Udie our Rottweiler cross is almost 8 years old. Although he still looks like a puppy, he recently has had much less bounce in his step. Firstly, he developed a persistent rash on his belly all winter and no matter what we tried it would always resurface. Secondly, his osteoarthritis affected his mobility greatly, to the point where he would refuse to go on walks anymore due to his aches.
Years ago Udie would happily wag his tail while blood was drawn from his jugular vein, so for him to whimper and cry, we knew a stoic dog like him would have to be in great pain. Thankfully, the anti-inflammatories, along with a memory foam bed and Cartrophen injections have really eased his discomfort and he is showing signs of his young playful self again.
While those measures have fixed the short term problem, we had to ask ourselves “what more can we do for him?” Lately, we have read about the benefits of being on a raw diet and the more we read about it, the more intrigued we became. Could a more ancestral diet ease his arthritis? What if his rash is caused by a food allergy? Through reading articles about canine nutrition and what an ideal diet should be for dogs, we felt blindsided by the ‘premium’ food we have been feeding him.
Grains are fillers that dogs can do without. More and more modern day dogs are suffering from allergies, diabetes, and other conditions similar to humans. Could poor diet be the culprit?
Udie has been on Royal Canin Rottweiler for most of his life, a good 7 years and we have never questioned it. He had a severe food allergy when he was a puppy so we’ve been extra strict with what we feed him. Royal Canin seemed to agree with his stomach so we’ve never wanted to change it. We thought we were good parents, feeding him a ‘premium’ diet.
Tops brands such as Hills, Royal Canine, Iams and Eukanuba are all readily available at the vets which means they are trusted and recommended therefore must be the best for our furchildren right? But what if they are not? Sure the food these companies produce may be better than the supermarket brands but what if our pets are simply surviving and not thriving?
We can’t sit here and point fingers or regret the decisions we have made. Each pet is different just like every person is different. Our cat Jazzy seems to be doing very well on Royal Canin, his stools are dry and ‘relatively’ scentless, his teeth are white and plaque free. Yet Pepi is fed identically and he can be quite the opposite.
We have begun making healthier food choices for ourselves, more natural, less processed, fewer chemicals and preservatives, so why not do the same for our furkids?
Starting with Udie (as he is a more urgent case), we have decided to remove grains from his diet. Ingredients such as wheat, corn, potatoes (excluding sweet potatoes), tomatoes, peppers and eggplants may inflame and aggravate arthritis. Of course when we checked the main ingredients we found many fillers and grains: brown rice, corn, brewer’s rice, wheat gluten, wheat, corn gluten meal.
We are hoping the removal of all grains will help reduce the possibility that his food is aggravating his arthritis. Eventually, we would like to feed him a raw diet.
For Pepi and Jazzy, they will also be on a raw diet once their kibble and canned foods start depleting. If you want to know what to look for in pet foods, we found these videos very helpful.
In no way are we criticising what you choose to feed your pets, but we hope that you start to question what is going into their food. Whether you are a skeptic or a believer, we’d like you to weigh in on the topic of pet foods in the hopes that our journey to find the best food for our furry ones will be successful.
Feel free to share your experiences and thoughts with us.