Bogas started eating the conventional packaged meat dog’s food since he was very little, even before I met him (you can read more about his story here). He ate many different kinds of the usual “pet biscuits”, from several brands, from the cheapest to the most expensive ones. He never ate extra sugar or dairy, or other industrial processed “human foods”, as he was always part of more simple and natural vegan lifestyles’ environments. Besides that, he always loved and occasionally ate sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, some nuts, homemade popcorn and homemade bread.
As I’ve told you on another post, Bogas was always a very energetic dog. He could be quite impatient and demanding. The trips to the vet started to be very challenging, as soon as he understood what they did there – all the vaccination process, checking his weight and so on. Those places could really, really stress him. Because of that, I had to stop the vets from weighing him and giving him shots through his nose, when there was no other vaccination method available.
Apart from his extremely enthusiastic personality, he didn’t have any physical serious issue. However, over the years, I noticed that his intestines weren’t functioning at their best. He, sometimes, whined during the night, with diarrhea. He was always so respectful, that he didn’t do anything at home until he was very much in need. He held till the end. Sometimes, he could no longer hold it and so he did it in the bathtub. I remember to be impressed with his kind attitude, although his despair. You can imagine how stressful it was also to us, having to wake up at dawn, to take him for a walk.
He had always scratched himself a lot, especially before going out or during other euphoric moments. Although his hair was pretty, he used to lose lots of hair. I’ve just assumed that fact as part of a normal dog’s life (and I think it is the reality of many dogs).
His First Skin Crisis
He was about two years old when he got his first skin crisis. He started to bite and scratch himself a lot. The vets did some skin tests on him, which never showed anything special, and gave us countless medical prescriptions. Nothing seemed to work. We went back to the vet, where they told us that he had allergies tendency. As you can imagine, that sentence took us nowhere.
We, then, put him a dog’s collar, as he already had a big wound at his back. The first time I put it, he got still, really static for a couple of minutes (he does that when something is not so well). After that first short impact, the collar really became his friend. He may even wag his tail before we put it, it’s really funny!
Of course, as a macrobiotic vegan practitioner, I knew his food was one of the worsts out there, how that was probably affecting him and how that could be related to his skin condition and other specific issues. However, I admit I didn’t want to dive into the routine of preparing his food, assuming he was a natural meat eater.
At the same time, I related his condition to the fact that he enjoyed so much swimming in fountains, rivers and puddles. So, we stopped allowing him to swim for a while. I don’t know how much that contributed, but it was a matter of time until he got back to his “regular” state of being.
However, his hair continued following a lot, he kept scratching himself, as always, he continued having diarrhea once in a while and his personality was still very challenging (although he was sweet and friendly).
When me and Vasco went living together, we decided to give him a better food. Someone has told us that the food he was eating was one of the worst foods ever, as it had some particular fatty ingredients that could really damage the liver (a specific cheap brand from the supermarket). We also, suddenly, had this thought of how great it would be if he could deal well with vegan food, like many other dogs seem to do. So, we bought some processed organic vegan dog’s food. There he was, completely vegan.
At first, it was great. His poop almost didn’t smell and he seemed to feel good. As usual, we had to add some wet tin food (organic and vegan) to his biscuits, as he never enjoyed eating only dry food.
After a month or two, Bogas started to have some intestinal issues, such as diarrhea and flatulence. We read that the food we were giving him wasn’t the best, because it contained soy and cereals, which didn’t seem to be the proper food for dogs. However, we decided to prolong his vegan path, always attentive to his condition and ready to change it at any moment, as we were so happy about it. In my mind, dogs should eat meat, as their bodies need it and are totally prepared to digest it. On the other side, and considering dogs as omnivores, we were getting to know other dogs’ experiences on vegan lifestyles, and they seemed to succeed very well.
We, then, bought another vegan dog’s food, from a different brand, this time one very much recommended by some friends. After a couple of days of eating that, Bogas had an allergy, vomiting a lot. At that point, we stopped the vegan food and bought some processed “regular meat” one, still with better quality than the previous one, including some organic versions as well. He went back to “normal” and we left behind the idea of him living as a vegan.
A Big Life’s Change
A few months after, he got his second skin crisis, this time a more serious one, biting and scratching himself more than ever. Again, we put him a dog collar. I didn’t want to take him to the same vet as I used to, because I knew they probably wouldn’t do anything good and productive.
Fortunately, a friend of us told us about a holistic vet she knew. Once we got there, I felt we were in a completely different environment, nothing like the other vet places I’ve been to. Although Bogas was very stressed, as he was having lots of itching, he was able to calm himself about ten or fifteen minutes after entering the vet’s office. I remember the vet woman spoke to him in a very peaceful way. She didn’t force him to anything. In fact, she didn’t even touch him.
She told us he was the type of dogs that has two personalities: one peaceful and one anxious, and that it was very natural that we, sometimes, felt frustrated about his euphoric way of dealing with other people, due to his extreme enthusiasm. As she was speaking, I thought I was dreaming. Finally, someone from the “outside world” who deeply understood what was like to live with Bogas.
She assumed his liver was facing some difficulties and that his immune system was weak. He needed to detox from all the processed food he had been eating. She prescribed whole supplements, homeopathic remedies and a completely new diet – raw meat, cooked vegetables and walnuts. As a vegetarian, she totally understood our resistance in buying meat, but she also explained to us how dogs really need it.
There it was, a great opportunity for a marvelous change in Bogas’ life and I was finally ready to commit to it. The difficult thing was facing the fact that a part of our lives was going to be at the butchery. Anyway, at the end of the consultation, I hugged her and I thanked her for her blessed words and advice.
We put everything into practice and, WOW, we have never seen him so happy with any other food as with that one!!!
At the same time, we found out he got fleas, which was really challenging, as we didn’t want to give him any chemical product. We ended up giving him some, just to make it go away, keeping everything else as recommended.
As a complement, I started washing him with oats, as I knew it was good for the skin, which reduced his itching and made his hair look amazingly clean and soft.
After less than two weeks, we started noticing significant gradual changes, and, after four months, he was a new dog. He no longer bit or scratched himself, at any moment; he gained much thicker, brighter and stronger hair, not falling off so much; he became more relaxed, although his enthusiasm was still there.
After that fantastic experience (with all the good and the bad), he recently had one more temporary skin crisis, although not so serious. This time, his body managed to heal much faster. I assumed that this last crisis happened because we started giving him lots of meat, almost no fiber, and no supplements at all, as the result of our own laziness, plus various occupations and buzzy minds. I was studying for my yoga exam at that time, being quite stressed, and me and Vasco were changing to a raw vegan diet, all at the same time. Bogas’ behavior is, of course, also an absorption of our personal issues, despite his own characteristics. It’s funny that I have the feeling that he followed us in a detox period: while we were detoxifying from cooked foods, he was detoxifying from excess meat.
Following his need for a new diet change, and having changed our own diet into raw (with amazing results), we decided to give him high raw as well (substituting the cooked vegetables for raw ones). At the same time, just for the record and for only a couple of days, we experimented replacing his meat for lentils and beans sprouts. Even though we were giving him lots of food, he was always hungry, searching for food in every waste container and, once again, having diarrhea, due to the excess of fiber (which now we know is not good for dogs).
We, then, kept his diet as high raw, still replacing the cooked vegetables by raw ones, including meat and following the proportions that the vet had initially prescribed. We also added a few of his previous supplements, that we considered as beneficial. He is better than ever!!! And we are truly happy with it.
What Bogas Eats
Quantities and Proportions
According to the holistic vet advice, Bogas eats twice a day. Each meal has about 600g of meat (with bone) and 300g of vegetables (mostly raw), a total of 1200g of meat and 600g of vegetables per day. These quantities are according to his weight, which is about 26-28 Kilos. This really satisfies him, in terms of flavor and quantity. It keeps him agile, energetic and radiant. Less than this is insufficient for him.
Description of One Meal
Smashed steamed sweet potato (the only cooked food he eats) + grated raw vegetables (ex. carrot, cucumber, celery, zucchini, cauliflower, watercress, arugula, sprouts).
Raw pumpkin and bell pepper puree (blended) or raw pumpkin and (a small piece of) avocado puree (blended) + grated raw vegetables (the same examples above).
A few drops of four homeopathic specific skin remedies (temporary).
One tablespoon of diatomaceous earth, a natural supplement for internal parasites (in every meal).
We, sometimes, add other whole supplements, such as spirulina, chlorella, kelp and wild herbs powder.
Smashing or blending is good to mix the flavors and to help his digestion (we always leave some chunks as well).
Raw meat with bone and without most of the fatty skin – only animals that he could hunt, like chicken, turkey, rabbit and duck. Bogas doesn’t tolerate well fish and he doesn’t like eating small birds, although he runs after them. It’s good to also add a small percentage of animal organs. Although we never gave him eggs, we heard that they might be nutricious for dogs, especially eaten with the shell.
Walnuts as snacks, that he hulls himself, or mixed in each meal (we noticed these really make the difference).
What Else Do We Do To Keep Him Healthy?
Besides his diet, it is crucial for Bogas to feel free, included, appreciated and validated, as much as possible (despite the general conditions), like we all do, in order to be happy. Of course, we must do this work internally, but life is a giant connection cycle, in which we choose if we want to resist it, or release it.
Me and Vasco are very present in his life. There were periods of time, in which Bogas could stay 6-8 hours alone at home. Nowadays, that doesn’t happen anymore, as we move towards a lifestyle free of rigid schedules.
We take Bogas with us almost everywhere we go. If, for instance, we go to a small grocery store, he patiently waits for us at the door (in this case, it’s very easy to keep an eye on him).
When we travel, he stays in a dog’s hotel (the best one we know), where people seem to treat him well. He continues eating exactly the same, as we prepare everything in advance, and they only have to defrost it and feed him. His skin keeps free of chemicals, as we specifically ask them to not give him any bath.
Exercising, Playing, Socializing and Breathing
Bogas visits parks, at least, twice a day. He walks with a leash and, as soon as we get there, he is free to run, play and socialize with other people and dogs. He had always been very friendly to others, so friendly that he may react to “strangers” as if he knows them for ages. He loves playing with stones, pine cones and balls.
However, sometimes it may happen that the energy between him and another dog may not function so well. In those situations, we simply call him, he comes and we bring his focus of attention to something else. These episodes happen more when he is recovering from his health issues, which is normal, as his vibration is not so high.
When balanced, Bogas easily attracts good energies. That is reflected in how people react to him in the street, for example. In those particular moments, we feel the privilege to be able to hear those lovely comments about him, that really makes us realize how people are capable of appreciating life as it is.
Skin and Hair
In order to keep his skin/hair shiny and relieved, we give him a bath once a week, using only water and oat. We first wash him fast with cold water. Then we put an oat mixture all over his body (about 1/2 a cup of oat flakes, blended with some water, till it gets creamy; we may add 1-2 tbsp of baking soda as well). We massage well his skin and comb his hair. Then, we quickly wash him again, with cold water.
If he swims somewhere or gets wet from a puddle of stagnant water, we give him a bath, as soon as he gets home (sometimes using only water, depending on how dirty he is).
We usually comb his hair when we go out. It’s good to keep his toxins moving inside, to remove “dead” hair (better outside, than inside our home) and to make his hair shine, as his skin oils spread. Besides, he loves it!
What About the Idea of Bogas Having a Vegan Diet?
Although we wish Bogas would be happy eating only vegan, we of course accept his dog’s natural condition. This is the best diet we could find for him, so far. However, we are constantly looking for better options, not only for him, but also for us. On the other hand, I guess we have already made progress, by stop contributing to the cruel and toxic pet-food industry and, therefore, improving his health.
We really hope not to cause any discomfort, by showing his meat diet, as we know it can be quite contradictory to our vegan lifestyle. It’s not our intention to promote this as the only way possible, we are simply sharing our experience. It’s all about priorities; in any case, we just want Bogas to be healthy.
Feel free to share your own experiences on dog’s food, they are very welcome. How else could we learn, if not by experience?