Meet Hercules: Tiny Dog with Major Ear Infections

Don’t let the name confuse you. Hercules may be a small dog, but he has a big personality.

Around 5 years ago, Julie and her husband, Chris, realized that their first dog, Goliath, was in need of a companion.  Because Goliath was so sassy, they wanted a happy and outgoing dog to create a sense of balance and Hercules fit the bill. On the first day that they met the Shih Tzu puppy, they rolled back the fur covering his face and fell in love with his handsome looks. Hercules and Goliath’s relationship was rocky at first, but soon enough, they became best friends. Hercules was the new member of the family and you could always find him in a joyful mood—at least until the ear infections came.

Battling Dog Ear Infections

As a young puppy, their veterinarian diagnosed Hercules with infections in both ears. The ear infections came fast and were unexpected. Hercules’ ears were now itchy and they even began to release an unpleasant odor along with a dark red, waxy discharge. Even with regular cleanings, the issue didn’t go away, and a couple years later, things became worse. The continuous ear infections were then joined by skin and coat issues.

Hercules continued to try and live joyfully, but his pleasant demeanor was often disrupted with irritation and discomfort. He began to lick and chew areas like his paws and right front leg. At one point his right leg was even stained red from all of the discharge.

“Honestly, it was so bad at certain points in time that it would keep all of us up at night. Hercules would be awake scratching, rubbing and licking his ears and paws and we’d be awake just listening, unable to do anything to help him,” says Julie.

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Looking For a Natural Solution

First the vet prescribed antihistamines, but that didn’t work. After that, they tried a prescription hypoallergenic diet that gave Hercules diarrhea, and finally, the last resort was putting Hercules on cortisol steroids. “We really didn’t want to, but at the time I didn’t know about any other options. It would get better, but then flare up again. I thought it was something that we just had to live with for him.”

When it seemed like Hercules was doomed for a life of itchiness and irritation, The Honest Kitchen altered his destiny. Around 4 months ago after watching a recent documentary on organic food, Julie and Chris started a new journey to become healthier and began to eat holistic organic foods. As their lives improved dramatically, Julie stumbled across a link to The Honest Kitchen through a new blog she had signed up for.

“They had equated the kibble diet to a fast food diet for dogs, which I had never made that connection before, and suddenly it was like a light bulb went on! I was like ‘okay maybe this is something we could control with the proper diet,’” she says.

Eating Healthier

After giving Hercules and Goliath a few samples of The Honest Kitchen food, it soon became their permanent diet. The results were both fast and effective. Chris says, “They loved it right off the bat and we started seeing changes in Hercules right around 2 weeks.” Hercules’ itchiness decreased dramatically, his ears did not smell anymore, the red discharge began to go away, and even Goliath’s health improved. The redness on his front leg is now completely gone, and all that remains are quickly fading red stains on his face. Prior to The Honest Kitchen, Hercules was overweight and at his last vet visit, the vet said he is at a perfect weight. They are now able to eat more, but weigh less because of the great nutrition provided by their diet.

Not only did the new diet help both dogs’ health, but also Hercules and Goliath get so excited for each meal. Before every sunrise right at 5 a.m., Hercules patiently waits for Goliath to wake up Chris and then they both indulge in their favorite breakfast—Embark dog food, a grain-free chicken and turkey recipe. During the evening, the two Shih Tzu’s, yet again, get excited for their nighttime snacks that involve The Honest Kitchen Smooches, Nuzzles, or Pecks.

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Spreading the News

Their excitement is contagious and has made both Julie and Chris new ambassadors for The Honest Kitchen. They have been spreading the word to all of their friends, neighbors, and family. Julie even says, “I think these guys are our babies and we want them around as long as possible. Even if Hercules didn’t have allergy issues, I would want to feed them this type of diet because hopefully it’ll add years to their life and they could be around us a lot longer.”

As Julie and Chris watch their dogs play together near the Buckingham Fountain in Chicago, you could see a sense of relief and freedom in their faces. You would’ve never guessed that Hercules suffered from so much in the past because of his happy, outgoing attitude. He’s a dog that brings smiles to everyone he meets. His true personality is now able to shine with no interference.

Julie and Chris mention that they’ve seen The Honest Kitchen in more Chicago stores and a few doggie day cares. Julie says, “I feel like it’s getting more steam.”

Want to discover more True Stories and how diet has played a positive role in the health of over 1,400 pets? Click here

Meet the Author: Jeff Abiera

Jeffrey Abiera is an urban cycling aficionado, bike tour guide, bike messenger, a masterful storyteller, and a former dog walker. When he isn’t rolling around giving tours, you’ll find him giving motivational speeches in front of crowds or working as a licensed minister with youth and young adults. In his free time, you can find him exploring and riding through every crevice of the Windy City, playing basketball, or kicking back and spending quality time with his wife, Ellen.

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