For those of you who have been following me over the last 9 months, you know that right around my birthday we added to our family with a Husky named Bronx (or Bronxy, as I like to call him).
Bronx was the first pet we had since our rescue, a Bichon Frise named Captain “Happy.” Happy didn’t have too many issues, so pet health was never on the forefront of our minds.
Bronx mesmerized us with his bright blue eyes and stole our hearts within seconds. To be honest, I’ve never experienced a love like the one I have with Bronx. I’m sure you all know how obsessed I am because all I do is Insta-story and Snap story him like a crazy dog mom.
When we first got Bronx, he was full of worms. This was the beginning of our journey with pet health. At 9 weeks old, he was on antibiotics and had to go through 3 rounds of deworming. Finally, we had a healthy pup! Or so we thought.
3 months ago, we took Bronx to go get neutered. Normally a simple and easy procedure, I couldn’t help but have a weird feeling. Our Vet called us about an hour after we dropped him off and told us they couldn’t neuter him due to an abnormal heartbeat.
What does that mean? He’s been to the vet almost 10 times and no one has once said anything to us? Surely there must be a mistake?
We took Bronx to a cardiologist, and after many tests, he was diagnosed with heart disease and is high risk for heart failure in the next year or two. With one side of his heart being enlarged, a blocked aortic valve and an irregular heartbeat, there is nothing we can do except put him on medication to prolong what the doctor says is inevitable.
It’s taken me almost two months to share this story with all of you. I was in denial. I was overwhelmed. I felt helpless. You know that I’m a “fixer”; I find solutions to problems and fix them. This is something I can’t fix and make better, and that alone has been devastating to me. I’ve had to come to terms with the reality of what could happen and do my own research on how to best take care of my now 11-month old puppy. I’m also fiercely protective over my family and sharing something so personal and private was not something I wanted to do. It was actually my family that encouraged me to share my journey with Bronx’s pet health in hopes that either we would be helping another dog owner with the same issues, or we will learn a thing or two from some of you.
Pet health is not something that is discussed all the time. We see dogs and their owners on walks and just assume they are happy and healthy. If you took a look at how hyper Bronx is, you would never guess what was going on with him internally. I’m sharing this story to bring awareness to pet health, and to hopefully share some tips and tricks on how to keep your furry one as healthy and happy as possible.
The biggest change we made with Bronx was changing his dog food from regular chicken, grain-free kibbles to V-Dog. We are trying to keep Bronx on a vegan diet 75% of the time. Just like humans, a vegan diet is great for battling heart disease and keeping other health issues at bay. We discovered V-Dog through our family friend (who has been a huge source of information for us). There are so many benefits to a plant-based diet for dogs and you can read about some of them here. Bronx has been eating V-Dog for a month now and his allergies have been better, he has had so much more energy (if that was even possible), his digestion has been great, and overall, I feel like we have a healthier pup. While V-Dog is on the more expensive side for dog food, we’ve been playing with different recipes that keep our 30lb bag lasting longer than the norm (I’ll be doing a blog post on healthy foods and recipes for your dog in a few weeks using V-Dog).
Our family friend also taught us how to check to see if Bronx is in distress from lack of oxygen. Check your dog a few times when you know he or she is not in any distress so that you are familiar with the normal gum color, which is usually a pinkish tone like human gums. The gum area around the canine tooth is where you check like in the photo below. If that area of the gum is blue, purple or gray, your dog is in distress and needs to be taken to the Vet immediately.
I’d love to read any tips and tricks you have. I know it’s hard for people to share their stories via comment, but please feel free to send me an email directly here. Pet health discussions are always welcome!
Thank you for letting me be vulnerable and for understanding why it took me so long to share this story with you. My journey with Bronx and his pet health is something I’m going to document along the way, good and bad.
All my love,