So I talk about food and I talk about Stella, but I’ve never really talked about what Stella eats. She’s a very allergic little Frenchie, with a very sensitive stomach, and currently eats pressure-cooked quail, with a side of boiled potatos and steamed bok choy. We started her off on the same Natural Balance + boiled duck combo, because at quite an early age, we noticed she was severely allergic to beef and chicken. However, she eventually began to react to duck as well, so we decided to switch over to raw food. With our vet’s assistance (she draws on both holistic and conventional schools), we began the long road of getting her allergies under control. We started with raw rabbit, which was a good choice because it was an exotic white meat, good for allergies and sensitive dogs. We also had an allergy test done, and while allergy tests are not entirely reliable (there is a potential for false positives), her test was pretty spot-on. Among other things, it showed that Stella was allergic to gluten. We removed that from her diet entirely, and saw a huge improvement.
However, she began to flare up when she was on the rabbit – hives, swollen and itchy mouth area – but that may have been more to do with the gluten that was still present in her diet at the time. We removed rabbit from her diet just to be safe, but we are planning to re-introduce it in the near future. Stella is allergic to a lot of things, including chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb. And for some reason, she will not touch kangaroo or ostrich. When things were really crazy allergy-wise, we even tried every vegetarian option we could find including a home-cooked diet, as well as Natural Balance and Honest Kitchen vegetarian options, none of which went well. She just would not eat any of it.
[clockwise: boiled quail, bok choy, pressure-cooked quail bones]
Luckily, we seem to have found a diet that works for Stella, which as I mentioned earlier, is pressure-cooked quail (about 4/day) with boiled potatos and steamed bok choy. We’ve found that pressure-cooking the protein is a great way to get calcium in her diet because the bones become soft enough for her to safely ingest. Quail bones, for some reason don’t soften up as much as other proteins, so what we do is boil the quail, remove the meat from the bones, and then pressure cook the bones afterward (then we finely chop up the bone just as an extra precaution). We have a bit of a system going. It’s a little tedious, but I just don’t want to risk Stella ingesting a sharp piece of bone. They say that dogs’ stomachs are acidic enough to break down bone, but if a piece of bone were to get lodged in a dog’s trachea, it could be a problem – especially with French Bulldogs who can often have narrower-than-normal tracheas. We also give her a whole food multi-vitamin (because she is neither on a commercial dog food nor a raw food diet which includes organ meat, a great source of vitamins and minerals) and coconut oil for omega-6, which dogs need.As for treats, she loves apples and pears, and we’ve found that human gluten-free products work better for her, as long as we don’t give her too much (there’s often more sugar than is healthy for dogs).