Dogs Benefit from Good Diet too.

Oct 30, 2011 by

I inherited an in-bred dog.  Anyone who knows anything about dogs, pure bred or otherwise will agree that in-breeding causes huge problems to the health and well-being of the animal.  In fact, now there is a drive away from breeding pure lines and other breeds are being introduced to Pugs and King Charles spaniels among others.  The dog I inherited is an English Bull Terrier. He is the dog that was in the original Oliver movie.  He looks terrifying and is always mistaken for a Pit Bull.  Actually a Pit Bull is not half as challenged in the beauty stakes.  He was bought as a pup with all his papers for €1000.  If the person buying the dog had done any research or even looked at his “pedigree” he would have realised he was buying ” a pig in a poke”.  His grandmother on his maternal side is his great-grandmother on his paternal side for starters.

He is the most gentle, loving dog and in fact goes out of his way to avoid confrontation.  He is a terrific guard dog in that he has a big deep bark.  The fact that he can’t be bothered to get out of his bed while barking, lying on his side, is a deterrent?  Well, it is when he eventually gets out of his bed and appears at the garage door.

He started suffering with skin problems early on and then he started developing sore pads with bleeding ulcers between his toes.  His pads were cracked and infected and he had difficulty walking.  He is a clumsy dog and tends to head butt everything out of his way and I put down all the unhealed sores on his head to this.  However, as it went on, I got weary going to the vet and trying to treat all his problems myself with saline and sudocreme.  I started to trawl the internet to try and find out what was wrong with him.  There was lots of information but nothing really concrete until I stumbled upon a paper written by a Glasgow university vet.  In it he described my dogs symptoms and indeed recommended a treatment.  The condition was named as Lethal Acrodermatitis caused by an inability of the dog to metabolise zinc and thus his immune system is continually compromised. This is due to generations of in-breeding and is usually lethal.  Pups affected fail to thrive and usually die before 6 months.  The treatment was long term use of an antibiotic and a steroid.

The drug treatment was going to be really costly so I contacted a friend who lives in Greece and regularly rescues animals and has a good relationship with her vet.  She now posts me the steroid in a large quantity for peanuts in comparison to what it would cost here.  Even there the antibiotic is an outrageous price so I don’t use it.  I decided to try and improve his diet first.

I did a lot of research and read on the internet that commercially produced dog food is full of preservatives, colouring and stabilisers.  So off I set to make his food myself.  I used rice, pasta, lentils, meat, fish and vegetables (everything excluding anything from the onion family as they are apparently toxic for dogs).  I used brown rice, wholemeal pasta and added different meats and fish and raw egg.  Dogs can also be given fruit!  I fed him like this for weeks and his skin started to improve dramatically and his sores started to heal.  When he has an outbreak now and is slow to heal I use the steroids for a week or two.  The change in his energy level was phenomenal and instead of his picking his way along beside me with sore feet, he now bombs off in front.  His whole gait has changed and is now chirpy and happy.  I then changed to a dried dog food called Burns which has no additives and I add some meat and veg to it.  So far he is still great and he has been on this diet now for over a year.  The Burns food is very expensive – it works out at in or around €60 for 15kg but it has saved me a fortune in vet bills. 

If ever there was a doubt that “you are what you eat” or in this case a dog is what he eats then this surely proves it.

Dog’s Diet   English Bull Terrier  Lethal Acrodermatitis  Dog Food Recipes  Inbreeding in Dogs

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