Zest is Keeping Active.
Zest is now fully recovered from being spayed and has had the all clear from her canine physiotherapist to resume agility, she is thrilled as although she has enjoyed some of the activities to keep her out of trouble after being spayed agility is her favourite thing to do!
Zest is such a busy little dog so I knew keeping her quiet post spay, when she was on little exercise, was going to be a challenge. The great thing about feeding raw is you have so many choices about what to feed them and how to feed it that keeping things interesting was much easier. To start with I collected a variety of Kong like objects that I could stuff with food, I defrosted my 80% nuggets and then stuffed them inside which meant it took her at least 10 times as long to eat and kept her little brain busy. I found this was great for the first few days when I didn’t want her moving a lot.
Once she was up and about again with a little movement and going on very short lead walks I started to give her some Raw Bones. I usually feed things like carcasses, wings and necks in her normal diet but as she is quite experienced at eating these sort of meals I got some more challenging bones which would keep her quieter for longer. Zest loved the Lamb Ribs, Beef Ribs, Knuckle Bone, lamb neck and Marrowbone they kept her quiet for some time and subtly used some of the muscles in her body whilst she was eating. Zests recommendation is the marrowbone it took her a good hour to get all of the bone marrow out.
Once they are allowed off lead again for short periods of time in addition to the two suggestions above I also used puzzle feeders. Such as Nina Ottosson toys or other puzzle feeders as well as snuffle mats. I tend to put Meaty treats or the Freeze Dried country hunter in these. I tend to stay away from trick training for a couple of weeks to ensure they aren’t using muscles that are uncomfortable post spay. These feeders allow them to use their body as they want to to solve the puzzle.
After a few weeks they often look like they are back to normal but it can take a while to heal internally at this point I start to bring back trick training most days things like putting their head into my hand and giving front paw as well as sits, downs and stands nothing too strenuous. Gradually I build them back up to longer walks and begin her conditioning routine, really just a series of tricks designed to target certain muscles, as well as regular swimming and water treadmill. Zest is now looking ready to go as tonight we go to our first agility session since her being spayed.
Some may think that all of the fitness work done above is a little excessive for a dog just having fun on an agility course but here is a little thought. How many people who do show jumping as a hobby have a horse fit enough to jump the fences at the Olympics? In agility our dogs at their first ever competition will jump the same height and complete the same obstacles as those competing at our World level competitions, so in my eyes they should be as fit to ensure minimal chance of injury and the longest and happiest life possible, lots of this can be achieved through trick training, lead walking and other everyday activities done in the right way.
Love and Licks
Nicola and Zest