Some people might think this is hyperbole. But, trust me when I say this: Food changes everything.
Those who think I’m exaggerating must be the lucky ones who have a solid gut for themselves or their pups (a dog, really, like Emmett who can eat a plastic Christmas wreath that’s merely scented of cranberries and be fine the next day… or two loaves of zucchini bread… or an eight-layer dip… or…). Dogs, or people, who don’t fall into that “solid gut” category, well, it’s a different story.
In short, here’s what led us to today: Baby Cooper’s fur fell out. His skin broke out. He suffered from chronic ear infections and anal gland problems. We tested food after food after food. He got bloody diarrhea. We put him on an allergy restriction diet that took ages. That determined that he can’t eat chicken or beef. He seemed to have issues with additives, maybe preservatives, maybe something else. He still had chronic ear infections and itchy skin and goopy eyes and on and on… until we started cooking for him. He stopped having bloody diarrhea (yay!) and his coat improved. His ears did a smidge, too.
He was eating (and we were cooking) salmon or lamb, quinoa, mixed vegetables, steamed apples, and boiled potatoes, plus a vegetarian multivitamin/mineral, a calcium supplement, and two huge scoops of coconut oil. His allergy symptoms cleared up, which was awesome, but he was eating SO MUCH FOOD just to get enough calories. We were spending all our time cooking for Cooper, then cleaning up after cooking for Cooper, then grocery shopping for Cooper (not to mention how much it all cost).
Then, one day, magic appeared in my inbox.
The email was from The Honest Kitchen, and it said something to the effect of: Hey! We have this new line of Minimalist foods, and we’re offering pet bloggers a chance to try them!
I read through the ingredients, and two were ruled out immediately, but the third, Brave, could it be?
So, despite some misgivings about the exchange, I accepted. A box of Brave arrived mid-September, just as our world started to slowly fall apart as Lucas declined.
That trial box took us ages to finish. Why? Because I was so afraid of his bloody diarrhea reappearing. I did little bites of Brave here and there, slowly building up the quantities. At that point, the trial box had run out, so we ordered a 10-pound box online to see if the momentum could continue because he wasn’t sick. At all. That was mid-October, and it took us another week or so after that box arrived to get him to a full bowl. Then we lost Lucas, and my post about this fell by the wayside.
So, finally! Here’s where we are today: We have signed up for 10-lb box reorders at our local pet supplier. He is doing great. He is FINALLY gaining weight. Cooper, the little string bean, has exceeded 40 pounds (well, 40.2, but that’s exceeded!), and he’s had no ear infections. None. He does occasionally have an upset belly, but with everything he’s allergic to, plus being super high-strung, that’s to be expected.
He’s thriving on this food, truly.
It’s expensive, for sure, when compared to commercial dog foods. It’s about $120/box, but we were already spending $90/month on just his meat. We are keeping him on the same supplement regimen, and so it shakes out to be roughly the same amount per month.
But the time! Aw, lawrdy, the time! HOURS each week. Literal hours. Saved.
Also, no huge mess and no cooking huge amounts of meat every couple days. John will never eat salmon again.
I know that many of you come here looking for information about allergy-prone dogs and dogs with food allergies or sensitivities. Every dog is different, but for Cooper, the Brave formula did the trick. OMG… if they ever discontinued it, I would cry. Seriously, sob. No hyperbole here either.
Have you tried this food? Or another in the minimal line? If your dog is hyper-sensitive like Coop, what’s worked best for you?
Disclaimer: The Honest Kitchen sent me a trial box of Brave for Cooper to try.