Preparing fresh, homemade diets has truly changed my dog’s quality of life. I diagnosed my oldest dog, Muttley, with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (the dog version of dementia), along with other health ailments. Although a homemade diet has tremendously improved his other medical conditions, such as alleviating his arthritis, increasing his energy level and helping his ability to lose weight, my focus in this post will be his mental health.
Unfortunately, with cognitive disorders, concurrent anxiety-related conditions are common. Muttley’s anxiety had become so severe that I tried every pharmaceutical medication that I thought would help, but there were no significant signs of improvement. Being a veterinarian, I felt hopeless not being able to help my own dog. Then I started preparing his meals.
Let me back up to why I went searching for a new diet in the first place. My husband and I decided to try a diet that cut out all refined carbohydrates, artificial ingredients, dyes, and sugars for our overall health, and more specifically, to increase our energy level. After three weeks of strictly sticking to this diet, my energy level was truly remarkable. I was also amazed at all the other health benefits that came with following a fresh, whole food diet. Being on this diet paralleled with my attempts at finding Muttley relief from his anxiety. I began to wonder what benefits Muttley could experience being on a similar diet.
At this point, Muttley was riddled with anxiety. He was having severe anxiety attacks daily. During the day, I would have to keep Muttley right by my side or he would go outside and pace. When he did lay down, he would lick his dog bed obsessively. At night, he would not leave my side until I went to bed, and even then, he couldn’t sleep throughout the night. I would wake up to him staring at me, panting heavily, and trembling.
After only two days of preparing fresh, homemade meals, Muttley slept throughout the night. Prior, he had not slept throughout the night for as long as I could remember. As I continued feeding him fresh, homemade meals, he stopped having his daily anxiety attacks. He would relax on his bed during the day instead of trying to pace outside. He no longer licked his bed. He will occasionally follow me around at night when I’m doing my nightly chores, but if I bring his dog bed and place it so he can see me, he will lay on it and fall asleep. Most incredibly, however, I have also weaned him off all his medications!
Once I realized how beneficial preparing a fresh, homemade diet was to Muttley’s health, I switched all four of my other dogs onto the diet, and to no surprise, this diet has undeniably improved their overall health. I use a dehydrated base-mix and once hydrated with hot water, I add in my choice of proteins and healthy oils.
If you have any questions about anxiety or fresh, homemade meals, please comment below.