A pet owner contacted me recently and shared a brief story of one of her dogs, how he had changed dramatically when she took him off all pet foods using synthetic vitamins and minerals. I wanted to know more. The following is the story of Tucker – one lucky little dog.
I do rescue work for herding breeds. Tucker, a corgi, was at the shelter for over a month and was on his last day prior to being euthanized when I picked him up. He was about 2 years old, intact, had horrible plaque on his teeth, was high drive/energy and was not trained at all. The only thing he could do was walk on a leash.
Just FYI – due to all the medical/mental issues Tucker has, he will never be re-homed and will stay with us forever.
I adopted him in Nov 2007 – yes the same year as all the dog food recalls. Who knows what this guy ate prior to coming into my home so it is possible that many of his issues started from having a recalled food.
We realized very soon that Tucker had mental issues, we think from being abused, however it is suspected he may have been hit by a car. It was very difficult to train him he seemed “worried” not afraid or shy just stressed and confused, he would pace in circles constantly. There were many other things that led the Vet to think he could be suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, to include forgetting prior training, such as sit and down, lost from his mind as if he had never been trained. I now think that he was fed a bad food and it caused serious mental issues as well as physical. Once I realized the “added vitamin issue” and I detoxed/fasted several times and most of those issues went away.
Now to talk about the “food” issues. From the time I brought him home he always felt hot. His skin was always very warm and was a bright pink. However, no hot spots or rashes. It would be best described like a hot flash to the skin. He would often lick his paws as well. Then shortly after that a bout of vomiting. So he was put on home cooked chicken and rice. Cleared up with some meds and onward we went. I had him on Advoderm baked kibble and Evangers lamb and rice canned. He did well for a short period of time, but soon started with bouts of coloitis and IBD. The vet treated him with meds and put him on home cooked each time this happened. Usually this would happen about every 3 to 4 months, always after I put him back on a commercial food, by this time I was changing foods. The symptoms were always the same. It would start with slightly hot skin then licking of the paws, extra saliva around his mouth as if he were stressed then bouts of colitis. After several bouts of this I decided to take matters into my own hands and started researching canine nutrition. Oh MY — I had no idea.
So I had a long talk with my vet and she said that maybe he had allergies and the best way to find out was an elimination diet. (normal blood work panels fine) She also thought he was a high stressed dog and that could be the cause of the colitis. She told me we could do blood testing but it was very expensive and not always accurate. If we did the blood test and we found out what he was allergic to then we could do allergy shots. I found myself not interested in this process. I wanted to find a more natural way to help this dog. So I kept researching. During this time I was trying different foods. MANY different foods, I also used many homeopathic remedies for his stress and digestive issues. Nothing really stopped it except home cooked, which I was told I could not leave him on for very long because it was not balanced. So I started what became a two year quest to helping Tucker be well.
I learned that the main thing I needed to add to a home cooked diet was calcium. So I started adding calcium 900 mg per lb of food fed. First chicken and one vegetable. Changed veggies until I realized veggies were not a problem. Then to turkey, beef, pork, eggs, fish. The only one that caused any problems was fish. It caused him to lick his paws a bit but no other issues. Then I tried adding grains, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, rice. Brown rice caused paw licking but no other symptoms. So now I had a dog that could eat home cooked but what about it being balanced? I added a calcium supplement, and he was ok with that but he would still get the hot skin once in while. Until I started using egg shells for the calcium and the hot skin went away. So now I have this diet but I had read so many recipes and all said you needed other vitamins. So now the fun started.
Every time I tried to add vitamins of any kind to his diet he would get sick. He would start with licking paws within 20 to 30 minutes of eating then the hot skin within a day or two then hot spots then vomit or colitis. So off to the vet we went. I told her the vitamins were causing it. She did not buy it, she said it was the vector the vitamins were coming in that were causing him to be ill. Ok, so now I bought supplements not in a capsule, no vector. Vitamin C was the worst, within minutes he would start licking his paws. I tried ester c, all types of natural vit c, none worked. But he could eat, strawberries, bananas, apples, melons, leafy greens, all contain a high amount of vitamin C, with no problems.
I tried many dog vitamins, to include but not limited to Dr. Good pet, Vetri science, “Balance it” made by vets at UC Davis. I tried Azmira mega pet, and sea supreme. I tried the B natural products made by Lew Olsen, and more. Every time same result. He got sick. My vet — well she does not know what to think. But I really don’t think she believes it is the vitamins. However, I am sure of it.
In recent times I have detoxed Tucker using Dr. Lisa Newmans protocol (Azmira holistic products) And he is looking even better. Which makes me think that he was poisoned at some point by bad food, or who knows what… Bottom line is he still cannot tolerate any synthetic or so called natural vitamins outside of their natural state, meaning in food. He can eat my home cooked, or raw meaty bones, or raw muscle meat. But this is not always convenient, so I was always looking for a commercial food to feed in a crunch.
I should tell you that I tried, at the very least, about 30 different commercial foods for Tucker through out this “project”! Some kibble, some dehydrated, canned etc. The outcome was always the same, if they added vitamins he got sick.
So there you have it. The story of little Tucker! I now feed all my dogs a raw or home cooked diet. And when I am pressed for time or when I travel I feed my other dogs The Honest Kitchen, Bravo raw or Natures Logic. My other dogs responded well to the vitamins I added to their raw/home cooked diets, so I know the products are good. I currently use Vetri Science, Azmira Sea Supreme or Mega Pet Daily and I use products from Lew Olsen, B Naturals.
As for Tucker, we will continue to feed him a vitamin free diet. Do routine blood work and hope for the best.
What a good Mom you are Kim!
Listen to your pets…they do talk to you. By the way, I asked Kim if Tucker still is a nervous, anxious dog. She replied “He is not nearly as nervous or stressed. He has much better concentration. It is baby steps with him, just a little at a time. Compared to the dog he was in 2007 — the difference is amazing. And the most noticable differences after he was off supplements.”
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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