I have a miniature Bullterrier with anxiety and OCD. Unfortunately this is very common with the breed. I have been advised to give him Prozac based on the research by Dr Nicholas Dobman.
My boy Mason is 18 months old, and has been chasing his tail since 6 months of age. We have had success using your products, and with the help of a behaviourist have calmed him down, but he still chases his tail on a daily basis.
I have lots of time and patience to keep working with my boy, and to try and give him a normal life. I just want to check that if this is genetics, that I am doing the right thing using the natural approach. I don’t want him to go on medication but I need to make sure I’m doing the right thing for him.
Thank you for your enquiry.
Firstly, well done for achieving success with our products. Could you tell us a little more about which ones you have used, for how long, and the benefits seen?
Can you also provide a full list of everything your boy eats during the course of a typical week? (Include all food, tit-bits, supplements, remedies, treats and anything scavenged.)
Also detail all medication being given, and the dosages.
Thank you for your reply.
We work with Caroline Lewis who introduced me to your products in October.
We have been using Sound Sensitivity, Fears and Anxieties, and Grief Relief - 3 drops 3 times daily, plus half a teaspoon of Digestion and Vitality twice a day for six months. We added Immunity 4 weeks ago. During stressful times we increase the drops, sometimes giving double.
When we started on the products Mason was extremely noise sensitive. Bin day would leave him shaking under the table petrified with fear. He couldn’t settle during the day, and collapsed with exhaustion at night. He also couldn’t cope with the children leaving the house for school. The remedies plus Caroline's calming techniques have been amazing for helping him cope with day to day life. He now feels safe enough in the house to sleep during the day. Although evenings are still a struggle for him, we have seen improvements here too, and some evenings he will come and settle with me on the sofa.
We feed him raw. In October he could only eat chicken and rabbit, but since the Digestion settled his stomach, we have added haddock & kangaroo to his diet. We give him cooked chicken or JR pet products pate for treats. Then he has a couple of Ostrich bones each week because the chewing helps calm him.
Now we have calmed Mason down, we can see a pattern to his behaviour. He has one week of being extremely hyped, where he will be running round the house like crazy, followed by a week of anxiousness where he will pace, pant and struggle to settle. This is the hardest week to stop him chasing his tail. The week following this, he is tired and everything is slow. He will often cry too. The last week he’s the most settled, but he will still chase his tail - although it’s much easier to stop him. Then the cycle repeats again.
Mason is still intact so hormones are high. He’s just got over stud tail which was a big step back for us.
He’s not on any medication. The breeder has recommended we put him on Prozac, but so far we have just been using Caroline's techniques and the Vince the Vet products.
Fab! Caroline is great!
For an extremely sensitive dog, these are great strides forward! Well done!
Because of the close relationship between the gut microbiome, intestinal health, the region of the brain that monitors for potential danger (located predominantly the limbic part of the CNS) and HPA axis - all of which moderate fight / flight arousal and sensitivity to triggers giving rise to anxiety / stress - diet plays a crucial role in mood and behaviour.
With this in mind, clinical experience over the last 39 years has taught us that the healthiest, most calming diet for many anxious and / or reactive dogs, is a single protein raw food (high quality meat, offal and bone) that best suits an individual dog, plus the right natural supplements and remedies. Keeping the diet as simple and as nutritious as possible, provides all the micronutrients necessary for optimum microbiome-gut-brain function, which positively impacts mood and behaviour. It also helps to avoid the risk of adverse effects caused by dietary sensitivities and / or intolerances, which is increasingly likely the more varied a diet becomes. (Picture a child having a wide range of different foods and drinks, some of which trigger hyperexcitability and other behavioural changes.)
It is worth therefore, considering trialing one of our single protein raw recipes instead of the different raw foods currently being fed, and stopping all else but the Digestion, Vitality, Immunity and Ultimate Anxiety remedies. Turkey with turkey offal is often a good choice, and this would help determine if it has a more calming effect than chicken and the other meats. This would only need to be fed for around 10 days to determine its impact. Beef or lamb could then be tried if no positive changes are evident.
Next step would be to gradually increase the amount of supplements until giving 1 teaspoon per 10kg bodyweight daily, divided between meals.
If you do go down this route do let us know how you're getting on in a few weeks, so we can advise further.
Given the significant improvements already described, giving Prozac at this stage isn't indicated, as in my opinion mind-altering drugs such as these should be used as a last resort.
Thank you so much for the information.
Mason is definitely calmer on chicken, if we have setbacks we always go back to this single protein.
I had been told that feeding a single protein can increase the chances of the dog becoming intolerant to the protein which is why I’ve tried to add variety to his diet. He loves chicken & would happily eat it everyday. We have tried him with turkey before but it seemed to increase the amount he was licking his paws.
I will keep you updated with Mason's progress, I’m more than happy for you to share his story so far.
If chicken calms Mason, there is no need to feed anything other than this plus the recommended supplements for now.
With this in mind you might like to read 'Know Your Raw'.
Contrary to popular belief, feeding a single meat which suits a particular dog, in conjunction with the right supplements, is highly beneficial for most diet-related problems, and almost invariably gives the best results. This is because it provides the maximum amount of nourishment with the minimum number of ingredients and consequently, lowest number of potential allergens. And as long as this diet supports health, there is no need to change it.
We've rarely seen a dog become sensitive to a single protein raw, even after many, many years, when given with our supplements, as they support the development of a more balanced and less reactive immune system over time. On the other hand, we regularly see dogs prone to dietary sensitivities, who have been fed multiple meats or a diet of rotating animal proteins, go on to become sensitive to all, leaving very few - if any - meats that can be tolerated. For this reason, it is preferable to stay with a single protein raw, unless circumstances change and this is no longer the best option.
I hope this helps, and do keep us posted, so we can advise further.
To be continued...