You are here:

Dogs/Raw food diet and auto immune disease


QUESTION: I recently took my 3 year old border collie/ terrier mix to the vet because I felt he looked really fat all the sudden. After lots of money, test and surgery the doctor concluded that they don't really know exactly what he had but the he was retaining fluid in his chest and abdomin and that he guessed it was some type of auto immune disease he had never seen. He suggested a low fat diet for him along with a lot of other medications. He mentioned that the higher fat diet would cause him to retain more fluid. I was actually thinking of switching him to a raw diet but my concern is that because the fat content is so high it might me a problem. What is your thoughts on higher fat diet with and fluid retention in the body. Is a raw diet the best way to get the best nutrition to help heal my pet?

ANSWER: Hi Deanna,

It's very concerning to me but not surprising that the vet didn't find out what's wrong and suggest lots of meds. That's a typical scenario.

You didn't mention what food he is on now. That helps me determine what might have happened in the past. As well as recommendations for transitioning.

It sounds like you must have been doing a little research into a raw food based diet because you are considering it. That's great, doing a lot of research will help you and your dog a lot.

We are very big proponents of a raw food diet. We have healed a lot of cats and dogs that come to into our store with various ailments by transitioning them to a raw diet.

At the very least, we get them off the cheap commercial grocery store type foods and into premium grain free diets. Making sure there is plenty of moisture in the diet as well as the very much needed enzymes and probiotics will go a long way to healing when not even on a raw diet.

I don't believe I've had anyone come to us with water retention problems before. That's not too common a complaint.

Converting to a raw based diet is usually the highest rated and best course of action for most any ailment. Taking a dog back to what nature intended for them to eat and thrive does wonders.

The more you process foods, the worse they are for us as well as our pets. In a nut shell that's why raw is best, then homemade diets, then canned, and at the bottom of the barrel is dry foods.

We don't even feed any dry food to our dogs and cats anymore. It's hard to digest, void of moisture and cannot provide them the needed nutrients.

We found that people who have had dogs allergic to certain proteins from dry food, can allow their dog to eat the same protein in raw without the adverse reactions.

My best guess is that he would do extremely well on a raw food diet without worry about the fat content.

The fat from dry or even canned will have worse effects on a dog than raw fat.

You can get many commercially prepared raw foods for dogs with various fat levels. I would contact the manufacturers and ask them if they've had any experience with this issue as well.

You can find many manufacturers on the internet. Many of them allow you to put in your zip code to find a supplier near you. One that we carry and does this is

I would not suggest using grocery store raw foods that are for people for him. The bacteria count is a lot higher and it is not balanced as a commercially prepared raw. You can buy organic or grass fed meats and make you own homemade, you just need to make sure it is balanced with calcium and other needed nutrients to make it complete.

There are many good books on Amazon or your local library that would help you create good diets.

But I'm not a veterinarian so I can really ethically tell you to go off of any prescriptions and just feed raw. I don't think that's even legal. But I can tell you what I did above because it's just what we've experienced in other situations.

My best advice would be for you to find a local holistic vet. These guys are great. They are not only trained in medicine like your current vet but they are trained in healing through nutrition. And you know what Hippocrates said, "Let Food Be They Medicine."

You can ask around in the local pet food stores or do a search. If you find one, get an appointment and they will have his records sent to them so they know what's been going on. They can help you get off any prescriptions and transition to a raw food diet.

If you choose not to or cannot find a holistic vet and just want to get going into it, write back to me and I can help you make a transition.

If you do, just let me know everything that is in his current diet and include brand names. That will help me determine how fast to transition him.

I wouldn't talk much to your current vet about a raw food diet. They are not trained in nutrition so they don't know anything about a raw food diet. What they do not know, they will not recommend. We've seen this a lot with the local vets around us.

We have a regular vet for medical things but we also have a holistic vet we go to when and if we need to.

If there is anything else I can be of help with, let me know.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much! All your information is very helpful. I have been feeding both my dogs California Natural Chicken and Rice formula dry food and adding a scoop of wet food recently to entice my sick dog to eat. After researching the raw diet the past few days I decided to take the plunge and introduce the raw diet to both my dogs. They ate in up right away. My sick dog hasn't eaten this way in a long time. The raw food brand in Small Batch..local here to California. Do you know much about this food? Would you recommend one brand over another?


Hi Deanna,

The California Natural food is a fine food. We used to carry it until they sold out to Proctor and Gamble. And as they have done in the past, the cheapen the ingredients and it is or will become a lower grade dog food.

That's only part of it however as P&G does test on live animals. So we will not promote a product that we have any knowledge of that does this. We immediately removed it from our shelves.

There are many good foods out there, people just don't need to support this practice. Of course letting as many people know that they do this is the hard part.

We don't carry Small Batch raw foods but I did look at their website and it looks like a great food. I think you made a great choice.

There are a couple of things I would add to their diet with this. You should apply a powder supplement of enzymes and probiotics.

I know that raw meat does contain some enzymes and probiotics but I don't believe they carry enough of the digestive enzymes.

The reason is that most all commercial raw food manufacturers use muscle meat for the protein source. This is good but it don't contain very many digestive enzymes.

The digestive enzymes are mostly located in the intestinal tract and the bile duct systems.

So to provide added digestive enzymes and the helpful probioicts, we use and carry several brands in a dry powder form that you can just sprinkle on their food at each meal.

The one I like the best is from Animal Essentials. They make one that contains both enzymes and probiotics. They are in a spore form so refrigeration is not necessary.

You can probably find them in the same store you buy Small Batch or Amazon or off of Animal Essentials website. I like all there products as they seem to be very good quality.

We also add Nordic Naturals Omega 3 pills as well. We usually use canned sardines as there extra omega's but a Nordic rep came into our store and showed us this product. They use sardines and anchovies so it's a good alternative.

We will also add a raw egg or two once a week. We use organic eggs but at least use free range.

Other than that, just make sure to rotate their proteins occasionally. Use chicken one time then some lamb or beef another.

I think that is great you made the transition. Your dogs will live longer and thrive the way nature intended them to because of it.

If cost ever become an issue, you can use some dry food as a base. Maybe one meal dry and the other raw.

I would only use grain free dry however. Some good ones are Orijen, Wilderness, The Great Life, Accna, Core, Before Grains, and Instinct just to name a few.

Good luck with your babies, let me know how he does on the raw and how it works for the fluid retention.

Take care and let me know if you have any further questions.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Roger McLeskey


Can answer all nutritional information for all dogs. Common problems with food, supplements, weight control, allergies, fleas, etc. Questions regarding raw food, homemade food, skin & coat issues, ect. Can't and/or will not do medicinal type questions that the vet takes care of.


I am certified in Dog Nutrition. Over 6 years now I've owned a natural pet food retail store. I've worked with hundreds of dogs and there owners to achieve better health. We promote a healthy balanced species related diet. This is the way nature made your pet to thrive. Fortunately for those who cannot or wish not to feed a raw based diet, there are alternatives with supplements and cooked food. Just don't let processed food be there only diet. Food is the most powerful medicine. Heal the core of the animal and the rest will take care of itself. We've turned the lives of many dogs around. There parents come back into the store and comment to us on how there dog acts like a real dog again. Our business is thriving and we continue to help many.

We work with Second Chance Companions, Must Love Dogs, members of ASPCA, HSUSA and started our own personal "Red Head Rescue" (non chartered) for stray dogs and rescue dogs from high kill shelters. We've been able to heal the many health ailments these dogs have and place them in good homes.

Dog Food Decoded - How To Choose A Health Diet For Your Dog and Your Budget - Available on Amazon in Kindle format or Paperback. Various articles for in store and web.

Certified - Canine Nutrition Level Three. Last 7 years I've been working with veterinarians, holistic veterinarians, attending seminars and best of all, real life experience with hundreds of customer dogs and cats. I've seen what works and does not work. Feeding a proper species appropriate diet works for most ailments. We've taken away our petís natural diet and caused most of todayís problems.

Awards and Honors

Past/Present Clients
Many satisfied pet owners coming to our store for nutritional help and advice.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]