Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Change of Diet...

Not exactly what you are thinking... Let me explain.

Our dog, Hurley, has very sensitive skin. Very sensitive skin. When we rescued him, he was super itchy, his skin was always really dry and flaky. We told the dog groomer that his skin was sensitive... a few hours after he got home his skin was red and he was already chewing holes in his coat. After that we decided to wash him with Dawn. My thinking was, "If it's gentle enough to use on birds in oil spills, then it should be good for Hurley!"
Well it was a little better for while then he started scratching like he used to, so I thought that maybe he had gotten fleas. I got some flea medication and put it where the box indicated, then I went to bed... by morning he had three bloody, half dollar sized holes in his fur. Not only did he not have fleas, but apparently he is allergic to the medication!

We were told that maybe he needed a better pet food. So we finished off the rest of the bag of super cheap bulk kibble that we had for him. then we went to an actual pet store to get a better brand of food for him. We decided on a chicken and rice formula; a middle ground between the crap food and the expensive food. The scratching subsided for a time, then it came back with a fiery. We finished off that bag and then decided to go with an expensive lamb and rice formula. His coat got shiny and he was even more full of energy! Whoa!

And what happened??? The same thing as everything else!!! AHHH!!! Are you kidding me?!? What do we do now? Hurley has patches of scabs on his back, he chews at everything on his body... The vet doesn't know what else to do. We've given him Benadryl, Sprayed anti itch on him. The Lavender Spray that we had been using stopped working.
We'll just deal with it.

Then one day one of my customers randomly tells me about her dogs that she has on a raw food diet. A diet called RMB (Raw Meaty Bones). Ewww! Ewww! Are you kidding me? disgusting!

Of course I had questions like- Don't they want to eat you now that they have tasted blood? What if you get a cut, will they attack you?
Is it expensive?
They eat the bones?
Aren't chicken bones bad for dogs?
Your cat eats the same diet?
Isn't it gross to hear them crunch the bones?
How much do you feed them?
Are you sure they don't look at you like you are a moving dinner?

You know... normal questions.

She had intrigued me. I went home and studied. I researched and scoured the internet for answers to my questions, but I didn't want an opinion, I wanted science.

And I found it.

A domestic dog's digestive tract is the same as a dog in the wild. Dogs in the wild hunt for their food and then eat it when caught.

They don't catch it and cook it,
de-bone and grind it up,
add a grain and press it into little kibble shaped food,
wait for it to dry.... and then eat it.

As easy as it is to feed your dog kibble, it is not good for your pooch. Most dogs are very allergic to grains. Their bodies don't digest it very well. Just take a look at your dog's poo. Almost all of it is the filler from the kibble.

Hurley is one of those dogs...

A month ago we made the switch.

At first it was gross. At first Hurley just licked it, not really knowing what to do with it. And after 30 minutes of trying to get Hurley to eat it we took it back and put it into the fridge for the next night.
The next night, there weren't any problems at all. We put the chicken thighs into his dish and it was like instinct kicked in.
He grabbed a thigh and shook it then started to use his teeth to rip it apart. Crunching though bones and actually chewing his food, he devoured his dinner. He didn't morph into a vacuum as he used to. He took time to eat correctly.

Here's the weird part... I was such a proud momma!
Almost like watching a baby take their first steps or ride down the street for the first time without training wheels.
I was excited for the nutrients he was getting, the exercise he was getting, the strengthening of his neck muscles, the cleaning of his teeth, the optimal usage of his food, and the promise of a less "dog" smelling dog!

We are a month in and Hurley is a champ. Faline our cat is also doing very well, she gets chicken and fish.
Hurley's scabs are healing, although the healing process is itchy, he is doing great. The area of scabs are getting smaller. And although his breath is still dogish, I can pet him and not have my hands smell like nasty dog. He drinks a lot less and poops a lot less because his body is using more of his food. He responds better to instruction, much better focused.

It was more traumatic in the beginning for me, then him, but I'd never go back.

I love my Raw Meaty Bone and Fruit & Veggie eating dog!