How Giving A Raw Diet A Go Nearly Killed Our Boxer.

 raw diet

Raw Diet Feeding Your Dog.

In my early days of veterinary nursing, I was quite impressionable, I had a great rapport with clients and still do to this day.

It is in those earlier years that one of my favorite clients managed to convince me to give raw feeding a go. They recommended a raw food supplier and advised me to purchase a mix of meat, carcasses, bones, and tripe.

homemade dog food

Now if you have read my other posts on this blog you’ll know I am no advocate for raw feeding, I don’t like to say I’m ‘anti raw feeding’ because everyone has their opinion and choices. Some people manage raw feeding their dogs just fine.

I am however very aware of the risks of raw feeding with no research or experience. It is a hot topic and its users are quick to defend it. Often quite aggressively. I’m sure I will get judgement and criticism in the comments for this post.

Raw feeding owners do not want to accept that science does not support raw feeding our fur babies. Sorry but until proven otherwise it is what it is.

I learned first hand by my own ignorance, and now every time I look at our precious Sasha I am reminded of my mistakes.

This post is my way of being honest and raw with potential owners. Especially if your thinking of giving a home-made or a raw doggie diet a go. I want to educate and encourage owners to do research and look at the science before starting a raw diet.

Boxer dog sitting

It’s a hard one to swallow, to admit that I made a massive mistake. I pride myself on trying to give everyone, friends and family included only the best advice possible when it comes to their fur babies.

Yet every time I look at the discharge pouring out of our Sasha’s nose. I am reminded, of how I failed her when I decided to give raw feeding a go without looking at the facts.

Boxer dog

What Feeding A Raw Diet Without looking At The Facts Did To Sasha

Not only did Sasha lose a huge amount of condition/weight on a raw diet, but she also looked so unhealthy, and that’s because it was not a balanced diet for her.

 Dogs need the right balance of nutrients to support their individual needs. There are 6 major nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.

These nutrients are essential to supporting their life and health. They provide them with energy and the building blocks for repair and growth.

Sasha also ended up developing a megaesophagus because of the raw feeding. Sadly this was not the only repercussion.

Sasha absolutely loved the raw diet, there is no doubt that dogs love raw meats. They are often highly palatable. However, humans love burgers, fried chicken, and Donuts. It doesn’t mean that they are good for them.

Dog Eating Ice-Cream

Sasha’s megaesophagus was caused by eating large chunks of the raw diet. She loved it so much and was always sooo hungry at mealtimes. Every meal she was ravenous no matter how much we gave her. It was costing us a fortune trying to keep up.

She would scoff the raw diet food down as fast as possible forming huge lumps within her mouth and then try to swallow them. They would get stuck and she would regurgitate/vomit them back up causing damage to her esophagus over-time. This resulted in a megaesophagus.

We made attempts to slow her eating down cutting everything into small sizes and raising her food bowl up. We purchased a maze/slow feeding bowl and smush the meat chunks within it.

Even so once in her stomach it would still come up again even hours later meaning she still ended up vomiting. She would then attempt to re-eat and regurgitate the now large lump. It was a hot mess.

Dog

We stopped the raw feeding not long after we had started. All up I think it was about 2 months maximum. However, the damage was done and secondary to the megaesophagus Sasha developed what’s called a Plasmasitic Rhinitis.

In English, that means that the stomach acid that would come up every time she regurgitated or vomited ended up damaging her sinuses. Causing her body/immune system to send a constant stream of mucus/fluid to flood her sinuses. In her bodies attempt to flush it out.

sad

Sasha is a boxer so a  brachiocephalic breed. Breathing is already made more difficult because of this. So constantly have a blocked nose filled with fluid is not ideal.

Because of this she also suffers thirdly from occasional aspiration pneumonia. This is caused by breathing the discharge down into her lungs and filling them up. We have nearly lost her twice to aspiration pneumonia.

pexels kat jayne 736843

We are constantly managing Sasha and always assessing her quality of life. If we felt she no longer wanted to be on this earth we would end any suffering. However, despite these issues, she still gets up and enjoys every day. The minute she stops enjoying life we know what we have to do.

I will live with the guilt of the decision to give raw feeding a go without researching and seeking/listening to veterinary science. I was within the industry myself. Young, naïve and thought it would be fun to give it a go.

I know that some owners successfully raw feed for years. What I hope this post will do is prevent people from just giving it a go without thought or research as I did. I want people to think of the consequences and potential risks before diving in.

2 Replies to “How Giving A Raw Diet A Go Nearly Killed Our Boxer.”

  1. If your dog was regurgitating the food then you should have found a way to slow her down, such as a slow feeder, kong or other device to ensure a slower consumption.

    The problem is the owner, not the diet.

    You’ve also not stated if the diet was balanced, whether you made it yourself or purchased a ‘complete’ – because if it’s the former and you’ve not balanced it correctly, again, problem is owner, not diet.

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for your comment. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The idea of this post was to educate and hopefully prevent people from making my mistakes such as diving into a raw diet with no research. The diet we choose was not balanced as most raw diets are often not balanced…
      We chose the diet based on the advice given by another raw feeder also another regret of mine.

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