Anxiety, no more!

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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.

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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.


D0DD958B-7C1F-4293-B713-6A0D1CF93AD1After 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!

795536B6-D275-4244-90F4-539B016EF1CAOnce 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. 

8 Comments

  1. It must’ve been very disheartening as a vet, not being able to help your own dog and such a relief to work this out. We try to have a largely unprocessed diet at out place. However, I do love my chocolate and sugar too much.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being a vet, I thought you’d particular enjoy this little story from our family. Rewinding to when my kids were probably about 7 and 5 we had a border collie called Bilbo. My kids have always been what I’ll call non-eaters and their leftovers always ended up with the dog. My kids were pretty skinny, especially my daughter who was in the bottom 10% and later turned out to have gastroparesis. However, Bilbo’s girth had expanded to compensate and he was about 41 kilos when he went to the vet. This is when the full horror of just how many meals he was having everyday hit. I was the proverbial bad mother and he was not to get anymore leftovers. Well, like us humans, he’d equated food with love and the look on his poor face when he didn’t get his share. The school holidays also ended around this time so the kids lunchboxes came back out and while he might not have seen one for a few months, he knew exactly what they were and the fixated stare on his face when they passed him by was heartbreaking. We managed to get his weight down a bit and the next time we went to the vet they advised to reduced his food according to his leftovers. He was such a lovely boy but unfortunately passed away last year.
      We already had Lady a now 6 year old border collie x cav but she is more cav in temperament and so we needed another fetching dog and fostered two border collie x kelpie pups planning to keep one but they both stayed. They bonded together nd are our “twins”.
      Best wishes,
      Rowena

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    2. Awe, that’s adorable. I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like Bilbo was a charmer.

      And, yes, my two toddlers have definitely added a pound or two to my dogs’ weight. Even after the strictest talks, there is always the food that just doesn’t make it to their mouth and ends up on the floor.

      I hope your daughter was able to gain weight after she was diagnosed with gastroparesis. That must have been tough.

      I love that you kept both your fosters. ‘Foster fail’ stories are the best!

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    1. Yes! That’s a tough one. I knew that you had to be British with your ‘pushy little beast’ comment…both set of my grandparents (along with uncles and aunts) were British and when I read your post, I read it with their Bristish accent!

      Anyways, if you are having to medicate your beast to keep him calm, then I would say it’s anxiety. If you aren’t already, it’s worth a try to prepare a home cooked meal and see what results he would have, both physically and mentally.

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  2. Very interesting. My 6 years old Coton, Moka has anxiety, pain aggression and fear aggression. He is so sweet. When he panics, he attacks and bites one of my family or me. I have vet behaviorist and I put him on fluoxetine and Gabapendin. He is better but he still has anxiety whenever something happens like I need to take him to the vet, my other dogs bark, etc. I would like to change his diet to raw. My traditional vet doesnt recommend and is against raw food. I believe too much starchy is not good for his ulna leg (surgery at 10 months old). He seems uncomfortable when he walks. He licks on the floor all the time. He stares at me and sits next to the person all the time. Too much pet. Will the raw food help to change the behaviors? I have a good holistic vet but she doesnt know much about aggression. 😦 I am surprised that you wanted to learn about your dog’s behavior. Very impressive! Thank you for sharing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t jump right into a raw diet—I started with fully cooking my proteins and I still saw enormous benefits. I personally use Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm and Raw Vibrance and then add in proteins and oils. (Disclaimer—Dr. Harvey’s does provide me with free food AFTER I contacted them to share the physical and mental health benefits I witnessed after switching Muttley to Paradigm.)

      What food are you feeding now?

      Like

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