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Does anyone use a special diet or kibble for their puppies?   Have you had any problems with wheat/gluten intolerance in your puppies?   My dog Nugget has lots of bowel movements, more than three a day, and eats rock

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Over the years I have found that Irish Setters do best on raw food with a minimum of kibble or processed food in their diet. Have you thought about feeding raw? We have a raw feeding group on ES and you can get a lot of info there. If you buy in bulk it will be cheaper and also save unnecessary trips to the vet! :-)

I must agree with Catherine I have fed all mine on raw from day one....Riley and Cassie are both 2 1/2years and Baby Bracken is 4 months. I did a lot of research into raw feeding after loosing 2 dogs to cancer one to epilepsy and another to total organ failure after being on steroids for  many  allergy's where she lost all the skin on her chest and was red raw...I was so shocked to find this could have been caused by what I was feeding (it took years of research to find all this and am still researching) I wanted to give my new babies the best start I could and have never looked back they are strong healthy very fit dogs that eat every thing they are given. Its very easy to clean up after them (no smelly runny poo's) they have only seen the vet as young pups where with my old dogs by now there were ear infections tummy upsets etc...Also one of the best things about raw feeding pups is you don't get  growth spurts that you can get by feeding commercial food they grow at a more natural rate..This is my choice and a choice I wish I had made 30yrs ago.....There are lots of raw feeding sites that can be a great help and as Catherine says there is one on here...good luck

All 3 of your babies are stunning Jennie. A real testament to raw feeding. Daisy Mae got very fat during the hot weather, because she still wanted her grub despite not wanting to run around much, she is looking fantastic again now though. Barkley is looking great, has incredible energy and stamina, and old Tally is still enjoying herself and her food :-D

Thanks Fran...I don't remember Daisy looking fat they always look very happy healthy dogs would be great if all ours could run together...maybe one day..:0)

Agree with Catherine. My dogs have done FAR better on raw. However, what I am starting to understand with some people who feed their dogs raw food to start off with is that they overfeed and then their dogs develop problems.  There is a real problem with some of the raw feeding guides. I don't know who sets them, but for some dogs the "guide" is way out. I would rather start off feeding less that the recommended and then increasing if necessary, ie. the dog looses too much weight.  I have also heard it said "my dog has lost masses of weight on raw" but when the owners have actually weighed the dog - they haven't - they have just developed a leaner and healthier body mass, rather than having what I call a carb belly.

Thanks Sue for opening this disscusion, Elsa is the first pup that I have had that has not had growth spurts.Elsa has put on more weight than my others ( and she is more active).So what you say Jennie and Fran makes sense. I have only been feeding raw in the last year and I will say the dogs also appear to be more responsive, less interested in street take aways.Well worth concidering Sue. Thanks girls <:0)

Very true Fran...I feed mine by what I see if I think they need more weight I increase if they look as if they need to loose a little they have less its easy.....I am not one for weighing everything....As long as they are healthy and have plenty of energy for charging around the fields I am happy...

Ok...I too wish I'd changed years ago! It's twelve months today my Flame suffered bloat and weighed at the time 30kgs. I changed to raw in October last year and he has gained 9kgs. He's a big Irish and needed the weight, all three of my Irish and our two retrievers are feed raw now and for the very first time they have an all over coverage and look the best they ever have. It was a hard decision to make but one I don't regret at all. Lucky for me I live amongst farming, where they home process there meat and the dogs love the variety they receive. Give it thought Sue, many will help you here as they did me :0))

Thank you all very much for your input!  I will definitely check out the raw feeding info on this site and others.  So nice to know that there is so much knowledge and experience that I can tap into here.

Hi Sue

I have been researching nutrition and healing for animals and humans for a very long time. I purchased the books of Juliette de Bairacli Levy more than 20 years ago. Her books were first published around 1955. I used to feed a little high quality "kibble" in the diet for my dogs, around 10%. Now I do not use "kibble" at all. However, I feed certified organic meat and bone, as well as other natural ingredients, e.g. vegetables, fruit, eggs, yoghurt, goji berries, sardines, chia seeds, organic virgin coconut oil, etc. What I believe you have to be careful about in a natural diet is the source. A raw food diet which contains herbicides is not good for your dog. Also, you need other nutritional food in the diet as well as raw meat and bone.

Unknowingly in 2012 I purchased a grossly malnourished 3.5kg English Setter puppy from a registered breeder. Her name was Annie. She was supposed to be a show quality puppy. The truth was that Annie was the runt of the litter. Annie died at 13 weeks of age. Because I was so concerned about Annie, instead of trusting all my knowledge and experience, I instead trusted a vet who recommended a vet prescribed "kibble" diet rather than the natural diet I had been feeding my English Setters, including my puppies.  I would never do this again. It was not the vet's fault Annie died, and it was not my fault. However, in hindsight I believe that a natural diet is preferable for all puppies, and I believe Annie would have benefited a great deal more from an organic raw food diet with suitable supplements for her. I have to tell you about Annie because it is going to be a very long time, if ever, that I do not feel emotional about any discussions concerning puppies.

Juliette de Bairacli Levy was promoting the natural rearing of puppies 58 years ago. I am encouraged when I see registered breeders promoting the natural rearing of puppies. I sometimes meet owners of purebred dogs who have been asked to sign a contract by the registered breeder that they continue to feed their dog a natural diet.

Thank you for the info about the book.  My puppy Nugget loves cooked and raw vegetables as well as fruit.  I have been hesitant to feed raw due to concern about bones, but have since learned that it is cooked bones that are a problem.  The vet prescribed a special kibble for my dog after he ate a rock (which he passed after given anesthesia, but at least before they cut him open!)  When reading the vet's notes on the barium study done after, I saw that he had written the barium passed through the GI tract apparently faster than expected and he wrote "hyper-motility", ? wheat/gluten intolerance.  I did not have the opportunity to speak to the vet after I read his note as we were travelling.  However, when I looked at the food he had prescribed, it's first ingredient is wheat!  Since then, I have begun researching more on diet.   I am a nurse and have some knowledge of nutrition for people, but dog nutrition is new to me.  Our other setters just ate whatever dry food we could afford to give them many years ago and fortunately never had any problems.

The pet food industry spent millions every year on marketing, and one of the most clever marketing ploys is the prescribed diet. They know that once they have the vets prescribing, they have a captive market, because many people will say "I have to feed this, because my vet says so, and I trust my vet". What they don't understand is, vets only receive 3 hours 'education' on nutrition in all their years of studying, and that 'education' is provided by up to 3 corporate food companies.  Mars, Proctor and Gamble and Colgate Palmolive to give the brands their proper names,

When my Tallulah was having problems with what we now know was malabsorption, she developed struvite crystals in her urine. The vet said "I know you won't like this, but she needs Hills (Colgate Palmolive) KD as this diet is designed to help these kind of issues".  I asked him was it was about the KD which could give her what she needed which I couldn't add or subtract from her diet.  He didn't have a clue, so I looked into it myself and discovered all the ingredients of KD were the same as the standard Hills you can purchase in a pet store - apart from INCREASED SALT!!!  That's all!!! and their salt, will be crap sodium - processed to the hilt as ever, so I added Himalayan pink salt to Tallulah's food. End of crystals!!! The reason? She was a poor drinker, and increasing salt made her more thirsty, which of course flushed her kidneys.

As I say, the pet food marketers are so cunning in how they weed their way into people's psyche. 

One year at Crufts,. I went to visit the Hills stand. I spoke to one of the reps and said "I have a dog with Addison's Disease" what do you recommend I feel my dog. They spent a good 1/2 hour telling me all about their 'wonderful' food, and why it was essential that my dog had their I/D product, because "your vet will tell you when you have Addison's Disease, you need to carefully balance all your nutrients on a daily basis so ensure you maintain sodium and potassium in particular".  REALLY???????????   I then told them.  Actually, my dog hasn't got Addison's Disease - I have, so can you please tell me why I am not given this magical food from my doctor so that I can careful balance my sodium and potassium on a daily basis? 

Their marketing is monumental bullshit. Having Addison's Disease, I need replacement cortisone's, and the finest ingredients to support my digestive/immune system.  I could never get that from a bag of highly processed food. At least as a human I have a choice as to whether I consume processed food or fresh good quality foods and accept the consequences of processed food.  Dogs don't have a choice.  They get what their owners give them and often that is what is most convenient, rather than what is best :-(

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