These are my two favorite Beagle boys, Bailey and Grady. Jay took them hiking this weekend at Monadnock, here is the photo from when they reached the top. HOT DOGS!
They are both 5 year old beagles, that my boyfriend and I got from a breeder when they were just pups. ( I know, I know breeders are bad, but we were young and naive to the sad world of shelter dogs.)
I know there are a lot of people out there who are not so quick beleive radical benefits of eating whole foods. I mean, I have seen a dramatic change in myself when I switched my diet in 2005, I lost weight, my nails grew, my skin cleared, it was life transforming. But, I was more blown away by the change in my dog's health. Whenever I encounter someone doubtful about the benefits of a whole foods vegan lifestyle, I always share this story about my dog Bailey.
Bailey was the perfect puppy in every way. He was playful, happy, healthy, and he took to potty training VERY easily. I always joke how he's a human stuck in a dog's body. Beagles, along with many other dogs with big, floppy ears, are prone to ear infections, most of which are caused by yeast. Which is found, in high quantities, in many commercial dog foods. I was constantly taking him and his brother Grady to the vet to get their ears looked at. What a pain! Other than that neither of them had too many issues health wise, that is until Bailey got to the 2 - 2.5 year mark.
We were all laying in bed sleeping one night, when all of a sudden Bailey completely emptied his bladder! I knew something was wrong, he hadn't had an accident since he was about 10 weeks old. I tore the blankets off me and saw Bailey jump out of bed. My first inclination was to yell at him, but when I looked down to scold him, he was running in circles around the room, and running into my bureau and nightstand almost as if he couldn't see. Immediately, I grabbed him and held him to prevent him from hitting his head on anything else. He then proceeded to throw up multiple times, and then he just started tensing, stretching and throwing his body in different directions. I looked at his eyes and his pupils were going around in circles. I had no idea what was happening, I was absolutely terrified. I thought it was going to be the end of him. After a few minutes, he calmed down and came around and laid down and went back to sleep.
The next day, after a little research, I found out that what Bailey had was a seizure, and epilepsy is quite common in full bred beagles. I made a vet appointment and the vet told me that it is very common, and just to keep a little journal documenting them. At first it started out that he was only having them once every 6 months or so. Then it started to happen every 3 months, then every month. At their worst, they started to happen almost once every week and a half. It was absolutely breaking my heart! The poor thing was terrified and he was started to get really grey in the face! Back to the vet I went, they told me that they could put him on a thing called phenobarbital, to control the seizures, but it can cause liver and kidney damage or failure! "He's only 3 and a half " I thought! I didn't want to be trading one problem for another.
So, off to my computer I went to do as much research as possible. I found out that sometimes seizures in dogs, can be linked to a lack of vitamins and nutrients. And then it hit me like lightning. DUH, Val! If you are eating whole foods and experiencing such life changing mental and physical health benefits obviously your dogs can too! After all, most commercial dog food is pretty much the equivalent of you eating potato chips for dinner every night.
So we started making their food, and it has made ALL the difference in the world. Bailey's seizures have decreased dramatically, only 1-3 per year! And they are so mild compared to what they once were. And they almost NEVER get ear infections anymore. I would recommend without hesitation, feeding your dog a home cooked meal! It has done wonders for our pack :)
Here is the recipe below:
B&G's Vegan Bonanza
4.5 Cups Oats
5 Stalks celery - finely chopped
1 Small bunch of kale finely chopped
2 Carrots cut into bite sized pieces
2 Cups lentils (any kind will work I use french)
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Cook the oats and lentils according to package directions. Once cooked add everything together ( except olive oil) in a big bowl and stir until well mixed together. Add it to your dogs bow, put a splash of olive oil on top and Serve.
This usually feeds our two boys, for about 5 days. You might want to double it if you have bigger dogs. ( Ours are around 30 lbs)
Lets face it, dogs are carnivorous animals, if you feel your dog isn't getting enough protein feel free to add a small amount of ground turkey to the mix. Usually a lb or so will do. ( Just make sure youre mindful of where its comming from. None of that super market special CRAP!)
Also, we always have fresh cut, cucumbers, carrots and apples to give to them as snacks throughout the day. It's nice to give them a reward after a nice long walk!
Food for thought- "Vegetable Eating Dog Lives to Ripe Old Age of 27"- Coincidence? ... I think not!