Prevent and Get Rid Of Ticks & Fleas On Dogs Safely

Prevent and Get Rid Of Ticks & Fleas On Dogs Safely

prevent ticks and fleas

Yuna & Kimahri trail smiles

Prevent and Get Rid Of Ticks & Fleas On Dogs Safely

Before we begin sharing how to prevent and get rid of ticks & fleas on dogs safely, keep in mind the following:

1. There’s no way to prevent ticks and fleas 100%, FOREVER. Yes, you’re reading this correctly. Not even with pills, shots, toxic drugs or topicals. Proper care can prevent at least 95% of the oncurrences. However, knowing how to provide care holistically is essential knowledge for every dog parent.

2. This blog is complementary to the video embedded here. Be sure to watch the entire video, read this blog, and check the resources provided to get the full picture on the subject of ticks and fleas on dogs.

3. I highly recommend you dig into this subject yourself. I’m not a vet, and I’m not sharing what you should do. I’m sharing what we’ve decided to do based on a lot of research, as well as discussions with our holistic veterinarians over the years. Our method is working for us, but you’ll have to do some of your own research and decide what’s best for your pup. Any general recommendations we make are not substitutes for veterinary care and are for informational and educational purposes only.

LET’S WATCH THE VIDEO FIRST

TICKS AND CHEMICALS

Even before we switched to holistic care for the Husky Squad, Jc and I have never felt comfortable using chemicals for our dogs. Those chemicals are in all conventional sprays, topicals, bombs chewables and collars. You may slightly reduce the risk of Lyme (and other diseases), and it’s NOT guaranteed, but… instead, your dog may likely experience side effects such as chronic digestive issues, internal organ damage, cancer, and a host of other overall health problems. The list is SCARY.

LYME DISEASE INJECTIONS

After researching and learning about Lyme disease, and discussing this disease with holistic veterinarians, Lyme disease injections is not something we give our dogs. We don’t inject them with any drugs for that matter, but that’s an entirely separate subject that is controversial to those who are unaware of the associated health risks in dogs. Unknown to some dog parents, injections never prevent ticks from latching on to any coat. Regardless, Lyme disease injections have a low efficacy rate and their toxic health effects don’t merit their use.

THE LYME DISEASE TOPIC

Although perpetuated to be one of the scary monsters out there, Dr. Karen Becker calls it: “The Feared Canine Disease that’s Mostly Benign.” Lyme disease can be an issue and should be taken seriously, but it’s definitely over-hyped. There’s a lot of money to be made from fear and selling subscription-style drugs.

I was reluctant to discuss this “sensitive” subject publicly, but for many years now we’ve been receiving so many questions from health-conscience dog parents who are desperately seeking alternatives to the conventional, toxic approach to ticks and fleas, so I feel it’s important to open the conversation on this topic.

7 STEPS TO PREVENT TICKS & FLEAS ON DOGS

Before you continue further, if you’re ONLY looking for medications, sprays, and conventional (toxic) solutions, this blog is not for you. But if you’re a dog mom like me who understands the logic of preventive, and holistic care – read on! I’m sharing with you transparently what Jc and I have been doing to prevent ticks and fleas for over a decade, and how we deal with it on the rare occasion it happens.

1. Raw Garlic:

According to all holistic veterinarians we’ve discussed this with, tiny, properly measured doses of raw garlic makes your pup less attractive to ticks during tick season. Dr. Karen Becker recommends 1/4 tsp freshly raw chopped garlic per 15lbs of body weight per day. I always slowly introduce any new natural medicines and foods, on a steady pace over the course of at least two weeks. Check with your holistic veterinarian on what’s best for your dog.

2. A Clean Environment

I learned over time that a clean home is not enough. I put extra care into washing dog bed covers often, using washable rugs and sofa covers, and I vacuum frequently. All these steps are especially helpful for flea breakout prevention. 

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Giving your dog 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar per day, per 25 lbs of body weight can be another helpful addition for your dog if you live in a tick and flea prone region. Add it to your dog’s food or water bowl. The apple cider vinegar will make your pup less appealing to ticks and fleas.

4. A Grooming & Bathing Routine

A proper grooming and bathing schedule helps tremendously. We like to groom our dogs twice a week, and bathe them at least every 2 to 4 months, depending on where we live and how dirty they get during that season of the year.

5. A Healthy And Toxic-Free Lifestyle

I only use purified water, healthy dog dishes, toxic-free shampoos, and healthy cleaning supplies. Holistic veterinary care, daily exercise, and reducing the use of conventional toxic medicine, antibiotics, and injections, helps your dog have a healthy immune system to fight off disease with ease, Lyme disease included!

6. Natural Topicals

Natural topicals are a great tool if you live in a region that is more prone to ticks and fleas. I use natural sprays and rubs after bathing and before hikes when we live in or visit a tick and flea prone region. However, keep in mind, these will help drastically, but they won’t prevent ticks and fleas 100%. I like these brands below, and I also make my own topicals using natural ingredients.

7. Nothing Impacts Health & Immunity More Than Food

Kibble is highly processed, filled with additives, chemicals, void of nutrition, and lacks essential species correct food for dogs. Ticks & fleas are drawn to animals with weaker immune systems. We all know a healthy, fresh food diet impacts our own health tremendously, and it goes the same for all living creatures, dogs included. Learn about ditching kibble and feeding your dog real food. A simple, and species correct diet has incredible overall health benefits for your dog. A healthy body fights off disease with ease.

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN ABOUT FEEDING YOUR DOG RAW FOOD

HOW TO GET RID OF TICKS

In tick prone regions, it is imperative to check your pup right after being outside or spending time in nature. Catching ticks early before they attach is your best bet! Check yourself too.

Post Outdoors

The steps I take after spending time outdoors:

  1. Ticks would not be attached at this phase which is a great opportunity to prevent latching and disease transmission.
    Keep an eye out if I see a tick on our pups while we’re outdoors, and remove immediately if I do.
  2. As soon as we get home, I gently check for ticks floating on their coat while combing with my hands and fingers.
  3. I proceed with brushing them to remove matting or clumps of fur to prepare for easy combing.
  4. I gently proceed with combing with a lice comb or a long toothed comb through the entire body. Any ticks will easily be found and combed out.
  5. After that, I use a short fine-toothed comb (or flea comb) on the entire length of their legs and paws. Any ticks will come out quickly!

Husky Squad’s Amazon Shop

In our Amazon Shop, you’ll find the preventive products we use, and what we use to manage tick and flea incidents.

Tick Removal

Removing ticks incorrectly can cause infections. The most common mistake is using a tweezer which often leaves the tick’s head attached to your dog’s skin, which can become very difficult and painful to remove. Be safe and use a proper tick remover according to the size of the tick.

TIP: Buy a small clear container with a tight twistable lid to safely store a tick in case you’ll need it for testing.

Immediately flush the tick down the toilet to avoid it finding a new host. Be sure to wash your hands.

Cleaning the Tick Bite Area

After removing the tick, Dr. Karen Becker recommends cleaning the bite area with diluted betadine. After it’s clean, use a soothing natural skin spray to heal the wound.

Next Steps

Be sure to dive into the Additional Reading & Resources section below. These are additional recommendations from Dr. Karen Becker and other veteranarians we trust.

Sure, it will take you about 15-20 minutes per pup once you have the routine in place, but it’s so worth it. Ticks don’t attach immediately, so it’s worth catching them before they do!

If you missed a tick, or if you’ve forgotten to do tick-care after spending time outdoors, you may find a tick attached to your pup and you will need to remove it safely as soon as possible. The longer the tick is attached, the higher the chances are for disease transmission.

How to Get Rid of Fleas

Although I only found three fleas on one of our pup’s in our entire time of dog parenthood, I followed parts of this natural protocol aggressively, and we prevented a full breakout! We were staying in an AirBNB in Croatia at the time during our European adventure, and we were adamant to get rid of the problem the moment we identified the issue. We’ve traveled and lived in so many countries, states and cities by now, and I’m fairly confident that focusing on natural preventatives is the reason why we’ve not had ongoing flea problems or periodic breakouts. If you ever see a single flea, it’s best to attack the situation as if you’re experiencing a full breakout. Doing this will prevent the rapid, explosive outbreaks fleas can bring.

MY CLOSING THOUGHTS

We covered a lot in this blog about how to prevent and get rid of ticks & fleas, and my hope is that you gained clarity, and you’re feeling empowered to tackle this subject with confidence and actionable steps based on what you feel is best for your dog. We’ve unnecessarily outsourced so much of our fur-kids (and our) health wisdom to conventional toxic drug companies and “(sick) care”. Only in very recent years of human history, we got ourselves stuck in perpetual cycles of disease without solutions due to this modern, toxic riddled lifestyle. However, many of us are seeking to re-learn ancient wisdom, and find newer toxic-free solutions. I hope this blog gave you what you were looking for, and helped expand your arsenal of holistic living for you and your dog.

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Take Control of Your Dog’s Health in 7 Steps

Take Control of Your Dog’s Health in 7 Steps

7 KEYS TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR DOGS HEALTH

Kimahri with Mama Wolf Vee

Take Control of Your Dog’s Health in 7 Steps

Our dogs don’t come with a manual, and we’re often left to figure things out on our own. Every dog parent we’ve met over the years wants the best health for their dogs, but most don’t know where to begin and it can feel overwhelming. We’ve been dog parents since 2009 and I like passing on some gold nuggets to you to get you started.

Let’s begin with 7 keys to take control of your dog’s health.

I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. Instead I recommend to begin implementing each step one week apart, and you’ll feel amazing once you’ve reached these goals. The extra bonus : this is going to impact your own life in such a positive way, too.

Let’s dive in.

1. SWAP TO PURIFIED WATER.

City tap water is filled with dangerous toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and literally poisons. These unwanted ingredients are often the cause of so many short and long term health ailments such as nervous system damage, organ damage, organ failure, reproductive issues – all the way to cancer. Well water can contain contaminants too!

So what can we do? Buy bottled water? Not only is bottled water expensive, it’s also not properly purified or safe. On top of that, these mass produced cheap plastic bottles leach chemicals into the water.

Let’s talk about the affordable solution: The Water Purifier.

Not all water filters are created equal, and many water purification systems can be very expensive. If you’re using something like Brita or similar, the water remains filled with contaminants and toxins that are unsafe to drink for all of us. After weeks of research, I finally found an affordable and high quality brand water filter for our entire family. I was so stoked to find a brand that I’m confident to recommend to you. We filmed a dedicated video on this subject you can watch below.

AFFORDABLE WATER PURIFICATION

I reached out to Epic Water Filters and the company was kind enough to extend a discount code for you to use on your entire order.

If you’re on city tap water, the Epic Pure Pitcher is right for you. If you’re on a well, the Epic Nano Pitcher is best for you. Be sure to use the code HUSKYSQUAD during checkout to take advantage of the discount.

2. HEALTHY SNACKS.

It’s so easy to be fooled by dog treats in pet stores. Flashy words like “healthy, natural, dental care…” you name it – makes these treats seem safe for dogs. Unfortunately, in the ingredients lurk endless chemicals, color, many unsafe products, and fillers. The majority of dog treats are loaded with foods that are not species appropriate for dogs, like gluten, carbs, corn, legumes, soy … the list is endless. Rawhide is extremely unhealthy for dogs too!

AN EASY SOLUTION: SIMPLE REAL FOOD. You may already have some of these at home.

Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Any kind of raw, fresh or frozen (ideally organic) berries. These make great mini training treats too, especially blueberries. Berries are packed with antioxidants and it’s wonderful for all of us.
  • Organic, pasture raised hard cheeses in very small amounts and on special occasions. Little bites are amazing for training sessions. Some dogs can be allergic to cow dairy, and goat cheese can be a fantastic alternative.
  • Single ingredient, freeze dried raw meat based snacks. You can find these in local, smaller mom-and-pop, healthy pet food stores – or you can get them online too. I’ve added some here to our Amazon list. You can get treats like minnows, beef liver nibs, chicken heart nibs, cod skins, etc. The ingredient list will have only ONE ingredient.
  • Celery sticks. Some dogs turn their noses up, but many of them LOVE IT. It’s low calorie, healthy, hydrating, and wonderful for the digestive tract.

Just keep in mind: treats are just that “treats” and should account for the total food amount for the day to avoid overeating. Too many treats on top of the daily food intake can lead to obesity and host of other health issues.

3. NON-TOXIC BOWLS.

For food, ditch the plastic, it leaches chemicals into your beloved pup’s food (and water). Stainless steel can collect rust often invisible to the bare eye until there’s a lot of it. Yikes.

We’ve been using these fantastic, non-slip ceramic bowls for years, and we highly recommend them. Just make sure you wash them after EACH meal to avoid bacteria growth. If they chip for whatever reason – they must be discarded.

For water, these 100% clear glass bowls are my favorite. I like a nice large size bowl that’s deep and heavy, sitting on a non-slip silicone mat. I run the bowl through the wash frequently to keep it clean. Watch our video on this subject here.

4. DITCH THE TOXIC HOUSEHOLD SUPPLIES.

This will impact you and your entire household positively. Chemicals and toxins lurk in typical floor cleaners, dish detergent, laundry detergent, (dog) shampoos, soap bars, deodorant, moisturizers, dryer sheets, lotions, you name it! These toxic substances are extremely damaging to all of us, and dogs included. I will include a link here to a video we created dedicated to this subject and you’ll be so glad to see how easy it is to make the change. I also highly recommend the eye opening documentary on this topic: Chemerical.

There are so many healthier, non-toxic options available today, and they are more affordable than ever. Toxicity causes expensive, and extremely damaging ailments which can be easily prevented. While I found great options in many supermarkets, Grove became my favorite home delivery choice for toxic-free household supplies. I’ve been a member with them since late 2019, and I’ve not looked back since.

5. DAILY FITNESS.

This is a no brainer, right? Unfortunately, many dog parents share how they barely exercise their pups twice per week. I don’t feel this is on purpose. We all love our dogs and want the best for them. Sometimes stress, a busy schedule, and self-neglect can cause this, but it doesn’t have to be this way!

Here are a couple of tips to get you unstuck, and enjoy DAILY fitness with your pup:

  • Choose comfy shoes according to the season and climate. Don’t hold back from getting yourself a pair of good rain boots, hiking shoes, and comfy street sneakers. Winter calls for warmth, and I don’t know about you – but I like to keep my toe beans warm. I love my insulated winter boots and thick, warm, woolen socks.
  • Wear the right seasonal clothing. People are often shocked how we take the Squad for walks – even during frigid temperatures. Well, we have great winter coats, boots, socks, hats, gloves and scarves – and they absolutely work!
  • Build a routine you can easily follow. This will look different for everyone! For example, as soon as you get home from work, change clothes, throw on these comfy shoes and head out right away. Make it a habit not to do anything else before completing this task. This will help you decompress, enjoy a great evening, and better sleep. Another option can be: wake up an hour earlier and begin your day with a beautiful sunrise walk for the day. This will have a great impact on your entire day. Choose what works for you. After sticking to it for three days, you’ll have a fantastic new habit developed.
  • Take your favorite drink with you on your walk. Our summers call for a refreshing iced homemade berry drink, and winter calls for cozy hot chocolate in our favorite insulated to-go mugs.
  • Grab a friend to join you in what we call #GetTheHuskyOut – because we all need to get our fitness needs met. Holding each other accountable will lock you in!

Daily fitness for your pup has so many benefits, and would need an entire blog on its own to scratch the surface. You’ll prevent health issues, keep a trim weight, improve mood, improve relaxation, promote an overall healthy physique, better digestion, and yes – a longer life – for both of you!

6. REAL FOOD

Let’s see. Do you think it’s healthy to eat cheap, dry cereal with over 30 ingredients for your entire life? I highly doubt it! Somehow, kibble companies, big-box pet food stores, and mainstream veterinarians managed to convince the masses that dogs (and cats) can live a healthy life to eat this way. Not only is this extremely unfair to any living being, it’s also extremely unhealthy.

How were we convinced?

They managed to create a narrative that there’s no way dog parents can have the knowledge to put together simple, complete and healthy meals for their dogs, made of real food. They managed to convince modern society to put the health and lives of our beloved dogs in the hands of greedy corporations who are clueless about nutrition and motivated by their huge profit margins.

The convenient and obvious detail which is left out: dogs have successfully been our companions for thousands of years, and have lived and thrived on real food throughout our joined history. Meanwhile, kibble has been around for less than a century. Go figure…

The kibble industry and its entire octopus of connections convinced people to be afraid. Marketing works. This is why companies spend a fortune on marketing to make things flashy, appealing, and driven by emotion. Kibble makes a few people a lot of money, supports the pharmaceutical industry who massages modern veterinary education, and keeps a tight grip on what their vets are allowed to prescribe (more kibble!). This results in a cycle which keeps many people trapped and insecure in their own abilities to be the dog parent they can easily be. How dare we question something that lacks so much reason and logic?!

Meanwhile, 50% of the domesticated dog population is diagnosed with cancer by 6-7 years young. Dogs suffer from allergies, chronic digestion issues, dental disease, enlarged heart problems DCM (often fatal), skin problems, obesity, and spend many years going from one drug to another without resolution.

Well, times are changing. The 21st century I feel is a time of awakening. Although we were raised to follow the crowd, many of us put the fear aside because deep down we know we deserve better, and so do our dogs. Dog parents around the world are taking theirs and the health of their beloved dogs into their own hands. They take the time to learn the foundation of a species correct diet for their dogs, ditch the kibble, and switch to holistic care to promote a long, and amazing quality of life.

Ditching kibble is by far the best thing you can do for your dog!

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN ABOUT FEEDING YOUR DOG RAW FOOD

KIBBLE TO RAW

An online course to help you transition your pup to an easy and affordable raw food diet.

COURSE HIGHLIGHTS

Over 15 exclusive videos
Instant access to the course after enrollment
Access the course on any device
Learn at your own pace
 Learn how to feed your dog a complete raw diet
Learn about supplements, treats, and 'on the go' meals
Learn from our mistakes
 15 week transition meal plan
…and much more

7. REAL, CLEAN SUPPLEMENTS

Let’s get the most important thing out of the way. Supplements are exactly that: Supplements. The solid nutritional foundation is a species correct, fresh food diet – and nothing can replace this foundation. Supplements are there to provide natural healing, and additional benefits through high quality, clean, and natural sources.

The majority of supplements are made from cheap, low quality ingredients, and they do way more harm than good. They might as well be avoided all together. Any supplements we give are highly researched for its sourcing and quality or provided directly through our holistic veterinarian who often even creates some of them himself. You can read further details in our blog “The Best Supplements For Dogs.”

MY CLOSING THOUGHTS

Taking control of your dog’s health is an amazing and rewarding experience. Learning and researching is a lifelong journey, but with every step we take, we set ourselves up for a beautiful healthy flow and long life.

With each step you take, you’ll feel more empowered, more connected to your beloved dog, and more in tune with both of your natural needs. You’ll both be rewarded with better health, a more relaxed mind, and deeper shared fulfillment.

Did you find these 7 keys helpful? Which step are you going to start out with? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.

7 keys for dogs health

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Traveling to Europe With Dogs

Traveling to Europe With Dogs

Traveling to Europe with dogs

The Husky Squad in the Mont Blanc Region in France 🇫🇷

Traveling to Europe With Dogs

In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d be writing a blog about traveling to Europe with dogs. Now that we’re back, although prematurely, I’m opening up our Husky Squad Travel Journal with you. To enjoy and benefit from this blog the most, I recommend you to watch the videos I include here for you.

HUSKY SQUAD TRAVEL JOURNAL

In this vlog, we spill the beans why we went to Europe with the Husky Squad in the first place, what we loved about Europe for our dogs, and the reasons why we had to come back to the USA. This video has journal style, raw personal footage from our travels which we’ve not shared before.

OUR 10 MONTH ITINERARY IN EUROPE

Portes Du Soleil, Switzerland
Central Valeis, Switzerland
Mont Blanc Region, France
Tuhelj, Croatia
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Istra, Croatia
Split, Croatia
Annecy, France
Florenville, Belgium

FEEDING OUR DOGS RAW IN EUROPE

Although we knew it would be difficult to feed the squad raw food during our travels in Europe, we were absolutely adamant to make it happen. As many of you already know, we switched to Raw food when our Kimahri was diagnosed with cancer. There would be no chance we would go back to kibble and risk her life. Laziness and excuses were not an option for me. As we cover in this blog each region we visited, we’ll include the Raw food options we found during our travels. Had we stayed in Europe longer, I’m positive we could have found more options. During this entire trip, we followed our own Kibble to Raw Course methods and you can learn everything about switching your dog to raw food in the Kibble to Raw Online Course, no matter where you live in the world.

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN ABOUT FEEDING YOUR DOG RAW FOOD

KIBBLE TO RAW

An online course to help you transition your pup to an easy and affordable raw food diet.

COURSE HIGHLIGHTS

Over 15 exclusive videos
Instant access to the course after enrollment
Access the course on any device
Learn at your own pace
 Learn how to feed your dog a complete raw diet
Learn about supplements, treats, and 'on the go' meals
Learn from our mistakes
 15 week transition meal plan
…and much more

SWISS ALPS WITH DOGS🇨🇭

Spending time in the Alps with the Squad was one of our absolute favorite experiences. The Swiss Alps are not only one of the most beautifully kept and accessible nature regions we’ve ever been to, it’s also extremely dog friendly to hike and have adventures with your furry kids. Two incredible months flew by as we hiked the majestic European Alps, watched stunning sunsets from our little chalet, and lived a dream we never wanted to wake up from. We left our hearts scattered across the mountains, peaceful dreamy villages, and we hope someday to have a little old chalet to come back to as often as possible.

Our recommendation:

Rent a chalet with a beautiful view for at least a couple of weeks. You’ll create once in a lifetime amazing memories together. Ride gondolas, trains, go hiking, and enjoy the many rustic Swiss dining options in the mountain villages of the region. We’d avoid staying directly in touristy regions like Zermat, but definitely visit for a day!

Switzerland with dogs
Dogs in Zermat
Dogs in swiss alps europe
hiking ie Europe with dogs

Raw Food for Dogs in Switzerland

After trying some commercial raw food chubs from the local pet food store, we realized the Squad’s tummies were not happy with the idea. Instead we went back to the basics and started feeding the Squad human grade, intact, whole, pre-frozen sardines and anchovies which we found in the large mega COOP supermarkets all over Switzerland. These small fish were LIFESAVING for the squad. They do very well on oily fish, and given that we were only there for a while, we were comfortable with feeding the Squad these two oily fish varieties as their primary protein source.

During this time in Switzerland, we also tried pre-frozen human grade raw chicken from COOP, but we unfortunately realized that Tidus is extremely allergic to chicken. Interestingly, we hardly ever gave them chicken before. In our Kibble to Raw Course we go over in detail how you can make sure you’re feeding the right primary protein sources for your pups.

As we were getting ready to leave Switzerland, we found a lot of amazing raw food options which can be ordered in bulk online. Purchasing online raw food orders seems to be the most common and best way to go in Switzerland!

MONT BLANC REGION WITH THE HUSKY SQUAD🇫🇷

Our only regret about this region is that we did not have enough time to explore its majestic landscape. The trails are abundant, dog friendly, and the villages are full of French charm. We could not get enough of the hikes there, and this is when we began falling in love with French culture and people.

We recommend:

Rent a little chalet or cottage anywhere in the region and put your hiking boots to good use. Hiking poles are extremely helpful! The trails are steep and unforgiving, but the majestic beauty of this region will reward you with the most stunning visuals. You’ll be glad you burned a decent amount of calories on the trails, so you can indulge in the incredibly delicious french eatery scene and feel a little less guilty about it.

a cabin in mont blanc Europe
dreamy hiking trails in europe with husky squad
jc with husky squad hiking in europe
Victoria and Tidus in Europe hiking

Raw Food for Dogs in Mont Blanc Region

I’ll be honest, we had a challenging time finding a variety of quality raw food in local pet food stores in the region. Thank goodness we found a few new protein sources in a local pet food store for the Squad. We chose a raw frozen blend of Rabbit and Duck by a brand named Nova Canis . The Squad seemed ok on it, but intuitively I kept it to a minimum of about 30% of their diet. Switzerland was not too far of a drive, so we hopped back to buy fish there every few weeks. There are many amazing options to order Raw food online in France, but our freezer was too tiny to go that route. A typical family freezer would have been perfect.

VISITING CROATIA WITH OUR DOGS 🇭🇷

We spent a total of three months in Croatia and created incredible memories there. Overall, Croatia was very dog friendly, and we hardly ever saw a “no dogs” sign.

TUHELJ

Our first month was in a little village named Tuhelj. It was a great month for us to wind down after our adventures in the alps, and thank goodness the snake that bit Tidus in the garden was non-poisonous. This area is known to have horned Vipers, and this snake bite experience was probably one of the scariest times of our lives! We loved the countryside, the culture and people, and we really enjoyed visiting Old Town Zagreb with the Squad on a warm summer night. Needless to say, the Squad were immediate superstars in town. We were amazed when we were invited to eat in restaurants together. Absolutely pleasantly surprised!

How we’d do this region differently:

Next time, we’d rather rent a cottage right north of Zagreb nearby the hiking trails. This would give us fantastic daily hikes, amazing cultural experiences in Old Town Zagreb, and nearby National Parks to venture out for the day.

BRTONIGLA

A little sleepy, dreamy village near the coast. Experiencing this region was like going back in time where we spent a month with close friends and fellow couple travelers Gretchen and Gustavo. We enjoyed amazing meals together in our cottage, delicious fresh made cheese from our hosts’ sheep ranch, and visiting the dreamy coastal villages of Novigrad and Rovinj. Our daily walks with the Squad consisted of country roads and playing in open peaceful meadows surrounded by olive orchards. We absolutely loved visiting the hilltop fortress village of Motovun and the surrounding hiking trails. If you love truffles, Istra is the place to be during autumn to enjoy all of its amazing delicacies. Truffle everything!

What we suggest:

Ideally, we should have stayed in Motovun for at least two weeks to enjoy the village and the surrounding mountains for hiking. It’s an unforgettable place! After that, we should have moved on to stay either in Rovinj, or Novigrad to enjoy the coastal dreamy villages. The tough part about staying on the coast would be finding hiking trails and getting the Squad’s physical activity needs met.

SPLIT

The magic of Split is difficult to describe. Although the Balken sea beckons thousands of tourists during the summer to enjoy the clear blue warm waters and endless islands, we’re so glad to have visited during the month of November. We had some wild stormy days, but we loved the off season, and the freedom to take the Squad all over old town without too many tourists. The Squad also appreciated the milder climate. We took daily hikes walking in Marjan Forest Park in the morning, and evening sunset walks on the beautiful Marina right by our little apartment. The food in Split was out of this world!

Favorite Restaurants in Split

Konoba Fetivi: Incredible SeaFood Platter and Sage Dessert liquor served up by a kind and warm father and son team. We miss their hospitality so much!
Corto Maltese Freestyle Food: Eclectic delicious eats with an ambience we’ll never forget 
Bokeria Kitchen and Wine Bar: Where we ate for Jc’s birthday. What a special treat and modern eclectic ambience. The food was absolutely delicious. I’m so glad I chose this restaurant for his birthday.
Don Dino Pastry Shop: where we spent time enjoying divine ice cream, coffee or both (don’t judge!) and we kept coming back for more.

Split dog friendly marina
game of thrones with husky squad
Split with Husky Squad
Jc with Husky Squad in Split

Why we wouldn’t change a thing:

We lucked out and scored in Split! We had an amazing modern Airbnb Apartment with a little backyard for the Squad. We stayed seconds away from hiking trails, and moments away from old town Split where we enjoyed the magical beauty almost every evening. We parked our car for the month and only moved it once to go visit nearby national parks. Everything we needed was accessible on foot, and we loved it. The beautiful Marina was almost at our front door too! If you can stay with our amazing Airbnb host in her perfect little apartment, do it!

Raw Food For the Squad in Croatia

Out of habit from Switzerland and France, we started looking for frozen, small, oily fish in local supermarkets, and there they were! In almost every region in Croatia, we found sardines, anchovies, and European Sprat from the balkan sea. Almost every LIDL supermarket had them.

Then I did a bit more research and found a brand named Von Barf. After some digging, the brand seemed reliable so I introduced beef and green tripe to the pups, and we SCORED! The Squad loved it, and I felt so relieved to have a great additional protein source besides the oily fish. Von Barf also has a fish blend, but we prefer using the entire whole fish when possible.

CAPITAL OF CULTURE: PLOVDIV BULGARIA 🇧🇬

Plovid knocked our human socks off, and that’s an understatement. It’s a beautiful, quaint, eclectic, historic, art filled old-town we’ll never forget. The food is deeelicous, the coffee is amazing, and the ice cream is the best we ever had. While we visited, Plovdiv was also a lot more affordable to indulge in dining and we did not deprive ourselves :D. People are so kind, welcoming and warm, and it felt like an exotic experience to us. The Squad were superstars there when we walked all over old-town with them since it was challenging to find hiking trails nearby. Kimahri could not get enough of the feral cats all over town, and she even got into a boxing match at night with a cat hiding in a blind spot behind a large planter. We thankfully realized just in time. Kitty claws are SHARP.

Raw Food in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

You’ll detect a pattern by now 🙂 We first went to local supermarkets to check for oily intact, small fish and we scored again! We found European Sprat, sardines, anchovies and additionally: baby mackerel! Lots of variety, which we like! But now, we had to find additional protein sources, and after some research and a couple of phone calls, we found “Pet Valley – Barf Bulgaria” in Sofia, which was a 90 minute drive each way. Not a problem! Their frozen food is well sourced and the people are kind. Highly recommend them! Their food did the Squad well.

Plovdiv Bulgaria with Dogs
jc in plovdiv bulgaria
Plovid with dogs
jc and vee in plovid

Our Thoughts:

Would we go back to Plovdiv? Absolutely! However, we’d probably make it a week long trip without the Squad to enjoy the culture, food, and the historical beauty of the region. The Squad can tolerate the city life for a little bit, but they need to #getthehuskyout in nature often, and there’s not enough of that close in Plovdiv. We highly suggest everyone to visit this beautiful town and enjoy at least five days of ice cream tasting, dabbling in many restaurants menus, and exploring the art, history, and culture scene. Try to book an Airbnb right inside old-town, or right across the Pedestrian shop bridge Maritsa.

#GETTHEHUSKYOUT MENS T-SHIRT mauve

#GetTheHuskyOut

Mens T-Shirts

Midnight Moon

Hoodies

#GetTheHuskyOut Hoodie blue

Mama Wolf T-Shirt

Ladies T-Shirts

sunrise trek husky green squad hoodie

Papa Wolf Cap

Caps

#GetTheHuskyOut Ladies T-Shirt heather grey

Mama Wolf Jacket

Ladies Jackets

THE MAGIC THAT IS ANNECY FRANCE 🇫🇷

Just writing about this region makes me want to hop on a plane and go back “home.” We left a huge piece of our hearts in this magical city. It’s very difficult to explain the diverse beauty of this region. You’ll have to watch the two videos here to understand a bit of what we experienced. In a perfect world, we want to have a little chalet in a quiet old street anywhere around Lac Annecy. We spent the entire Christmas and New Years season there, and it was incredibly difficult to leave. Lac Annecy has everything we love, from the amazing surrounding mountains, the peaceful lake, endless trails, delicious Savoyard French Cuisine, great climate, friendly warm people, beautiful history, the quaintest old town, magical Christmas markets, and mouthwatering raclette and fondue. We finally met our amazing new friends Kati, Damien, and their husky Talulla when they came to spend the New Year with us. We are so humbled by their kindness and hospitality. I can go on and on and write a blog just on Annecy! The Squad LOVED our time there. The region is dog friendly in every aspect! Heck, we were invited INSIDE restaurants with the Squad. We had great hiking trails and the perfect balance to give the Squad what they need.

Jc with Husky Squad in Annecy
Christmas in Annecy France with Dogs
Lake Annecy with Dogs
Dreamy Christmas with Husky Squad in Europe

Feeding Raw in Annecy

We could not find raw food easily in local pet food stores. There were amazing options to order online for delivery, but since our Airbnb Freezer was so small (again!), that option didn’t make sense. Our simple solution? Drive back to Switzerland (only 40 minutes away) and get what we need after we go for a day trip and hike in the mountains. Next time, we’ll plan freezer space better and order online.

Missing Annecy and our suggestions:

This region caught us by such surprise, and we can’t get it out of our minds. The only cure? We’ll have to go back someday! We recommend renting an Airbnb anywhere you like in the region. We stayed a bit away from the main town, so we can enjoy the tranquility. Be mindful not to book directly on the main road so you can enjoy the calm beauty of the region.

QUAINT FLORENVILLE IN THE BELGIAN ARDENNES 🇧🇪

I remembered the Belgian Ardennes from my childhood. In my memories there were lush forests, rolling hills, and country living. We wanted to see the region as a possible option to live since I had Belgian Residency in my childhood. Although I grew up in the city, I was always drawn to nature. The moment we arrived in Florenville, we were blown away by the charm of this beautiful little village, and by the hospitality of our new, favorite host Sophie. Spending our last European month in Florenville was a great ending to this amazing trip which ended sooner than we wanted to. We spent our days finalizing the Kibble to Raw course, hiking in the forested hills, dining with our new friends, and trying a lot of delicious Belgian chocolate.

Jc with the Squad in Ardennes
Jc with husky squad and horses in europe
Belgium dog friendly
husky squad hiking with horses in Belgium

The amazing Raw Food in Belgium

Since we stayed in a very small village, we knew we’d have to venture out a bit to find the right food for the Squad. Enter one of the most AMAZING natural dog food shops we’ve ever been to: Lewis Natural Pet food Store. Their selection and options are amazing, but what blew us away was the owner, John, and how much he cares for the wellbeing of our animals. He only carries products and brands he truly believes in, and he helps you figure out what’s best for you and your beloved fur kids. I highly recommend you shop there if you visit or live nearby. We drove two hours each way to pick up food in bulk since we had a nice size freezer this time. I intuitively know when food does the Squad well, and they absolutely thrived on the protein diversity and quality from the food in Belgium. I miss this so much!

Visit Underrated Belgian Ardennes

You’ll be so glad you did! We highly recommend staying in the cozy cottage we stayed in, take a ride with Shophie, Andres, and their gentle horses, and indulge in tasty Italian dishes at the Le Relais des Oliviers restaurant. Explore the history, nature, and the quaint countryside, and don’t be shy getting to know the friendly local people.

CLOSING THOUGHTS ABOUT OUR TRAVELS TO EUROPE

Europe with our dogs was a once in a lifetime and incredible experience. Seeing the Squad mesmerized by the Alps was one of the most amazing feelings we’ll never forget. We hope to go back one day to spend time with our new friends and continue hiking the majestic European Alps again. We left our hearts there and someday, we’ll have to go back and pick them up again.

Curious why we had to cut our travels short? Click here to watch this video.

I hope this blog is helpful to you in planning your future adventures. If we missed anything, drop us your questions here below. If you have suggestions for the community, please share them here too!

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Best Supplements for Dogs

Best Supplements for Dogs

The Husky Squad loves their natural supplements.

Best Supplements for Dogs

Finding the best supplements for dogs can be overwhelming, so we want to offer you insight into why we give our beloved pups these specific supplements.

Over-supplementing is unnecessary, and just overwhelms dogs with supplements that they don’t need. Low-quality sourcing will end up doing more harm than good.

The supplements that we give our pups are carefully selected to help them deal with modern-day food production problems, and to give them superdog tools to live a long, healthy, thriving life.

WHAT SUPPLEMENTS CAN’T FIX IN A DOG

In case you’re new to Husky Squad, I’ll share our philosophy about nutrition. When our Kimahri was diagnosed with cancer in January 2018, we took a holistic approach to her recovery by consulting an integrative holistic veterinarian.

As part of her recovery protocol, the vet prescribed a raw food diet, explaining that real food plays a critical role in the overall health of dogs. We took that advice to heart and quit kibble for the entire Husky Squad.

It took Kimahri only 28 days to recover from cancer. Her tumor shrank daily in front of our eyes, and then disappeared! The Husky Squad has been on a raw food diet ever since.

Supplements are exactly that: supplements. The solid foundation is a natural food diet. No amount of supplements can ever replace a healthy diet, which is what ultimately has the biggest impact on the health of our dogs.

If you want to take the plunge to feeding a natural diet and don’t know where to begin, our online course Kibble to Raw will coach you through the entire process and help you transition with ease. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as simple as just buying steaks at the supermarket.

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN ABOUT FEEDING YOUR DOG RAW FOOD

KIBBLE TO RAW

An online course to help you transition your pup to an easy and affordable raw food diet.

COURSE HIGHLIGHTS

Over 15 exclusive videos
Instant access to the course after enrollment
Access the course on any device
Learn at your own pace
 Learn how to feed your dog a complete raw diet
Learn about supplements, treats, and 'on the go' meals
Learn from our mistakes
 15 week transition meal plan
…and much more

WHY DO WE GIVE SUPPLEMENTS TO OUR DOGS?

We began providing most of these supplements to the Squad under the guidance of our holistic veterinarian during Kimahri’s cancer therapy. He wanted to give her body the tools to fight off cancer from within. There are two main reasons why dogs need these supplements:

  1. Modern food production issues. When wildlife hunts and eats in pristine environments, there’s no need for supplementation. Unfortunately, modern agriculture is filled with problems such as pollution, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. These issues, combined with nutrient depletion in the soil and the distances food travels, mean that food alone is unfortunately not enough. Dr. Peter Dobias goes deeper into this subject on his blog.
  2. Healing, maintenance, and prevention. The remaining supplements on this list address special needs such as fighting cancer or treatment for joint injuries. Once we achieved recovery, we decreased the dosage and frequency for maintenance and prevention.

SOURCING IS OUR #1 PRIORITY

The sourcing of supplement ingredients has been one of our biggest concerns. With concerns like Fukushima contaminating the Pacific Ocean, and companies sourcing the lowest-quality ingredients from any part in the world (very often without disclosing the countries of origin), sourcing is a serious matter.

We’ve always been on a mission to find the most reliable suppleness for the Husky Squad. We’ve done extensive in-depth research and reading, and feel absolutely confident in the sourcing of all of the products that we recommend here.

THE NINE SUPPLEMENTS WE GIVE THE HUSKY SQUAD

1. ESSENTIAL OMEGA-3

This is an absolutely essential supplement for dogs. Because dogs don’t eat a wild diet (which provides enough omega-3), they end up lacking this essential nutrient. Omega-3 is critical for brain function, skin and coat health, and joint health. It’s also anti-inflammatory and anti-aging, and helps to prevent dementia.

No matter what route you take for providing omega-3, you need to be incredibly careful with sourcing, which is a particular problem when it comes to this supplement. You might have figured out by now that sourcing is our biggest concern, and we can’t endorse any brand when we don’t know or trust where its products come from. That’s why we so highly recommend Feel Good Omega from Dr. Peter Dobias. He carefully sources and produces this supplement from calamari (squid) which is mercury-free, sustainable, and perfectly balanced. It’s our most-trusted omega-3 oil.

Dr. Dobias Omegas

Fera Pet Omegas

2. PROBIOTICS

Probiotics are fantastic! They help dogs heal the gut and build great microflora. Dogs require specific strains of probiotics, so human probiotics aren’t suitable. Here are two dog-suitable options:

Raw fermented goat milk

Fermented goat milk is a great source of probiotics, and works for dogs who are sensitive to cow dairy. Goat milk is much easier to digest, and the fermentation provides live active probiotics. We began using this during Kimahri’s holistic cancer therapy so her gut could quickly adjust to her new raw diet. Our vet prescribed the brand Answers.

Probiotic supplements

While the raw fermented goat milk remains in our feeding rotation for our dogs, we now use probiotic supplements on a regular basis. Our supplement of choice is Dr. Peter Dobias’ Gut Sense.

Fermented Goat Milk

Dr. Dobias Probiotics

Herbsmith Probiotics

Fera Pet Probiotics

3. TRACE MINERALS

A well-sourced combination of trace minerals provides a safety net to fill in the gaps left by modern food production. These minerals promote better energy levels, improved mobility, better nutrient absorption, and gentle detoxification. They also boost cell, gland, and organ function. Greenmin is our current favorite!

4. MULTIVITAMIN

Remember how modern food production leaves gaps in trace minerals? It does the same thing with vitamins. A properly sourced multivitamin made with real vitamins (not synthetic ones) remedies this and offers great preventive care for your pup. After research into sourcing, the only type we trust is SoulFood by Dr. Dobias.

Dr. Dobias Trace Minerals

Super Essentials Minerals

Dr. Dobias Vitamins

5. JOINT SUPPORT

Here are two supplements that we use to help support our dogs’ joint health:

Homemade bone broth

While Tidus was going through his second ACL injury, our holistic vet prescribed homemade bone broth to speed up the recovery process. We actually used the same recipe to help Jc recover from a knee injury!

It’s important to prepare homemade bone broth. Animals store hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals in their bones, so only use bones from organic animals, preferably grass-fed and pasture-raised.

Get our uniquely formulated homemade bone broth recipe below.

Joint supplements

As our pups get older, caring for their joints is vital. We still give them homemade bone broth, but we rotate between that and a joint supplement. We especially love having a fantastic joint supplement on the road during our travels.

Fera Pet Joint

EASY BONE BROTH RECIPE

The simplest, healthy, homemade bone broth recipe for both you and your dog.

6. ORGANIC BERRIES

Listing fruit as a supplement may surprise you, so let me explain. We feed very little fruit to the Squad, because carbs (including the natural sugar in fruit) are problematic for dogs. If you’re a member of our Kibble to Raw community, you’ve already read about this in depth! Organic berries are the only fruits our dogs receive, so we consider them a supplement.

Whole organic berries are an incredible source of antioxidants and vitamins. Stick to organic/pesticide-free berries, because conventional berries are heavily sprayed with chemicals. The cons of conventional berries will likely outweigh the benefits. Always feed fruits separately from proteins.

When in season, fresh berries of any kind are fantastic. We go for strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. As an option when they’re not in season, stores like Costco carry organic frozen berries for great prices all year. If you want to share a special treat with your pups, prepare a natural yogurt berry parfait.

7. CURCUMIN

When Kimahri was diagnosed with cancer, I began reading about natural healing while waiting to be seen by our new holistic vet. The profound healing abilities of curcumin showed up over and over in my reading, so I started supplementing her diet with it. Once we met our vet, he wanted her to keep taking it. The entire Squad now takes it for cancer prevention and fantastic anti-inflammatory benefits. Heck, it’s so amazing that even Jc and I use it now!

Homemade curcumin paste

This is our favorite method of curcumin intake! It’s a super easy homemade recipe which ensures optimal bioavailability and contains ingredients we source ourselves. Get the recipe below.

Curcumin supplement

Premade curcumin bites are fantastic to have as backup and during our travels. We’ve used this brand successfully for years because their formula has all the required components for proper nutrient absorption. (And the Husky Squad thinks it’s delicious, too!)

Curcumin Bites

GOLDEN PASTE RECIPE FOR DOGS

An easy homemade turmeric recipe; the perfect bioavailable turmeric supplement.

8. ORGANIC COCONUT OIL

Organic, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil (preferably in a glass jar) has many benefits and uses. We use it externally for skin care, allergies, dental care, dry paws, and much more. Internally, as a supplement, coconut oil’s benefits include gentle detox, antibacterial functions, and extra energy. It’s also an important component in our homemade curcumin paste. Want to know more about how we use coconut oil? Drop us a comment below this blog!

Read Dr. Karren Becker’s article about coconut oil benefits here. We tend to rotate this into the Squad’s diet as part of our homemade curcumin paste. An important note: coconut oil does not replace the critical animal based omega oil requirements mentioned in this blog.

Coconut Oil

9. ACTIVATED CHARCOAL

We keep this powerful natural medicine with us both at home and in our emergency kit. If a tummy upset isn’t an emergency, organic activated charcoal can be the perfect solution.

Stomach upsets often occur due to ingesting something that’s not agreeing with the body. Activated charcoal is a natural remedy that helps bind and expel the toxins, and alleviate the associated digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea.

As an example, Tidus ingested a slightly toxic toad. After verifying with a local vet that it wasn’t an emergency, we gave him activated charcoal. This helped him detox, and alleviated his vomiting and diarrhea quickly. Jc and I have personally used activated charcoal when experiencing painful food poisoning. It helps tremendously!

NOTE: Due to the powerful binding and detoxifying abilities of activated charcoal, research proper dosing. Don’t give it along with food or other supplements, since it interferes with nutrient absorption. It’s a powerful natural medicine and should be used with caution and care.

We prefer using organic activated charcoal in powder capsule format, not tablets.

Organic Activated Charcoal

CLOSING THOUGHTS ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS

The process of introduction instead of elimination

I always recommend introducing new things gently, whether it’s a new exercise, a new protein source, or a new supplement. Taking a gentle approach allows for necessary adjustment periods and often brings glitch-free success. If you overwhelm your pup with too much of too many things too fast, you will likely need to work your way backwards to figure out what went wrong.

I recommend starting your dog on one supplement at the time, with 1/8th of a dose. Slowly increase the dose over the course of a couple of weeks. Once the first supplement is successfully introduced, repeat the process individually with each of the remaining supplements.

I also tend to rotate supplements. Sometimes I give some supplements a break for a week or two, then rotate them back into their diet. I don’t give our dogs all of their supplements in one meal.

We’d love to know whether you give any of these supplements to your dog, and whether our list of the best supplements for dogs is helpful! Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below.

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Dog ACL Recovery Without Surgery

Dog ACL Recovery Without Surgery

Tidus wearing his original custom ACL dog brace from 2014.

Dog ACL Recovery Without Surgery

The ACL Injury Diagnosis is Confirmed. Now What?

Let’s talk about dog ACL recovery without surgery. One day, you find your dog limping. Your vet performs the drawer test and diagnoses your dog with an ACL or CCL injury. You’ll probably immediately hear that TPLO surgery is the only treatment. We believe that you have the right to know that there could be other, less intrusive options. Read on!

Since you’re here, you’re likely exhausted, afraid, and confused. Above all, you’re probably desperately trying to figure out what the best route is for treating your dog’s ACL injury.

We’ve been there. Not once, but twice. Believe me, I understand how helpless you feel! I’m not a vet, and I’m not here to ultimately tell you how to help your dog heal from an ACL injury. Instead, I’m here to give you a dog parent’s perspective and share our experiences, so YOU can decide how you’d like to proceed. Just like you, we believe that dog parents have the right to know all of their options.

Grab a coffee or tea and some snacks, because this is going to be a very long and eye-opening read.

OUR HISTORY

Before I begin, let me introduce you to Tidus. Our only boy, Tidus is a very sensitive pup who vocalizes any pain he may have, no matter how small. If it hurts even a tiny bit, or he feels uncomfortable, he’ll lie down and refuse to move. He’s an average-sized Siberian Husky with long legs, and now weighs approximately 59 pounds.

Tidus sustained his first ACL injury in early 2014 when he was around five years old and weighed around 65 pounds. We took him to a snowy dog park on a sub-zero winter day in the Midwest. He launched straight into running wild, then abruptly cried out and stopped in his tracks. Terrified, I carried him back to the car. From the moment he was injured, he hobbled around on three legs, refusing to use the injured leg. Occasionally he would put his injured leg down briefly, and we could hear a “click” sound coming from his knee.

We had no idea what had happened. He was initially diagnosed with possible Lyme disease (even though he was vaccinated against it). After visiting multiple traditional veterinarians, it was confirmed that he had sustained an ACL/meniscus injury.

THE TYPICAL PROCESS

We were immediately told we needed to do TPLO surgery, which is considered the “gold standard” to treat ACL injuries in dogs. The cost back then would have been around $9,000 USD. Although this seemed to be an outrageous price for a single (apparently very common) surgery, the money wasn’t a deciding factor. We would do anything for our Tidus. If necessary, I would borrow money, sell some of our belongings, and figure it out. However, my intuition told me that I needed to do some deeper research before sending Tidus under the knife.

The vet was very unhappy with my decision to research this subject, and angrily told me there’s no other way, that I needed to do the “right thing” for Tidus. Despite the resulting guilt, I was determined to do my research first.

MY FINDINGS: THE PROBLEMS WITH TPLO SURGERY

  1. After TPLO surgery, dogs commonly rupture the second knee within a year. In fact, vets now push double surgeries “to get it out of the way” even though the other knee is just fine.
  2. TPLO surgery is highly invasive. The tibial bone is cut and altered.
  3. Permanent metal plates and wires are placed during this surgery.
  4. Veterinarians may not disclose the complications, including how many dogs end up with double surgeries, bone cancer, and other problems resulting in a terrible long-term quality of life. This includes full-limb amputations!
  5. TPLO surgeries are touted as having a high success rate because the many problems down the road, such as bone cancer, aren’t taken into account.
  6. TPLO surgery does not prevent arthritis in the affected region.
  7. There are general risks of surgery, including occasional anesthetic death. We personally would only do surgery if absolutely necessary.
  8. Some of the post-op issues reported by dog parents are as follows: poor healing of the bones; breakage of plates or screws; fracture of the tibial crest; blow-out fracture of the tibial plateau (requiring surgery again); screws coming loose; shifting of bones; arthritis; tearing of the meniscus; allergic reactions; implant failures; deep infections of bones, joints, and implants; angular limb deformity; seroma formation; and bone cancer.
  9. The biggest issue I had at the time was that I felt that we were being pushed into doing surgery and told it was the ONLY option, even though I was starting to find online alternatives and non-invasive, lower risk treatment methods.

INITIAL CONCLUSION

The biggest reason we opted to WAIT before jumping to surgery was because I learned that our alternative treatment methods do not carry any risk. If these methods didn’t lead to improvement, we could then take the surgery route.

We had no veterinary support for this method, so we tried the best we could. And we succeeded!

 

TIDUS’ FIRST ACL INJURY RECOVERY METHODS:

  1. Strict conservative management was critical, and I followed it to a T.
  2. I put Tidus on a diet to achieve a more slender build. This alleviates pressure on the injured joint.
  3. I had a custom knee brace built for Tidus. Critically, this brace helps stabilize the joint to prevent re-injury. A custom brace also allows the gentle introduction of mild exercise, which reduces the onset of muscle atrophy, while keeping risk very low.

THE PROCESS AND STEPS TO RECOVERY:

  • With the custom brace, Tidus started using his injured leg immediately and walking (with a limp).
  • Within two months, we were already hiking up to five miles at a time, always with the custom brace.
  • Within three months, the limp was completely gone. Nevertheless, I kept his brace on every time we walked or hiked for more than 10 minutes.
  • TIME UNTIL FULL RECOVERY: 11 months. Tidus “asked me” to take off his brace during a typical 7-9 mile hike. He stood there staring at me on the trail, and I knew he wanted me to trust him and take off the brace. I did.
  • We continued conservative management throughout the 11 months.

THE GOOD TIMES:

For the following four years, Tidus hiked the alpine mountains and the craziest terrains like nothing had ever happened. He fully kept up with our girls Yuna and Kimahri, without any signs of pain or fatigue.
Tidus showed no signs of his injury throughout these four years, when most dogs experience the second rupture within the first year of surgery.

WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN AND DONE:

I still carry the burden of the things that I didn’t know or do after his injury with me every day. Unfortunately, traditional vets don’t tell you about these things. It takes years to figure it out on your own, often after the damage is done. That’s why I feel SO strongly about sharing all of this information with you, so you don’t need to carry the same burden.

  • The overall health and well-being of a dog is tied to its diet. Tidus has been on “premium kibble” since the beginning. We later learned the hard way that kibble, no matter how premium, is not the right nutrition for dogs and can cause a lot of health problems.
    High-quality omega-3 fatty acids are essential to good joint health.
  • There are so many amazing physical and other therapies that can both speed up healing and drastically reduce the chances of re-injury.
  • “Holistic veterinarians” exist and can help you create a minimally (or non-) invasive treatment plan.
  • Tidus would probably have benefitted from having two braces instead of just one. The first to support his injury, and the second to help alleviate the pressure on the healthy leg while the injured leg recovered.
  • I should have continued with permanent conservative management, especially not allowing the dogs to jump into and out of cars.

TIDUS’ SECOND INJURY

During a relaxing evening hike in December 2018, Tidus stopped walking and cried out again. This was all too familiar to me. My heart sank, and I immediately knew that he had hurt his other knee. We were temporarily living two states away from home (and our incredible holistic veterinarian), so we had no choice but to get the diagnosis done locally by a traditional veterinarian. The classic drawer test confirmed that Tidus had a second ACL injury, either a full tear or deep partial tear, coupled with a meniscus injury. This time, Tidus didn’t even touch his toes to the ground for weeks, and his injury seemed more painful than the first.

I quickly contacted our holistic veterinarian to discuss the next steps. We made it clear that our absolute priority is to give our dogs an incredible long-term quality of life, and we would take the best route possible no matter the cost.

During our consultation, our holistic vet confirmed that he was comfortable with us attempting recovery without surgery, while keeping surgery as an option if we needed it later on. Together with our vet, we came up with a plan: monitor Tidus, make sure the treatments were proving to be effective, and have a fantastic surgeon on standby just in case.

NUTRITION AND CURRENT SUPPLEMENTS:

The entire Husky Squad is on a raw food diet. We made this switch approximately 11 months before Tidus’ second ACL injury, after Kimahri was diagnosed with cancer, and we’ve seen some incredible benefits from this change!

Additionally, the entire pack has been on the following supplements for almost a year so far:

  1. Curcumin bites (to fight/prevent cancer and inflammation)
  2. High quality omega-3 oils (for healthy skin, coat, heart, and joints, as well as cognitive function)

THE PROCESS AND STEPS TO RECOVERY:

When Tidus sustained his second injury, we had a lot more experience under our belts. With an amazing holistic veterinarian by our side and confidence in our abilities as dog parents, we started a much more aggressive (but non-destructive) approach to Tidus’ recovery.

I’ll distinguish what my intuition and experience tells me were absolute essentials from the steps that were important in speeding up the process, preventing re-injury, and providing a fantastic quality of life. Tidus recovered from his second ACL injury in LESS than HALF the time it took to recover from the first.

ESSENTIAL STEPS:

  1. Double custom knee braces. One to support the new injury, and the other to support the previous injury. Double braces helped Tidus use both legs equally, which avoided putting pressure on his previous injury and re-injuring it.
  2. Conservative management. We also quickly implemented permanent conservative management for the entire pack. Critically, we carry them into and out of the car, or use a ramp. This helps to PREVENT this injury.
  3. Daily gentle leashed exercise with custom braces. We started with 5 minutes for the first few days, and increased slowly with time (follow your intuition).
  4. Cold and Hot Pack treatment, three to four times a day for the first three months to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. (instructed by Tidus’ Physical Therapist)
  5. Maintaining Tidus’ slender weight to keep pressure off his joints and ensure better overall health.
  6. Providing non-slip surfaces in common living areas. Carpets and rugs are fantastic and help tremendously with removing fear of slipping. Fearful dogs on slippery surfaces can easily re-injure themselves.
  7. A healthful, homemade, properly balanced raw food diet (not kibble!).
  8. Essential omega-3 oils.
  9. Anti-inflammatory curcumin supplements.
  10. An amazing, WARM, LOVING, CONFIDENT, SUPPORTIVE, HAPPY home to give your dog a positive environment to heal. Dogs feel EVERYTHING, and this impacts your dog tremendously.

We feel these ten items were absolutely essential and the bare minimum to Tidus’ recovery, and that he would not have healed without them.

IMPORTANT STEPS:

With a Professional or Facility

  1. A holistic veterinarian for natural medicine and monitoring progress/improvement. Tidus was prescribed Chinese medicine for his joints, CBD for pain and inflammation, and custom herbal blends to speed up recovery. In other words, we gave his body the tools to support his healing.
  2. Hydrotherapy in a water treadmill for three months. We started immediately with two times a week for the first six weeks, then tapered to once a week for the remaining six weeks. Hydrotherapy builds muscle without putting pressure on the joints. (Instructed by our holistic veterinarian)
  3. Cold laser therapy for three months. We started immediately with two times a week for the first six weeks, then tapered to once a week for the remaining six weeks. Cold laser is a noninvasive procedure that uses light to stimulate cell regeneration and increase blood circulation. (Instructed by our holistic veterinarian.)
  4. Land therapy for six weeks, twice a week. Within two weeks of the injury, we began working with physical rehab specialist who’s experienced with treating dogs with ACL injuries. We continued land therapy on our own after six weeks, since we no longer had access to the facility after returning home.
  5. We introduced swimming, with a life vest and professional instructor, six weeks after the injury happened. I would have done this sooner, but didn’t have access to a pool earlier. Tidus swam weekly for 6 weeks. Swimming is a fantastic low-impact exercise which helps muscle conditioning, in turn supporting the joints. (Instructed by our holistic veterinarian.

At Home

  1. Homemade bone broth slow-cooked for 48 hours with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Dose: ½ cup of gelatinous bone broth made with organic beef bones. Our veterinarian stressed the importance of using organic bones. Feed-lot, non-organic cattle (and other animals) store chemicals, antibiotics, and other harmful compounds in their bones, and this would be counterproductive to healing. Bone broth is liquid gold for joint rejuvenation and a healthy gut. A healthy gut processes nutrients better, and is essential for absorbing all the goodness we were throwing Tidus’ way. (This was instructed by our holistic veterinarian.)
  2. Fascia-strengthening exercises at home. Tidus’ physical therapists showed us how to work with Tidus on strengthening his fascia. The health and strength of the fascia is so important to overall proper health. This is a newer subject to me, but we see incredible improvement in general with Tidus’ gait, posture, and balance, which is critical in supporting the healing of this injury.

ACL INJURY 2 RECOVERY TIMELINE:

  • We began all the various therapies and conservative management as soon as possible, and Tidus showed slow but consistent improvement while waiting for his custom braces.
  • With the double custom braces, Tidus started using his injured leg, with the limp common with this injury.
  • Unfortunately, a different “vet” re-injured Tidus seven weeks into his recovery (watch here), and set him back significantly. We were afraid he wouldn’t recover. We persisted, though, and continued all the therapies.
  • A month after this incident, Tidus was already hiking approximately 5 miles while using both of his braces.
  • A month later, Tidus’ limp was completely gone while wearing his braces. At this point, our holistic veterinarian cleared Tidus from needing surgery and gave us the green light to travel again.
  • TIME UNTIL FULL RECOVERY: 5 months. Tidus “asked me” to take his braces off at this point. We carefully monitored him, doing shorter walks at first, but realized he felt annoyed and hindered when we tried to put his braces back on.
  • Tidus did his first 12-mile intense alpine hike on May 31st, 2019, all without his braces. That day, we climbed over 9,000 ft. and he showed no signs of fatigue. He actually looked happier and more full of stamina and drive than I’ve seen him since the first injury happened five years ago. MIND BLOWN.

THOUGHTS FROM MY HEART

Words can’t describe what it feels like to see Tidus happy, healthy, and THRIVING again at a beautiful age ten. There’s no better feeling than seeing him enjoy the outdoors, climbing mountains with all of us as a family. The results we’ve achieved are way beyond what we hoped for. We’re incredibly grateful to the entire healing team around Tidus, along with all the loving wishes and support from the Husky Squad community around the world.

Although it may seem that we “got lucky,” I have to say that I believe our experiences support the value of physical therapies, ancient proven healing practices, new non-invasive healing techniques, determined positive energy, and absolute commitment to following through with all the steps, no matter how difficult or challenging. This healing regimen is NOT for the lazy.

We all wish for our fur-kids never to get sick or injured, but circumstances, genetics, and other factors play a big role. It’s not likely that any dog will go its entire life without any issues. We’re absolutely committed (and hope you are too!) to providing the best possible healing and care based on what’s right for our pups, rather than the fast, seemingly convenient options with long-term risks and harm.

ACL INJURIES ARE NEVER EASY

ACL injuries are never easy or cheap, no matter what route you take. Sure, the $8,000-$13,000 cost of surgery is outrageous, and for many people it is impossible to even borrow that much. However, the alternative route will cost money too.

Personally, I’d eat one meal a day if I had to, and cut out all “nice things,” because I made a commitment to our fur kids to give them the absolute best. However, we understand that not everyone is in a position to be able to afford expensive treatments, even after cutting out all the luxuries.

With that said, no dog should be left dealing with this without any help. We feel that the minimum that any dog with an ACL injury deserves is a custom brace to support this very painful injury, and to provide at least a good shot at management and recovery. Custom braces can run anywhere from $600-$2,000 depending on where you live. #DogsAreFamily.

TODAY AND THE FUTURE

Although Tidus is in the clear and recovered, we don’t take this subject lightly. We’ve learned so much about ACL injuries, and even more about the topic of prevention. These things don’t “just happen.” More on this in the future.

WE’RE NOT TAKING THIS ACL RECOVERY FOR GRANTED

Here’s what we’re doing today.

For Tidus Specifically:

  1. We ALWAYS carry Tidus’ two custom braces with us wherever we go, just in case of fatigue (or an emergency).
  2. Tidus will not get to run around at his usual hyper speeds for at least another year, because we need him to continue building solid muscle mass and stronger joints. All his hikes are paced properly while focusing on inclines whenever possible. Hills and mountains push the weight back to the hind legs, building greater strength and mass to support the recovering joint.
  3. We heard about stem cell therapy for ligament injuries from a dog parent on our Instagram community. She reported great progress with her dogs’ ACL injury. I’ll be discussing this with our holistic veterinarian and Tidus’ rehab team, as well as doing my own research on the subject.

For The Entire Squad:

  1. We keep all our pups on the leaner/slimmer side for long-term joint and overall health. An overweight dog is at a much greater risk for joint injuries.
  2. The Squad is permanently staying on a healthful, balanced, homemade diet.
  3. I continue to feed the Squad curcumin bites (to fight/prevent cancer and inflammation) and high-quality omega-3 oils (for healthy skin, coat, heart, and joints, as well as cognitive function).
  4. We practice overall permanent conservative management for all of our pups now. I especially don’t allow jumping into and out of cars. We carry them or use a ramp if needed. High unnatural jumps in and out of cars slowly degrade the joints over time. We were SHOCKED to learn that jumps INTO the car are even worse than down from the car.
  5. Hiking is the best long-term exercise for dogs since it involves much less risk for abrupt sudden movements, and tends to be at a steady pace instead of “juking” or going from 0-60MPH.
  6. We continue with various home hind-leg exercises for all the pups, since muscle mass is lost over time as they get older.
    Low-impact exercises such as swimming and hydrotherapy are part of our life now, and we incorporate them whenever we can.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I was initially reluctant to write this and film the entire process for our YouTube channel, because as a society we collectively suffer from “degree syndrome,” or the belief that we need to absolutely trust every doctor or vet. I didn’t feel that I had the energy to deal with a barrage of “gold standard” comments, and I’d rather focus 1000000% of my energy into Tidus’ recovery. But I stepped away from these thoughts, because I KNOW that if I had found something detailed and helpful from a fellow dog parent when I needed it the most, it would have been incredibly helpful. That’s all that matters.

There are some people who suffer from “degree syndrome,” implicitly trust every vet, feel that there’s only ONE WAY to heal, and believe that dog parents don’t have the right to know and try the alternative with common sense and an open mind. I will not waste my precious energy debating with this perspective except to point out that science is a collection of data. The moment we stop learning, or dismiss data due to our own biases (whether in degrees or beliefs), that’s when progress dies. A doctor’s jacket and a degree simply come from your fellow human beings, not from some divine source. This information should evolve and not be closed to new learning and evidence.

TO EVERY DOG PARENT READING THIS

I repeat: I’m not a vet, and I’m not here to ultimately tell you how to help your dog heal from this injury. Instead, I’m here to give you a dog parent’s perspective and experiences to help YOU do further research and ultimately decide how you’d like to proceed. We feel that dog parents have the right to know their options, and the choice belongs in your hands.

HIGH QUALITY OMEGA 3 OILS

omega 3 oils
High quality Omega 3’s are essential for healthy joints. Not all supplements are created equal. After discovering Holistic Veterinarian Dr. Peter Dobias and getting to know him more, we feel confident in how much he cares so deeply about sourcing the best possible ingredients for the supplements he carefully crafts.

DONATIONS TO THE SQUAD

 
husky squad camping

If you found this blog and resource valuable, consider contributing to the Squad’s piggy bank. With your support, we can focus more of our time on creating helpful videos and blogs just like this one. Your donation will also buy the Husky Squad a healthy bag of treats!

We appreciate our supporters so much!

CUSTOM ACL DOG BRACES

 custom acl injury braces
We’re honored to team up with Dr. Campana because we believe his braces are the best on the market and affordable too. We used his braces for both of Tidus’s injuries (five years apart) with incredible results. Use “HUSKY0520” for a discount during checkout.

THE ENTIRE ACL RECOVERY EXPERIENCE

ADDITIONAL READING & RESOURCES

Complications associated with tibial plateau leveling osteotomy: A retrospective of 1519 procedures
Bone cancer: Proximal Tibial Osteosarcoma
Thoughts from a veterinarian on TPLO surgery :Questioning Canine Cruciate Ligament Surgery

Minet @WoofCenter in Utah

OUR DEEPEST GRATITUDE

We’re forever grateful to Tidus’ amazing healing team (in no particular order):

  1. Tidus’s incredibly knowledgeable primary physical therapist Minet at the Woof Center, Santa Clara Utah. This would not have been possible without her compassionate almost magic like care. She’s also Tidus’ favorite person.
  2. Anita, the backbone and highly experienced owner at the Woof Center, Santa Clara Utah.
  3. Dr. Derrick Campana for the bionic-like custom braces. I highly doubt any of this would have been possible without his expertise.
  4. Dr. Keith Weingardt, Holistic Veterinarian for supporting us, monitoring Tidus, and for the best holistic care a dog parent can dream of.
  5. Denisse, physical therapist at Cascade Animal Park Hospital, Tidus’ amazing therapist who took over when we went back to Portland Oregon.
  6. Dr. Peter Dobias, Holistic Veterinarian for creating the highest quality supplements on the market.

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Homemade Yogurt Treats For Dogs

Homemade Yogurt Treats For Dogs

Yuna loves a cool fresh parfait.

Homemade Yogurt Treats For Dogs

Get ready to spoil your pup with this easy, healthy Homemade Yogurt Treats for Dogs recipe packed with amazing health benefits.

As you may already know, the Husky Squad has been eating a raw food diet for almost two years. They are doing so well and THRIVING on this diet! Occasionally we find ourselves itching to enjoy meals together as a pack, and by now we figured out how to make a number of meals and snacks that are tasty to us, and also safe for dogs #dogsarefamily

Would You Enjoy Sharing Meals and Treats with Your Dog?

If you said “YES” you’re in luck! If you want to get your hands on our favorite shareable meals and treats, go to the comments section of this blog or in the linked youtube video, and let us know that you want more recipes. Be sure to watch the full video for instructions of this simple yogurt treat recipe, and of course watch the Husky Squad lick their little jars clean. They are too FRIKKIN CUTE!

TREATS FOR DOGS WITH A PURPOSE

Whether we’re feeding the Squad their daily Raw food meals, or putting together a treat or snack, we want you to know that each ingredient is well thought-out. Of course on rare occasions, they’ll get something just for flavor (as long as it’s safe!), but after the Squad experienced various health issues in the past, we now do our best to give them the most beneficial nutrition, and this Yogurt Treat For Dogs is packed with health benefits.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS

This video briefly covers the amazing benefits of each ingredient in this homemade yogurt treats recipe, so be sure to watch it all the way through! Here are few knowledge bites for more interesting info:

Organic Plain Yogurt. Powerhouse of probiotics and so much more.
Blueberries. Amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory fruit.
Fresh Mint Leaves. Aids digestion and soothes the tummy.

Be sure to watch the entire video so you can learn how to introduce new foods to your pup and avoid problems in the process.

HOMEMADE YOGURT TREATS FOR DOGS

The Recipe

Measurement Per Pup
½ cup organic plain yogurt
⅓ cup blueberries (or berries of choice)
2 mint leaves

Optional Toppings for Dog Parent (ONLY)

½ tsp. Raw honey
1 tbsp granola or muesli

You can make this delicious simple recipe with raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries. We recommend to introduce one berry type at the time.

Made With Love

Now It’s Your Turn!

We’re excited for you to prepare this delicious and easy yogurt treat for you and your dog, and enjoy some relaxed bonding time together. After your pup licks their little jar clean, come back here and share your story with us.

Next up, you owe it to yourself to make your life easier as a dog parent with our top products we use at home.

Howls and hugs from the Husky Squad!

SUPPLEMENTS BY DR. PETER DOBIAS

Supplement ingredient sourcing is one of our newest research endeavors. There are many dog supplement companies out there, but not all of them are made equal. With concerns like Fukushima contaminating the Pacific Ocean, and companies sourcing the lowest quality ingredients from any part in the world, very often without disclosing the countries of origin - we’re on a mission to finding the most reliable supplement for the Husky Squad. After discovering Holistic Veterinarian Dr. Peter Dobias and getting to know him more over time, we feel confident in how much he cares so deeply about sourcing the best possible ingredients for the supplements he carefully crafts.

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN ABOUT FEEDING YOUR DOG RAW FOOD

KIBBLE TO RAW

An online course to help you transition your pup to an easy and affordable raw food diet.

COURSE HIGHLIGHTS

Over 15 exclusive videos
Instant access to the course after enrollment
Access the course on any device
Learn at your own pace
 Learn how to feed your dog a complete raw diet
Learn about supplements, treats, and 'on the go' meals
Learn from our mistakes
 15 week transition meal plan
…and much more

Phone Cases

Prints

Papa Wolf

T-Shirts & Hoodies

Husky Squad

Mugs

Mama Wolf

T-Shirts & Hoodies

Photography

Lightroom Presets
  • Prevent and Get Rid Of Ticks & Fleas On Dogs Safely
    Read More
  • 7 KEYS TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR DOGS HEALTH
    Take Control of Your Dog's Health in 7 Steps
    Read More
  • Traveling to Europe with dogs
    Traveling to Europe With Dogs
    Read More

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