My Pal Buddy
A True Story
It was only by accident that I discovered some of the potential indirect benefits of using a premium dog food. About a year ago, a friend of mine was relocating across country and asked me to take care of his best friend “Buddy”, a two-year-old boxer with a very sweet disposition. Buddy would be staying with me for up to 3 months. My friend loved this dog, almost loved it to death. Because Buddy was literally his best friend, my friend was constantly smothering this dog with affection, providing Buddy with no exercise, rules or boundaries. This resulted in Buddy becoming an extremely neurotic, insecure dog with acute separation anxiety, and self-destructive chewing habits. He would foam and refuse to eat when left alone and seemed to live in a constant state of worry and fear. Since my friend’s work schedule had recently become more irregular, Buddy’s vet had put him on sedatives to control his anxiety and neurotic behavior. The pills worked to a point, but left Buddy listless and in a constant stupor without much of a personality. To make matters worse, my friend tended to overcompensate for Buddy’s anxiety by feeding him heaping portions of commercial canned dog food topped off by some “animal byproduct” type treat for every meal. So, between his diet, lack of exercise, medication and anxieties, Buddy suffered from constant diarrhea and weight loss regardless of how much he ate. He was not a happy dog but my friend simply tried to manage around the problems not solve them. I had taken care of Buddy for shorter periods before and I could manage his behavior if I scheduled my entire life around him. However, I would not be able to do that this time.
A couple of days after Buddy arrived I decided that if I was to help the dog it was overdue for some tough love. I immediately put Buddy on a regular routine of obedience lessons (to establish discipline and structure in his life), behavior conditioning (to help him overcome some of his anxieties and neurotic behaviors), exercise and a high quality diet (for his overall health and to help him gain weight and improve his digestion). We have had our dogs on a holistic food for years and had always found it to be affordable, great for our dogs’ overall health, energy levels, and weight maintenance. Since we knew that our preferred food was nutritionally complete and contained none of the fillers, preservatives and dubious byproducts found in most commercial dog food, and because the food was guaranteed fresh, we would be sure Buddy would at least have a strong foundation for his rehabilitation. What we didn’t realize was how fast we would see improvements in his health. After just 3 days of putting Buddy on this new food his digestion had improved completely, no more diarrheas. His energy levels were up, and he was putting on badly needed weight. After just 2 weeks, we began weaning him off his medication and at that point we noticed something remarkable. Although his energy level and fitness were increasing because of his diet and exercise, he was at the same time becoming calmer and less anxious. He was now fit enough to chase balls all day but he stopped chewing at his crate and he was more focused during his obedience training sessions. After a month, Buddy no longer foamed at the mouth when left alone and his other anxieties had diminished significantly. Because he was calmer and less anxious, his obedience training progressed more rapidly. By the time Buddy went back to my friend he wasn’t taking any medication and almost a year later Buddy is doing great. He now maintains his proper weight, attends doggy day care a couple of times a week, and most importantly, he is a happy, well adjusted and lovable dog who no longer becomes anxious when left alone.
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