- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Dog food & health.

March 22nd, 2009, 01:19 PM
Hi everyone! I had introduced myself and posted pics of my babies on the getting to know you thread.

There is a lot of talk about dog food and as my babies have had problems I often wondered about the food they were getting. My Pepper is 15 years old and has heart failure. She also had a cough with occasional vomiting for the last couple of years that we attributed to her heart condition. Pepper also has a massive 'fat lump' on her one hind leg that causes walking problems. Sandy has hip dysplasia (sp?) and has one hip operated on. She also blew a knee and had reconstructive surgery on that knee. She also had frequent head shaking. The vet could not ever find anything 'wrong' with her ears. Recently Sandy developed several of these 'fat lumps' with an especially big one on her neck. We took her to our vet to have the lump examined, he drew some fluid and said 'yep, it's fat'. He offered no treatment. It was an 'oh, well' kind of thing. This lump continued to grow so we went to another vet for a second opinion. This vet examined every lump and drew fluid from them all. We had the same diagnosis. At this time the vet drew blood for testing as well. It turned out Sandy had very high steroid levels and this vet felt she had cushings.

I looked around at all the dogs I know and it seems almost everyone has some kind of problem, some big, some small. My elderly mom's dog had pancreatitis, a cough and bowel problems.

So, I thought what is the common denominator here? It seems to me it is commercial dog food. I got to looking at this closer. The ingredients are horrible! I needed a dog food for Pepper that had no salt because of her heart...and I could not find one.

We tried Orijen. Both dogs sleep in our room and on the Orijen, we truly needed gas masks! We tried Natural Balance & Canadae. There was no improvement.

I asked my vet about a raw diet and he hit the roof! He said that the best way to transfer disease from animal to animal is to feed raw meat. He said 'why do you think wild canine only live for 3 or 4 years. Made sense.

So, I switched my girls from commercial food to this:

store bought chicken, beef, liver. about 10 lbs, cut in chunks
long grain brown rice 3.5 liters of water, 2.5 liters rice
6 large carrots cut in chunks
bag frozen peas

cook it all together, add more water or rice to make sure you have a nice thick dog food

at meal time I give then a multivite, a fish oil pill cut and mixed with food and a glucosamine sulfate mixed with food.

That was about 3 weeks ago. Sandy's head shaking is gone. Pepper no longer coughs or vomits. Sandy's steroid levels after only 3 or 4 days have come down a bit. One lump disappeared that was in front of Sandy's hind leg. And the horrible gas is gone! ;)

The second vet we saw was impressed. She said she wants Sandy on the new diet for three months and will retest her steroid level at that time.

I'm really hoping that this is on the right track and am wondering if anyone else has seen improvement on homemade food?

My elderly mom said when she was young they had a farm dog who lived on table scraps and lived to 17 years and was never sick....

Any thoughts on this would be most welcome. Thanks all!!!

March 22nd, 2009, 01:37 PM
Hi there. I am not familiar with dog nutrition, but am with cat's. The reason wild animals only live for 4 or 5 years is because they get hit by cars, killed by other animals or don't have health care.

You are on the right path when you mentioned that you looked at the ingredients of your dog food bag and they are crap.

This is how I look at it: What is better for your child, processed food, full of crap or fresh fruits, veggies and meat? Compare the ingredients of the average dog/cat food and you will find it similar to hotdogs with a vitamin pill ;).

I switched my Puddles from a cheap kibble full of corn (have you ever seen a cat in a cornfield??? how about a dog?) to raw(home made)/quality canned and the change in her is night and day, from sickly to healthy.

March 22nd, 2009, 04:50 PM
You are right. I cannot imagine an animal living on corn. I've read on various sites that corn is bad for dogs because they cannot properly digest it. Yet, most of the dog food, the main ingredient is...corn! I watched a vet's video on You Tube and he described where the 'meat' comes from in dog food...all I can say is Oh My God. My husband used to be a herdsman and he told me about the sick cows that died, they'd be put out back in the heat and the 'rendering' plant would only pick them up once a week. He said they were so rotten, they'd practically be walking again! Also, those sick cows were often treated with medications of all kinds. I also read that some dog food companies use dead pets they picked up from animal shelters, pounds and vet's offices after they were euthanized! No wonder our babies get so ill! Leasa

March 26th, 2009, 11:55 PM
I'm not an expert or anything, just obsessed with finding the best food for my pets. I also work at an animal hospital and wonder how many animals would be healthier if they ate better.

I used to feed kibble - good kibble - but my dog was never eager about eating. Then I changed to Canine Life, which comes in 'puppy muffins' made from meat, veggies, fruit, whole grains, herbs, eggs, and oil. I made them myself with the pre-mix. It was cheaper this way and I could give my dog the variety of veggies, fruit and meat I wanted. I also gave her a salmon oil capsule daily and a vitamin E capsule twice a week. Even though she was pretty healthy, I was amazed how much better she was. Her tear stains diminished immensely and her coat became even more soft and shiny. She was calmer too. I'm feeding her raw patties now, only because I wanted to go grain-free and raw. I didn't see much of a change although her coat isn't as soft as it was on the Canine Life. I'm still in a quandry - but that's because I'm neurotic. However, seeing as my kitten is stealing her food, I may start him on that too.

I guess my point is that it feels good that I'm feeding her good food and that it looks like you're off to a great start. I would add salmon oil (wild Atlantic salmon oil) to your dog's diet. (my dog is 17 lbs and she gets 1200 mg per day) It balances the omega 6's in the meat. You could also add a calcium supplement or bonemeal to balance the phosphorus in the meat. And maybe vary the veggies with every batch. Use sweet potato, butternut squash, green beans(excellent), broccoli (if your dog's tummy can tolerate it), zucchini - vary the meat as well. Congratulations on starting your dog onto a healthier diet! You can also give blueberries, cranberries or raspberries as snacks. Raspberries are anti-inflammatory, cranberries prevent UTIs and all are anti-oxidant.

I'm not sure why people are told not to feed table scraps when dogs of 'yore' lived longer when they were fed table scraps. It's not bad to feed your dog 'human food'; it's only bad to allow them to beg and eat from your plate. I can't see how fresh food, which includes all the nutrients a dog needs, can be worse than overcooked, overprocessed kibble.