Archive for BARF
This is Dexter. He is two-and-a-half years old. It took me two years to figure out what was making him sick. It turned out to be his diet. If you have a dog that has itchy skin or digestive problems, please play close attention.
We got Dexter at 11 weeks old. Within the first few weeks, we noticed he was throwing up early in the morning–white and sometimes yellow bile. At the time, he was on rice and lamb kibble from Iams. The breeder recommended Iams and it has a reputation for being a good brand of dog food. The vet said it was probably because his little tummy was empty and recommended feeding him three meals a day, the last one right before bedtime.
Raw Food Diet
This helped for a while. But, every so often, he would vomit again. This time the vet recommended fish and potato, grain-free kibble. This helped a little, too. Last year he started throwing up food and had severe diarrhea. At the same time, he also developed a skin rash, ear infection, and mange in one spot of his coat. We got rid of the rash, ear infection, and mange with meds and a topical treatment.
Several tests and a couple thousands of dollars later, the suspicion was that he might also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Our vet recommended sending him to a specialist for x-rays and a colonoscopy. I was told if he did have IBS, he would probably need to be put on steroids for the rest of his life.
I did NOT want to keep my dog on steroids. Instead I researched digestive problems in dogs. I found while commercial dog foods are convenient for us to give to our pets, most contain ingredients and fillers that are harmful. I also did research on raw food diets. Dogs are descendants of wolves. In the wild they would eat raw meat. Raw food diet supporters claim giving dogs commercial kibble, for our convenience, may not be the best thing.
A Happy Medium
There are a lot of dog owners who have started their dogs on raw diets with great results. However, this takes some work getting and preparing fresh bone and meat from the butcher, and includes fruits and veggies. I was able to find a happy medium.
I kept Dexter on his fish and potato kibble. I give him Canidae. It has been rated one of top brands. Yes, high quality dog food is more expensive, but my little wolf is worth it. I took away all of his treats and started testing different protein sources and other kinds of foods. He did well will salmon, lamb, and venison. He is allergic to beef, chicken, rice and other grains. I had to gradually add new items to his diet to see if it would make him sick. This took a lot of time, but now I know most of the things he is allergic to. Fortunately, he can still eat peanut butter (one of his favorite things in the whole world).
In addition to his kibble, I have found frozen raw foods available at premium pet stores. They come in nuggets, which is convenient. I chose Primal Pet Foods, Inc. because their nuggets include ground bone, organs, and veggies and fruits like carrots, yams, broccoli, apples, and cranberries, which are essential. If you start your dog on raw foods, well-balanced nutrition is important. All I have to do is defrost the nuggets before feeding time. Now he gets a combination of grain-free kibble and these raw meat nuggets. He is doing perfectly fine on this new diet. No steroids!
Do your Homework
This is Dexter’s story. There may be some of you who feed commercial dog food to your pets and find they are doing ok. But, if your dog doesn’t have a stomach of steel, and you’re at your wits end trying to get rid of stomach and skin problems, I highly recommend taking the time to test for allergies and incorporating raw food into your dog’s diet.
Before you run out to the butcher and buy raw meat and bones, please research carefully. Never, ever give your dog cooked bones because they splinter and can be fatal. There are books on the subject and some helpful articles online. Raw foods also have to be introduced gradually. A raw food diet is not good for immune-compromised dogs. Please check with your vet if you are not sure.
If this is not for you, at the very least, I encourage you to purchase only top quality dog foods.
Here are a couple of links to get you started:
- Raw Food Diet for Dogs–DogChannel.com
- How to Try a Raw Food Diet for Dogs–HowToDoThings.com
- The Raw Food Diet for Dogs: Benefits and Controversies–Vetinfo.com
Also, check out this book:
“Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats” by Kymythy Schultze (Hay House, 1999).
Good luck. I hope you found this helpful!