DEAR DR. FOX: I hope you can help me; I’m out of ideas and options for my 7-year-old giant Alaskan malamute.
In the past couple of years, he gets diarrhea off and on, plus a lot of gas, but he rarely vomits. He also has idiopathic seizures once or twice a year. The vet did every blood test you can think of. It’s all normal. They did tests on his stool sample: no parasites or protozoans. They put him on metronidazole and probiotics; it seems to do the trick, but in a couple of weeks, the problems start again. So then they do more probiotics, metronidazole and now Tylan powder.
He is on a chicken and rice diet with a little dry food (Nutro for large-breed senior dogs), but his bowel movements are still like cow patties and he has so much gas that he seems uncomfortable.
The vet wants to put him on Hill’s Prescription i/d food, but he seriously hates that kind. I want to start making him homemade food, but with his history of diarrhea and seizures, I’m not sure what he should eat and how much in a day.
I would really appreciate any guidance at this point. I just want him happy and healthy again. -- J.S., Fayette City, Pennsylvania
DEAR J.S.: Many dogs are suffering like yours, and tests can get costly and lead nowhere conclusively. Prescription diets are of little help, in many cases.
I suggest you transition your dog over a five- to seven-day period onto my home-prepared diet, available at drfoxvet.net. Get some good-quality probiotics from Whole Foods or your health store, and give a daily human dose before each meal. Give a tablespoon of chopped unsweetened canned pineapple in each meal as a source of digestive enzymes. Feed your dog three small meals a day and exercise before meals. Do this for four to six weeks and see how your dog fares.
Many dogs recover when put on a whole-food diet, rather than manufactured pet food. Keep me posted.
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DEAR DR. FOX: I wanted to let you know that after a month and a half, my dog Stig is like a puppy again. He is doing so much better. I am so happy and I can’t thank you enough.
Stig loves the food. He picked up a few pounds, but when I took him to the vet for his checkup, she was so impressed by the change in him that she wasn’t worried about the few pounds. She actually asked for your website because she said she has a lot of clients with the same issues, and is going to suggest to them your recipe and your website.
Stig is very active now. He plays, runs and even jumps when I throw his ball. He loves his walks, too. His hips are even improved. It’s amazing how the change in his food, in my opinion, saved his life.
So again, thank you so much. -- J.S. and Stig, Fayette City, Pennsylvania
DEAR J.S. AND STIG: Thanks. Letters like yours make my day; I receive many that confirm the benefits of good nutrition. I urge veterinarians to encourage dog and cat caregivers to make their own food for their animals, or to contract with a local provider of homemade food. My website also has a basic recipe for cats, with many felines reportedly enjoying a new lease on life when given such good nutrition.
On with the revolution! As Hippocrates, the founder of Western medicine, advised, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”
STATES CRACK DOWN ON OWNERS WHO LEAVE PETS EXPOSED TO EXTREME COLD
Pennsylvania is the ninth state to include weather-related criteria in animal cruelty laws, making it a felony to leave pets exposed to extreme weather, including cold temperatures, and mandating that the affected animal be forfeited to a shelter.
Laws in 22 states make it illegal to leave pets in hot cars, but not every state allows passers-by or law enforcement officials to break into a car to free a pet in danger.
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.)