Adopting a rescued pitbull has not been without struggle. Aside from breed prejudice and paranoia, we’ve had to overcome the baggage he carries from his unpleasant younger years.
In spite of everything, he’s just a really good and loving dog that we’ve tried to give the best care to.
Our first several years with him were full of vet visits for minor ailments due to allergies. Things became more serious due to a torn cruciate ligament from playing with another dog. This resulted in TPLO surgery which is an invasive surgery with a long road to recovery, expensive, a stressful decision to make and actually more common than you might think.
I have answered many questions from readers about it over the last year. They’re worried. Dogs who have this surgery are at risk of needing it again eventually in the other leg (they put more pressure on it while the damaged leg heals).
How is Scooby? I’ve partnered with Tender & True to share what I do to keep him healthy, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to give you an update as to what his regimen is like now. This is also because it’s likely relevant to even the healthiest of dogs.
1. Pet Superfoods
It is not that easy to figure out which foods are better than the other because they are labeled with buzz words like holistic, healthy, super-premium, simple and natural ingredients, organic, certified. I want to feed him high-quality dog food that lives up to the same standards as the food we eat. I’ve started paying more attention to labels (this article about how to read a dog food label helps).
Scooby’s dog food needs to have minimal ingredients due to allergies and have options without chicken (Tender & True has multiple flavors and chicken definitely works for dogs who aren’t allergic to it), soy, corn, artificial ingredients, antibiotic-free. And, it’s also tremendously important that he like it.
Tender & True Pet Nutrition is the only company to make a full line of antibiotic-free, sustainable and USDA certified organic dog and cat foods. This means that I don’t stress as much about analyzing the label.
Their recipes utilize only humanely raised high-quality USDA organic, antibiotic-free and sustainably sourced proteins. In addition, all organic poultry utilized in their products are raised without antibiotics to exact protocols with 100% organic vegetarian diets and are certified humanely raised by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP). This earns Tender & True ™ Pet Nutrition the distinction of being the only company that makes a full line of dog and cat food with these qualities.
This is why Tender & True is considered the pet superfood. We love its “farm-to-bowl” quality.
2. Regular Exercise
He gets a daily walk, of course, with a few twists (literally). We were told to walk him up and down stairs and up and down street curbs to strengthen his legs. He’s a little lazy so not a fan of extra exercise.
And, he’s definitely not a fan of the ocean. If you live near the beach, an even better way to strengthen muscles is to walk your dog through knee-deep water. As you can see, this doesn’t exactly work well for us.
Ask your vet if supplements are helpful for your dog. In our case, they are and I notice a tremendous difference when we run out before a new shipment arrives. Glucosamine is something he’ll be on forever, for example.
4. Minimal Jumping
We now use a ramp to get him into the car and try to prevent him from jumping on the bed (yes, occasionally, he burrows in to sleep with us). It doesn’t always work, but we try.
We also, sadly, do not let him run free with other dogs anymore. This is what I feel the most guilty about. The reason is two-fold. First, he tore his CCL because he simply pivoted “wrong” when he was playing with another dog, much like how you hear about human ACL injuries.
Second, he’s almost nine and I’m nervous about going through another difficult surgery at his age. We’ve taken a no-risk approach to his recovery despite being told by the surgeon that normal activity is likely alright for him.
5. Sun Protection
Dogs that spend time outside need sun protection. We learned this the hard way. Last May, Scooby had an enormous amount of potentially-precancerous red bumps and brown moles (that had built up over time) lasered off.
Apparently, dogs with short hair and light coloring are very susceptible to them. Sun is inevitable where we live in Southern California. I walk him early in the morning or in the evening to avoid it.
If he is going out in sunlight, we spray sunscreen all over his body and apply a sun balm to his nose (I’m told bulldogs often get skin cancer on their noses). He smells like a pina colada for the entire day which is funny. Make sure that you use dog-safe sunscreens without PABA, zinc, or zinc oxide.
6. Lots of Toys
Oh man, does this dog love his toys. Squeaky toys, especially, are his buddies. He’s a pretty mellow dog so it takes him a while to rip them to shreds. We have them around to keep him safely stimulated and happy.
That’s Scooby’s new routine in a nutshell. He was rescued from the streets of Los Angeles and then from a kill shelter within days of execution by an organization here in San Diego. We were anxious to rescue a dog and saw his sweet face on an internet listing.
The rest is history and he’s been such a blessing to our home. There really isn’t anything within reason we wouldn’t do to keep him happy and healthy including feeding him THE pet superfood, Tender & True. Find Tender & True near you.