Sunday, January 11, 2015

Britton's Grain-Free Plott Hound Story

We are the proud owners of the state dog of North Carolina, a Plott Hound. Eleven states claim different dog breeds as officially theirs. The Plott Hound is one of four original American bred dogs and is now used as a treeing coonhound or herder, but originally were bred for hunting wild boar and bear in the mountains of NC, although ours has never seen a day of hunting. We found Britton, on right before our first Plott died at 14 years old. So, we drove to the rural mountains of Georgia and adopted him from the Charles Smithgall Humane Society.

Britton when we found him online

What does the state dog have to do with gluten-free, grain-free, or allergen-free? I know you might be reading this and thinking, "Really, aren't you going a bit far"?
About a year after going gluten-free, it dawned on my daughter that the dog treats and foods were filled with gluten and she didn't want to risk contamination by giving either to our pets. So rather than limit her interaction with them, we decided to add them to our dietary plan. The results have been enlightening.

Britton when we brought him home, age 5 months

There are plenty of pet foods now on the market that are gluten-free, grain-free and allergen-free due to dogs having many of their own health issues surrounding foods. The good weight loss formulas are usually grain free to avoid the extra carbohydrates anyway. But with a growing puppy, we needed to make sure he got enough of the fats and proteins his growing body required. So, I set to the task of finding a healthy affordable alternative, because grain-free and allergen-free dog foods mimic human alternatives and are pricier, due to less fillers.

When we started looked into treats, the dehydrated chicken or duck strips were the easiest to find but still pricey. Currently there are a plethora of affordable grain and allergen-free pet treats on the market which can be found in Pet Smart or any pet food store. The rise isn't merely because of a fad either. Dogs who are prone to skin disorders, ear infections, weight gain, and allergies are all benefiting from the effects. Makes sense though doesn't it? Canines are more likely Paleo candidates and are hunters and gatherers naturally when the necessity arrives.

Britton hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains age 8 months

The biggest differences we have noticed in the dietary change have been firmer stools, better dental health, and softer shinier coats on our dogs. Britton made the biggest changes because when he was found, he was emaciated and needed a lot of extra love and nutrients to keep him on his track to better well being. We did not know it, but when the psychopath threw him out on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, he sustained a small tear in his diaphragm which had to be surgically fixed when he was almost a year old. Luckily, he came through the surgery and healed quickly. The doctor claimed it was partly due to his excellent over-all health.

Hopefully, Britton's story will help you decide to possibly give grain-free a try for your pets, as we believe in it whole-heartedly. Lastly, if you are looking to adopt an amazing animal, please take a look at hound dogs because they are one of the fastest groups of euthanized dogs in shelters due to their high energy and baying barks. And if you want one of the most loyal, family-friendly, loving breeds there are, give Plott Hounds or any of their treeing coonhound relatives a closer look.

A break down of some recommended brands:

Merrick Grain Free is one of the more affordable brands on the market. Not as high quality as some brands, but a good start for those on a budget.

Taste of the Wild is a medium range price and very high quality. Our dogs love the taste of this line for dry food

Blue Wilderness is on the higher end but definitely a taste pleaser for dogs. They also carry lines specifically for puppies and seniors.

Evanger's Grain-Free Hand Packed or Super Premium line of wet foods are our dogs favorites. We mix in just a 1/4 can with their dry food to moisten it and give them a little gravy.Average price is around $3.00 per tin or $28.00 - $35.00 per case of 12 depending on the protein.

Our power chewer loves Bully sticks that are far more digestible than rawhide. My daughter isn't thrilled that they are actually made from bull private parts, but Britton thinks they are the bee's knees. He can be found holding one like a cigar when not chewing it.

Britton welcoming me home after an event trip, 
hence the boxes in background

Until next time, here's wishing your animals all get grain-free health and wellness.

More on the Plott from UNC-TV