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PBS Viewers’ Stories: Senior Shepherds Live Long by Eating Raw

Senior Shepherd Prana with VahanaRecently, New York resident Yvonne Gonski wrote to us after watching the PBS show we were featured in, called Why We Love Cats and Dogs. She was moved by Jerry’s story, and wanted to share her own experience with Prana, her amazing nearly fifteen year old German Shepherd girl.

Sadly, Prana recently passed away after a courageous battle with pneumonia. She will be missed dearly. Her Mom wrote this great post for us, before Prana went to the Bridge. We publish this story in tribute to this amazing girl. May her spirit fly free.

Here is Prana’s inspawrational tale . . .

If you’re wondering what the secret is to ensuring a long healthy life for your dog, Yvonne Gonski has two words: “raw foods.” And although many of you Tripawds are battling cancer and might be avoiding raw foods right now, we thought your pawrents still might find these general concepts about home made dog diets to be useful.

“I have been raising German Shepherd dogs for the past 28 years. My journey of learning to provide my dogs with alternate methods of care began 15 years ago, following the passing of my three male German Shepherds.Although two of them died from age related conditions, I started to question the commercially prepared food I was giving them and the conventional vaccines and medications they received over the years.

One of the books that got me started was The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, by Juliette de Bairacli Levy A strong advocate of a raw foods diet and the use of herbs to treat most canine diseases, she bred Afghan Hounds for over fifty years.

Her lines are virtually disease free and many of her dogs typically lived into their twenties. Her book has become my bible for feeding and treating my dogs with herbs when they are ill.

What Does Prana and Vahana’s Raw Diet Look Like?

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My Diet While Fighting Osteosarcoma

What a Pretty PuppyPlease note: this information is just based on my own experience, and is not meant to replace advice given to you by your vet or other canine health professional. To read about what other pawrents are feeding their tripawds, please visit our “Eating Healthy” Forums.

Before I got sick, I used to eat a half “BARF” diet (Bones and Raw Foods), and half premium Innova EVO kibble diet. I  was lean and healthy, and my system was used to good food already. That’s because when I was about four years old, my Mom found out what’s really in commercial dog food. After that, she never fed conventional dog food to me again – that stuff’s bad.

When we learned I had cancer, we wanted to make sure my diet was as healthy as possible. To point us in the right direction, my Mom did more BARF research and attended a BARF class. She also got a great book called Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats that helped her find the right combination of a human grade, meat and veggie diet for dogs with cancer.She and Dad decided to focus on a few select type of foods and supplements, which we describe below. There are many other choices out there, please do your research and learn what’s best for your dog’s unique health picture.

After I got sick, I still ate a half-BARF, half kibble diet, but some BARFers don’t advise giving dogs kibble and BARF foods simultaneously, because they say kibble slows down digestion of raw meats. My Mom tried to give me a 100 percent BARF diet for a while, but found that I was getting too skinny.

Save on Supplements at Only Natural Pet StoreShe started feeding me small amounts of Innova EVO kibble with supplements mixed in. As an entree, I got various types of raw meat. I never had a problem with digestion, and once I started eating this way, I maintained a perfect weight of 75 pounds.

Please keep in mind that we are not experts, and your dog’s own nutritional needs may be different. We recommend  talking to a holistic nutritional expert and/or learn all you can about BARF before attempting a diet change for your Tripawd.

My Dog Cancer Diet

My daily regimen changed over the two years I fought cancer, just like the cancer within me evolved. In my case, the osteosarcoma progressed exactly as textbooks describe it. My diet changed at three distinct times while I fought this disease.

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What’s Really in Your Pet’s Food and Why You Need to Know

Dear Readers,
My Mom wrote this for her Toastmasters speech. I hope you enjoy it. –Jerry

It’s estimated that thousands of cats and dogs died from the recent outbreak of contaminated pet food. How could so many animal lovers let this happen to their beloved pets? The sad truth is, they just didn’t know any better. Until my own dog got sick from a diet of cheap food, I didn’t know either.

Like most people, at one time I put a lot of faith in the big brand pet foods. I believed the claims about how nutritious their food would be for my dog. In the first years of Jerry Dog’s life, I chose his food by buying whatever seemed better than the generic bulk stuff at Winco. Jerry ate it up, and grew into what I thought was a healthy adult dog. But when he got to be about 5, his teeth started yellowing, and his skin turned flaky. Then he started having seizures. After some expensive trips to his vet, I started doing my own research. All I had to do was Google “commercial pet food ingredients.” What I found, horrified me, and it should scare you too.

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