6 Things I Wish I Knew Before I got a Dog


By Tedi Sarah

This post is in loving memory of Cody. It is written in hopes of preventing other dogs from sharing similar fates. It has been modified from it’s original posting on TediSarah.com.


It was almost midnight. I sat eye to eye with my sweet Cody who was on a gurney, his left paw hanging over the edge as I held it tightly in my hand. I stroked his head with my other hand and told him how much I loved him, how much he meant to me and how sorry I was that he was in so much pain and I couldn’t help him. The tears were flowing down my face as I sobbed and looked into his big, beautiful, kind brown eyes for the last time. The emergency vet administered the lethal injection to end his suffering and just like that the boy who had been my sidekick for 14 years slipped away…

Losing him would have been hard under any circumstances, but the amount of suffering that this loving, innocent creature had to endure was utterly unbearable to watch. Cody had gone into acute kidney failure just a few days before he ultimately died. Kidney failure is a terrible way to go and the suffering that accompanies it is horrific. But in hindsight there were so many things that may have prevented such a horrible death. Things that may have been able to prevent his kidney disease all together.


Here are The 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got A Dog:

1. Read Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Cats & Dogs. Nutrition is the foundation of health and wellness. Human and animal bodies are natural machines and what we put in them undoubtedly affects how they work. This book is an extensive guide for helping our dogs and cats live long, healthy lives. This book was my guide for switching Cody to a real food diet. It truly helped me add years to Cody’s life and I only wish I had found it sooner.

2. Feed your dog real food. Kibble, which we are led to believe is the best source of food for our dogs, is literally devoid of nutritional value. It’s comparable to humans eating crackers day in and day out for our whole lives. We wouldn’t be very healthy now would we? And the quality of food used in most commercial pet foods is appalling as well. This is because it’s more economical to the major pet food companies to make pet food out of the byproducts deemed unfit for human consumption. If it’s not something you would put in your body…why put it in theirs?

3. Listen to your dog. Dogs are master communicators. It’s us humans that don’t do a good job understanding them. Cody had absolutely been trying to tell us he didn’t feel well before he died. We just misunderstood the signs. Read Inside of A Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, which offers scientific research as to how dogs view the world and how they try to communicate.

4. You are your pet’s best advocate. Do your research. Cody had developed arthritis when he was a young adult dog. In hindsight this was most likely caused by poor nutrition from the typical kibble diet. He was indefinitely put on a medication called Rimadyl to treat the symptoms of arthritis. Years later during my own research I learned the scary truth that Rimadyl is only intended for short-term use and prolonged use can lead to kidney failure. After learning this information we weaned him off the medication, started alternative treatments and changed his diet. His arthritis disappeared before our eyes. There had been better, safer treatments out there all along. Sadly, most likely due to the many years on Rimadyl, kidney failure ultimately took Cody’s life. Do your research and voice your concerns!

5. Skin issues are the first indication of internal issues. For both humans and animals our bodies’ first line of defense when something doesn’t feel right is to try to flush it out of our system. And this often happens through our skin. If your pet has a skin issue that you can’t figure out, keep this in mind. Instead of covering up the symptoms with medications try to find the root cause of the problem.

6. Explore alternative treatments. After taking Cody off of Rimadyl we were able to cure much of his arthritis with the combination of a healthy diet, glucosamine & chondroitin supplements and laser therapy. Just weeks before he died Cody was rolling on his back kicking his feet up in the air like a happy puppy. He was more fit and limber when he died at 14 than he had been when he was 6 years old. Look into holistic treatments that take into consideration the underlying causes of health issues in our pets, not just the symptoms.

About the author:

Tedi Sarah, M.A., is a blogger, vegan advocate, therapist and animal lover living in NYC. (TediSarah.com)

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