Cleo, our Canaan dog, turned 18 years old at the beginning of the month. That is almost unheard of these days, especially for medium and large-size dogs (she’s about 35 pounds). What’s even more phenomenal is that, before we switched her to a species-appropriate diet, she was very frail, in constant pain, and grumpy (because of the pain). Whenever another dog would get close to her, she would react by growling and biting at them. If we took her for a walk or a hike, she was noticeably stiff and sore the next day. So many of our senior dogs have joint pain and arthritis, and Cleo was no exception.
Things are different now. Once we put Cleo on a species-appropriate diet, she did a complete turnaround. Her pain and stiffness lessened considerably, she was able to go on hikes and walks with us, she was much calmer and more patient with other dogs, and her energy level increased. She got stronger, and her body shape began to change–she gained some lean muscle and got much stronger.
The change in diet was so profound that, to see her today (especially at meal time), you could easily believe that she’s only 7 or 8 years old. As soon as she smells food, she is front and center to make sure she’s part of the preparation process. When it’s time to carry the food out to where we feed the dogs, she races ahead, leaping out of the dog door (seriously–she gets airborne) and spinning in circles until we get the food down. This is an 18-year-old dog, and she acts like a dog 1/2 her age.
She went through a bout recently where she wasn’t feeling well, but she has since rallied (again, with the help of an appropriate diet) and is back to her spunky, beautiful self.
I share this story here to show the power of a species-appropriate diet. No matter how old your dog or cat is, what health they are in, what breed they are, or what their activity level is, proper nutrition–a species-appropriate diet–is the cornerstone of optimal health. Whenever someone asks me what my number 1 recommendation is to help improve their pet’s well-being and make sure they thrive at an optimal level for years and years, my answer is always the same: get them on a species-appropriate diet.