This article was in
a 1985 Newsletter writen by one of our well known International
Judges Mrs Pat Heath of the Seefeld Kennels in the UK
In this day and
age one hears so much about the perils of chemicals and you
ever thought if the same problems might apply to all sorts
of foods. I myself am llergic to many of the chemicals in
food, l am allergic to all corrn products, onions and alcohol
(no, I don't miss the alcohol, but I still cheat on the onions).
These days I seem
to spend half my time changing the diets of various dogs.
As I still take the obedience classes every week in the Village
Hall, the news spread and my telephone seems to be the last
resort of frantic dog owners trying to cope with problem dogs.
A few of these case histories might give you something to
BOXER BITCH - 9
months old. Very nice type, arrived with a couple who must
be saints to put up with her. To says he was hyperactive was
a gross understatement, she was so excitable she was almost
out of control, and also painfully thin but in excellent glossy
coat. I tried for a couple of weeks to instill some Sort of
control and training but it was hopeless. I then asked how
she was fed and found the diet was an "all-in-one"
flake food PLUS 3 large tins of dog meat. Cor! she was hyped
up like a racehorse on oats. I suggested the protein content
was far too high and persuaded them to get her off the tinned
meat and replace it with half the quantity of fresh meat or
tripe. The next week there was a slight improvement so I then
suggested 100% wholemeal biscuit meal instead of the flake.
The effect was amazing - she put on weight, she calmed down
and began to respond well to training. Not quite believing
this was the answer, the owner put her back on to tinned meat
- within 24 hours she was back to her excitable self. She
is now again on her new diet, is fat and plump as a puppy
should be, and although still an extrovert, is under control
and responding well to training.
GREAT DANE puppy,.
5 months old. Beautifully grown, huge bone, but had constant
loose motions. Told by the Veterinary Surgeon that this was
because of the quantity of food she had to have to grow. This
could well be, but on the other hand she was not going to
absorb the best of her food if the motions were for ever loose.
Again on a very high protein complete diet and tinned meat.
Seeing the improvement in the Boxer puppy, the owner then
put the Dane onto wholemeal biscuit and tripe and the loose
motions ceased, within a few days. As soon as the old diet
is reintroduced, her problem returns.
As soon as one person
starts discussing problems, others join in with similar troubles,
and now a little LABRADOR BITCH has also been put onto biscuit
and fresh meat with impressive results. FOUR BOXERS AND A
SPRINGER SPANIEL - all from one family, had different problems
- unable to put weight on and a permanent scruffy skin. They
were fed on an "all in-one" diet of to me an unknown
make, which contained quantities of unrolled maize. Transferred
to a similar flake product but from a different manufacturer,
and the improvement was dramatic. The content of the flake
must have been different or of much higher quality.
Some years ago a
gentleman telephoned for some advice. He had a 3 year old
Boxer which had permanent mouth ulcers and despite months
and months of Veterinary treatment and research, no reason
could be found for them, no infection, nothing, and euthenasia
was the likely outcome. Each time I asked "what do you
feed him on" the answer was "oh, that is all right,
his food has been analyzed and is 100% all right". I
eventually got out of him what it was - it was a well known
flake complete diet. I knew the breeder of his dog had tried
this for some time, and whereas in the early days it had produced
some glowing results, as time went on the dogs began to have
skin problems, and they were returned to their old diets.
I suggested he tried a different feeding pattern and take
the dog off the flake food completely. A month later a very
excited gentleman phoned to say his dog was cured.
I have probably
by now incurred the wrath of some dog food manufacturers,
but I have purposely refrained from naming any products, because
the best of them are absolutely first class and rear puppies
and adults extremely well. But, as with some humans, some
dogs are allergic to colouring, some are allergic to corn
and possibly other cereals, and many can be allergic to Soya
which is in many tinned foods and complete feed products.
The public are bombarded with adverts for packet and tinned
foods and complete foods galore for dogs and cats. The cat
foods have already been changed to cater for kidney problems
which became apparent when they were first introduced on to
the pet market. Some household pets are fed bread in their
daily diet - did you know that white bread can contain up
to 27 additives? Any of these could cause allergies in problem
Recently yet another
case helped to establish this fact. A local lady seemed to
be permanently on the telephone complaining her Boxer puppy
had constant bouts of diarrhoea, vomited at intervals and
was so excitable and what could she do. It didn't really make
sense as her breeding came from very healthy and stable parents.
I persuaded her to bring her to see me - she was right on
two counts the bitch was painfully thin, a bag of bones in
fact, and excitable A visit to her Veterinary Surgeon brought
forth the profound advice "there's nothing wrong with
her, all Boxers are hyperactive and thin and you must learn
to live with it". Three months followed with the complaint
continuing and the bitch losing more and more weight and all
my suggestions fell on deaf ears. After all, if the Veterinary
Surgeon says so, it must be right In most cases that is so,
he is the expert after all, but I would venture to point out
that a very small percentage of the Veterinary profession
have ever reared puppies and I think it only fair in those
instances to say that a good breeder may know best.
When the Boxer puppy's
weight had reduced to 28 Ibs. at 9 months of age, I lost patience
and pointed out that if something was not done soon, she would
be dead n a month. This worked. The owner insisted on action,
the bitch was X-rayed (nothing wrong there), opened up the
next day and found to have inflamed stomach and intestines.
The verdict was "Auto-immune Deficiency Syndrome"
(AIDS!!!). Whilst the owner was content, I was not my query
was why was inflammation confined to the digestive tract.
An eventual visit to the Veterinary College revealed a food
allergy her diet was changed to wholemeal biscuit and a tin
of meat/cereal product (CHAPPIE). The result was nothing short
of amazing. After a few weeks her weight was up to 48 Ibs.
her vomiting and diarrhoea had stopped and her excitable temperament
had calmed down to a normal Boxer puppy.
Are you still with
me? If colouring and chemicals can cause hyperactivity in
children, why cannot it do the same with some dogs. I am not
saying all temperament problems are dietary, some are undeniably
hereditary, but many problem cases of one-dog owners may well
be that their dogs are allergic to the convenience foods which
they are persuaded to use. I have never been one to feed the
family the easy way - convenience foods don't find their way
onto my pantry shelves, and so it will be no surprise to know
my dogs are fed as natural a diet as I can get for them. They
have wholemeal biscuit, tripe, fresh meat, seaweed powder,
Vetzymes (Vit. B) and occasionally tinned meat.
However, 4 years
ago a lovely red/white puppy dog joined us as a pick of litter
or a stud fee - he had been reared solely on tinned rice and
a well known complete pellet product. I was so impressed with
his well being I then decided to wean MY puppies the same
way. Great success - hard motions every time, bonny puppies,
and an easy diet to give to new owners when the puppies changed
homes. I decided after a time that after 1 2 weeks they did
not seem to be putting the bone on I liked for my males and
so reverted to the normal biscuit and meat but substituted
one third of the new product for the biscuit. then decided
to give this to all the dogs and they loved it. I felt I must
be giving them extra vitamins and goodness.
All went well for
nearly 2 years, then things began to happen. FOUR dogs died
- a 1 year Champion bitch with a brain tumour, a 1 year Champion
dog with aches tumour, 31/2 year bitch with a stomach tumour,
and a 51/2 year Champion dog with a bowel tumour. A 6 year
bitch collapsed with internal bleeding, but a 4 hour operation
saved her - my clever Vet removed a massive cancerous spleen.
This all happened in a space of 1 3 months.
My reaction was
WHY? I know that statistics show that Boxers head the list
for tumours, but my dogs always have been long living - 1
2, 13, 14 years was quite normal. These five were obviously
related in some way, but not that closely -they had five DIFFERENT
Champion sires (1 American, 2 Norwegian, 2 British). Soon
had to look elsewhere. Everything had gone exactly as it had
for the last 20 years but for one thing - the introduction
into their diet of this pelletted food. It obviously' had
preservatives, but what worried me more was that it was coloured,
even the motions had a pink tinge to them so you knew when
it had been fed and when hadn't.
Rightly or wrongly,
I decided that was the culprit. I stopped feeding it from
that day onwards and over 2 years have now gone by and not
another case of tumour have we had.
Now you can see
why I headed this article FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Skin trouble patchiness
and baldness, eye infections over excitability etc., have
in many case responded to a change of diet. If this article
gets you thinking I shall have achieve my objective.