Meet Biggy, my adorable 10 year old beagle. My sister and I got him after 25years of trying (my father is allergic to dogs so we had to move out first!). This dog is so clever he knows 63 commands! He was our little baby for the last 10years before I got my human son. He had been fed dry dog food / dog roll alternatively, since birth. He was never sick so we didn’t want to change anything in his diet as we figured that since he isn’t sick its good diet for him. Little did I know that dogs are very resistant to viruses and bacteria unlike us and so they rarely get sick. But they do get ill ...
Last year he started showing symptoms of Cushings disease. We ran thousands of dollars of medical tests and we still could not get a clear diagnosis. Vet said he doesn’t yet have clinical Cushings yet but he’s in pre-cushings stage. Just to fill you in quickly, this is the adrenal or pituitaty gland tumor that not too uncommon (hormonal disease). The treatment was this: wait until he starts showing more symptoms and then we’ll start him on hard core hormonal therapy that costs hundreds per month, with lots of undesirable side-effects. Yikes. Not just that but until he actually develops clinical Cushings it we can’t do anything at all. On top of that he was also limping due to arthritis, which is exuberated further by the cushings’ weight gain. So we went to see a holistic vet to get a second opinion. His advice was very simple (at least he had some): Flexeed oil, melatonin and natural food diet. I asked him to recommend me something and he told me a brand I forgot now what it was, but I remember this, he said: “This is the ONLY dog food in the world certified for human consumption!”. What does that mean?? What’s in the other dog food then that we can’t eat?! If its so bad that humans can’t consume it, can it still be good for dogs as they claim on the package? Well, I am not sure but I knew that I don’t wanna go into researching all dog food brands and what’s in each and get into the whole science around it. I wanted food that’s good enough for humans and the only other option was to cook myself.
It seemed like a big ask at the time, to cook for a dog (I often don’t cook for myself but get take outs instead!). But, new pains create new means, so we thought lets give it a shot. On my way home I stopped at the vege shop and bought trolley full of seasonal veges, brown rice and few fruits. I then went to my local butcher for meat and rolled up my sleeve and started cooking. All the while I was cooking he knew he’s in for a treat and was sitting next to me staring at the cookpot for the entire hour! When I served the food I did not see him salivate that much in his life and I never saw him eat that fast EVER. And he’s a beagle, they are well know for their love of food! I then got a bit hungry myself and poured me plate from the SAME BATCH (just added some salt/peper/oil). Now that is handy… It sounds gross I know cause you’re imagining dog salamy or smelly dog crackers but this food is different, its just meat, veges and rice blended (like baby food). You can eat it too, I do sometimes if I’m in a rush. I actually think my dog eats healthier than I do. Problem with us humans is that we want a variety and have very sophisticated pallets so we can’t mentally consume this kind of food daily. I wish we could, I would be much healthier.
I made a batch for 7 days and I froze all the containers. Then every night I unfreeze one container for the next day. You can microwave it too in just a few minutes, but we don’t own a microwave (I am bit of a health-o-phobe).
One other thing we did is we added turmeric to his meals (along with cracked pepper), flexed oil and olive oil. We add this when we serve his food so the oil is fresh not fried. His limping due to arthiritis has completely gone away and he can now jump on the couch by himself (I know I know he isn’t allowed on furniture but I am now happy that he CAN jump on;) He is maintaining a healthy weight despite Cushings (which is well known for weight gain / beer belly). I am happy to report that he hasn’t had any further symptoms develop as yet and it has been 1 year now. Fingers crossed, we keep that up for as long as possible.
Now I don’t know if his diet has contributed to his regression of the disease or if it was just the nature of the beast and good luck or something else. I do however feel that by feeding him this healthy diet that I am giving him the best chance to remain healthy. I am doing what is within my control to keep him as healthy as possible and that’s keeping me motivated to keep cooking. Illness is not fun for anyone so I do what I can to avoid it, at all costs.