Switching to a Raw Food Diet

Hard boiled eggs and ten pounds of ground beef

Hard boiled eggs and ten pounds of ground beef

I surrender.

Season after season of watching my dog scratch and lick himself raw, paying veterinarians hundreds of dollars to tell me they don’t know why my dog (and so many other dogs they treat) have these skin issues, and reading heartbreaking accounts about deaths stemming from contaminated commercial dog food has led me to switching Kona to a raw food diet.

He typically starts scratching in June, when flea season blossoms with the warm, humid weather. Though I have yet to see a single flea on my self or in my home, I have spotted a few crawling around on Kona during the summer. His belly turns pink and he scratches and chews himself bald. I take him to the vet, they tell me he’s probably allergic to flea saliva and hand me a bottle of Prednisone and antibiotics, which brings only temporary relief. When summer comes to an end, his scratching usually stops and his fur grows back.

This year the scratching hasn’t stopped, and Kona is miserable. It’s December and it’s cold out, so I doubt there’s an abundance of fleas around. This seems like something beyond flea allergies. I’ve noticed he has a stronger odor, and his skin feels sort of waxy. I bathe him once a week, just to keep his smell under control. His typically silky fur feels brittle, and he’s licking his paws excessively.

I decided to try the homemade approach. I was a bit overwhelmed by the wide variety of homemade dog food sites there are. Should I cook it, or go raw? My husband likes the prey-model raw food diet. I suspect he fancies himself tossing whole raw chickens into the yard while Kona gnashes on them like his wild wolf ancestors. I wasn’t too comfortable with this one. The reality is my dog would most likely bury it instead of eating it, and we’d eventually end up with a raw chicken graveyard in our backyard. Eew.

One night I typed in “home made dog food” and this popped up. I found simple recipes for both cooked and raw diets, and nutrition information. The site eventually brought me to their product site, where they describe Kona’s exact symptoms, most likely caused by yeast (Candida albicans) overload.

Symptoms Of Yeast:

• Dog has stinky skin that comes from the inside. Does your dog stink right after a bath?
• Dog has goopy, stinky ears. Do you clean and deodorize your dog’s ears continually?
• Dog has irritated skin, paw licking and skin rashes. Are you up all night listening to your dog lick and dig?
• Dog has oily fur, flaky skin and brittle coat. Do you hesitate to pet your dog because of what ends up on your hands? Does your house smell like your “stale frito” dog?

I decided to order a box of Dinovite for large dogs with a bottle of fish oil. I received it on December 5th, and made a large-batch of raw food following their yeast starvation recipe. There is also a video that shows how to do it. I also bought ten small plastic containers so I could freeze individual portions and just pull them out of the freezer as needed.

Looks kind of like meatloaf!

Looks kind of like meatloaf!

Kona loves it. He inhales his food and seems to have a bit more energy, though so far his scratching is about the same. It’s been less than two weeks, and the website suggests using the product for three to six months because the yeast takes a while to go away.

At this point, I’m cautiously optimistic. There are hundreds of positive reviews about this product, so this give me some hope. Like most things natural, it will take time.

What kind of diet is your dog on? Have you ever used Dinovite, or fed a raw food diet to your pup? I’d love to hear from you!

13 thoughts on “Switching to a Raw Food Diet

  1. Very interesting post. 🙂 There is so much rubbish in bought dog food these days, you can only win by going this route. I am sure it can only benefit Kona. 🙂
    It’s just annoying that the vet did not suggest changing his food.
    My rescue (mongrel) dogs are pretty robust, and do eat kibble, but are fine on it. They also get rice and meat and I give them salmon oil, and joint supplements (glucosamine, chondroitin) daily, as they are now 10 and 14 years old.
    Good Luck to Kona 🙂


  2. I switched earlier this year from kibble to a dehydrated natural human grade food. I call it my “slow walk to raw” I’m dealing with allergies now with Harley but I think it’s mostly coming from his adjustment to this Charleston climate. I’ve ruled out fleas because Jax is fine. I’m giving him Dandelion and Milk Thistle now to see if that will help as I search for a new vet. The perils of loving a dog! Great review, love the honesty in your words. Please keep us updated so we can learn from your journey. Merry Christmas


    • Thanks for commenting. I will be posting Kona’s progress. I’m also searching for a vet with a more holistic background. I have a feeling there’s a growing number of pet owners seeking answers like we are. Merry Christmas to you and your pups!


  3. Rock had terrible skin and nasal allergies. I put him on a limited ingredient food (but it was still a commercial dry food) and that seemed to help. He didn’t have the yeast issues that it sounds like Kona does. Hopefully your handsome boy will be good as gold in no time!


  4. Those do sound like my sheltie’s symptoms (except the goopy ears); most frustratingly, these only plagued me AFTER I switched him to raw/home-prepared in an attempt to provide the best food for my dog. My more pertinent and recurring issue after the switch would be licking around the tail base/under bum-hole. How is Kona under the yeast starvation diet? I did come across the same diet but was hesitant as I read conflicting reviews about the supplements mentioned in it. I’m trying out apple cider vinegar in the meantime (for yeast killing) – would it take a couple of weeks as well?


    • Kona’s coat was growing back initially, but he is now back to scratching and biting around his tail base and bum. We are approaching flea season where I live, though I have only spotted one flea on him, so I’m feeling a bit doubtful about whether or not his raw food diet is really helping his itchy skin allergies. As of a few days ago, he has stopped eating the raw food, so I’ve started him back on canned dog food, which he’s eating. I’m going to keep him off of dry food.

      Interestingly enough, the other day I talked to a dog groomer who said the yeast comes from the licking, not the steroids. There’s so much conflicting information out there! At this point I’ve decided to just give him Benadryl (which my vet said is safe) and bathe him twice a week to keep him smelling good. He’s still itchy, but it does seem better. I’ve also been brushing him daily and vacuuming to keep any fleas at bay.

      I don’t know if that answers your questions, but it seems there are so many different suggestions out there. Thanks so much for stopping by and best of luck to you and your sheltie 🙂


      • Thanks so much for replying; I’m not sure why I didn’t get your reply via email and so I didn’t respond any earlier.

        Poor Kona – yeah my sheltie’s fussing around the same area. I’ve been wondering if it is a food allergy issue as the 6-month lick-free period last year was when I stopped feeding chicken bone, and the evening I reintroduced bone-in chicken the licking started. Problem with that was that now even without feeding chicken bone (I’m still using crushed eggshells for calcium because I’m not sure about other bones, and I was concerned I wouldn’t provide sufficient calcium), he’s still licking. Do you think Kona’s licking is due to fleas, since you mentioned having spotted a flea on him? Or would it more likely be due to yeast?

        Thanks again for replying; just trying to get some ideas as to what this might be!


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