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We purchased our Standard Poodle (Belle) at age 2 from a breeder in Canada who fed her dogs a raw diet. Belle was the picture of health.
After one year we noticed her teeth had yellowed and we mentioned this to the breeder. She said this was a result of feeding kibble (too much starch). She gave us the diet she feeds all her dogs and we were surprised, we also thought it would be too cumbersome to make, we brushed it off. It was about this time we got our second poodle, "Lyla," from the same breeder.
In the second year, Belle started having mucousy stools. After a visit to the vet and many tests later, she was diagnosed with IBD (irritable bowel disease). They put her on pills and this cleared up the problem, however after the pills were finished it came back. More pills later and a "special diet" (available only from vets, for apparently the rest of Belle's life) was recommended. Even with the new food, without the pills, the condition returned.
Meanwhile, Lyla was starting to develop ear problems (infections with yeast and black tar buildup) which required several visits to the vet for "flushings" and medication.
After several months, and numerous vet bills, it was suggested we see a specialist and make an appointment at the University of Guelph (a vet school and animal research centre). After a month of more pills to fight the yeast infection, the buildup seemed to subside, but was still there. One possible solution suggested was an ear/canal widening operation to "alleviate" the problem.
We called our breeder out of frustration. She told us it was their diet.
Then we started investigating everything we could find about the BARF diet (Bones and Raw Food) and Natural Raw Feeding for pets. We eventually prepared our own "veggie glop" with all the leafy greens and gave them a dinner of raw chicken necks/backs. Within 3 days Belle's mucus coated stools had disappeared. Both dogs went through some diarrhea and detox which is a normal reaction to switching to a raw diet. Meanwhile, Lyla's ear infection improved. A follow-up visit to the University suggested improvements had occurred in her ear and we were surprised that the vet (an allergy specialist/professor) reacted favourably to our switch to a Natural Diet as a possible cure for Lyla's problem.
It has now been seven years since making the switch and we have never looked back. Their coats are soft and shiny as when we first got them, and teeth are white again, the beautiful white in their eyes has returned . Our vet initally called to see how they are doing and we believe he was surprised that this diet was working. We have since switched to a new vet who believes in feeding natural foods and takes a holistic approach.
If we have one regret it is our 2 Dalmatians , since gone. They suffered with allergies.
Eddie (a Canadian Champion) was medicated (prednisone) with special "vet" food most of his life. Sadie had other problems from time to time. We believe many of their problems could perhaps have been eliminated with a different diet. At that time though, we did not have the power of the web as a source of information. Medications cause other side effects and usually don't appear until older age.
We added up all the vet bills for our 2 Dalmatians over their lifetime. It added up to $30,000.00 and yes, some of those costs were for regular check ups and vaccinations. However a large bulk of the other costs were in testing, pills, special food, etc. Looking back they in some cases appeared to be BandAid solutions, rather than addressing the root cause. When we read about how cancer cells and other diseases thrive on cooked/processed fat, we now feel that kibble or canned food is for survival and convenience and not for health and longevity.
As we told friends, family, and peer support groups about the positive changes in our poodles, we saw that some were very interested about this (new) concept while others had no reaction or did not care. As mentioned, we initially brushed off our first exposure to this diet.
We spent a lot of time sourcing suppliers of a quality raw food product. Their background, concern for pets, research etc. were important considerations. We found the right source for our poodles; and the next thing we knew, we were a supplier as friends/family made the switch.
Bones Pet Boutique was born to help our poodles and other pet owners learn more about Raw Feeding and, to provide a convenient source to purchase food for their/our pets. Some pet stores sell both commercial foods and now Natural (frozen) foods. We at Bones are truly dedicated to the health and well being of all pets.
UPDATE (December 2002): 2 happy and healthy poodles...Vets - $0.00 We also continue to follow the movements about the harm yearly vaccinations may have on our pets.
UPDATE (April 2003): We decided not to give annual vaccinations or provide Heart Worm prevention. We did however decide to visit our vet for a full check up which included full blood work panels. The results of the blood work showed a strong immune system and all other categories were within healthy ranges ie. cholesterol, glucose, etc.
UPDATE (July 2008): Both poodles are still healthy and active.
UPDATE (April 2009): Belle will turn 12 this year and only visits our chiropractic vet for adjustments occasionally (she loves chasing squirrels but had a run-in with our fence last year .... oops!) Lyla will be 11 this year and is still without major health issues. She does occasionally have ragweed itchys in Sept/Oct but very mildly and is treated with holistic remedies.
UPDATE (August 2012): Sadly Belle had a stroke at age 14-1/2 and passed away the next day, with the help of our wonderful vet. She lived a long, happy and healthy life alongside her half sister Lyla who is now 13-1/2. With the exception of old age ailments such as loss of hearing and a bit of arthritis Lyla continues to do well. We believe this is due to her healthy diet and drug free life. If you have visited the store in the last year you will have met Fleur. She is a 5 year old, white toy poodle - our new store mascot!
UPDATE (November 2012): Meet Pearl, our latest addition. She is a very small miniature poodle of 6 years old.