Success Story – Mikey the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Well, homemade dog food has done it again, thanks to a healthy, homemade diet and the care of a stellar holistic vet I collaborate with. She took great care of this little dog, Mikey, and recommends healthy homemade food for pets.

She recently shared Mikey’s story and my information in her latest newsletter, and enforced the importance of utilizing homemade foods to keep our pets healthy.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful, inspiring article from the vet. ~ Sarah



Mikey’s story highlights the importance that real food can make for the health and well being of our pets.

Mikey is a 7 1⁄2 year old neutered male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

homemade dog food

The first time I saw Mikey was December 27th, 2018, he weighed 13.7 lbs. He was brought to me for a third opinion about his condition. He had been diagnosed with severe Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). About 6 months prior to his visit with me, he started to have bloody diarrhea, 5-6 bowel movements per day, losing weight and was eating his own stool.

He had been on Hill’s Z/D (prescription diet ), prednisone (steroid) , atopic (immuno-suppressive drug) and a probiotic. From a whole pet/holistic Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine perspective, I diagnosed him with both Spleen and Blood deficiency. I did not want to complicate his case, so I did not take him off any of his current medications. I just added slippery elm, Wei Ling Tang and injectable Vitamin B12.

Three days later, December 31st 2018, Mikey was brought back to the clinic because he was now vomiting in addition to having bloody diarrhea and was extremely lethargic or weak. After running additional diagnostics, I diagnosed him not only with severe IBD but also suspected pancreatitis and protein-losing enteropathy.

Mikey was gravely ill and the owners were considering euthanasia. We agreed to start aggressive treatment and re-evaluate along the way. We began by weaning him off the Hill’s Z/D and feeding him boiled chicken and rice. Over the next several months, his diet was completely transitioned to a balanced home cooked diet while all pharmaceutical medications such as the prednisone and Atopica were stopped.

One year later, on December 23, 2019, Mikey weighed 21. 6 lbs.

homemade dog food

It took a year to detoxify Mikey’s body.

There were at times some setbacks as we adjusted medications, but we could all see that Mikey was getting stronger and healthier. Today, Mikey lives with his Italian “grandmother” who cooks all his meals. He is not on any medications, he is currently 24.1 lbs, and he looks fantastic.

Commercial Pet Food vs. Homemade Diets: Why Homemade Takes the Prize
by Sarah Whitman

Humans are always told to eat fresh, whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible, but why should our pets not eat fresh, whole unprocessed foods?

Despite the difficulties of feeding companion animals homemade food, it is quite clear that this kind of diet is superior to any commercial pet food.

But first, let’s highlight the wide range of commercial options. They include:

  • Raw – perhaps the most controversial option, yet can be the healthiest simply because it is unprocessed and whole-foods based. Some opponents cite risk of illness due to bacterial contamination.
  • Freezedried – this process removes moisture through freezing. In the process, it helps leave many nutrients in place.
  • Kibble – likely the most popular choice, yet the most heavily processed.
  • Canned wet food – also heavily processed, but with a higher moisture content, which is favorable to kibble.
  • Commercial pet food is convenient, but comes with risks. Fortunately, it is totally feasible to create easy, nutritious meals for your pet without ever having to buy commercial pet food.

Here are some of the reasons homemade diets are superior to commercial diets.

Quality. Pet foods are not held to the high standards as are human-grade foods. Food accepted into the human food supply requires closer inspection, higher quality and stricter standards than pet food. Similarly, foods rejected from the human food supply are accepted into pet foods.

Contamination issues are a regular occurrence in the pet food world. The Food and Drug Administration has an entire webpage devoted to current and past recalls. Ideally, recalls occur before any illnesses arise. However, in many cases pets fall ill before problems are caught, and their illnesses and pet owners’ reports are the cause of subsequent recalls.

Homemade diets are higher quality because when done right, they contain healthy ingredients like meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, eggs and so much more.

Control and Flexibility. Animals are individuals. They have different needs, which may change depending on age, health status and more. Feeding homemade allows the pet parent to cater to specific dietary needs that match their pets’ needs.

In cases of illness, a sick pet may not respond favorably to dietary changes viewed as “improvements” if these changes are within the commercial pet food world. However, they may respond favorably using homemade diets. This has been demonstrated numerous times in the vet clinic, and it is a widely under-used method of improving health.

Even without any health challenges, homemade diets are flexible and allow complete control over ingredients. Menus can be rotated and adjusted depending on individual situations.
Cooking for your pet is easy once you get the routine of it! All of the ingredients can be found in grocery stores or price clubs. Any initial extra effort becomes second nature, and will pay off as you help your pet live a healthier life.


Advantages of Homemade Diets

  • Eating real, whole food is an ancient concept
  • Whole foods are more nutritious than processed
  • Whole foods help support the body and limit stress on the body
  • Human grade foods are higher quality and more closely inspected than pet foods
  • Homemade diets supply nutrients in their original, intact forms
  • Homemade diets offer moisture, helping to remove toxins and stay hydrated
  • Homemade diets are flexible and allow pet parents control to adjust ingredients based on pets’ needs
  • Contact Sarah for help

Disadvantages of Commercial Foods

  • Contamination with drugs, industrial chemicals, cross-contamination, bacteria, viruses
  • Mislabeling and vague labeling
  • By-products and foods banned from human food supply
  • Rancidity and oxidation issues
  • Nutrients removed and re-added in artificial versions
  • Coloring and flavoring sprayed on kibble
  • Low quality foods put stress on the body, leading to inflammation and subsequent potential illnesses inc. asthma, allergies, diabetes, arthritis, cancer
  • Contact Sarah for help

Feeding homemade dog food is:

  • A back-to-basics approach
  • Better quality than commercial pet food
  • Safer than commercial pet food
  • Focused on whole, fresh foods
  • An investment in your pet’s health – feeding well now can help you avoid some financial and emotional burdens, short and long term
  • Good nutrition is the pet’s best medicine to fight off disease, injury, and stressors
  • Contact Sarah for help

Feeding a homemade diet is NOT:

  • Weird or elitist
  • “Spoiling your dog” – it’s looking out for his or her health
  • Time-consuming
  • Complicated
  • Contact Sarah for help