Wise up about your pet’s nutrition as well

This is Sienna with one of her BFFs, Chester. Now I challenge you to look at this photo and NOT go “awwwww”. You don’t find it adorable?…are you a little jaded?….or maybe you are just not a dog person. That’s okay. I am a dog person to the extent that I would say I am obsessed with my dog and I don’t care what anyone thinks. I don’t have children so I feel entitled to make a big fuss over her. She is not spoiled with material things…she is spoiled with love. Perhaps too much, I’m not sure. But I think sometimes when  I am smothering her with kisses she gets annoyed. It’s not my fault she is so cute and I can’t help myself.

Sienna showed up at my doorstep a little over a year ago. After much pleading and begging I convinced my building owner to let me have a dog. I knew I wanted a purebred and I knew I would limit my search to a rescue dog. Now rescue organizations don’t just give anyone a dog. You have to jump like a circus dog through a series of hoops to qualify. That could mean a few visits from a purebred expert to check you and your home out.  And they usually will not let someone who lives in an apartment take one of their dogs but I qualified because I have a decent sized patio. That patio was not fenced in so I had to buy 3 metal fences, attach them to each other and have someone drill holes into the building.  Doxies are known for their Houdini-like abilities and we could not risk her digging under the fence and escaping. $1,000 later (fences, her adoption fee, food, toys, bed etc) they brought Sienna over to my apartment so I could watch her while the foster mom went on vacation. It was to be a trial run. I knew the minute she got out of the car that the only way she was going back to the foster mom was over my dead body.

Sienna came into my apartment and immediately sniffed every inch of space. Then she let me pick her up and she curled up in a ball in my lap and tried to sleep. Tears were streaming down my face…I finally had a dog…I had wanted one since my last dog when I was 10 years old. I’m not gonna tell ya how long it’s been since then but trust me, it’s been a long time.

A friend of mine came over to meet her when I first got her. His first comment was “she looks like she was rode hard and put away wet.” You see Sienna has a gimpy hind leg and was obviously used as a breeder, you can see why I say that in this picture below. I was told she was brought into the Tacoma animal shelter pregnant and had a puppy. I was so confused as to why someone, who may have used her as a breeder dog, would drop her off pregnant. So I think maybe she got loose or her owner died which saddens me. So I am trying to make it up to her.

When I first got Sienna she weighed 13 lbs. Doxies can weigh between 7 and 25 lbs. and she seemed just right. The less they weigh the better as they are prone to back problems. Within 4 months she ballooned up to 16.5 lbs!! I thought maybe she had a thyroid problem. I started to do a little research on diets for dogs and discovered that most dogs have an allergy to wheat.  Sienna had really bad allergies when I first got her and she would get tired after a long walk. I was feeding her what the foster mom brought over which was one of the healthier kibbles but it did contain wheat. She was only 6 years old so I figured her lack of energy and allergies had to be due to her excess weight and the food I was feeding her. I came upon the raw food diet for dogs and it just made so much sense to me.  Dogs are carnivores and they can digest raw meat the best. And their stomach enzymes are so strong that you needn’t worry about any bacteria making them sick. I fed her a few different brands of raw food and found Stella and Chewy’s frozen raw patties to be the one she liked best. They even provide a copy of the certificate for every batch of food showing that it has been tested by a third-party laboratory to ensure that it is free from e.Coli and Salmonella.

Here is an example of the ingredients in one of their formulas:

Surf n Turf (Beef and Salmon)

Ingredients – Beef, Whole Ground Salmon, Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Turkey Beef Bone, Turkey Liver, Calcium Carbonate, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Organic Cranberries, Organic Spinach, Organic Broccoli, Organic Beets, Sodium Phosphate Monobasic, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash, Organic Apples, Organic Blueberries, Choline Chloride, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Monohydrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement

Isn’t that awesome? And what is so funny is that it pretty much is what I eat as well….except for the raw meat of course.

After 8 months on this diet Sienna weighs……drum roll please…..12 lbs.!! And she hardly ever sneezes and has a lot more energy as well!

Most people feed their dogs some kind of dry kibble that contains wheat and even sugar. It’s sort of like a person eating only cereal every day. Some dogs who suffer from allergies and skin problems would probably benefit from a non-wheat diet. Then there are the people who feed their dogs people food all the time and that is not a good idea either. When I see a fat dog I wish I could say something to the owner.

The only “treats” Sienna gets these days are dried chicken jerky or lightly steamed veggies. I steam sweet potato, zucchini, broccoli and carrots and cut them into small pieces. They don’t really digest vegetables that well so it basically goes right through them. But Sienna doesn’t know that and she will gladly sit up for a piece of sweet potato. (see photo above). She also goes crazy for dried seaweed (no more than one sheet a day though).

And did I mention that she has absolutely no interest in being out on the patio!

Having a dog motivates me to go for long walks and hikes. Between our healthy diets and exercise Sienna and I manage to stay in decent shape. And we somehow manage to keep each other sane in an insane world. There’s nothing like the unconditional love you receive from a furry companion. Next time you are looking for a dog (or cat) please consider rescuing one from a shelter or rescue organization. Sienna was 6 when I got her and I am so glad I got an older dog. The only downside is that dogs only live between 10-20 years. I am hoping that with a healthy diet, lots of exercise and tons of love she will live to be 20 years old.

Do you have a dog (or cat) story you’d like to share?

* Please consult with your veterinarian before starting your pet on a raw foods diet

This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, Nutrition, Pets and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Wise up about your pet’s nutrition as well

  1. greenbean2339 says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I thought I was doing my dog a favor by giving him a holistic type kibble but the first ingredient is wheat. He sneezes a lot and has very dry skin. I am going to give the Stella and Chewy food a try.

  2. My kitty had the same problem and was constantly sick for the first 12 years of her life (vomiting after eating, soft stools, etc.). I switched her to a gluten/corn free diet when she was 12 and she lived another happy, healthy 8 years with a fuller coat, perfect regularity, and only ever vomited again if someone “contaminated” her.

    Wellness worked really well for us (and for our new kitty)-it contains the same grade of meat that humans eat, no by-products, no corn and no gluten. And, if you’re in the Seattle area, Mud Bay has delicious frozen meat treats in their back freezer. They’re tasty, healthy and safe for furry little friends!

    • Debbie Cohen says:

      Hi Amanda:

      That’s wonderful that she lived another 8 years. We’ve certainly learned a lot about pet nutrition since the days of Alpo haven’t we? I’ll have to check out the frozen treats at Mud Bay, thanks!

  3. Kas says:

    Glad to see this post! We’re kinda crazy about what we feed our dogs (always reading labels and researching). If only I was that way with my own food …

  4. ginasteves says:

    Love that picture of her on her hind legs. I feed my lab home cooked food. We take chopped meat and cook it with some vegetables and then put that in the food processor. She loves it and is very healthy.

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