I would very much like to know the cause behind stomach problems like gastritis. And what different kind of meat can do for the body. I have two small dogs (both rescues) terrier mixes and both of them have stomach difficulties. We live in Sweden and I’m sad to say that our vets here do not have the holistic and natural approach. 

I stopped giving kibble a long time ago. But I’m very scared that they don’t get what they need as I don’t give any supplements at the time. I feel as soon as I try the stomach wont tolerate it. As they don’t eat bone I give them calcium or bone powder. 

The older female (22lbs/10kg) is eating lightly cooked meat like turkey, chicken, reindeer. She can’t digest raw food. Her feeding is not as diversified as I would like as she gets stomach cramps, noisy stomach and eats grass hyterically. It seems like the problem arise as soon as I give here something new. She needs more fat as paws and nose are very dry but her stomach can’t handle the fat. She doesn’t throw up but gets diarrhea quite easily. And quite often she also refuses to eat.

The small male (12lbs/5kg) eats raw meat and a veggie mix to keep him from being too hungry. When the stomach is ok I also give him fish oil.  My little boy throws up as soon as he has too little food in his system. He also sometimes vomits through his nose and that’s very painful. It just happens with no warning at all, and I can see that he gets afraid. He gets a much more varied diet as he seems to tolerate it better. He also get alot of diarrhea.

He also has a very strange condition that no one ever heard of: He screams in his sleep. Normaly he has a hard time beeing still during the night, which is painful for me but when he falls into very deep sleep, he suddenly starts to scream and it scares the living daylights out of me. He doesn’t wake up, and it’s hard for me to wake him. He’s very stiff during this period of 10-30 sec. 

I think that it has something to do with their diet and I would love to hear your opinion.
Thank you very much in advance.

~ Ann-Sofie

Dr Sara ChapmanDear Ann-Sofie,

You are obviously very committed to your dogs’ welfare.  It can, indeed, be hard to find vets with a homeopathic or holistic outlook in some countries.  The website of the International Association for Veterinary Homopathy says on its welcome page that there are members in Sweden, yet the ‘Search for a Vet’ function does not find any members in your country.  You could contact the IAVH directly to see if there are member vets who are not listed on the website.

The ideal approach for your dogs is to have an evaluation with a homeopath.  I have had excellent success in my practice with digestive issues by carefully analysing the physical, mental, and general aspects of the case and prescribing homeopathically.    Digestive upsets are related to imbalances in the entire body.  The digestive discomfort and symptoms are the way that this imbalance shows itself in certain individuals.  When we homeopathically rebalance the energies of the body, the digestive upsets will resolve, slowly and gently.

The screaming episodes when your little boy is asleep are another manifestation of internal imbalance.  These screaming episodes during sleep are called night terrors, and they are more common in rescue dogs.  It is best not to disturb a dog during these episodes, as they may even bite.  It is believed that night terrors may be related to bad dreams, as they are in children.  This could be why they are more commonly seen in rescue dogs, who often have a history of abuse or neglect.  These night terrors should also respond to homeopathic prescribing.

There are other holistic methods that we can use to strengthen the body and speed healing.  These will assist the resolution of problems with homeopathy, but I do find that homeopathy is the most powerful modality (treatment option) for most dogs with digestive and behavioral disorders.

Your base diet is not balanced, but it should be relatively easy to balance.  It is good that you are able to use three different meats, and that one is a red meat.  If you are using a variety of non-starchy, brightly colored vegetables, that aspect of the diet should be acceptable as well.  You do want to be sure that you are providing a proper calcium balance; your dogs need 1 gram of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate per 30 lbs (13.6 kg) of body weight daily.  I don’t suggest bone powder in the US, as there are too many sources that are of poor quality; I don’t know what the situation is like elsewhere.

The other dietary concerns are the balance of fats and the need for a vitamin supplement.  Salmon or krill oil are both good sources of essential fatty acids.  Your dogs would need 1,000 mg of salmon or krill oil per 20 lbs (9 kg) of body weight.  You may need to very slowly increase the amount of fat in their diet, and even give it in tiny doses through the day.  One way of giving fat slowly through the day is to puncture the end of a capsule of salmon or krill oil and apply a few drops on to the dry area of the nose frequently through the day.  Your dog will lick some of it off, and it is also quite soothing to the dry skin.  If she tolerates this well you can provide vitamin E the same way, at a dose of 10 IU per lb (5 IU per kg) of body weight.

Many vitamin supplements made from synthetic vitamins are upsetting to the digestive tract.  I can’t tolerate them myself, so I use whole food vitamin supplements such as New Chapter Organics.  There are whole food vitamin supplements for dogs, as well, such as Wysong’s Call of the Wild Biotic.  You can use human products scaled down in dose for the dogs’ weights.  Do see if you can find whole food vitamin supplements for your two, and add them in tiny amounts initially, gradually increasing to the full suggested dose.

Many dogs with digestive upsets benefit from the addition of digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics to the food.  Digestive enzymes improve the total digestibility of the food.  When food is not digested adequately, there is excessive gas production by the bacteria in the large intestine, which can lead to flatus (gas), abdominal cramping, and borborygmus (rumbling in the abdomen).  Lack of the enzymes that digest fats (lipases) can lead to diarrhea.  Prebiotics are substances that nourish the natural intestinal bacteria.  Probiotics are natural intestinal bacteria.  When dogs are prone to digestive upsets, they often do not have normal bacteria, so it is wise to provide a supplemental source.

Many dogs will vomit when their stomach is empty.  It is not normal, but it is common; there is even a conventional name for it, idiopathic bilious vomiting.   The simplest way to prevent it is to give more frequent small meals, and to be sure to give a snack at bedtime.  This symptom resolves completely, or becomes much less frequent, in dogs who receive appropriate constitutional homeopathic treatment.

I hope that these suggestions help you with your dogs.  I do strongly urge you to contact the IAVH to see if there is a holistic vet close enough to help you.  I do know an excellent homeopathic vet in Denmark, who, like you, has very good English, but Denmark is not really close enough!


S.F. Chapman DVM, MRCVS, VetMFHom