by Julie Arnold
About 20 yrs ago we got a lovely German Shepherd Dog puppy bitch who we named Jess.
Jess was a lovely girl but she was always very thin, with frequent upset tummies and every so often a gurgly tum. She was also quite nervous in certain situations though always lovely with our children and perfect at home.
We spoke with our vet every so often when she was in for something else but he didn’t feel there was a likely medical problem.
We were quite happy for Jess to be slim as she grew, as this would be beneficial as a large breed for her bone and joint growth, and we thought she would fill out once matured and finished growing, but we did struggle with foods for her, as it seemed she couldn’t go for very long with any food before having more and more frequent upset tummies. When she was around 2yrs, she started having the occasional seizure also. We watched her and thought at first this was at times when we’d had extended family over on very hot days and she’d got over-excited, but as time went on it was clear this was not the case.
She was lovely at home but not happy around other dogs, and I had to stop taking her out if we were going to be around lots of people, as she was very much on the defensive all the time, but it was not a constant thing. We looked into more socializing, training etc. but time was tight as we also had 4 young children under 6, with the 2yr old being diagnosed with Autism, and the 4yr old diagnosed ADHD, but I also felt sometimes she just felt ‘off’ especially when her tummy was in a gurgly phase.
We got to when she was around 4yrs old, at which time we rescued a 7yr old male German Shepherd, Major, and they got on very well together.
Gradually the digestive issues worsened and we got to a stage where we were coming down to piles every morning, and we could not tell if it was sick or excrement, so spoke with our vet as Jess was also still too thin in our view, and we still struggled with foods that didn’t upset her, and he said he thought from our descriptions that she had Pancreatic Insufficiency which was very common in her breed. He suggested maybe us cooking meals ourselves for the dogs would possibly be better and so we tried that.
This worked quite well, with upsets declining to be occasional, but still lots of ‘gurgly’ times.
At this time I was doing much research online for our boys, as we were not happy with Ritalin for them, and we were looking into dietary choices known to help, gut issues, specific supplementation etc., and in researching and looking into these things for dogs, we discovered Raw Feeding. Initially I relied heavily on websites by Canine Health Concern and Tom Lonsdale dvm, and joined some Yahoo email groups to talk to others and find out more.
We decided to take the plunge as things were so bad that we were at the point where nothing could be worse.
We switched both the dogs straight over onto a full raw diet once we had bought supplies and knew what to do and to say she changed over-night is clearly an exaggeration, but that really is how it seemed. We never found she had a problem with any type of raw food and both dogs thrived on it.
Suddenly, the most noticeable thing was, No more piles every morning, and No more gurgly tum, at all !
Within a week I looked at her and noticed she had filled out, she no longer had that ‘skinny gangly teenager’ look, and she was now 7yrs old, and we also noticed she was no longer so highly strung but now was a very laidback dog. I believe her gurgly tum must’ve caused her a great deal of discomfort and pain, meaning she didn’t want others coming near.
Over time it occurred to us also that she wasn’t having any seizures, they just weren’t happening.
We were amazed that changing their diet made such a massive difference, but both dogs were very happy, and had no issues health wise at all, and all Jess’s health issues and temperament issues changed with the introduction to the raw diet. They both looked fantastic and had very shiny, gleaming coats too.
Major lived to 14, and Jess to 13, which considering her first 7yrs of ill health, particularly digestive ill health, which would have greatly impacted on her immune system, was fantastic.
We are now with different dogs, and have stayed with the raw diet, adding holistic and natural healthcare to that wherever possible, and have dogs that rarely need to see a vet.
Healthful Dog 2:129