I’m a HUGE fan of raw diets for dogs and I encourage them to anyone with a younger dog, or an adult dog for that matter. However, my problem has always been with whether or not it’s safe to switch an older dog, or a dog with health problems over to a raw diet.

This article is meant to shed some light on this very topic for those out there that are struggling with what to do with regards to feeding your older dog a raw diet.

For Those Who Would Rather Home Cook

Are My Feelings Outdated?

Because many dogs live lives of continuous vaccinations, monthly chemical heart worm and flea and tick applications and kibble fed diets (and most of the kibble diets aren’t from high end foods like Acana), their body’s lack EVERYTHING they need to flourish.

questioning raw diet for dogsA dog who has lived through eating a diet that is completely against his nature, over vaccinated, poisoned monthly through parasite treatments, receives zero oral care on the teeth and gums and gets little exercise and/or social interaction, without a doubt has an immune system that is completely shot by the time the dog is a senior!

The chronic skin, stool, lumps, bumps, ear problems, joint pain and finally disease, ARE in my opinion all related to what the dog endured over his life time (eg: diet, chemicals and pesticides).  It’s simply common sense.

While I have always shied away from starting a senior, or sick senior dog on raw due to a weakened immune system, many say this is just what they need to recover, regardless if the dog has health concerns.

Opinions From Holistic Veterinarians

In an article from Whole Dog Journal, Veterinarian, Dr. Ian Billinghurst (considered the father of raw feeding for dogs), shares how his experience with feeding raw food to immune compromised animals actually accelerated the immune system back to normal.

He indicates that was the reason that he wrote his book “Give Your Dog a Bone” which was  how the movement for feeding raw began.

Other holistic vets weighed in with their opinions as well.

Dr. Jean Hovre shared how she wouldn’t feed dogs with a weak immune system, leaky gut or dogs that are debilitated, raw diets.

flea and tick applications

However, one of my favorite vets, Dr. Becker shares in one of her articles that by removing processed foods from a sick dog’s diet and adding a species-appropriate diet (this means raw), plus the appropriate supplements to target any inflammation and/or yeast (as necessary) and assist organ function, can eliminate symptoms and target the root cause and heal leaky gut.

She also mentions that every dog is individual and the needs vary from dog to dog.

More opinions…..

In the article, Dr. Wynn shares that elderly dogs, dogs weakened due to chronic illness or disease, dogs who suffer with pancreatitis and dogs already suffering with “dampness” in the body (TCM which relates to Chinese medicine believes that certain foods cause blockages in the body) should not eat raw, in her opinion.

Dr. Newkirk who is a huge fan of home prepared raw meals, stated that his biggest concern with raw has to do with dogs who have serious bowel issues. In the article, he recommends feeding cooked meals for a short time only.

Dr. Silver: Another one of my favorite holistic vets.  🙂 Dr. Silver likes to take it slow for older dogs when they are compromised in any way.   Here’s what he had to say when I talked with him:

“I’m not a raw food nut. I think there are values to having the food raw or minimally processed, but there also are values to cooking the food, in terms of increasing its availability. For instance, broccoli is more available for absorption of its micronutrients when its steamed, versus serving it raw.

Gentle cooking, as compared to the brutal high temperatures and pressures used with manufacturing kibble and to a lesser extent canned, doesn’t destroy many nutrients. This is why we eat food that is both cooked,  and raw as with salad and fruit, to have all of the benefits of cooking where appropriate and raw where appropriate.

I don’t believe that raw feeding is what improves dogs and cats health, its the feeding of wholesome food, gently cooked or raw, as compared to the highly processed manufactured pet foods.”

Dr. Kollath’s study on raw vs cooked/processed food for dogs: I’m not sure exactly when the study was done, but it took place at Karolinska Hospital in Sweden where they fed animals a cooked and processed food diet.

While the animals were young, they looked healthy, however, as they matured into adulthood, they started to age faster than normal.  The animals also showed symptoms of  chronic degenerative diseases. Osteoarthritis, cancer and inflammatory bowel disease are just a few common degenerative diseases in dogs.

This should tell you something since all three of these diseases mentioned are rampant in pets today!

They then selected a group of animals that were to be raised on a raw food diet.  These animals aged slower and were free of the the symptoms of degenerative diseases.

conclusion on dogs and reaw feeding image

At this point, I definitely would NOT rule out feeding raw to an older dog or even a sick dog.  However, for dogs with a serious illness such as cancer, I think that I would either cook the food gently (which is something that I have always recommended to my readers) at a lower temperature, or switch over to a partially raw diet slowly by adding a little complete raw to some lightly cooked food.

There’s nothing wrong with doing both.  Maybe you’re uncomfortable with a complete raw diet; that’s okay.  You can do one or the other, or both.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: If feeding beef, make sure that it is frozen for several days before feeding due to the Neospora intestinal parasite often found in cattle.  So, don’t just purchase beef from the grocery store and feed.  Freeze it first for several days before feeding it to your dog.  Learn more about Neospora here.

I also like the idea of adding nutritional supplements that contain antioxidants like this one, or this powder form along with additional calcium and toxin free fatty acids which are all critical when home cooking.  Then slowly replace the cooked meat into the cooked meal (or a dehydrated meal for awhile) with raw, vs simply jumping into an all raw diet immediately.

References: Whole Dog Journal – The Evolution of The Raw Dog Food Diet, HealthyPets.Mercola.com, Wikipedia, Janie’s Own Experience 🙂

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Showing 64 comments
  • Diane Lanigan
    Reply

    I have fed a RAW diet for about 15 years to my senior goldens with no problems…..mine eat a lot of chicken necks and backs and tripe..plus a wide variety of veggies and kefir. I swear by it.

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Diane:

      Thanks so much for sharing. Would you have a problem starting a dog that was 14 with some health issues on a raw diet? Just curious.

      Janie

    • Mike
      Reply

      Have any past 15 years on this diet? I want to know cause I have a 16.5 mixed rotwiller. And she’s getting inflamation in her hind legs a little.

    • Mike
      Reply

      Sorry I meant have they past 15 years on this diet?

      • janie
        Reply

        Hi Mike:

        What are you currently feeding her and are you giving her any kind of supplements?

        Janie

  • Eileen
    Reply

    My black lab got an aural hematoma, which the vet treated with homeopathy and daily ear drainage. I switched from Honest Kitchen to raw when she started losing muscle mass. She adjusted quite well to the raw diet. She is 11 years old and has quite a bit more energy than she did before.

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Eileen:

      Thanks so much for sharing your story of switching your 11 year old dog from The Honest Kitchen to completely raw. I love to hear this and I think it’s vital for those with senior dogs who are scared to make the change.

      Janie

  • Pete Giesbrecht
    Reply

    I had a bad ear, bad skin, bad allergy, bad hive laden 3 year old Rhodesian Ridge Back pumped full of vaccinations and steroids for 2 of her first 4 years with little noticeable improvement. I switched to raw food and nothing else and 4 years later she has more energy and healthier than most dogs half her age. She is now 8 and acts and looks like she is 3..( excluding the lightened hair around the jaw )
    Her muscle tone and strength is fabulous. Most people don’t believe her age when they ask.
    This dog is on raw food for life !!

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Wow, thanks for sharing Pete! I’ve seen so many dogs with these exact symptoms completely recover when switched to a raw diet!

      Janie

  • Karene Hedtcke
    Reply

    Our vet and I were just having this conversation, due to the Stella & Chewy’s recall a couple of weeks ago. Our boy is about 12, a black lab mix, who just had tie back surgery in March for laryngeal paralysis. Now we are dealing with an anal gland abscess which has become anti-bacterial resistant. I have always fed him a home cooked diet, but have been feeding the Stella & Chewy’s raw frozen, also. The vet doesn’t think it is worth the risk of listeria, or salmonella. I don’t know what to think, the recall freaked me out.

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Karene:

      Just curious, are you including any supplements for your old boy? I contacted a friend who is a holistic vet to see if I can get some ideas. I’m so very sorry to hear about your old boy. Did you read my article on laryngeal paralysis?

      Janie

      • Karene Hedtcke
        Reply

        I do give him a lot of supplements and a pro biotic every day. Have not read the article on laryngeal paralysis yet, but will do.

        • janie knetzer
          Reply

          That’s great Karene….. 🙂

  • Jenny Nelson
    Reply

    What types of probiotics would you recommend for dogs? I have 3 (7-8 years old): an American Bulldog, a half-Lab half Australian Shepherd, and a Blue Tick Hound. All are 65-70 lb. Are human probiotic capsules okay? They eat grain free Evo and Taste of the Wild with raw meats. The Lab has hip problems and occasional (unmedicated) seizures. The others have no real health issues. All accomany us on a 2 mile walk every day.

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Jenny:

      Human probiotics are fine, but, look for those that need refrigerated. “Live” bacteria needs refrigerated.

      Seizures are very closely related to vaccines, chemical toxins (flea and tick medicines) and diet.

      My recommendation would be to switch all three of your dogs to a raw diet (even though the others have no health issues), and dump EVO and Taste of The Wild. Having raw meats in a kibble isn’t the same as eating a raw diet. The benefits are just NOT there. Look into the frozen raw prepared either by Answers or Primal, or learn how to prepare it yourself. You can always mix it up by adding raw to dehydrated food such as the Honest Kitchen which includes raw meat in a dehydrated form.

      For me, I can’t be bothered with preparing the raw meal, so I choose the prepared frozen raw.

      I would also limit the vaccines to what is only required by law (rabies every 3 years) and prepare for it by taking precautions. Here’s my post on vaccines if you would like to read it. Look to a holistic vet who uses “titer testing” and doesn’t push vaccinations as a means of a cash cow for his business. While there are “core and “non-core” vaccinations, the only one required by law is the rabies vaccine. Holistic vets realize that most of these vaccinations last at least 5-10 years, yet, our dogs are subject to being vaccinated over and over when it’s unnecessary and our pets are developing cancer at insane rates.

      My point is to be a voice for your dog. Don’t take your vets word for it just because he recommends a vaccine. For a dog that has seizures, I would also ask the vet to issue a waiver for the rabies vaccine which many states now offer for dogs who are sick or have negative responses to it.

      With regards to flea and tick control, I use TripleSure and have for years. You can read more about it here. I also suggest looking to all natural alternatives for heart worm prevention as well.

      You’re doing a great job with the 2 mile daily walk! 🙂 They are all still fairly young dogs Jenny and I wouldn’t doubt that you would see a tremendous difference with regards to the seizures and even the hips if you change up the food to raw, and eliminate all the chemicals.

      I would also add some good greens like steamed spinach and/or Kale or look into Spirulina in powder form as a means of daily chlorophyll.

      Add some good organic coconut oil daily (one heaping teaspoon for your size dogs). Here’s an article that I did awhile back that shares natural choices for hip pain.

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

      P.S. If you can afford a good multivitamin formula for them, it’s worth it, just like it is for us.

  • MEGAN
    Reply

    HI Janie, I love your website and your honest exploration in trying to make life as good as possible for your dogs, just gorgeous.

    I have an 11 year old mix breed dog who had been suffering from quite debilitating arthritis. I have put her onto a glucosamine supplememt and a raw food diet and she is 90% better. However I wanted to know what your thoughts are on feeding dry food also? She usually has a cup of kibble in the mornings and then her raw diet after walking in the evenings. The kibble is the best quality that I have found in our country: Addiction Pet Food

    I have heard some people say that you should NEVER mix the two.

    Thanks!

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Megan:

      Thank you so much for your really kind words regarding my website. That means a great deal to me!

      I love to hear the success stories associated with a raw diet. It’s all about the food. I’m so happy that your old girl is doing 90% better with her debilitating arthritis. That’s simply incredible.

      I’m just curious as to why you want add dry into the mix when she’s doing so well? If it’s about finances, trust me, I understand! 🙂 However, I would rather recommend the raw and raw dehydrated as a mix vs raw and kibble. I’m not quite sure why others say to never mix the two (raw and kibble), but my feelings are that you’re mixing the best way to feed a dog together with the worst way to feed a dog. Kibble no matter how good, lacks the much needed moisture that dogs (AND cats) desperately need in their diet to thrive. This is just one of the many reasons that raw diets work so well. Kibble is taxing on the dog’s organs.

      But anyway, I took a look at the Addiction brand of foods and they don’t look too bad. One thing I wasn’t crazy about was that the “fish meal” as an ingredient, doesn’t say what type of fish. This always concerns me, because here int he U.S., that means it’s junk parts from different types of fish that aren’t very nutritious.

      So, the bottom line is, if you can, I would say to feed the raw dehydrated in the morning and the raw in the evening. If you can’t, then feed the kibble in the morning, but make sure you are feeding much more raw than dry on a daily basis.

      I hope this helps you Megan.

      Janie

      • Laveda
        Reply

        The reason you shouldn’t feed raw and kibble is because they digest each differently and can cause GI upset. They say if you feed one meal raw and another meal with kibble that your dog may do ok. But never mix the two in the same meal and see how your dog does switching back and forth.

        • yourolddog
          Reply

          Hi Laveda:

          Thanks for sharing this with everyone!

          Janie

  • Danielle
    Reply

    Like to read all these posts about every ones dog and read what you think we should do so good to see that people are demand better food for their puppy dogs i have a ass/buleheler she is going to be 8 this sep was given her coscoin plus but saw a commercial for dogs and they said older dogs need help to keep their eyes in check so they don’t get catracknot sure if i spellt that right but any way there is some cosocion that has fish oil do you just wondering what you think

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Danielle:

      Thanks so much for your really nice comment. As doggy parents, we’re all in this together. 🙂

      The absolute best way to prevent cataracts is to include a good, strong antioxidant formula in your dog’s daily diet. Antioxidants combat free radicals which harm the body on a daily basis. Antioxidants cleanse the system. I don’t know of a fish oil concoction that would prevent cataracts Danielle. The supplement that I use for my own dogs “Montana” and “Abby” is made by NuVet. It contains amino acids, vitamin A, algae, brewers yeast, cat’s claw, iron and zinc which are very helpful for dogs who already have cataracts. For a dog that already has cataracts, I would add another supplement that could speed up the process though.

      However, as a prevention tool, it also promotes vision health for dog’s that don’t have cataracts. It’s also an advanced multivitamin formula that supports immune and organ health. It’s an all around supplement that can make a huge difference and I highly recommend it along with a good diet. You can go to their site here. Or, if you just want to order it, you can Call Toll-Free: 1-800-474-7044. They do not sell to the general public, so you will have to provide referral code 16354 to them.

      Take care Danielle!
      Janie

      Not only will NuVet Plus® promote vision health, but it is a complete formula that will help to support all of your pet’s internal systems.

  • Kerry
    Reply

    Hi There,

    My name is Kerry, and I have been interested in switching my 11 year old Rott Mix to a raw diet for about a year now. I started early this year just playing around with recipes, and was curious what exactly does everyone use so she gets all of her nutrients? I have feed Jenna Science Diet her whole 11 years, but just experimented with sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, beef slightly seared and cooked organic chicken and organs. If anyone can recommend some new recipes and cost effective ways to feed my baby i would appreciate it!

    Thanks so much!
    Kerry

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Kerry:

      I’m glad to hear that you switched your dog to raw or lightly seared diet. Awesome! I share plenty of ideas over in the comment section at the bottom of the page of this article. In fact, I just shared many ideas for Jenna Pilkington for her dog.

      Hope this helps your old girl. Just remember when feeding home prepared, it’s vital that you add calcium either in the form of egg shells or by supplement form.

      Janie

  • Frankie
    Reply

    Great website! I’ve spent a few hours tonight reading tons about feeding my 14 y.o. terrier raw. He has been on dry/wet for most of his life. I always tried to buy the quality, limited ingredient foods but at 14 he has now developed early kidney disease. His dry food is currently 22% protein and the vet recommended I get a K.D. dry food around 13-15%. I refuse to go the prescription dry food route and would like to cut out dry altogether. I have found a few prepared frozen Raw foods, namely Instinct Raw and Lotus, which look pretty good to me. 14% crude protein and low phosphorus. If I transition my old man over 3 weeks or so to the raw diet, do you think it will go well? What’s your hunch? Thanks!

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Thank you Frankie. I’m glad you like the site. I think you’re wise to transition him over and to do it slowly. Answers raw is my favorite. It’s organic, but expensive. I think he’ll do fine if you take it slow. Don’t forget diced raw veggies or soft cooked veggies, along with calcium (give a cooked egg with a runny yoke and include the ground egg shell for calcium).

      I highly recommend Rehmannia 8 for your old man with kidney problems.

      Janie

      • Frankie
        Reply

        Thank you for everything YOU do! As far as where I am at now, I have decided to ween my old man off of Instinct Limited Ingredient kibble (22% min. prot/1.2% phosphorus) and Merrick’s Chicken dinner wet food (8% min. prot / 0.63 phosphorus.) That was obvious.

        I want to eventually get him on a raw diet either partially or fully depending on his response. I also looked into a dehydrated option and read tons of rave reviews for The Honest Kitchen brand, specifically their complete meal, Keen, which is their whole grain turkey. I’m leaning towards poultry due to the ease of digestion my dog has shown in the past versus beef or gamier protein.

        I picked up 4LB of THK Keen (11% protein “as prepared” / 0.4% phosphorus!)

        Once he transitions to the re-hydrated food — assuming he likes the “slop” for lack of a better word, I will introduce Nature’s Valley Instinct Raw bites. The duck and turkey version of Raw bites are right in the range I’m hoping will help with his KD (14% protein “as prepared” / 0.7% phosphorus.)

        I’m hopeful. He went nuts for the Instinct Raw duck bite I gave him today. 🙂 And I feel the liquid or sloppy consistency of THK Keen is great for him because hey… more moisture is awesome at this stage.

        Does it sound like a solid game plan?

        Thanks again for all the info.

        • yourolddog
          Reply

          Hi Frankie:

          You’re welcome and I appreciate your kind words very much.

          I think your plan is a very, very solid plan. The Honest Kitchen is very good and Keen is an outstanding food. I have recommended many times for dogs with kidney disease. The added moisture is exactly what he needs within his diet.

          Good job Frankie. Please look into the Rehmannia 8 as well like I mentioned. This is inexpensive and very, very good for dogs with kidney and renal problems.

          Please keep me posted on your old man. 🙂

          Janie

          • Frankie

            I looked into Vetri-Science Renal Essentials, which contains Rehmannia as it’s first ingredient. Have you heard anything regarding this product? I am also waiting just a bit before introducing supplements to my guy. I want to know first how he reacts to the new diet, then once stable go into possible supplements. Thanks!

      • Jacki
        Reply

        I am working on transitioning my 13 year old beagle basset from vet Prescription Diet (which I have felt awful about since he went on it 6 months ago) to home cooked and I an thinking about raw. I just saw your comment about Answers Raw- my dog walker actually knows the owner of the company- the company is based in Berks County PA. This is the tipping point for me- I have been supplementing his food with the Answers Fish stock- boy, does it stink but he LOVES it and it really seems to help with degenerative back issues!

        Thanks for this site and the occasional email!!!

        • yourolddog
          Reply

          Hey Jacki:

          Answers is a great company and I LOVE their product line. I’m glad to hear that it seems to help with his degenerative back issues. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but we offer an excellent kit for dogs with Degenerative Myopathy. Here’s a link a link in the event that you want to check it out.

          And, you’re very welcome. I hope your old boy continues to improve, improve, improve. 🙂

          Janie

  • sue
    Reply

    By the time my Lab Retriever reached 11 he frequently had diarrhea, would regularly bring up bile and had a bunch of lipomas growing at an alarming rate….one the size of a fist. I started looking for alternative diets for him (at that stage he had been on a mix of Eukanuba and Dr Hills along with what I thought was good quality canned dog foods). We switched him to a raw diet inspired by the Steve Brown books and within a couple of weeks all tummy troubles were a thing of the past. His lipomas also disappeared within 6 months! I can only attribute this to the fact that his little body got a lot more efficient at getting rid of toxins…he is 14 now and still going strong. He never wanted raw bones though so we just supplement with bone meal & egg shell powder. We do steam his veggies then just add raw fruit & meat to the food processor and feed it to him all together. Wish I knew about raw when he was younger.

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Sue:

      I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your story. Thank you so much for sharing it. This will be a huge help to others with older dogs. Dog owners are often afraid to make the change, due to misleading information and certain veterinarians swaying them that they shouldn’t.

      Your story is truly awesome and you are one wonderful doggy mom! Thanks again for sharing this here so that others can benefit from your experience.

      Great job!

      Janie

    • Kerry
      Reply

      Hi there!

      I just wanted to comment again. I have 100% switched my 11yr old rottie mix over to a raw diet. She is on week 2 of eating ground beef, organs, veggies, turmeric, egg + shells, along with probiotics. I have noticed a huge change in how soft Jenna’s coat is and so shiny! She has had a fatty tumor growing on her side for the last 6-7 years that was the size of a lemon until I introduced the raw diet and turmeric. It is now HALF the size.

      I have been sticking to ground beef, but we did try ground turkey which resulted in her eating grass. Is there anything I need to watch out for in her behavior with this transition?

      I’m doing as much research as I can to make sure she is getting all the nutrients she needs! I’d also be interested in some info on bulk portions, for organs and meat that other are using.

      Thanks so much! And this blog is the reason I feel I will get many many more years with my baby girl!

      Jenna’s Mama

      • yourolddog
        Reply

        Hi Kerry:

        That is WONDERFUL news about Jenna. I’m so excited for you! That’s just great. Just watch her stool to make sure it’s a healthy consistency. Watch her behavior to make sure she appears healthy and happy.

        If you can, rotate the meat by using chicken as well. If you can buy ground, that’s great. I have a hard time finding ground chicken here.

        Great job and “thank you” for your kind words regarding the blog. It’s a team effort here. 🙂

        Janie

  • Frabkie
    Reply

    In an update to my post last week. My dog has been throwing up after meals since the change. The first four days were okay, and he seems to love the new food. As soon as I went from 1/4 cup of new food to 1/3 cup he has been sick. He has thrownup for five days now, and last night there was blood in his vomit.

    He was uncomfortable most of the night. Starting Thursday, three days ago, I removed all new food from his diet and just made him boiled chicken and rice. But he was still throwing up. I am taking him to the vet today. In 14 years he has never thrown up blood.

    Perhaps 14 is too old for a radical change in diet. My dog is not happy, and a shell of himself this week. I have had to carry him on walks, and the stress is too much on everyone.

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Frankie:

      I’m so sorry about your old boy.

      Can you tell me what you are feeding exactly? Refresh my memory please. He has kidney disease, right? Are you giving any supplements or meds? Please share the exact diet and supplements. I know you wanted to wait to introduce the supplements to see how he would react to the diet. However, the supplements play a huge role in helping and maintaining the disease regardless of diet. I’m thinking the problem may be more due to him not getting the supplements he needs.

      I’ll be thinking of you. Please let me know what the vet says and how it goes. If you can Frankie, ask the vet what stage of kidney disease your old boy is in.

      You can see some other recipes here along with an excellent article that explains about how a low protein diet isn’t the way to go for dogs with kidney disease. It also discusses a raw diet.

      Janie

      • Frankie
        Reply

        He was eating Merrick brand Limited ingredient dry food for a year or so, combined with their Wet food. He loved it, was never sick and always licked his bowl. A happy eater. He has now been diagnosed with early kidney disease. The vet recommended a RX dog food to which I refuse. I found a moderate protein and low phosphorus dehydrated meal in The Honest Kitchen, Keen brand. The first 5 days he loved it. Begged like a crazy dog for it! Then out of nowhere, started vomiting. He has thrown up 7 of his last 10 meals going back 4.5 days.

        No supplements other than a product called NeuTricks – which is supposed to help with cognitive function. I could easily cut that from his daily routine.

        I also started including salmon oil in his food last week — a few days before this bout started.

        No other supplements. And now he is just eating boiled chicken and rice.

        In a few days, assuming he is well I HAVE NO IDEA what food to introduce him to again. I may just go back to Merrick to be honest. The Honest Kitchen, while looks great, may not be to his liking.

        Or like the vet told me today, it is quite possibly not related to diet change whatsoever. He is being treated NOW for an ulcer until the vomiting and the blood in the vomit goes away. The vet believes, even at early onset, kidney disease can manifest itself in digestive disorders.

        Poor guy. He has been hungry all week.

        • yourolddog
          Reply

          Hi Frankie:

          I’m not sure if you seen my page on kidney disease or not? You can view it here. I urge you to get him on some supplements. Please look at the page. It shares the best supplements for his condition. Food alone is not going to help and especially just chicken and rice. I will send you a private email about diet.

          I also recommend looking at the comment from Nicky who kindly shared how she is taking care of her own dog with kidney disease.

          Janie

          • Frankie

            Right now my biggest concern is how to get him off the chicken and rice without causing more trauma to his digestion. Also, I’m not even sure what to give him when the time comes! Do I go back to the kibble and wet food? Do I proceed again with the dehydrated Honest Kitchen? My guy is old and 4 days of consecutive vomiting again will land him in the hospital overnight — the vet basically said if it continues we need to have him monitored.

            He is taking sucralfate now for the bleeding ulcer, flagyl to prevent infection, tagamet to reduce acid and also cernia for the next few days just to make sure he doesn’t vomit.

            I agree a supplement would be a good idea, but I need him to stop throwing up every day and heal whatever damage was done to his tummy.

          • yourolddog

            Frankie:

            If you feed whole foods which includes veggies, etc. along with the supplements, his digestion should be fine. He needs protein and low phosphorus. I sent you a private email okay.

            Janie

        • yourolddog
          Reply

          Which salmon oil did you include Frankie? Did you always use chemical flea and tick products on him and vaccinate him routinely?

          janie

          • Frankie

            I hardly ever used flea and tick products. And same goes for vaccinations.

            The name of the Salmon Oil is ‘Alaska Naturals’.

            How do I move from boiled chicken and rice to whole foods and supplements? I have never cooked his meals in 14 years. How will I know where to start regarding nutritional preparations and knowing how much of what he’s getting? Do you understand my question? I feel as though preparing food at 14 years old is going to be just as hard on him as what I tried to do a few weeks ago.

            What if I end up giving him twice the protein he needs and twice the phosphorus he was getting before?

          • yourolddog

            You just do it Frankie. It would only be a matter of time before he would stop eating dog food as well. Did you look at the email that I sent to you with the diet? That is a low phosphorus diet based upon a 25lb dog. So, with that in mind, you base that diet on how much he weighs.

            The biggest problem is that he hasn’t been getting the supplements and the right diet. You just get the supplements, get the ingredients for the food and make it happen. How much does he weight Frankie? I can’t see how feeding him a healthier home cooked meal would be harder on him than commercial dog food.

            I think the biggest problem is that you’re a little scared, which is understandable.

            Janie

          • Frankie

            He currently weighs 33.4 LB, as of this morning. He has been losing weight over the past year, down from 44 LB last July.

            Again, old age or disease? Can’t really tell.

  • Wendy Stirnberg
    Reply

    Can you please discuss in more detail the first section, outlining symptoms and diseases that arise from imbalanced raw diets? I would find it helpful to know what I should be keeping an eye for, just in case. Especially, I have one dog who is on a very limited diet as she is super sensitive. And, I’m betting many of us don’t have vets who support raw so they wouldn’t necessarily know what to look for in a raw feeder, either… Thanks!

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Wendy:

      I’ll add a little more to the article as soon as I get more time. The symptoms you would look out for would be the same as anytime your dog is not feeling well such as diarrhea, gas, stomach upset, etc. The dogs that I’ve transitioned over to raw, even when they never ate raw in their life, had no symptoms at all.

      As far as diseases go, the whole idea of this article is to enlighten dog owners that “raw” has made a big difference for the many dogs I work with regarding illness and disease. So, I don’t know of diseases that are specifically caused by a raw diet, but on the other hand, if you don’t balance the diet out with calcium and a good multivitamin, a good toxin free fish oil, vegetables and other helpful proteins besides just meat, then the dog can end up with diarrhea. Typically, most dogs that eat raw, have firm stool.

      You’re right when you say that “most vets don’t support raw”. That’s traditional vets; most holistic vets support it because they know it works. For my own dogs and those I’ve worked with; sometimes it’s better to feed a partially raw diet vs all raw. A home cooked diet that includes some raw and some cooked can be just as beneficial and it gives the dog variety.

      Does this help?

      Janie

      • Kerry
        Reply

        Hi there,

        I wanted to touch base, we are in week 3 of raw diet. And things are going great, but I am noticing her intake of water is lower than usual. Is this normal? Or should I be concerned and activly trying to get her to drink more?

        • yourolddog
          Reply

          Hi Kerry:
          Raw meat (and veggies for that matter) contain a lot of moisture, so it’s natural to see the intake of water decrease. My own dogs drink very little water, unless I have them out for a run, etc.

          Remember to switch up the protein for her. I know turkey doesn’t work to well for her. Include fish as well. However, you have to cook the fish for her. Don’t stick with one protein source forever. You have to mix it up.

          Janie

  • Frankire
    Reply

    I began to feed Happy the home made diet this week. And he loves it. He has kept down his food for 5 days now and seems to have more energy which is great. I want to put some healthy weight on him now. The vet suggested I give him “more kibble” but the kibble is gone. He warned me against giving him too much coconut oil. His main protein is lamb now, and I add a very small amt of salmon oil to each meal. VERY small — like 1/4 tsp.

    Any suggestions? Perhaps a mixer or topper I can prepare that is high in fat but low in phophorus, tripe perhaps?

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t feed kibble again. I gave you all my suggestions including supplements and one which would help with muscle wasting.

  • WendyB
    Reply

    Hi, I just came across your site and I am so impressed. You have a bunch of great ideas. I love reading everybody’s stories and take away what I can.

    I thought I would share my story and maybe someone else can take from it. I always took pride in feeding the best quality dry food on the market for years, but wow, I think so different now. 2-1/2yrs ago I was feeding Acana to my two dogs, 5 and 14 years old at the time.

    My 14 yr old border collie was then diagnosed with some sort of liver damage discovered through high ALT and AST levels. I don’t know the origin and I don’t want to do anything invasive to find out. I switched them both to raw at that time. I feed about 5 different proteins and a bunch of different brands of food. I supplement with Sojos for veggies. I want to ensure that I get organic veggies so I don’t tax her liver more than it needs to.

    She turned 16 in early December and is still doing great. She gets glucosamine/chondroitin/msm (1300mg X2), Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Vitamin E, SAM-E, Tumeric. I also give her Hawthorne for heart health, though her heart is great. Her arthritis is getting a little worse, and I just started arnica montana 30ch. I would have liked to give her fish oil, but she has EPI so her body can’t handle the fats. Her mobility is starting to get a little wobbly, so she gets regular walks, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments. She still thinks she is 6 though. Its been a nice winter so I am glad.

    Last thought, I would not hesitate to switch to raw. I believe my girls are benefiting from it.

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Wendy:

      Thank you so much for your really kind words. I truly appreciate it. Even more, I appreciate you sharing your own story with us. It’s testimonials like yours Wendy that help us all. Do you mind me asking what brand of glucosamine you are using?

      What a magnificent doggy mom you are!! While you’re impressed with the site; I’m impressed with the job you are doing with your girls. 🙂

      Janie

      • WendyB
        Reply

        For the glucosamine, I just use a walmart brand. They are enteric coated so I do crush them before adding them to their food. I was actually amazed at the results when I started using it. She was about 11 or 12 at that time and we saw results within a few weeks. I tried to switch to Recovery SA about a year ago, but I did not have the same results so I switched back. I am thinking about adding green lipped muscle to her regimen though. Maybe this weekend I will buy some and try it. The rest of the supplements (herbs etc) are all better brand names bought at a health food store. Every thing I provide is for people not dog products. I worry about quality control when it comes to brands made for dogs.

        • yourolddog
          Reply

          Hi Wendy:

          Thanks for sharing!

          Janie

  • Jill
    Reply

    I have been feeding my dogs, cats and occasional ferret a balanced raw diet (80% raw meat, Fat, skin, sinew/10% raw edible bones/5% raw liver/5% other raw secreting organs kidney, spleen, brain, pancreas ect) for the past 15 years. My show dogs and cats were top winners and judges constantly asked what conditioning program I used on my dogs to keep them in “rock solid muscle”… They were honestly all couch potatoes, just a hour walk a day! My current dog is nearly 8yo and looks and acts like a puppy (and has bright white teeth still, no tarter or yellowing/browning.. And never brushed or cleaned!) Also, no vaccines since his one puppy shot before I got him and NO flea/tick/hw poisons EVER! My current show cats were both weaned to raw and no vaccines at ALL. Never any chemicals and none of my animals has ever even had an off day… Healthy every day (cats are now 12 and 11 years old!) If needed I use only holistic treatments such as homeopathy and herbs ect. If i adopted an old dog, I’d absolutely switch to a raw diet ASAP! Only additives I give my pack are wild caught fish oil (rotate between salmon and fish blend – sardines, ect), coconut oil, turmeric golden paste, homemade KEFIR, and organic sulfur (MSM). My dog also gets Technyflex (NZ green lipped muscle.) Cats get their food ground (with whole chicken hearts added for teeth cleaning) and my dog gets whole, large pieces of meat and edible raw meaty bones, plus organs. Lots of variety (chicken, beef, tripe, duck, pork, venison, Turkey, rabbit, lamb, ect.) I love the selection at http://www.rawfeedingmiami.com and Carla will put together a balanced meal plan, within your budget, and help you switch your dog or cat to raw for Free! Awesome people at RFM. They ship too (i live in FL and get to 55lbs of food shipped for $25 overnight!) A balanced raw diet and no chemicals is the way to go!

  • Madeline Butler
    Reply

    We have a 17 year old medium size mix her name is Sassy. Our vet found a large mass on her liver he removed one her of loops and said her condition is touch and go for the next 24 hours. She may get to come tomorrow if all goes well but he said that even after the first 24 we still have another 72 hours where things can go wrong. I guess my question is when she is ready for food what type of food should we be giving her? Before this I would make her chicken or boiled egg, rice and I rolled in frozen veggies. I know I could be doing more for her but I just don’t know what and now that all this has happened I want to do everything I can to make her more comfortable with her recovery. I don’t mind giving her the pain meds or the antibiotics the doctor will proscribe but I feel the food I give her is where the real healing will begin.
    Thanks,
    Madeline

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Madeline:

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’m sorry to hear about Sassy. You must of done a lot of things right since your old girl is 17 years young. You’re right, it all begins with diet, before and after disease. I recommend that you include either ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey and fish such as Talapia. Use all of these, but mix them up by rotating. Bake it low at 265 degrees until lightly pink inside. DO NOT BOIL.

      Include egg daily. I recommend that you make it “sunny side up” so that the yolk is nice and runny (the yolk includes so many vital nutrients). Add a little sea salt and fresh pepper to the egg. Use fresh or frozen veggies with every meal. You can steam the fresh ones or use raw depending on the veggie. If it’s mushrooms, parsley, chives then just dice with your kitchen shears. Use broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach and brussel sprouts, but only use these veggies maybe 3 times weekly. Use other greens such as fresh dandelion, parsley, sprouted alfalfa, shitake mushrooms, green beans regularly. I don’t recommend carrots because they are hard for dogs to digest unless cooked until very, very, very soft and mashed. I don’t recommend peas.

      No grains. I also recommend that you include turmeric, essiac tea and fatty acids.

      Include 3/4 teaspoon organic coconut oil daily. You should also consider a multivitamin. These supplements are all part of an anti cancer diet Madeline.

      I hope this helps you. I would love to hear back about your old girl is doing. 🙂

      Janie

  • Eve aka Dillonsmom
    Reply

    May I suggest to those who feed raw and live anywhere near Del, Maryland, NJ Pa & possibly other parts of the East Coast? Top Quality Dog Food sells rolls of raw…mixed in with a little bit of veggies & fruit….also green tripe…….they sell rolls in mostly 2 & 5 lb……their prices are reasonable…..saves shopping at the grocery store for raw…they offer a wide variety of protein….from turkey to fish……….it is easier, to deal with meat in rolls, then grocery store meats….I think. The white bleached tripe some grocery stores sell, doesn’t have the food value for dogs…..as green tripe has.

  • Virginia Alber
    Reply

    Hi there,
    I love this thread. I have two Ridgebacks, both raw fed for life and I swear by it. My older gal is about 8.5 and a little less than 70lbs. She’s doing great aside from some minor hip pain, but I’ve noticed she’s looking a little thinner…I read somewhere that you’re supposed to add muscle meat to their diets as they begin to reach senior citizen status-. Currently she gets the standard combo 85-90% grind (bones/meat) 10% veggies and 5% offal meat. Should I add in some fresh ground beef/turkey meat?

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Virginia:

      I’m glad you like the thread and your comment will also help others, so “thank you”. I would definitely try adding in some fresh beef or turkey. You can always add in a little natural whey as well if she starts to lose too much muscle mass in the hip areas.

      I hope this helps Virginia.

      Janie

      • Eve
        Reply

        So far I ve fed three Dobermans a raw diet…..my old girl was on this until I had to pts…..spinal arthritis…..2 months short of 13 y o. Both my 10 y o & 2 1/2 y o are on raw…..I do supplement with solid gold s Sea Meal……eggs a couple of times a week…..whole milk yogurt ever meal…….I give fruit & veggies in moderation…..dogs don’t need very much.

  • Eve
    Reply

    I also recommend Lew Olson s “Raw & Naturally Nutritious” book…..I basically go by it…..my male dobe has thyroid issues…is on meds…….just one of the reasons I mention supplementing with Sea Meal……just added help….or maybe just makes me feel better….. grin…….

  • Laveda
    Reply

    I have an 8 year old English Bulldog I just rescued and he has horrible allergies. I feed my dogs raw so I tried to switch the bulldog and after about 3 days he started throwing up. He wasn’t able to digest the raw. But during the 3 days on raw it really helped his allergies so I need to get him switched . I’m looking for any advice of what I can do to get him started on raw?

    Thanks Laveda

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Laveda:

      I would try including some cooked foods in with the raw which may help balance it a little. When I say balance, I mean in terms of how the stomach accepts the food. I would also try feeding smaller amounts several times a day.

      Janie

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