Why do I use carrots as treats?
First, my dog loves carrots as treats and with all of the dog rehabilitation exercises we are doing, I needed something that wouldn’t make her gain weight. I cut two baby carrots in half and then slice them up into little slices to use as rewards for her dog therapy exercises. My dog eats six baby carrots as treats per day. I cut a total of 42 slices for her and we do 10 for her sit stands, one for each of her walking backwards exercises total of two, six for her standing on the ball and I use them to have her roll the ball forward and backward by holding them just slightly out of reach, one for holding up her good leg to put weight on her injured leg for five seconds, 13 for walking over my legs and 10 for her walking under my legs.
I think these dog exercises are really helping her become stronger, more flexible and more muscular in her dog knee injury recovery. She gets excited every time I take out the bag of carrots and sees it as fun time! And, she will even come and get me if I go too long between exercise sessions.
I’ve been keeping track of her weight by getting on the scale by myself and weighing in, then lifting her up and weighing then subtracting the two. The carrots aren’t making her gain weight, if anything because of all the extra activity she is now getting, we are having to give her more wet food to maintain her weight. We are up to 45+ minute walks five days a week now and I’ve had a hard time keeping weight on too!
I did notice on a couple of cold days we had this week, that she was kind of limpy, not holding her leg up just walking kind of off. But, as she continues to walk and she warms up, it stops. According to tiggerpoz.com this is normal, similar to injuries in ourselves. Her stifle joint is enlarged and always will be because of the scar tissue that is forming to stabilize her knee. Again, so much useful information on the tiggerpoz.com website. He answers pretty much any question you can think of for your dog’s CCL tear.
We have also been incorporating the “Walk, Jog, Run Exercise” as shown on the video below, on her walks. We do this for small spurts on her walks when the ground is level. She wags her tail the whole time.
In two weeks, we have another followup visit with the holistic vet to check on my dog’s progress in this conservative management journey. They will measure her muscles to see how she is doing on her muscle recovery, check her range of motion and hopefully give me more exercises and tips for getting her more freedom to go outside on her own. Apparently, another patient brings in his carrots as treats to the vet’s office because he is also trying to keep his dog’s weight down, but wants to reward his dog for the all the hard work. Even the dog rehabilitation therapist said she wants to keep some on hand so other dog owner’s can try them. I have talked to other people who are having weight issues with their dogs and they are going to go the carrots as treats route as well.
So far, doing no surgery for my dog’s CCL injury has been quite the experience. I have learned a lot and become closer to my dog. Darcy is recovering well and we are giving her the time and energy needed for conservative management. As long as you are diligent, it works. It does take work. I can see how, after she becomes more mobile you kind of stop being quite as vigilant. But, I just reread some of the stories of other dog owners and their setbacks and it refuels my determination to make this work.
I hope this helps you on your path to your dog’s recovery, or even to make the surgery vs no surgery decision easier on you. Take care and as always leave comments or questions below.