• Laura Simonson

Skye's Story: Skin & Mobility Issues

Did you know that plant-based foods for dogs can offer powerful solutions for food sensitivities? Horrible skin or puzzling and worrisome digestive issues may be caused by denatured animal-based foods or other nutrition-related issues caused by a typical North American dog diet.

From the inception of Virchew (and based on several years of research and development), we felt that our foods would provide very exciting solutions for dogs dealing with food sensitivities. Now, since our launch in fall 2020, we KNOW without a doubt that Virchew's LOVE Bowl has been a recipe for results. These results have been most profound with skin, digestive, and senior customers.


This success and the results from our first LOVE Bowl formulation have spurred the development of another exciting new formulation that will specifically target dogs that suffer from food sensitivities that result in skin and GI issues. This new formulation, similar to the LOVE Bowl formulation, will be another Virchew first of its kind in the industry.


Throughout our journey, watch for the stories of many pawrents and dogs who are finding relief from food sensitivities through Virchew's meals and treats. We are excited to share Skye's story below. From her early years forced to fight and then to be bred repeatedly, her story is one of resilience and a triumph over adversity. It was the love of a good hooman - Terry - who rescued her when she was 8-years old. At this time her health was poor and her skin and fur were in terrible shape. As a senior pupper, she needed more attention health-wise as her mobility was becoming more and more limited.


Skye: Skin & Mobility Issues


“Skye is a 14-year-old English Bull Terrier rescued from California where she began life as a pit fighter, then used as a breeder until she was 8 years old and I rescued her from a foster home. She had recently been spayed and had an internal infection from the surgery, her skin and fur were also in terrible shape.

Last summer during the heatwave, she developed hot spots on her tail and forehead that became infected and needed to be treated with antibiotics and steroidal cream. Once she finished her treatment and her skin settled down, I switched her food to VIRCHEW and could see an improvement in the next few weeks.

Skye has been gobbling down her VIRCHEW for the past 8 months now (loves it!) and has gained considerably more mobility on stairs and couch-jumping. She recently went on a 2-hour hike in a local park with a group of other ‘bullies’ and I feared she would be stiff and sore for the next few days. Amazingly, she wasn’t stiff at all and had no difficulty with our stairs. Her fur has come back beautifully as well!


I stopped giving her joint supplements when we started VIRCHEW, and I figure I’ve saved a considerable amount over what I was paying for her previous food and supplements every month. Not to mention losing the hassle of chopping up and adding green beans, yogurt, and pumpkin to her dry food every day. I don’t miss that at all!


Food Sensitivity Check-list


Signs to watch for that could be a food sensitivity:*

  • Inflamed, reddish skin (paws or skin at belly region)

  • Persistent itching

  • Dandruff or excessively dry skin

  • Persistent licking

  • Fur loss

  • Eye infections and inflammation

  • Waxy buildup in ears

  • Smelly, crusted ears

  • Facial swelling

  • Abnormal defecation

  • Diarrhea, gas (flatulence)

  • Abnormal stool or abnormal numbers of stools per day (1 - 2 is considered normal)

Breeds predisposed to developing food sensitivities and allergies include Chinese Shar-Peis, Wirehaired Fox Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Dalmatians, Boxers, Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, Boston Terriers, Labrador Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Bichon Frise, Brussels Griffon, Scottish Terriers, Shih Tzus, Maltese, and West Highland White Terriers.


Want to learn more? Fetch it on our blog post.


Mobility Issues for Seniors

Similar to hoomans, dogs’ health and strength tend to deteriorate with age. Senior citizens and senior dogs alike struggle with mobility and may need more support to get up and around. However, just because mobility in senior dogs declines over time, doesn’t mean their quality of life has to too. If you notice your dog is slowing down with age, you will want to do everything you can to make their life easier and more comfortable.


Being able to identify symptoms will help you find the most targeted solutions to your dog’s mobility issues.


Here are some telltale signs of mobility problems in senior dogs to look out for:

  • Walking slower or limping

  • Struggling to sit and stand

  • Slipping when getting up or walking around

  • Exhibiting pain or stiffness

  • Shifting weight on to front or back legs

  • Favouring a limb

  • Hesitating to engage in previously normal activities

  • Showing trouble jumping and climbing

When choosing a diet for your senior dog these nutrients should be included in this important foundation:

  1. Dog's need more protein as they age. Protein helps maintain healthy lean muscle mass as well as good organ and immune function. Keep in mind that all proteins are not created equal - we have to do our best to 'rethink' protein. Think plant-based not animal source. Research is uncovering the powerful health benefits of plant-based proteins. Plant-based proteins could play a major role in canine nutrition as they are rich in a large number of other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and yet contain no or low amounts of saturated fats. And, as stated above (and seen with Skye's story), plant-based proteins are beneficial for a significant number of dogs who are suffering from food sensitivities caused by animal-based proteins and potentially other ingredients such as preservatives, such as found in most commercial dog foods.

  2. As dogs age they also tend to develop a more sluggish metabolism which could mean a few extra pounds if not prevented. To keep your pooch at a healthy weight, make sure it's diet includes healthy fats (see below), nutrient dense carbohydrates and calories that are packed with high-quality protein as stated above.

  3. A decreased metabolism can also cause your senior dog’s digestion to slow down, leading to constipation. A high-fiber diet will ensure a happy tummy. Vegetables and legumes serve as a top source of fiber while also feeding good bacteria for a healthy gut biome.

  4. Antioxidants and essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 are an older dog’s best friend. Here again, we need to 'rethink' omega fat sources. A plant-based fat such as golden algae is a powerful source of DHA and omega fats. (Virchew uses this very high-quality ingredient rather than fish oils. In fact, #DYK fish eat algae which is why they are considered a higher source of omega fats! Why not just eat algae?!) These healthy fats work together to reduce inflammation, maintain a balanced immune system and fight disease.

Virchew's complete and balanced meals are packed with all of the nutrition mentioned above to ensure your dog, senior or not, is digging into a healthy, yummy diet every day.


Watch for many more upcoming testimonials here on our blog or our testimonials page and on our social media pages. Please share Virchew with your furiends - it could make a world of difference for thousands (and millions of dogs).


*IMPORTANT: It's important to note that any one of the above symptoms could be clinical signs from other underlying conditions. You should always consult your veterinarian before making the decision to change your dog's diet.

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