Saturday, July 28, 2018

Got Her Life Back - Riley

Post tie-back surgery, Riley has gotten her life back!  It really is amazing.  Prior to surgery, I had joined a Yahoo group for laryngeal paralysis to get more information about tie-back surgery.  It was crazy.  You would have thought tie-back surgery was the greatest thing in the world.  It turned out to be just too much information, difficult to navigate, and it was all pro-surgery.... very overwhelming.
Well, so far, the surgery outcome has been pretty great for us so I can kind of understand what all of the excitement was about.  She easily hikes for over an hour and chases rabbits when temperatures are in the low 70's.  A few times a week, I let her play in the backyard once the sun goes down a bit and she plays with her toys.  If I had to do it again, I definitely would at this point.

I would say the main difference is that I am very careful about what, how, and when I feed her.

What: Big chunks of food that she can easily swallow.  Most of her food is 1.5 - 2.5 inch cubes of Fresh Pet.  I used to squeeze it into round meatballs, but now I leave it in whatever shape I cut it in.  She eats 1 pound per day.  And in place of chicken backs, I feed several Instinct medallions.  In the beginning, I split the medallions in half, but now that her throat is healed, I feed the whole medallions. Riley also gets 2 leafy green egg frittata muffins.  I break those into 3 or 4 chunks. 

No kibble. No tiny treats.  No crumbs. No dusty supplements.  I generally use her food chunks as her treats, but also will do 1 inch cubes of cheese.

How:  I hand feed (spoon feed raw Instinct medallions) each chunk, one at a time.  No more gulping down her food from a bowl.  I also feed each meal over time.  I might give her 3 chunks, prep food for other dogs, feed her 3 more chunks, continue preparation, 3 more chunks, feed another dog, feed Riley a chunk, feed another dog, feed another chunk, feed last dog, feed another chunk.  Then I put everything away and give her another couple of chunks.  So her meal might take 10 minutes instead of 30 seconds.

When:  I probably feed Riley 1/3 of her food for breakfast, 1/3 for dinner, and the remaining 1/3 throughout the day.  If she gets a treat for going in her crate, for example, she gets several chunks.  If we go hiking, I bring egg muffins or some food chunks for her recall treats.  I try to use up some food during her strength exercises.  I also have her do our stairs 3 times in a row each day for chunks.  She usually gets the last couple of chunks before bed.

I do not feed her anything significant an hour before or after she runs and plays with a toy.  I have noticed it upsets her stomach and she will sometimes get hiccups for an entire evening.
Everything else is back to normal!  We could not be happier.