I’m amazed how much knowledge I’ve gain after a month of feeding my dogs a raw food diet. After years of hit and miss on the “best” or “recommended” even “prescribed” kibble I could not change the reactions my poor pups suffered. It seemed that at ages 8 and 4, everything just became worse. Medications to fix one allergy worked but only if they were given daily and once that allergy subsided something new would appear.
When I decided to go raw I knew there was no turning back. One of the “laws” of obtaining optimal canine health through a naturpathic approach was to trust. This came with the understanding that the allergies would resurface and the symptoms my pups had suffered after years of good intentions with a lack of understanding weren’t going to change overnight. The prescription medications had masked the underlying problem for so long. The food abuse these dogs had endured and the toll on their immune system needed to change. It would be drastic, but there was no way around it and no going back. It was time to expose them to the allergens in an effort to promote a natural response – a rebuilding of the body’s natural defense: the immune system. I had been told that the changes would occur either very quickly or the allergies may take months to resurface. Either way, you must not give up.
Over the last month my dogs experienced a lot of changes, both physically and mentally. They now appear more relaxed and satisfied. Their coats are sleek and shiny. Their level of energy is unstoppable; no more scratching no more smell and their teeth are getting whiter! The changes in both my Miniature Pinscher and Manchester are undeniably noticeable. But this did not come without some challenges.
When I started the new diet I was not aware of the detoxification process. I noticed my pups scratched a little more often, their eyes and nose were runny and their stools were wrapped in a layer of thick mucus. I convinced myself that this was probably normal; I mean this diet was something they had never tried before. And I wasn’t being skimpy…I started them on grass-fed Angus beef. Heck I had never even tried it myself! I added organ meats like calves liver, chicken hearts and gizzards. I discontinued veggies almost all together when I found that they could possibly go through their system undigested. I continued with the Quinoa, coconut oil and supplements. I added fresh ground eggshells and threw in toasted flax seed; a handful of blueberries and a scoop of homemade milk kefir to ensure their gut flora was optimal. No bumps on either pups ever emerged. This was usually a telltale sign for me. Onyx (Manchester) was so sleek any raised bumps on his body were easy to spot. The first time I noticed them on him was over a year ago and I thought for sure he had been attacked by a colony of ants. It looked bad and once they dried up and he scratched them – there went his hair. I kept a close eye on Lola too. Nothing. If she had a reaction her belly would show red blotches and when you rubbed her back she would cringe in discomfort. So if their stool looked a little weird – I could live with that. These guys were eating good and everything else was coming along. Just hold on and don’t give up.
As of today my pups are happily eating their raw diets. They eat slowly and methodically – no more running to their bowls with anticipation and gulping their food like a vacuum clearner. When they’re done everything is gone and licked clean. They definitely have better focus (although my little girl Lola still has a mind of her own).
As for me, I have learned where and how to buy organ meats and fresh fish. The other day I learned how to cut a fresh duck (okay that was more of a slaughter – but I’m learning!). After the duck slaughter I invested in a knife sharpener. Nothing fancy, I got it online for less than $15 and it works great. I watched a couple/few videos on how to cut a fresh chicken and now at least I have some insight. I’ve discovered markets that sell almost any part of an animal – including the uterus. Ugh no. I didn’t purchase it. My hunt for a beef heart has failed more than once. One of the workers at our local meat market (or Carniceria) has promised me two twice already and I’m still waiting. No worries, just this past weekend I discovered pig hearts and my dogs love it. Unfortunately, with all this extra meat in the freezer my fresh packaged goat meat had been broiled the other evening for dinner – to my dad it looked like lamb chops. Really? Not as tasty. I’ve also learned the importance of measured quantities since about seven days into the new diet my Miniature Pinscher looked….”chubby.” I quickly found out that she was simply eating with too much enthusiasm. She loved the new diet…..maybe a little too much.