Alicia Taylor talked about how a raw food diet transformed her beloved Cocker Spaniel from a 44 lbs doggo back to a perfectly formed 22 lbs pup, and also curing his painful pancreatitis.
Taylor had been warned that Bailey might gain a few pounds after she had him neutered in March 2017, when he was a year old.
But she said Bailey's waistline expanded alarmingly and by the summer of 2018 he was double the dog they had before.
Bailey used to weigh 20kg (PA Real Life/Collect)
Taylor brought Bailey home from a local breeder in June 2016, at four months.
“He went from being an energetic, fun-loving dog to a lethargic and lazy hound," she said.
And in July 2018, she realized just how much the extra weight was impacting Bailey's health when the poor dog started vomiting uncontrollably.
“I woke up one morning and could hear Bailey retching at the bottom of the bed," she said.
Bailey is now a healthy hound (PA Real Life/Collect)
“Liam was away with the forces at the time. I got up to let Bailey out and he ran into the garden and would not stop throwing up," she continued.
“At first I thought it was just an upset stomach. He didn't eat anything that day, and the next he was vomiting up blood – it was terrifying."
Rushing the poorly pooch to the local vet, he was put on a drip for 48 hours and given a full health screening.
He was then diagnosed with pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the organ that can be caused by obesity. Bailey was put on anti-inflammatory medication for two weeks and a diet overhaul was recommended.
“When you're a dog owner you think you're doing the very best for your dog," Taylor said.
“So we really took it to heart when we found out we had contributed to his illness."
“We felt like we'd let ourselves down – he's our everything," she continued.
Taylor and her partner Liam had wanted a dog since they first moved in together in June 2015, but it had been impossible as they were living in rented apartments.
So, after buying their own place in 2016, getting a puppy had been their priority and they had settled on a Cocker Spaniel.
Alicia and Liam (PA Real Life/Collect)
“We wanted an active, lively dog to fit in with our lifestyle, as we're a young couple and quite active – so a Cocker Spaniel ticked all the boxes," Taylor said.
“They're known for their kooky personalities, after all."
Falling head over heels for Bailey, he made their little family feel complete.
“He was everything we could have hoped for in a first pet," Taylor said.
“He was your perfect puppy, so friendly and engaging. He was so happy to see anybody."
Wanting to be responsible, they had decided to have him neutered.
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“We gave him strict portions of a generic, supermarket-bought kibble, as well as daily short walks and a three-hour walk once a week," Taylor said.
So, the couple was surprised by what was causing his considerable weight gain. Taylor started researching alternative diets on the web and realized that it was probably the kind of food they had been giving him.
“Looking back, we know now it was the kibble that was the weight gain culprit," she said. “But we didn't know anything about nutrition for dogs back then."
“We just chose the most colorful brand, which made the best claims about dog health."
Taylor was finding positive testimonies from dog owners on the internet, claiming that a raw food diet had cured their puppies.
But she said it was Bailey who had the final say, when he settled for Nature's Menu.
“I just couldn't believe how quickly he took to it," she said.
Bailey and Liam (PA Real Life/Collect)
“It grossed me out at first, the idea of using raw meat, but when you think about it dogs weren't made to eat kibble," she continued.
“In the wild they'd be eating food they'd caught."
Since he started his new diet Bailey shed half his body weight.
Bailey was a porky pooch (PA Real Life/Collect)
“Friends, family and fellow dog walkers were lost for words, " Taylor said.
“The vet was absolutely shocked. He couldn't believe it, I don't think he could believe that such difference was made by swapping to raw food – and he's a vet!"
“And when I started looking at old photos, I realized why everyone was making such a fuss – he really was a super slimming pooch."
Taylor is so delighted by Bailey's transformation that she constantly sings the praises of his new diet.
“He looks like a completely different dog," she said. “I know of at least half a dozen people who have adopted a raw meat diet for their pets, after seeing Bailey's transformation – he's a real inspiration."
And when Taylor saw a job with Nature's Menu at the start of 2020, she went for it.
Bailey has halved his body weight (PA Real Life/Collect)
Now working for them full-time, she still extols the virtues of a raw food diet to other devoted dog owners.
“This is the perfect job for me, as I know first-hand what a difference a raw food diet makes. You and your dog will never go back – I promise you," she said.