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A Dog’s Life

“A dog is the only thingilovemikey on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
― Josh Billings

If you’ve been lucky enough to be able to share your life with a dog, you know that there will come a time for the inevitable—when they must move on to doggy heaven. In the past month my little soul buddy has been facing some serious health problems. With a quick downward spiral, his weight dropped rapidly and my dog that loved to give head bumps like a goat, carry his ball around, and go for runs, could no more. Instead, he was reduced to a toe dragging, moaning little creature.

After a visit to the vet, it was concluded that he had Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The advice of the vet: prednisone, painkillers, a series of tests; some of which could be inconclusive, terribly invasive and definitely expensive.  Our plan: We had been in the midst of an elimination diet and would take it a step further. Always a picky eater, we concluded from an elimination diet that he had a problem with wheat and later it narrowed down to gluten. He seemed to avoid eating wheat/gluten products whenever possible, even when it was in the fancy cold dogfood with visible peas and carrots found at the grocery store.  But the move off of gluten was right and the difference was palpable. The dog that was moaning in the night from pain was now snoring at night, and eating with a strong appetite I didn’t know he had. Our next step was to investigate ways to reduce inflammation and rebuild his intestinal lining. In comes flax oil, L-glutamine, a vitamin B complex, and a multi-vitamin. Keeping him hydrated and on a mostly raw diet has also become a part of the plan.

Since his condition worsened so rapidly, we are hoping he can hang on long enough to recover. If not, at least he isn’t writhing in pain anymore. Needless to say, it has been heartbreaking watching my friend in this state. Still, his tail is wagging again, he wants to sun himself out in the yard, and he enjoys our hugs and kisses. I’m writing this because many a time I had considered putting my dog on a raw diet or buying more expensive dog foods. As a student this has not always been possible, though I have tried my best to supplement his kibble, which I told myself was “good enough since that’s what dogs eat”. When your friend is jumping, racing puppy you never want to think that somewhere down the road it ends.

While my dog’s problem so far has been identified as gluten, I am certain that the nature of dog food processing has had an influence on his intestinal and overall health. So, next time you go and feed your dog, please consider the true nature of commercial dog food and the chemicals that we feed our friends. And if you think that the more expensive and popular name brand means something in terms of being healthier, a little research will tell you that they really do not.

Take care and God bless,

Cindy

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