By Robert Mueller
It is so touching when I receive testimonials from my clients. Not only is it refreshing to hear a client’s story on their experience with raw diets, but I am able to hear how I have changed the life of their pet’s. This customer takes me through her experience with raw diet from the very beginning.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” as the saying goes. Well, I see it, but I can hardly believe it.
Bella, a Labrador retriever mix who was 13 years old on February 13, has been part of my life since I adopted her in April 2015. She was diagnosed with chronic active hepatitis in November and did not respond to an aggressive antibiotic treatment. The next step was a liver biopsy, a procedure that I could not bring myself to agree to. When I found out about the controversial use of copper sulfate in dry commercial dog food, I immediately switched her to a homemade diet (mostly cooked food) while I investigated the best way to feed her. This is what led me to raw diet. She has been off dry commercial dogfood for 14 weeks, and on raw diet for 10 1/2 weeks only. While she showed some improvements on my home-cooked diet, the switch to raw patties has produced amazing changes. I suspect the changes appeared faster than expected because she had had 3 1⁄2 weeks without exposure to toxic food.
She has more energy, is more playful at home, and seems to command greater respect outside. I had never seen her play tug-of-war the way she does now. So incredibly strong! On our walks in the neighborhood, we often meet an exuberant 2-year old Border collie. He would often put his paws on Bella’s back. Recently, she outmaneuvered him and put her paws on his spine for a brief second. Now when they meet, they just sniff each other… but he put his paws on my shoulders last time we met!Bella no longer needs her arthritis medication. I noticed that she was not so stiff in the evening. The Gabapentin she took made her more comfortable during the day, but she was always sore at the end of the day. Bella is now doing better on raw patties and fish oil, without Gabapentin and Dasuquin, than she was on my homemade diet. Last weekend, we walked a solid 3 miles to the farmer’s market and back. She did not even limp in the evening. She trots up and down the stairs at home. She jumps on the back seat of the car effortlessly. Needless to say, I don’t need to buy Gabapentin or Dasuquin anymore!
She no longer drinks like a camel. Her excessive water consumption (7-9 cups of water a day) was one of the signs that led the vet to test her for Cushing’s disease. She tested negative -- but had to spend a day in a cage and undergo several blood tests throughout the day. Ironically, if I had fed her raw patties for 4 or 5 weeks, it would have cost me less money than what I spent for this one day, and she would have been a lot happier and healthier.
|Bella has more energy to play.|
She produces maybe 15-20% of the volume of stools she used to produce on the dry food. There was a decrease when I started feeding her a homemade diet, but the volume has decreased even more since she’s been eating nothing but raw patties. She had voluminous and loose stools when I adopted her, 9 months ago. It was only in the last 3 months that she started having normally shaped stools (though still on the softer side). She has not had one episode of loose stool since she has been eating nothing but raw patties. She is more satisfied.
She has slimmed down, and her coat looks beautiful, as if she had a bath every day. She had gained a few pounds on the homemade diet. Now, I have to figure out how to make adjustments to the harness I use to walk her and strap her in the car. I call that “finally a happy problem to have!”
Bella has had skin issues since I adopted her. In fact, the day after I brought her home, I took her to an emergency center because the scratch I had seen on her face on the day of the adoption had turned into an ugly sore. I thought she had cut herself and needed stitches. Actually, it was a hot spot, probably due to seasonal allergies. Throughout the spring season, she went through several cycles of antibiotics, steroids, and ointments for her face and ear cleaning solutions. I was dreading the next spring season: not any more. Also, she has had a growth behind one ear, something that became large and hard. The vet has had to remove it twice. He had said a biopsy was needed, but I put it off until we could figure out her problem with her liver. Each time he has removed that growth, a flat area about the size of a dime has remained. It was still there at Christmas. Today, all I feel is a tiny lump, barely the size of a plastic head on a small pin.
As for her liver enzymes, I don’t know if their levels are coming down. I’ll wait another couple of months before I have her tested again, just out of curiosity. There is one thing I know for sure: no matter the results, I will continue to feed her raw patties because she is acting healthier and happier. Whatever time she has left, I want her to spend it enjoying her life as a dog. Having her undergo anesthesia and a biopsy is not part of my plan for her.
Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, discusses why it is beneficial to feed your canine or feline a pet diet consisting of raw meat.