We recently heard from a Canadian visitor, Des (we have no last name – see Note 1) who wrote us through our Comment box. The first of his two “comments” comprised 700 words. Clearly, Des was passionate about what he had to share! As I read it, It was clear that what he was recounting called for more coverage than the Comment section would afford. From my knowledge of our readers, it would be of interest to many of them.
So was born today’s article; Des’ words along with with some reduction and a few edits; but preserving the essence of what he wrote. The headings and bracketed items are ours.
Observations Before and After Feeding Raw Food to German Shepherd
I stumbled across your website whilst Googling ‘raw fed German Shepherds’ and have spent a delightful couple of hours reading through everything.
We currently live with five dogs, including our 5 year old male GSD, Toby.
Toby is a magnificent dog, with a beautifully balanced nature and all the nobility of his proud heritage. He’s taller than most German Shepherds, and weighs a solid 50kg (110 lbs). He had troublesome skin allergies as a youngster, constantly chewing his paws. He shed, had a fairly unpleasant odor and was antsy. As usual, the vets prescribed the old standby, Prednisone (see Note 2).
I switched to buying ready-made cooked meals from a supposedly reputable, holistic source, but the stool volume increased so dramatically, with poor Toby the worst afflicted of the bunch. I knew something was seriously amiss, so began cooking their meals myself. But I kept looking for other answers and not long thereafter, discovered raw (BARF (see Note 3)). I made the switch, preparing all their raw meals myself using suggested recipes I found on line. I then discovered prey model raw and that made so much sense.
Experiments with a Change of Diet
I adopted this food regimen, while still supplementing their meals with a mix of cooked and, occasionally, also kibble…as ‘just in case’ measures – not wanting to risk short-changing them!
The dogs were all doing well; except Toby continued to suffer occasional itching. I finally jumped ship entirely and ditched all kibble, biscuits, grain of any type in favor of a varied diet of raw meaty bones, offal, muscle meat, raw eggs, yoghurt and sour milk.
All the dogs are thriving! I supplement the above with salmon oil, coconut oil, olive oil, Vit C, probiotics and occasionally digestive enzymes (which I administer in between meals). They also get tinned salmon, sardines and tuna twice a week as a small breakfast. We dry lambs and ox liver for them ourselves to use as treats. Absolutely no additives, just the liver. They go crazy for it! I will also sometimes cut tiny blocks of cheese to use as treats.
Toby occasionally gets some lightly steamed and puréed vegetables which he enjoys. He is the picture of health and seldom licks or bites his paws. He does have a problem with one of his elbow pads, which is quite calloused and occasionally bleeds when it is bothering him, and he scratches it. I rinse his elbows and feet daily, dry well and apply milking cream or Curatex to the elbow a couple of times a day and it gets better until the next time he is bugged by it.
I only wish I had known about raw feeding, and species-appropriate diets, so our three female GSDs could have benefited as well 🙁
Hopefully, your website will help educate many more GSD owners, so their beloved dogs will have long, healthy and happy lives!
My thanks to Des for sharing his inspiring story. I’m sure it will be an encouragement to those embarking on their own journey with raw food, or considering doing so!
For more on feeding your German Shepherd, you may enjoy the following articles:
- Raw Food Diets for Dogs: Facts & Tips: http://germanshepherdplace.com/?p=812
- Food for Your GSD: http://germanshepherdplace.com/?p=143
- Dog Food: The Ingredient Label: http://germanshepherdplace.com/?p=194
1. We attempted to contact Des, the author behind the material used for the article above, but were not successful. Therefore we proceeded without the benefit of discussion with him. As mentioned above, we made minor edits in the interests of clarity and reasonable brevity.
2. About Prednisone. The following is reproduced from an article by PetMD at http://www.petmd.com/pet-medication/prednisone-prednisolone:
General Description: Prednisone and Prednisolone are steroids that reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. They can be beneficial in treating many diseases and disorders, but should be given at low doses for short period of time to reduce any adverse effects. They may also be used to assist in treatment of Addison’s disease, cancers, shock, and nervous system disorders.
How It Works: Prednisolone is a corticosteroid known as a glucocorticoid. Corticosteroids are meant to resemble a naturally occurring hormone produced in the adrenal cortex, cortisol. Corticosteroids act on the immune system by blocking the production of substances that trigger inflammatory and immune responses.
In your pet’s liver, prednisone is converted to prednisolone. Pets with severe liver problems are not able to make this conversion, and many believe that these pets should only be given prednisolone.
3. B.A.R.F. is the acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, devised and promoted by Australian vet and author Dr Ian Billinghurst. He wrote the best seller Give Your Dog a Bone and other books, and since the late 1990s has been the leading proponent behind the growing interest in raw food for dogs. For more, refer to: http://www.barfaustralia.com/AboutUs/DrIanBillinghurstBio.aspx