So whilst im writing this, my puppy (ok might be stretching the truth, she’s 9YO) is currently in the vets in a critical condition. This got me thinking about after care, what do we do? What do we feed? As usual i’m already preplanning what I will be feeding when she gets home. It’s keeping my mind busy to think about after care, while i feel hopeless right now. But i realise that it could be helpful for others too.
When we have a sick pet, theres a few things to consider. Firstly, while we have a poorly puppy, they need to receive fodder that is highly digestable. They need to be using all their energy on healing not extracting the nutrients from their food. So we need to think about feeding something thats easy to digest whilst giving maximum nourishment. Their body will be demanding more nutrients for healing, replenishing and repair.
Following on from digestibly we need to look at nutrient rich foods. Striking the balance between the two. Which brings me on to what i will be offering my girl when she gets home. They are usually on much smaller meals when they come home, which means we need to maximise the power of every mouthful. Our dogs need moisture, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. With proteins; including offal (covering many of the vitamins and minerals needed) and fatty acids giving us maximum nourishment.
After our pups have surgery even for normal procedures, they can be all out of sorts. Theres a couple of things i like to do and have ready for when they come home. If its a planned procedure then you can be prepared. If like Tinkerbell who was rushed in, it was my second thought after i left her whilst she had surgery, i needed to get prepared. This lead my onto getting them bones out. Its most defiantly one of the first things ill be offering her is some homemade bone broth.
Ill cover the recipe on another blog, its super simple to make you just need a bit of time. Bone broth is super hydrating, easy absorbed as its liquid, and great to get anyones appetite started again. I love that you can tailor the bone broth to suit your pet too. So if there’s any intolerances you can just change the protein source and hey presto its suitable for all. Im making her goat bone broth, i always like to use novel proteins for bone broth, its just my preference. I used goat bones (weight baring bones) glug of organic apple cider vinegar and distilled water. All in a slow cooker for 40 hours.
This liquid diet is so packing a punch (some agree, some disagree, all i know is whenever they are under the weather i offer bone broth and they feel a-lot better much quicker.) While its so very gentle on the gut and so hydrating with it only being fluids. You can supercharge the broth too, but thats for another post. Like i said im keeping it simple. The first 24 hours she will just be offered bone broth, after 24hours, if she’s feeling up to it, ill start to introduce some ‘light’ food. Im sure you will have heard of the ‘good old’ chicken and rice diet from the vets. I personally wont be offering the rice part, but will be offering everything lightly cooked. The reason for this is she’s just had major surgery within her gut. Im a huge advocate of good bacteria, as well as some harmonious bad. After all its about the balance. But whilst she’s under gone such huge surgery i want to ensure anything is handled and prepared and lightly cooked for her body. She’s eaten raw all her life, so im sure she wont mind some tasty home prepared food from me.
So what will i be lightly cooking for her? Well it will be either chicken, turkey or white fish. Providing your pup can tolerate one of these, i would start here. I will be trimming any fat. Muscle meat is the easiest to digest. Its often believed to be green tripe, whilst im not against offering tripe it isn’t my first choice. Similarly to a transition from kibble to raw tripe isn’t the easiest to digest. Its actually lean muscle meat. I will time this with some bone broth to start with. Poaching the chicken/turkey or white fish within a small amount broth. My general rule of feeding will be little and often. Shes under 5kg so will be offering around 1 level tablespoon every couple of hours.
This is will carefully monitored over the next few days. After the op she’s just had ill closely have to monitor stools. What i chose to feed her will depend on these too. But theres a few things i might want to keep in while such events are happening. There are many foods that can help relieve an upset stomach. Herbs and spices like ginger, chamomile, mint and tree barks powder have natural stomach-soothing properties, while fruits like papaya and pineapple contain natural digestive enzyme plus green bananas can improve digestion start to introduce some.
As i start to build up her diet again, I’ll be introducing some of the above. Plus some other bits including red cabbage, apple, sweet potato, heart and other offal too. They will all be lightly cooked at first. As the days go by, and if good progress is being made, including toileting normally, which we often forget about as an indicator as this gives us a great indication of whats happening inside. I’ll slowing start to introduce raw again. A-lot of the time I’m just going on habits and how the dog is. It sounds like I’m copping out of an answer, but listen to your gut feeling, YOU know your dog better an anyone.
As she’s always been raw fed, she’s bounce back to eating full raw in no time. Im not intending to do any huge long transition. I’ll take things a little slower but nothing like our starter guide. It’s quite easy to cook the food less and less, or add some of the raw to the lightly cooked food. Ill be looking for quality, low fat, high moisture content raw food. Sounds easy right? But not all raw is equal. Im likely to start with either The Dogs Butcher, The Dog and Bones, Cotswold Raw or Paleo Ridge. This is doing any of the other down. I know my girl loves these brands normally and without going though every label i know i can find what i’m looking for quickly and easily with one of these.
Fast forward 3 1/2 weeks since the op that saved her life. Tinkerbell got bloat, which from the kick is a killer. She’s very lucky to be with us, after following my own advice she’s to tell the tale. Im very grateful for my vet trusting me , and trusting i knew what i was doing. It’s not been easy, and while she was much sicker than even i had expected, her recovery was super speedy in comparison to other dogs that have been in her situation. The vets didn’t expect her to live, she blew them away. The power of fresh nourishing food should never be under-estimated. It’s always surprising me, even though i know how powerful it it.
I hope you never have to go though this, but if the worse hits, its always best too prepared. I hope this goes a little way to understanding what i did in this situation.