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I’ve had a few people asking how my gorgeous girl, Bella is in such great health after a ‘not so good’ prognosis in the first few years of her life. Mostly, it is from people who have animals who are suffering with similar prognosis, so here is my personal story.

As with everything, this is something that has worked for my golden retriever and doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. This was months of research and trial and error. I saw professional veterinarians both traditional and holistic, as well as a canine physiotherapist. It with their advice, along with personal research that I created a plan for my gorgeous girl. Before making any dietary changes or incorporating any therapy, always seek the advice from your personal veterinarian.

Bella for blog 3Bella, my beautiful golden retriever, came into this world ready and rearing to go. Unfortunately, she didn’t get such a great start to life. The breeder we adopted her from was more interested in the money than the health of the puppies. (I’m happy to report this breeder has now been shut down). When we first met the breeder, she seemed very friendly and seemed to have the best intentions with the health of her dog, hence we assumed this would pass down to the puppies. We were shown papers, pedigree and hereditary family trees, her council registration etc. Our little one wasn’t born as yet but we were very excited.

When our little Bella came into the world, we visited her when she was two weeks old. It was then, that my alarm bells started to ring. We noticed Bella’s Mum jumping up onto a water tank and the breeder telling us that she is trying to get her dog to stop doing that as she has Hip Dysplasia. Straight away I told her that she showed us papers that said her Mum and Dad didn’t have it but she told us that she only just found out. Straight away we knew that all the paperwork was probably false, however, our little bundle of joy was here and we were going to look after and help her.

At the six week mark, we had a phone call from her saying we need to come and pick up Bella as she had the ‘all clear’ from the vet. I thought this was a very strange situation and was concerned about taking her away from her Mum and brother’s too soon. I knew we were not meant to take her before the eight week mark due to the puppies learning socialisation in the last two weeks but she wasn’t going to keep our puppy any longer. We raced down there and were mortified. The place was filthy, unhygienic and all the other families were there, also picking up their puppies. No one looking very happy with the condition of the facilities. The breeder wasn’t anywhere to be found and instead her husband, saying nothing, just shoved Bella into our arms before walking off. I was gobsmacked!

When she got home, it wasn’t long before she had her first stint in hospital. This became a regular occurrence and we were told by the veterinarian that it was all due to those first few weeks of life where she was poorly looked after. She had Urinary Tract Infections, Ear Infections, Skin Infections…you name it, she had it and there were a couple of times where we were left pacing up and down in the waiting room in tears, due to the vet not knowing if she would make it.

Our little one was a fighter and every time she would come racing out of the doors at the animal hospital with her tail wagging and a big kiss for Mum and Dad!!

At six months we noticed her walking with a strange gait and the veterinarian confirmed she had Hip Dysplasia. This caused her to end up with Osteoarthritis at the age of two. It was also the same time we discovered another inherited condition she has called Ichthyosis. It was at three that she had her first accident and tore her Cruciate ligament. We were told surgery was the only option. We were given the risks that came with surgery and what her life may be like after it. We were also told that with her health progressing as it was that she more than likely wouldn’t make it to her fifth birthday. We were devastated.

Then I decided there must be another way.

We delayed the surgery and started conservative management. It took a good eight weeks of rest, small ‘potty’ breaks and some therapies before she started to show real signs of improvement and within six months she was back to normal. Then she tore the ligament on her other leg, putting more strain on the recently healed one.

That is when I seriously started researching these conditions along with natural cures and slowly began implementing different strategies to help our gorgeous girl. By trial and error we now have a plan for her down pat and at five and half years old, she is acting like a puppy. She runs, jumps, plays and walks twice a day. She is the healthiest she has ever been in her life. Her veterinarian is even amazed at her comeback and good health!!

So what exactly did we do?

There are a number of things we did. Firstly we found a Holistic Veterinarian to complement our regular veterinarian. (Just like you would add a Naturopath & Holistic Health Therapist whilst still visiting your regular doctor). I like to think of it as this, I will visit my doctor to see what is wrong and then I will visit my naturopath and Holistic Therapist to mend it.

Our Holistic Veterinarian started her on Prolotherapy for her cruciate ligaments and arthritis. He also applied laser therapy and acupuncture.

On the home front we changed her diet and I regularly gave her massages, Reiki, used an infrared torch and a crystal torch on specific meridian points. We also visited a physiotherapist to gain some knowledge into the right exercises she should be doing. We came up with a bathing routine to help her skin condition stay at bay and tried to make her life as comfortable and pleasant as we could.

After six months of applying all of these tools, our Bella was happier than ever before. The Prolotherapy and laser therapy worked a treat on healing her cruciate ligaments and all the work we were doing on the home front was easing her progression of arthritis.

She has been great for the last couple of years and as her fifth birthday approached during 2015, we looked back at the earlier doom and gloom prognosis and laughed. I was so glad I decided to take the matter into my own hands.

So what do we feed her?

She is on a Raw Food/Whole Food Diet. Mostly raw with a few ‘not so raw’ thrown in.

She gets 1 x Big Dog Barf Patty (Kangaroo or Turkey – due to her skin condition) plus either some lentils or rice. She then gets celery juice, Rosehip Vital for Canines, Flex Powder, The Missing Link, Brewer’s Yeast and Turmeric Paste. You can forgo the rice and lentils and just give two patties but we found for us this was the perfect balance with regards to Bella’s health.

For treats she gets home made Pumpkin biscuits with no wheat or grains. Dehydrated apple pieces (which she loves!!) and 100% Kangaroo Sticks. She also gets some fresh apple, banana, carrots and celery whenever she wants them.

For her birthday she gets a large piece of Eye Fillet……you have to have fun sometimes!!!

You can make your own dog food, there are a lot of recipes out there, however, as with everything what is right for one, is not always right for another. Trial and Error. I used to give Bella a couple of tablespoons of a ‘green smoothie’ I made for her which incorporated spinach, kale, celery and carrot but had to forgo that as the kale and spinach made her too alkaline and hence her Urinary issues would begin again. She is fine with the carrot and celery though. Just had to eliminate the spinach and kale as this was already prevalent in her patty and was just too much! Just trial and error. See what works for your animal by adding and removing one thing at a time to see what the culprit is.

When you find the right balance…..stick to it!!! It doesn’t matter what anyone else tells you or says, if you find something that is working for your animal, trust your own intuition and research and stick to it.

So what’s in the food and supplements we give her?

The Big Dog Barf patties have the following ingredients:- Turkey, finely ground turkey bone, turkey heart, turkey liver, seasonal fruits, vege and herbs (kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, silverbeet, carrots, celery, beetroot, lettuce, cucumber, capsicum, apple, orange, pear, tomato, strawberry, ginger and parsley, ground flaxseed, whole egg, alfalfa powder, kelp powder, brewer’s yeast, wheatgrass, live probiotics, prebiotics and garlic.

BARF FOR bella

Here are the supplements I give her nightly and their ingredients.

Supplements for Bella

Rosehip Vital for Canines is made from 100% Rosehip fruit with no additional additives. It is very high in Vitamin C and helps with the general wellbeing of your dog as well as with joint health.

Flex Oral Joint Powder for Dogs contains Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulphate, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, MSM, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Boron, Copper and Amino Acid dl-methionine. It helps with joint health and function.

The Missing Link contains Ground Flaxseed, Rice Bran, Primary Dried Yeast, Cane Molasses, Sunflower Seeds, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Dried Carrot, Ground Barley Grass, Zinc Methionine Complex, Dried Kelp, Lecithin, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, B3, B6, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Garlic, B2, B1, Folic Acid and B12.

Turmeric Paste is home-made and contains freshly dehydrated turmeric that has been powdered down, water, coconut oil and freshly ground pepper. To read more about the benefits of Turmeric visit my other article here, https://melaniesholistichealing.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/turmeric-a-spice-for-health

Turmeric stages

Brewer’s Yeast, when purchasing this make sure it is inactive. You do not want to feed your animal activated Brewer’s Yeast, it can cause them to bloat and have stomach upsets. Only inactive Brewer’s yeast.

Celery Juice has an anti-inflammatory reaction within the body which is great for joint problems. It also has anti-spasmodic and diuretic properties. I simply get two fresh stalks with a small bit of water and add this to my nutri-bullet. Then Voila!! It’s ready and this is what I add.

So what were the Alternative Therapies we used and what are they all about?


Prolotherapy is having a proliferant (collagen producing solution) injected into the affected area. This causes localised inflammation which signals the body to stimulate new collagen to strengthen the damaged or weakened area. Tendons and ligaments grow stronger and more capable of sustaining normal joint function. Pain can also be alleviated. Prolotherapy is able to treat arthritis, degenerative joint disease, torn ligaments, tendons and cartilage, tendonitis, back and neck pain and partially degenerated or herniated inter-vertebral disks.

Laser Therapy

This is a non-invasive procedure that uses light to stimulate cells and increase blood circulation. The laser also helps release endorphins that can reduce pain and nerve sensitivity. The laser uses the photo-biotherapy which stimulates protein synthesis and cell metabolism improving the overall health of cells.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture is an ancient tradition of Chinese medicine. It is based upon the flow of energy throughout the twelve meridians on the body. Each meridian is associated with a different system of the body. If there is an imbalance or blockage within one of the meridians, the corresponding system within the body will show a disruption or dis-ease. By inserting specific needles on different key areas on the disrupted meridian, the balance of energy flow is restored. This is similar to acupressure, whereas, instead of needles being used, specific areas have slight pressure applied. A great book is ‘Four Paws, Five Directions’ by Cheryl Schwartz, DVM. It is a guide to Chinese medicine for cats and dogs.

Four Paws Five Directions

For a downloadable free chart on specific areas for acupressure visit http://www.luckydoghealth.com/dogacupressurechart.htm



During her recuperation, I regularly gave Bella Reiki Healings, which seemed to calm her and help her with her pain. Reiki is a hands on healing that taps into the Universal Energy System. It is a wonderful way to hone your intentions of healing for your animal.


Massaging your pet is a wonderful form of alternative therapy. It helps them to relax, increases the blood flow to assist with pain and improved joint flexibility. It helps oxygenate the blood which in turn can boost their immune system. If you are not sure what you are doing, there are plenty of canine massage therapists around to help.


In the end, your animals are just another child to look after and to love. If you would go out of your way for a human child, always do the same for your ‘fur’ children. They are living, breathing beings with feelings and so much love to give, that for us to look after them as best we can is the least we can do.

If you have discovered something that has worked wonders for your animals, please contact me and I will make sure the advice is shared over the blog.

As always, have fun and immerse yourself in joy!!

There are many other alternative therapies that can assist in the recuperation or general wellbeing of your animal, however, as with anything before incorporating a therapy or a change in diet, always seek the advice of your veterinarian, either traditional, holistic or both. There are many ailments that can be treated and others that will require some to be used but not others. If your dog is suffering from any dis-ease, please do not incorporate any of the therapies mentioned until you have the advice from a professional. There are many conditions such as cancer, kidney problems etc. that will require a whole different set of therapies, as some can aggravate the conditions.

The information contained within this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment. Melanie’s Holistic Healing does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of information or mentioned products. Melanie’s Holistic Healing makes every effort to provide the most accurate and up to date information about product and therapies written.




  1. What a wonderful story about this beautiful dog, she looks absolutely gorgeous and healthy. Her whole body is shining and unbelievable coming from such a terrible start to her life…She is one lucky dog to have such caring, loving owners…and wish you all much health and happiness for many years to come…..

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