Switching to raw food at age 12

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eileennellie's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-21

Is it safe to switch Paris from Science Diet Weight Reduction (which works well, she lost about 9 pounds and is 60 lbs now) to a raw diet? She has been taking Rimadyl for almost three months, and she seems noticeably aged since then. We started Rimadyl due to her acting under the weather, but the timing of her behavior coincides directly with Dobie's passing, so I am thinking of stopping the Rimadyl and trying a raw diet to see if she bounces back. She also yelped when getting onto the futon and again when we tried to lift her off of it, so she (we) spent the whole night there. She got up with no problems in the morning and went to vet. No problem found, but we got Tramadol to use in case she seems to be in any pain again. I gave her 1/2 and then 1 50mg pill and it seems to make her extremely whiny and agitated, so no more of those. I'm worried that the Rimadyl is causing more harm than good, as she just seems older and slower than before she took it. She never had pain bad enough to yelp until after taking it. I'm also worried that even a gradual diet change may be too hard on her. I'm terrified of her declining or suffering and don't know what to do to help her. Could a switch to a raw diet cause her any harm at her age?

 

I'm no vet, but any of the pain medications that are an NSAID can cause issues with Dobermans. That said, sometimes the risk is worth it.... but if it does not seem to be helping, I'd take her off it. I had an older bitch on Previcox for over a year with good results - it is also an NSAID. She had issues with her knees - the tendons had just worn after 10 years and she was old enough that I didn't feel that surgery was a good option. 

There are other classes of pain medications out there, and I would ask your vet about them. You can also look at vet chiropractic and acupuncture to ease pain. 

One thing I would not personally recommend is making big dietary changes in an old dog. It could cause more problems. Any change should be made very gradually.  I always fed a very high end grain free kibble that was fish based - still do. I add to it cooked eggs, plain greek yogurt (not fat free), cottage cheese, fresh fruits and veggies. Again, change should be gradual. 

eileennellie's picture
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I didn't give her the Rimadyl last night, and she yelped when trying to move once this morning, after she had gone out to the bathroom, so I gave her a Tramadol. We are going to get x rays done tomorrow, and a have her teeth cleaned. I think I will add the yogurt to her food tomorrow, after she comes home from vet. She has always liked it, hopefully it will cheer her up.

I will say that with old dogs that have limited time, sometimes you feed them what they will eat - just be careful as it's not fun when they get the runs!

When my Louise was a young show dog, she used to not want to eat while traveling. I used to drive through McDonald's and get her a cheeseburger..... she always ate those - haha. Once she was done showing (at age 2), she always ate great till she got old and creaky.... and then she got a bit picky again. A few yummy add ons to her kibble helped.

eileennellie's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-21

I decided to not feed her yogurt, as she has always gotten very gassy whenever she has probiotic treats. Maybe I'll start boiling her some chicken to add with her food. I just want her to be as happy as possible. She has calcification on her spine that is causing her discomfort. Kind of like the humps you see on some elderly people. So pain Meds from now on. At least it's rainy and cold outside, so she doesn't feel like she's missing out on anything, she avoids getting her feet wet at all costs. Unfortunately, the only animal chiropractor I can find in our area treats horses.