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Article: A change of diet brings Bernie back from the brink of death

A change of diet brings Bernie back from the brink of death

A change of diet brings Bernie back from the brink of death

BERNIE’S JOURNEY – the road to recovery

The owners of Bernie the Italian Greyhound, approached Frontier Pets as a last effort to literally try and save his life.

They had heard good things about Frontier and were hoping that it would be what Bernie needed to get some real nourishment and improve his condition.

One look at a picture of Bernie and it was straight to Dr Kathy Cornack for me…

Fortunately Bernie lives near Dr Kathy so a visit and full examination was organised.

The examination:

Bernie is examined by Frontier Pets consultant vet, Dr Kathy Cornack
Bernie is nervous and skittish.  It is clear he is not happy.



He’s very thin, with his ribs and bones clearly showing.

Bernie’s mum Leah, explains that Bernie hardly ever keeps his food down.   She’s tried everything – even the really expensive stuff – and he starts off okay and then goes downhill again.  He vomits a lot and often has bad diarrhoea.

He’s started rummaging around in garbage bins and eating weird things like worms and grubs.

He’s currently on Hills Prescription ID, with a little bit of fresh mince.

Bernie’s feet are also very red and itchy.

Leah is at her wit’s end.  She knows her dog is actually starving and she doesn’t know what else to try.   

The prognosis:

Dr Kathy suspects that Bernie’s digestive system is weak and hence why he is having trouble digesting food.  (This is an increasingly common problem, due in part to decades of dogs being fed inappropriate, manufactured food).  She explains that this will be a ‘journey’ and that it may be several months before we get the formula right for Bernie, so Leah is not to expect too much at the beginning. 

What Dr Kathy is suggesting is a transition program to build resilience.   There will be good days, and there will be bad ones.  Patience and faith are required here.

Leah is told to please stick with the program.

The plan:

Bernie is to be transitioned from Hills ID to Frontier Pet food (a freeze-dried raw food) – increasing the amount of Frontier food from 10% to 100% over a period of two months (so a lot slower than a normal transition).

In addition, Bernie is fitted with an adaptil stress reduction collar, and prescribed B vitamins to help sooth his nerves and probiotics to start building his gut biome and improve digestion.

Bernie is to be fed 3-4 small meals per day, rather than 2 larger portions.

The first three weeks:

Bernie instantly loves Frontier food and has no bad reactions to it at all.

Nervousness has been reduced slightly and there appears to be more energy.

There’s no sign of tummy upset, or vomiting, or diarrhoea and his feet have cleared up.

His weight increases by 4%.

Weeks four to six

Bernie has a set-back and loses a bit of weight... down by 2%.

His nervousness seems to have increased back to original level, however, there has been no stomach upsets or vomiting or diarrhoea.

Bernie continues to enjoy Frontier Pet food and is now on it 100% of the time.

Weeks seven to nine

Bernie is still on 4 small meals.  He has a few days of loose stools.  We are unsure why that is.

Leah is advised to reduce the Frontier and feed a bland diet of cooked chicken and sweet potato for a few days until the stools firm again.

Sweet potato is very easy to digest and nourishing to the gut.  The stools return to normal very quickly.

Bernie however, continues to lose weight and is down by almost 5%.

Dr Kathy doubles Bernie’s Frontier Pet food intake and replaces his Adaptil stress collar.

Bernie is now on two larger meals per day.

Weeks ten to fourteen

Bernie’s weight is back up by nearly 10%, putting him well and truly in the healthy weight range for his breed.

He’s noticeably more happy and energetic and is much less bony.

It takes about another two months until the sweet potato meal is phased out and Bernie is back on 100% frontier.

He remains on the adpatil collar the whole time.

Bernie is now introduced to all of the Frontier Pet food varieties and loves them all.

Bernie is a different dog…

Bernie has maintained his ideal weight of 5.6 kilos.  He looks fabulous and Leah says he has never looked so healthy.

He enjoys some chicken necks every now and again to keep his teeth clean and his Frontier food intake has reduced slightly to maintain his new ideal weight.

Bernie now enjoys running around with his mate and playing with his toys.  He’s happy, healthy and full of energy… just the way it should be.

This was Bernie before…

This is Bernie now…


Thank you to Dr Kathy Cornack for putting Bernie under her care. 

Thank you to Leah for following the program and caring enough to save your dog’s life...

and thank you to Bernie – for changing the world!


Diana Scott,  Frontier Pets.

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