Wolfdogs impacts the coloring gene that they don't currently test for.
To check out the results more indepth, click the link below!
(Summary, Family Tree, Breed Families, Maternal Line, Paternal Line, Traits and Health)
Embark Results- Dovahkiin

Road to Recovery (P8)

"Not in front of the camera, Mum!"

"Not in front of the camera, Mum!"

Week by week..

With each week that passes Kyro and I have been able to do more and more. We are very careful to avoid doing "too much" but have been rebuilding his strength with each day. His hydrotherapy sessions are now up to 3 7 minute intervals at a faster pace. We've also increased his exercise from a couple walks around 20-25 minutes to 3 walks a day that are 30 minutes each.

I've also started to take him out on more 'mini' adventures to keep his mind stimulated and to help him stay happy. Wednesday we took a trip down to Ballard to celebrate the 17th of May!

Rocking a Norsk shirt and headed to the parade!

Rocking a Norsk shirt and headed to the parade!

17th of May..

The 17th of May is a widely celebrated Norwegian holiday. We attend the parade in downtown Ballard every single year. It's a wonderful time to celebrate the Norwegian culture and to reconnect with your roots. Question I've been asked by many people is: "What is 17th of May?" The 17th of May is Norwegian constitution day. It is the day that Norway signed a a constitution that declared it to be an independent country. If you would like to read more about this holiday, here's a great source for some information:
Syttende mai

17th of May down in Ballard was a huge event. The parade had a variety of floats, choirs and bands. We even saw some beautiful Fjord horses who Kyro was beyond fascinated with.

Happy to be out and about getting lots of love.

Happy to be out and about getting lots of love.

Lots of love..

Kyro's favorite part about going down to the parade was the amount of love and attention he received. We had professional photographers for magazines approaching us for photos, families wanting to pet him, random people wanting photos- Kyro found it all to be fantastic. He even got a couple bites of some really delicious street hotdogs.

Parades are exhausting

Parades are exhausting

After the fun..

Once home Kyro was exhausted. The stimulation and walking around had him nice and relaxed. Kyro crunched down on his raw food, we did some physical therapy and he crashed out until the morning. The next day was beautiful out- sun shining, birds chirping and it really had that Spring feeling.

Raw yums!

Raw yums!

Shedding never ends..

With Spring finally warming up and the sun deciding to frequently show it's face- Kyro's shedding has just continued to increase. Every time I brush him he looks like he's shrunk several centimeters. I weigh him each week at the vet and he's slowly dropping weight due to all his shedding. It's an ongoing bet to see how much smaller he is each week!

Kyro has really taken up to his daily sunbathing lately as well. Him and his little friend, Mabel, spend hours at a time laying outside in the sun. The two of them have the most adorable friendship!

Cuddling in the sun

Cuddling in the sun

Closer and closer..

While we continue Hydrotherapy the next big step for Kyro will come in 3 weeks. He will get his second set of radiographs to see how the healing is continuing. If everything is still looking like it's healing correctly and he is feeling good- we may get the OK to start doing off leash activities again. While it will still be some time before he will be able to wrestle, we will at least be able to start doing short off leash hikes. We can also start going to our favorite park early in the AM/late in the evening to let Kyro play off leash.

I'm certainly going to record his first time off leash at the park since surgery as I know it will be pure happiness for him!

Until next update..

I will continue to share photos on my IG/FB page and video updates of his hydrotherapy sessions, but blog posts will come as I have free time and enough to really share.

If you would like to donate toward Kyro's Road to Recovery, you can do so here:
Road to Recovery

Road to Recovery (P7)

Could this face be anymore adorable?

Could this face be anymore adorable?

Long several weeks..

My updates haven't been as frequent recently as life has been extremely busy for us. I am working additional hours while Kyro is recovering as he can't do a whole lot currently. We are also preparing for our big move into our first home (with a big new backyard- yay!) and keeping up on exercise, grooming and therapy.

Since I've missed several updates- this one is going to be quite a long one! Kyro started Hydrotherapy a couple weeks ago and has been doing fantastically. He wasn't super sure about the beginning of the first session, but quickly warmed up to the hydro tank. Getting treats throughout was certainly a bonus! His was exhausted after his first session as he hasn't had extensive amounts of exercise just yet due to him still recovering. I could tell he greatly enjoyed getting some physical stimulation.

Hydrotherapy..

I've had several questions about why Hydrotherapy is beneficial for dogs recovering from any type of leg/joint/hip injury, so I figured I would take a moment to answer this. Hydrotherapy is highly recommended for dogs as a low impact therapy after an injury. The water helps to make their bodies more buoyant which reduces the weight placed on their injury. The underwater treadmill allows for the dog to walk, while having some resistance and that helps to rebuild muscles and strengthen ligaments.

Rebuilding strength..

The biggest commitment we've been focusing on is the slow rebuilding of lost muscle and strength from having surgery and being on bed rest. There has been a very fine line with determining what the 'right' amount of exercise is, vs overdoing it. Two walks a day around 15 minutes each seemed to be the best length for Kyro currently. The first few walk sessions left Kyro with a little limp, but after a couple weeks the strength was returning and it no longer phased him.

Recheck..

After several weeks of established weekly hydrotherapy and daily walks (x2) it was time to schedule Kyro's recheck. The recheck includes radiographs to see how the bone and surgery area was recovering properly. Last Wednesday I brought Kyro in and he went back to get checked out. I waited patiently and prayed for great news- which we got! His surgery area and bones are healing up fantastically. Due to this, he has been OK'd to increase his exercise levels. He is now allowed to do 2-3 walks daily at 30 minutes each.

With this OK'd we have immediately started increasing the distance in the walks. I pushed up to 20 minutes for the first two walks, then 25 minutes and now he is comfortably up to 30 minute walks without issue.

Small adventures..

With Kyro being OK'd to do a little more now we took a road trip last weekend. We woke up at 2AM and drove down to Oregon to catch sunrise at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. The weather turned out perfectly and Kyro greatly enjoyed being out somewhere new. He greeted a ton of people and sniffed lots of beautiful flowers. He also got his paws and legs extremely muddy (which he was very pleased about).

On the way back up to Washington we stopped at Voodoo Donuts, where they even gave Kyro a special doggie donut that had some bacon on it!


 

Enjoying the sun and the flowers!

Enjoying the sun and the flowers!

Grooming, sun and more...

Last Friday Kyro was finally able to get his first bath and deep grooming since his surgery. He went over to our favorite groomers for the morning and had a spa day. They trimmed his nails, cleaned his teeth, bathed him, trimmed up his scraggly hairs and gave him a much needed brush out. The sun has finally showed it's face (after weeks and weeks of on off rain) so his coat has been blowing like nothing else! I could tell after having the grooming he felt a lot better. Keeping a double coated dog well groomed is important to help them properly regulate their body temparture.

Hair shed after just 15 minutes of brushing

Hair shed after just 15 minutes of brushing

Meeting new people...

One day we went down at hung out at a local indoor/outdoor bar and food place in Bothell. The evening was warm and it was the perfect day to be out. The outdoor area is extremely dog friendly and has little outdoor fireplaces. Kyro was thrilled to walk around, meet lots of people and then lay by the fire while we relaxed. Aside from hiking, one of his favorite things is to be out places were he can get lots of love and attention from people. He's a huge ham and just wants endless belly rubs.

Clearly life is rough for this big fluff

Clearly life is rough for this big fluff

Next big update...

In 6 weeks (5 now) we will be returning for another recheck with the vet. This recheck will determine if Kyro will be OK'd to start off leash activities (YES!). He still won't be able to rough house with buddies, but will be able to go to the dog park in the early AM and evening when it's empty to run around to his hearts content. I can't wait to see him swimming in the river again and hopping through the long grass.

We will be continuing hydrotherapy every Saturday and I will continue to share videos of his progress so far. This week he will be up to 3 7 minute intervals at an increased speed from last week.

Flowers, sunrise and a husky- what could be better?

Flowers, sunrise and a husky- what could be better?

Small victories...

Each week draws us a little closer to returning to our mountain adventures. We take all the small victories as huge successes through this crazy journey. Already Kyro seems to be a happier dog than right before his surgery.

If you want to donate toward Kyro's Road to Recovery you can do so here:
Road to Recovery

Road to Recovery (P6)

The best face to wake up to in the morning

The best face to wake up to in the morning

Long week..

This previous week has been one full of several ups and downs. Thankfully none that involved Kyro! Kyro has been doing fantastically. His energy levels are back to normal and his appetite has returned to it's full vigor. Now it's difficult just to keep him resting.

The ups and downs have come on my side. Friday night, in my clumsiness, I managed to kick a wall (no, not on a purpose) and badly injured my foot. It was not too swollen Friday night, so I went to bed assuming I had merely stubbed my toes or jammed them. The next morning I awoke to my foot being very swollen and throbbing. Concerned, I made a Doctors appointment to go in. I went in thinking that perhaps I had dislocated a toe or two..... turns out I broke one, fractured two and fractured the long bone in my foot. Thankfully, no surgery is required and I do not need to be in a hard cast. If I had broken the long bone I would be needing surgery and be in a hard cast for 6+ months..... (phew).

I am, however, stuck on crutches for 3+weeks and in a double brace. I will be in the brace for 2-3months depending on how careful I am with my foot. The braces are made up of a soft one that stabilizes my ankle/long bone and one hard one that goes over the soft one and supports the rest of my injured foot. I can't say it's terribly comfortable, but it's certainly better than being in a hard cast. Funnily enough, I injured the same side as Kyro. We now are both recovering on our left sides.

My lovely clumsy injury

My lovely clumsy injury

On the bright side..

Kyro on the other note.. has been wonderful. His limp is extremely minor now and he's able to easily get up and down the stairs. We are still limiting activity to ensure he continues to heal properly. His walks are up to around 20 minutes now and he has been greatly enjoying getting out.

After some practice I was able to figure out how to walk Kyro while being on crutches. He's amazing at walking on leash and knows not to pull me. I have a hands-free belt I have been able to wear- which has worked wonders with the crutches! Our walks are a little more slow than before, but he is totally content being able to get some extra bush sniffing in.


 

Injuries don't stop us!

Injuries don't stop us!

Very spoiled...

Our weather recently has been incredibly unpredictable. Due to this, any breaks in the rain we've been laying out enjoying the sun. Kyro's favorite thing is to be brushed while he's basking in the sunlight. He will even fall asleep and start snoring. A few days ago he was even given some delicious ground quail frozen into a doggy popsicle to eat. He chewed that down faster than I could photograph!

With Kyro's leg growing less sensitive I was also finally able to do a good paw trimming for him. Nails and hair. Huskies tend to grow very long hair around their paw pads and it can cause moisture to collect which gets itchy and uncomfortable for them. It also makes making on hard wood floors slippery and dangerous. I typically trim Kyro's nails and paw fur every two weeks, but haven't been able to the last month as his hind leg was very sensitive. He was thrilled to have the hair all trimmed up and I even soaked his feet in coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Coconut oil is great for their paw pads and apple cider vinegar is excellent for preventing and treating yeast infections from moisture build up.

Being spoiled and getting a nice paw-dicure

Being spoiled and getting a nice paw-dicure

Extra love and affection...

Kyro has a amazing sense for when someone is injured, feeling unwell, or upset. He will come and cuddle, nudge you and be in your face until you allow him to comfort you. With me being injured I have been resting at home as much as possible. I am still working full time (which is especially exhausting when spending 10-14 hour days on crutches). The downtime I have when I get home, or on days off has been spent relaxing and recovery. Kyro thinks this is wonderful and happily cozies up with me to watch TV, or play video-games.

Eating his favorite raw meaty rib bones

Eating his favorite raw meaty rib bones

Physical therapy..

Unfortunately, we have yet to begin hydrotherapy as the Vet who runs it has been out horribly ill. (Fingers crossed for next week) Instead we've kept up with recommended stretches and physical therapy. Movements that gently work the knee while rebuilding the muscle and ligaments. Stretches that help to flex the knee and reduce any swelling, or fluid build up. These movements have certainly made a noticeable difference in Kyro's limp. It seems like the more we work with his knee the more confident he is with putting weight on it and utlizing it like he did before surgery.

Together we'll recover!

Together we'll recover!

Next week..

I will likely post the next update later this week. Possibly Friday, if not sometime this weekend since this update was so delayed. Sometimes life just happens and you have to hold on until everything calms down.

The rest of this week for us will be spent resting, recovering and icing. I do work both Thursday and Friday, but have the weekend off. Which I am beyond excited for. If the weather finally breaks and we get a prediction of some sun... we may venture to the Wooden Shoe Tulip festival next weekend. Kyro and I both can't walk far, but would easily be able to enjoy some flowers for an hour or two!

Road to Recovery (P5)

Happy face for getting out of the house

Happy face for getting out of the house

Best week so far..
This week has been the most successful up to this point in Kyro's recovery. We were able to do some more activities that helped to improve his mood. He's been a little mopey recently due to the lack of exercise. Being able to reroute that feeling of moping into positive activities really benefitted him.

We started this week out with the awesome OK that Kyro can take slightly longer walks. These walks aren't long by any means, but just the little increase in distance has really helped raise Kyro's mood. We are now able to do the full loop around our neighborhood (cul-du-sac to cul-du-sac) which is about a 10-15 minute walk. I let Kyro take his time to smell every plant we pass and to enjoy just being outside.

Walking around the neighborhood

Walking around the neighborhood

Slight limp..

While Kyro is doing a lot better, we are still being very wary about how much activity he is receiving. He is walking almost normally again, but if he reaches a point where he's been up for a little too long we notice he begins to limp. When this is seen we immediately get him to lay down and rest, while doing some cold/warm compressions to keep swelling down.

The plan is to begin hydrotherapy tomorrow if they have availability , so unfortunately I don't have a video to share with you guys just yet. If we do indeed get in for tomorrow I will make sure to right a (P6) blog post sharing the video and detailing how the session goes.

Out at the wineries (no worries Kyro did not drink any wine, just a photo!)

Out at the wineries (no worries Kyro did not drink any wine, just a photo!)

Public adventure..

We've been trying to figure out a great way to get Kyro out into public to get some socialization. He loves people and has been missing interacting with people outside my friends, coworkers and family.  During the weekend a perfect idea popped up- we could take Kyro out wine tasting with us! Our local wineries are dog friendly and tend to be very slow during Sundays. We choose two wineries (very close to one another) and were able to bring him with us. He was beyond thrilled to receive endless belly rubs from strangers as well as lay on the cool stone floors.

It was a great way to get him out, without overworking his leg or giving him too much exercise. We spent several hours between the two wineries so Kyro received ample love and had a really good day outside of the house.

Spring shedding

Spring shedding

Few sunny days..

Recently Washington has been struck with a ridiculous amount of rain. In the last two month we have broke a 120 year record for rainfall here and boy has it rained. The few and far between sunny days we've had we thoroughly took advantage of. With Spring the husky shed-pocalypse begins. A husky owners 'favorite' time of year. Kyro's Winter coat this year grew in more thick and long than any year previous, so the amount of hair coming off him this Spring is... amazing.

I've been grooming him twice a day since last week and the amount of hair coming off him has been incredible. The sunny days have been the most enjoyable for us both I've been able to groom him out on the deck. He loves basking in the sun while I brush out his coat. The dog has been slowly shrinking with each grooming.

"Shed happens, Hooman."

"Shed happens, Hooman."

Leg hair regrowth..

With each week that passes we've seen more and more hair regrowth on Kyro's leg (yay!). His leg is beginning to look a lot less like a pink chicken leg and more like an actual dog leg. You can even see some of the coat coloring returning on his leg. His little IV shaved spots are also growing back fantastically.

The only spot we've seen little to no hair regrowth is the shaved spot for his epidural. I inquired to the Vet about this and it's apparently quite normal. Unfortunately the thick long hair on a dogs back tends to grow extremely slowly, so it is likely that Kyro will have a bald patch there for a good period of time.

Hair regrowth on Kyro's leg

Hair regrowth on Kyro's leg

Until next week..

With next week we are hoping to continue to slowly increase his activity levels. Each week brings a little more that Kyro is able to do. It is slow progress, but reassuring to see. We also will be doing hydrotherapy twice a week and I'm really excited to see how he does with it! I'll certainly have photos and video to share.

If you want to donate toward Kyro's Road to Recovery you can do so here:
Donations

Road to Recovery (P4)

Enjoying his first grooming since surgery

Enjoying his first grooming since surgery

Slowly but surely..

This week was mellow and without any negatives (which is such a blessing!) We were finally able to start focusing on returning to our more regular routines. Grooming, raw meals and very short (5-10mins) walks around the neighborhood.

Tuesday Kyro went into work with me to evaluate his scar once again. We wanted to get it checked as the lower part previously had been a little raised and they wanted to confirm it was continuing to heal properly. Dr. Walker was back in from vacation and was about to check Kyro out. She was thrilled with how he is healing up and expressed her delight at how well he is already walking. She said he looks fantastic and is really anticipating a full recovery from him. We held off on beginning hydrotherapy this week just to give him one more week of healing. Next week (likely Wednesday and Saturday) we will beginning hydro sessions!

Scar from surgery is hardly noticable at this point

Scar from surgery is hardly noticable at this point

Sun finally brought through..

Sunday, after weeks of rain, the sun finally showed itself. The day was 50 degrees and the sun felt fantastic. I took Kyro out to our back deck to have his first grooming session in almost a month. He was happy to be out in the sunshine and sprawled right out, allowing me to give him a good half hour grooming. With Spring here his coat has begun to blow and I'm sure he enjoyed getting so much loose hair out.

The rest of the afternoon he spent laying outside on the deck soaking up the sun and enjoying the light breeze. Kyro is the most happy about being able to be outside again now that his sutures are out. He spends hours at a time just laying and sleeping on the deck.

Hair growth progress on his leg

Hair growth progress on his leg

Back to his regular diet..

The biggest thing Kyro has been happy about is returning to his raw diet. While he was recovering he was on a high end soft food that was comparable to raw, but not the same thing. Kyro greatly enjoys crunching away at the bones in his food and munching on the frozen organs. Every time I gave him his soft food he'd give me this look like, "really? This is what you want me to eat?"

The first raw meal I served him since he had surgery was met with so much excitement. He gave me these big puppy dog eyes, soft whines and a excited tail wag before crunching into his food.. During the recent scattered sunny days I've given him his meals outside which he has thoroughly enjoyed.

Waiting for permission to start eating his raw meal (served frozen because that's his favorite)

Waiting for permission to start eating his raw meal (served frozen because that's his favorite)

First walk around the neighborhood..

The first day of Spring, Monday, was Kyro's very first 'walk' since surgery. He is still on extremely limited activity and exercise so the walk was brief. It was no longer than 10 minutes and was just around the cul-du-sac. Kyro was thrilled to be outside the backyard and happily smelled every bush, tree and piece of grass we passed. His tongue hung out the side of his mouth while he took in all of the scents.

We were even able to do our first 'photoshoot' since he had surgery. We were walking by these blooming Heather bushes and Kyro caught whiff of an exciting smell. He climbed into the bush seeking out the smells source. After sniffing around for several moments he laid down with a big huff. He stretched out, closed his eyes and just kept smelling deeply in the bush. I was able to snap a photo of him relaxed and content while enjoying being outside.

Kyro laying in the Heather bushes relaxing

Kyro laying in the Heather bushes relaxing

Therapy to come..

Next week brings the start of hydrotherapy and daily short walks (5-10mins, not on hydro days) to start rebuilding strength in his leg. I will video his hydrotherapy sessions to share with you guys when we begin them! He is going to look so tiny with his floof being wet.

It will be fantastic to have a way for him to get his energy out productively and safely while he heals. The spring in his step is returning and he certainly is rearing to start playing and exercising again. The hydrotherapy sessions (typically about an hour) should help reduce his feelings of pent up energy.

If you want to donate toward Kyro's Road to Recovery you can do so here:
Donations

I will be sharing the next update this coming Friday, unless anything drastically changes by then. Thanks for keeping up on our journey through this process so far!

Road to Recovery (P3)

Flaunting his lovely chicken leg

Flaunting his lovely chicken leg

Steps of improvement..

While last week had several ups and downs, this week has been a world better! Kyro's appetite has finally returned and he's been eating much more regularly. With him eating again we've seen a great improvement to his behavior, mood and overall strength.

Pills have continued to be a great struggle with him. He is ridiculously clever and continues to figure out everything we've hid them in. It doesn't matter how sticky, smelly or tasty it is- he figures it out. We've been using a rotation of items that seems to trick him, but he tends to figure it out after the first use. Thankfully Kyro is down to one anti-nausea pill every morning and (x3) antibiotic pills every 12 hours. He only receives pain medication as needed now, which has been very little. We've been doing frequent cold compressions (which Kyro LOVES) and that's helped a great deal with any discomfort he has had.

Slowly but surely finishing off his antibiotics

Slowly but surely finishing off his antibiotics

Cone free..

Wednesday I brought Kyro in with the hope for an OK to have the sutures removed. We weren't sure what the verdict would be as the lower portion of his sutures had some exposed tissue. The Dr. came and checked out his leg, doing several stretches and movements with it to confirm it was healing properly. He then examined the sutures and gave the OK for them to be removed! The surgery tech and team (who all adored Kyro) came over to assist with the removal. Kyro flopped back on his back and gave his belly to them. While getting belly rubs (and being completely oblivious to what was happening) the sutures were quickly cut and removed.

I kept his cone on for the rest of the day just to ensure that he wouldn't lick at the freshly exposed skin under the sutures. That night we decided to give him a shot with the cone off to see if he would leave the area alone. He was tempted several times, but after correction let the area be. That night he was able to sleep without a cone on for the first time in over two weeks! 

"No cone? You're not joking, right?"

"No cone? You're not joking, right?"

Recovering quickly..

With the sutures removed and lessoned medication- Kyro has started to turn into his old self. While he is still tender on his leg, he has begun to use it more and more while he walks (which is great!) He has been able to go outside on his own (with supervision) to use the restroom and walk around the yard for a brief amount of time. We've limited these little 'walks' to around 5/10m minutes to ensure he isn't straining his leg. With just that little bit of freedom he appears to be much more cheerful and less stressed than previously. Being cooped up all the time while recovering is not fun! Especially for a dog used to exercising and adventuring everyday.

Sutures gone and looking almost fully healed up!

Sutures gone and looking almost fully healed up!

Naked leg..

As the days have passed we've noticed that Kyro's leg hair is beginning to rapidly regrow. We were having to cover his lower half with a blanket in the previous weeks as he was actually getting cold. He's been much more comfortable lately now that his leg isn't completely hairless. We aren't sure what the timeline will be for full hair regrowth, but it at least looks like it's on the right track!

Our plan for next week is to meet with the Dr. to evaluate where Kyro is at in his recovery. The hope is that we get the OK to begin hydrotherapy to start rebuilding strength in his leg. Hydrotherapy has a huge success for speeding up recovery, helping to prevent future injuries and for rebuilding lost strength. It is a low strain and low weight therapy that is extremely beneficial for animals with injuries like Kyro's. I will make sure to video his first session to share with you guys here!

Here's some information on hydrotherapy if anyone is curious:
Hydrotherapy for dogs

Hair regrowth

Hair regrowth

Until next week..

I will continue to post updates every Friday- unless something drastically different occurs between then and now. Fingers crossed for the OK for hydrotherapy next week and here's to hoping for another smooth and positive week of recovery!

If you want to donate toward Kyro's Road to Recovery you can do so here:
Donations

Road to Recovery (P2)

Very unamused Kyro about this entire surgery recovery thing

Very unamused Kyro about this entire surgery recovery thing

Ups and downs..

The days that have passed since last update have been quite the roller coaster. We will start in order of the events that have occurred so that I am able to keep my thoughts straight. Friday night and Saturday morning/afternoon went as the previous days had. Kyro continued to be difficult about his pills, but we were able to discover that coconut yogurt was a good way to administer. Hiding the pills in the yogurt tricked him just enough that he would swallow down his medications.

We noticed after his surgery that his appetite hadn't been what it was previously. This could be caused by a number of things: the medication, lack of activity, pain. We kept an eye on it and his gums to ensure that he wasn't becoming lethargic or drastically losing weight.

Enjoying some yogurt while taking his medications

Enjoying some yogurt while taking his medications

Saturday evening..

As evening approached we noticed a drastic decline in Kyro's behavior. He was becoming increasing fussy and anxious. After a restroom break he became to cough and sneeze. Concerned, I checked his gums and discovered they had become pale and his tongue was a shade of purple. Worried, we rushed into the 24/7 ER Vet to get him checked out. Upon arrival his gum coloring had returned and aside from an elevated heart rate they didn't see any concerning signs. They took some radiographs (X-rays) of his lungs just to ensure he didn't have the beginning of pneumonia. Pneumonia is something to keep an eye out for animals that have been sedated. They can on occasion respirate which can cause pneumonia.

The radiographs came back clean and didn't show any signs of pneumonia. We received some anti-anxiety medication that would hopefully help with his discomfort. Returning home Kyro seemed fine. He slept the rest on and off the rest of the weekend without restlessness. 

The sutures on his knee healing up nicely

The sutures on his knee healing up nicely

Days passed..

The rest of the week continued on with less stress and concern. Between my lack of sleep, worrying about Kyro and working I caught a cold. The lack of sleep worsened the cold and I ended up getting a upper respiratory infection. Kyro and I spent several days cuddled up together sleeping the day away in an attempt for us both to recover.

Kyro still refused to really eat, but would piece at this and that. We continued to check his gums and watch his behavior to make sure it wasn't changing. We figured his lack of appetite had to be the major reduction in activity levels, so he just was not desiring to intake as much.

I spoke to the Technician who schedules surgery rechecks and got Kyro set on Wednesday the 15th to have his sutures looked at and possibly removed. The hope was that if the suture removal got OK'd he would be free of his cone and would be able to start his hydrotherapy treatment.

Close up of his healing sutures

Close up of his healing sutures

Another scare..

Today, while at work, I received a concerned call from my younger sister. She was home sick from school and had noticed Kyro was acting oddly. He was being abnormally vocal and was not baring weight on his hind knee. She thought he might be in pain and tried to give him his pain medication, but it had made no difference.

Concerned by this, I asked her to send me an image of his sutures to see if it appeared inflamed. When I saw the image she sent me I grew more concerned as the area around his sutures appeared far more irritated than it had that AM. I brought the image back to the Doctor and they recommended he be seen.

Inflamed sutures

Inflamed sutures

Waiting for answers..

A short while later my sister arrived with Kyro. I took him back to have him examined, explaining his recent behavior and lack of appetite. It was recommended that he get a set of radiographs down on his knee to make sure something hadn't been bent, or damaged somehow. Unfortunately Kyro was already somewhat distressed and would not remain still for the X-rays, so they had to sedate him.

The radiographs came back looking normal (thankfully!) but it was suspected that Kyro had the beginning of an infection.

Waiting at the Vet to get checked out

Waiting at the Vet to get checked out

Treatment..

Due to the concern of infection, Kyro was put on a longer dose of antibiotics than previously (he had just finished his prior antibiotics on Sunday) given. 3 antibiotic pills every 12 hours until completion. I was relieved to hear that it was caught early and wasn't something damaged in his knee.

The concern of appetite was still there, so Kyro's medications were changed up. The side effects of the pain medication he was on can sometimes cause appetite loss, so we opted to go for a non-oral one. The non-oral medication is a patch applied to the area he was shaved for when he got his epidural. It begins to take effect after 24hrs and lasts around 72hrs. It typically does not impact the appetite, so the hope was that he would begin to eat regularly once again.

Antibiotics galore!

Antibiotics galore!

Home..

After the patch was applied we were discharged to go home. Due to the lower portion of the suture looking strained it is something that has to be continuously checked on to ensure it isn't worsening. Other than that, he was OK'd to continue his recovery as he was before- with the reduction of the pain meds he was on before.

Upon arrival home Kyro was still very out of it from being sedated. He was wobbly and softly whining (typical reaction). We got him into his recovery room and settled on his dog bed. I administered his antibiotic pills and made sure he swallowed them. Now, we are sitting together (he is sleeping soundly- snoring in fact) while I am typing up this update.

Sleepy Kyro after tonights 'adventure'

Sleepy Kyro after tonights 'adventure'

Upcoming..

The plan still remains to have Kyro's sutured checked this coming Wednesday. If there is an improvement and all looks good- he will still be able to have them removed. If there appears to be continued separation, or irritation he will have to wait until the antibiotics do the trick before he can have them removed. If the separation is continuing drastically he will need to go in sooner to ensure his sutures don't rip and cause further injury.

As of right now, all seems well and peaceful. Kyro is contently asleep and we will try some food in the AM (fingers crossed!)

If you want to donate toward Kyro's Road to Recovery you can do so here:
Donations   

Despite everything- Kyro still believes the Vet is the place where you go just for belly rubs (which he gets from everyone)

Despite everything- Kyro still believes the Vet is the place where you go just for belly rubs (which he gets from everyone)