Raw Dog Diary 1/14/18

Happy New Year everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve published anything, which I feel terrible about. I have been learning a LOT and really hope to start sharing again very soon! I’m taking additional on-line classes and reading so much right now, I’ve gotten slightly overwhelmed but I am hopefully going to be in a better position to offer good information once my schedule slows down. When I started this blog, I wrote only about things that I knew very well. Now my goals are to become more educated so that what I say can have the greatest impact for good. I’m struggling to begin for a few reasons but one is that I really don’t want to scare anyone out of raw feeding because I’m making it look too complicated. It truly isn’t and none of what I’m doing now is necessary for someone to do it. For example, analyzing every vitamin and mineral, making my own fermented vegetables and studying food data banks, is in no way needed to prepare raw dog food. I want to share articles that hold good info without making it seem necessary for those who are beginners. Hopefully over time that will come across. I really only started all of this to help spread awareness about companion animal health and to insert my voice as one that stands against what’s been done to them by the pet food industry. They have even badly influenced veterinary medicine and it’s simply not ok. My efforts are to help pet parents keep they’re animals healthy by providing some useful information and maybe bring awareness to an industry that has become so corrupt. That being said, this is still the raw dog diary section, so I just want to update that things have been going very well! Jersey Girl is still super picky but then again she always was that way lol it probably won’t change. Fasting is a good way for her system to detox in between meals anyway so it’s a great way to allow her to be hungry enough to try things she often ends up loving! We also finally found an amazing vet! I’m studying a lot of natural medicine myself for home use but I will never be a vet, so to finally have someone in our corner is one of the best feelings there is! I don’t have much to share other than the quick update and promise of more to come!

Love and puppy kisses from Jeanne & Jersey Girl

As an aside, I know the last article I wrote was kind of angry. It was anger directed at kibble and the pet food industry. I may have gotten a little too heated when I wrote it. It was not intended to say anything bad about those who feel that they can adequately do homemade vegan diets. It will never be my first choice for dogs but I felt bad when I saw all of the anger that article contained, it is 100% not my intention! I’m here because I love animals and everyone else who loves them too!

Vegan Dog Food

What is vegan dog food?

The kind you can buy, is basically kibble without the meat. Kibble already adds synthetic vitamins, the only difference here is the number of synthetic vitamins added to make it nutritionally adequate. There are nutrients found in meat (such as taurine) that dogs absolutely require to live, that cannot be found in ANY plant based sources. In order to be vegan, these nutrients can not come from animal sources and therefore MUST be synthetic.

There are multiple problems with adding synthetic vitamins. These are just a few:

  1. The body can’t process them correctly so they can lead to deficiencies.
  2. They tax the liver, get passed as waste and can cause countless other health problems.
  3. Many are made in China and other countries where standards are low and are contaminated and dangerous.
  4. Manufactures are not obligated to disclose the amounts present after processing. This is made worse by the fact that they degrade over time.
  5. A pet food sitting in a warehouse for a year before getting to a store shelf, could have almost none of the original vitamins added in it that are listed on the label and this is perfectly legal.

Both vegan and premium traditional kibble pet foods add these synthetic vitamins due to the severe lack of nutrition in kibble regardless of the ingredients. This is due to the processing required to make it shelf stable. Nutrients are lost and need to be added back in to meet minimum requirements. What makes vegan food worse is the amount they must add because of the essential nutrients missing by not having meat.

Also the meat is being replaced by plant-based carbohydrates. Dogs require little to no carbohydrates biologically. These tax every vital organ as they are eliminated from the body. This speeds up the aging process and leads to chronic diseases.

The Vegan Argument

People argue that dogs have adapted over the years of being fed kibble, however research based science clearly proves that this is not the case.

A pug may no longer resemble a wolf, but his digestive tract DOES! Breeding has changed the way our dogs look and behave but biologically speaking, their DNA differs from wolves by only .02%.

Dogs unlike cats (who are obligate carnivores) can technically eat other things. They are survivors. Eating things other than meat has helped them survive during hard times in environments where food is scarce. This has been proven by their survival on kibble. However, mere survival does not make kibble or vegan kibble healthy. This has been made very obvious by the growing numbers of diseases that are currently plaguing the canine population. Everything from arthritis due to nutrient deficiencies to cancer is directly related to their diet. Bad breeding may exacerbate this but it is far from copiable for all of these health crises.

The small amount of actual meat left in kibble after processing, was pretty much all dogs had left of what their bodies (carnivore bodies) were meant to eat. Taking that away increases the danger posed by kibble 10X. There is no credible evidence to counter what science has already determined biologically appropriate for a canine. There is no reason dogs should be experimented on to counter sound medical evidence.

Vegan dog food has not been around long enough. People can be paid to tell stories about examples of healthy vegan dogs. Those who want to believe it will not challenge these accounts.

While I stand behind vegan ideals 100% when it comes to animal cruelty, factory farming and the devastation to our planet, dogs are not responsible for any of this and should not be made to pay the price for it.

Without human intervention, dogs eat based on instinct. This is the same as how a cow knows to eat grass. In the wild, dogs would eat wild prey. This is proven through studies done on the stomach contents of wild dogs and wolves. They eat based on what their body needs and was designed to digest.

Do we need to work towards fixing what we’ve done to our planet? Absolutely, but just because we can choose the diet for a particular species, doesn’t mean that we have the right to.

Humans alone are the reason our planet is suffering because of the meat industry.

Dogs also have a large population because of humans. We as a species have an obligation to work on fixing both of these issues, not by denying what another species needs to live but addressing the actions of our own.

I stand behind vegan ethics to protect our planet. One way to do this is to stop eating meat ourselves, because we can do so safely. Dogs can not and should not be made to.

Why is vegan pet food becoming popular?

There are a culmination of reasons for this. One is that the pet food industry is a very competitive multi-billion dollar industry. They influence everything from dietary industry standards to veterinary schools, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and even labs. The market has become turbulent. More people are looking for traditional kibble alternatives. Being different, gets attention and nothing is more different than trying to feed dogs without meat. On the other side of things, the human food industry is going through very similar issues. Milk produces for example, lose profits every time someone opts to buy animal free varieties. Companies are now becoming diversified in order to stay afloat. Many now make non-dairy and other products as well.

Who is really responsible for the vegan dog trend? I can’t say that I know for sure, but what I do know is that there are definite monetary incentives for many parties. They were smart to target a group who wants to believe that this is a safe alternative. They will be easier to convince that it’s ok through whatever random “evidence” they choose to provide.

We already know that doctors can be bought and so can reviews. We see this happen in virtually every other industry. The difference here is that they are honing in on something that people care very deeply about.

To be a vegan isn’t easy! You HAVE to care deeply to live this way of life. The fact that the good intentions and passion of this well established group is being capitalized on is truly deplorable. I don’t know at this point who is funding the marketing behind the movement or who is actually set up to make money and who is being conned, but I do hope that it comes to light eventually. Allowed to progress I am very afraid of what else may happen to the dogs who are already barely surviving on kibble fed diets.

The move towards putting vegan dog food in shelters:

This is currently happening in LA and is of particular concern for a multitude of reasons.

One being that it is being made to look altruistic, which I do not believe it is. This makes it that much more offensive. Shelters are overcrowded and we know this. They need a LOT of food. Because of this, they look to be a good way to make a large dent in breaking away from the issues caused by traditional pet food companies on the environment. Again, this issue of overfilled shelters has become a problem because of humans.

Dogs that end up in shelters are often malnourished and have an even greater need for quality nutrition. Giving them a plant based diet puts them at an even greater risk of becoming even sicker.

Sick dogs in shelters are often put down because there is not enough money for medical care. Sick dogs also have a harder time being adopted because most people don’t want to take on an animal with medical needs.

The other issue with malnutrition, is the simple fact that time and again it has been proven to be a significant factor in behavioral problems. When a dog is missing nutrients, it has a much harder time in social situations and if shelter dogs didn’t ALREADY have a hard time due to histories of abuse, this is clearly not going to make their lives any easier.

My final issue, is that when fed a vegan diet as long as they may be in a shelter (often years) if the adopting parents decide against it, the dog may not be able to cope digestively. I see this as a play to keep customers of vegan dog foods and nothing else.

In conclusion 

Even if I am wrong about all of the corporate corruption, and this movement really is entirely based on a group of people who just care about the environment, I can not support the way they are going about doing that in this case. I see this as animal abuse due to misinformation at best, and human vegan abuse as well at worst, if it really is being funded by people talking advantage of this group of people desperate to save our environment.

I am one of them, and I do my part by not eating meat among other things. I also raise my dog responsibly and this includes feeding her a species appropriate diet and only buying her food from ethical meat sources.

I see no reason why dogs should suffer because of problems that humans have created and therefore should not be targeted in trying to fix it. There are other ways to help our planet that are safe and there is no valid reason to risk our dog’s health in this way.

I’d also like to add here that this in no way means that I believe that dogs can not benefit from eating vegetables! I absolutely believe that they can and should have access to them in their diet. All I am saying here is that plant-based food should not make up their ENTIRE diet.

To sum up, I’ll use the words of Dr. Judy Morgan: “If you want a vegan pet, get a bunny!” Please, do not do this to your dog!

If you would like to take action and make a difference, or simply learn more about the information presented here, follow this link.

Thetruthaboutpetfood.com

5 Easy Tips to Extend Your Dogs Life, That You Can Do TODAY!

If you are reading this right now, I am certain that you’ve already got the most important thing going for your dog. That is Love! Dogs thrive the most when they are loved, so that is always ground zero. The tips listed below are simple suggestions that people can easily implement, that have proven to be life extending. All of my tips regarding food come directly from Rodney Habib. Rodney has dedicated his life to studying canine longevity. He is the leading nutrition expert on the planet right now, and has traveled the world collecting evidence from scientists, veterinarians and pet parents of dogs that have lived to be in their 30’s.

5 Ways To Increase Lifespan At a Glance:

  1. Add something fresh
  2. Add something moist
  3. Fresh Air
  4. Probiotics
  5. Kick the chemicals

Below is a simple description of each

# 1 Diet – Add Something Fresh

As time goes on, it is becoming more and more evident that kibble is not the best food for dogs. That being said, kibble is what most people feed, so these are tips for things that you can do today! No shopping necessary.

Rodney worked with the leading scientists in the world right now regarding canine nutrition, and found that you can increase your dog’s lifespan and reduce their risk of cancer by as much as 80% JUST by replacing 20% of their dry food with real fresh food. Some examples of simple ways to do this are:

Tips

  • Ripping up some kale, spinach or any leafy green and putting it into their kibble.
  • Throw in a piece of broccoli or a chopped up carrot.

The point of these vegetables has less to do with nutrients and more to do with slowing down the digestive track. To gain nutritional benefits, it is true that they need to be puréed. If you have time, this is great, however in their whole form, they work just as well by increasing fiber and lowering blood sugar. Over time, the impacts of this are incalculable!

  • Add in a piece of whatever you are having for dinner either raw or cooked without seasoning. Chicken, beef or fish for example. 20% is all that they need.
  • Crack a raw egg into their bowl (cooked is fine too) just be sure to include the yolk because egg whites alone can cause a biotin deficiency. This actually takes care of the next suggestion also because it adds moisture at the same time.

Here is a quick reference guide for dog safe veggies:

veggies

# 2 Dietary Moisture – Add Something Moist

The biggest problem with kibble is that it is dry. This is extremely taxing to internal organs. Most people choose dry food because of the fact that it keeps teeth cleaner. A good way to do both is by adding in some coconut oil because it works just like toothpaste!

Tips

  • Add some coconut oil to their dinner. This not only eases digestion, but actually helps keep teeth even cleaner. 1 tsp to 1 tbs is all that you need per meal.
  • Fish oil is another great option because it helps balance out the omega 6’s that your dog is already getting in their diet. Too much omega 6 is bad for a lot of reasons but the most obvious is that it speeds up aging and leads to inflammation. The fastest way to reduce this is by adding in omega 3. This neutralizes the impact of omega 6 and adds important dietary elements along with moisture which is crucial.
  • If you don’t have the above two oils you can even add olive oil or avocado oil because these still effectively accomplish adding moisture and decrease organ stress.
  • An egg here also works in this way

For more information about these oils, I have a few articles, such as: Dog Supplements: What’s really necessary? ,  Coconut Oil and Dog Health or Phytoplankton, Fish oil or Raw Fish? Safe Ways to Give Your Dog Omega 3

# 3 Exercise – Fresh Air

The dog that lived to 33 ran about 8 kilometers a day. I’ll be very honest right now, for me, this one is the hardest aspects of dog care. I have health issues and running around isn’t really in the cards. However what I CAN do is go outside.

Tips

  • Make an effort. I’ve learned that just by being mindful of the amount of time we spend outside or how long we walk, makes me make a conscious effort to increase this. Tennis balls allow me to sit for some of the time and I know my dog is happier simply being in the sunshine.
  • Dog parks can be hugely helpful because I can make human friends there that make the time pass while my dog gets to be social and run.

# 4 Probiotics

Just like with humans, the dogs who live the longest always have the most diverse gut flora. A healthy gut = A long life across the animal kingdom. There are countless options of probiotics on the market today, but to do this right now you could either

Tips

  • Add in some of your probiotic supplements if you have them or
  • Give them a small bowl of plain (unsweetened) kefir or yogurt

Probiotics or healthy gut flora, over time, have proven to be the number one common denominator between all of the oldest dogs they have studied.

# 5 Kick The Chemicals – Cleaning Products

If you have a dog that likes to clean your floor like mine does, it’s important to reduce their exposure to chemicals. Even walking on the floors can be harmful if they are cleaned with chemicals, especially bleach. Dogs have pores on their feet that can absorb toxins, they also tend to lick their feet. Accumulation of this kind of exposure can lead to a number of problems down the road. Neurological disorders, cancer etc. With all of the different chemical exposures dogs may have, this is an easy thing to take out of the equation. I’m a germ freak, and have looked into this extensively. In 2010 they did a study comparing bleach to vinegar in killing an array of viruses and things like e-coli. In EVERY test they did, vinegar showed itself to be 100% as effective as bleach across the board. This finally convinced me, and my current favorite cleaner is vinegar!

Tips

  • Distilled white vinegar (in a pinch any vinegar will work, this one just smells the least)
  • Lemon juice
  • Castile soap
  • Baking soda (for scrubbing and deodorizing)

They all have multiple uses but for my floor, I just mix vinegar with Castile soap and water and it does an amazing job! I have some additional tips for this here: Pet Friendly Household Cleaners

*Along with kicking the chemical cleaning products, I wanted to say something very quickly about vaccines and heart worm medication. If your dog has been properly vaccinated early on, they should not need further vaccines. A titer test can tell you weather or not they are still covered by a vaccine. More of it doesn’t do any good, so this can be a great way to eliminate extra toxins from vaccines. Furthermore, if you live in a place that has winter, you can also safely take your dog off heart worm medication during these months and give their system a break! This isn’t a quick tip, but I did want to put this information out there because I know early on I was hesitant to ask my vet. This was a mistake because these chemicals can do a lot of harm and reducing them truly is a longevity increasing step! I have some more information about titer testing here: Titer Testing and the Dangers of Over-Vaccinating

Never Stop Learning. This is probably the one thing that encompasses all of this. The best thing we can do for the animals we love is to simply be open to learning. There is some incredible information coming out today. Now more than ever, it is easy to stay up to date and current simply by following these people either on their websites or on Facebook (links below). The two biggest positive influences in the pet world right now are:

Rodney Habib and

Dr. Karen Becker

They are very engaging and absolutely worth looking up!

Why Diet Is So Important

Studies done on life spans for dogs show that the biggest factor that separates those that live longer is what they are eating. Science has proven that raw food is the best quality of food for canine health. I am a raw feeder now, but I can tell you, I certainly did not start out that way! Like most people, I fed what my vet recommended without questioning it because they are doctors and I am not. It wasn’t until I took a moment to look into the food they were recommending that I began to question this advice. I’m not going to get too much into it but the bottom line is, most traditional veterinary schools are funded by pet food companies. These schools provide very little education when it comes to nutrition. Well meaning doctors, that love dogs, are told to protect the masses by suggesting foods that meet AAFCO guidelines. They don’t mention the detrimental effects of synthetic vitamins and denatured meat sources. Even the highest quality kibble is deficient, simply based on the process that is necessary to make it kibble. For most vets it’s all about what most people will realistically do, and that is buy kibble. Raw diets require a certain understanding of balance and if done wrong animals can get hurt. This along with not having enough education about it, is the biggest reason they do not usually recommend going this route.

However, things are changing. There are currently a number of resources available today that take the guesswork out of raw feeding. There are companies that hire food scientists to create pre-made raw options that are completely balanced and ready to serve. You can get frozen options that can be poured into a bowl just like kibble or you can save money and buy “chubs” that are the same thing, except you have to cut it yourself. This is by far, the easiest way to make the greatest impact on your dog’s longevity.

Two companies that provide this that I like very much are:

Answers Pet Food

Steve’s Real Food

You can buy them or order them from your local independent pet shop.

To save even more time Darwin’s Pet Food offers a subscription service where they pre-portion meals for your dog specifically, and send them frozen to your door.

A wonderful documentary that explains all of this on Netflix is Pet Fooled it’s an easy watch and very well done!

For some better kibble options, if you are not ready to make the switch I have found a few here: Kibble

You certainly don’t have to change everything over night, this just isn’t realistic. What you can do is just add one thing. Even just one carrot can make a difference! Science has proven this and because I know how much every moment with my dog means to me, I wanted to try to share some of what I’ve learned with you.

Rodney has many great videos, but here is just one:

Why don’t dogs live forever?

Pet Friendly Household Cleaners

Animals are family. We share our living space with them and we try to make that environment safe for everyone. Plus, they can be messy, they have accidents and don’t clean up after themselves, just like little kids. They need us to keep their environments healthy. I used to believe that clean meant safe, but unfortunately there’s a lot more to it than that.

The Pet Poison Helpline ranked household cleaning products as the sixth most toxic items for dogs. Cats are especially sensitive to phenols and even a small amount absorbed through the skin can be deadly.

There are an increasing number of studies being conducted today, showing direct links between household cleaners and illnesses in dogs and cats. Most people assume that this only relates to situations where the animals have ingested the chemicals directly, but this is not the case. Simple “normal use” exposure is enough to cause very significant damage over time. Paw pads are one of the only places on a dog’s body where they have sweat glands. This means they can absorb the chemicals not only by licking them or inhaling them, but simply by sniffing, walking and laying on the floor. Most of this kind of damage happens very subtly, over a long period of time, and by the time sickness occurs, it is too late to determine the exact cause. Lack of clinical signs early on mean by the time they are present, the animal is already extremely sick. In recent studies, animals that are affected develop some kind of metabolic disease (kidney, liver, or other organ system failure), cancer or some other diseases with similar severity. These diseases are often fatal and prevention means everything!

Another important thing to remember is that if your pet already has allergies, it could actually be these chemicals making them act up.

As concerned pet parents, it’s good to know to what to look out for in the products around the house. According to pet MD, this list is a good start:

  • Phenols (which are typically found in cleaners with the word “sol” in the name)
  • Phthalates (often used in scented products)
  • Formaldehyde (found in general household cleaners)
  • Bleach
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Perchloroethylene (found in rug and carpet shampoos)
  • Amonia
  • Glycol ethers

Watching out for all of this PLUS reading labels, can sound extremely overwhelming. I promise you, it’s not! An easy way to transition, is holding off on the commitment. Keep the cleaning products in your house but just do an experiment. The first thing I tried was just using vinegar… on everything! It was cheap and easy. After a week I figured I would know if this was something I could stick with. I am a germaphobe, keep in mind, so I was skeptical. Luckily it worked! I was surprised by the results and then graduated to making different things. It wasn’t over night, I just started changing things as they came along, and now I can finally say that I feel that my home is safe from BOTH germs and dirt AND toxic chemicals! Plus, now I can make things smell a little better too. Vinegar in particular can leave behind some unpleasant fragrance. I’ve learned just enough about essentials oils now to use them both as cleaning agents and for odor control. After all, it matters to me not only how clean but what my house smells like too!

Some of my favorite easy clean items include:

  1. Vinegar because it is a fabulous disinfectant. Almost any vinegar will work in a pinch, but I chose white distilled because I’m using it for cleaning only. The reason vinegar does this so well is because it contains acetic acid. It has antibacterial and anti fungal properties because it has a pH of 2.0. This kills bacteria and viruses so effectively, that in a study done in 2010 using vinegar vs lysol to kill the flu virus, the two had identical effectiveness. As a raw feeder, I worry about things like E.Coli and they also did a study using it to kill this on surfaces and sponges comparing it to bleach. Once again, the two were identical. It is also an organic compound that is biodegradable, and as we all know, it is completely safe to ingest. Dog’s may not like it, but it will cause them no harm. In household cleaners, it is usually mixed with water and the ratio is based on the task at hand. An example would be a cutting board vs the rest of the house. On the cutting board, I would use 100% vinegar undiluted, but for almost everywhere else a 50/50 blend is more than adequate.

The uses seem to be endless as it has also proven to be an incredible de-greaser, glass and mirror cleaner, wood and metal polish, soap scum remover, fabric softener, wood floor cleaner, ceramic, tile, linoleum or vinyl cleaner, odor eliminator, it can unclog drains, it loosens mineral deposits (lime and rust), stain remover, coffee maker cleaner, used in the kitchen and bathroom, outside, etc.

Citrus juices such as either fresh squeezed or store bought lemon, are often added to amplify and enhance these cleaning properties as well as improve the fragrance. They have natural enzymes that break down organic matter and very similar properties to vinegar in terms of cleaning. Rubbing half a lemon wedge on top of a cutting board for example, is an easy way to sanitize it.  I read somewhere that citrus fragrances are also uplifting so maybe that’s why I love this smell so much!

*Note: Places where vinegar or citrus juice should NOT be used: On marble, terrazzo, travertine and limestone surfaces or floors because the acid may cause damage. Also, never mix vinegar with bleach! (Or bleach with ammonia) This creates an extremely toxic chlorine gas that is potentially fatal to inhale.

2. Baking Soda Also known as sodium bicarbonate, is another easy solution for so many things. For tougher cleaning jobs where something with abrasive qualities is needed, baking soda does an incredible job. Food bowls with dried on messes, countertops, etc. All you have to do is mix it with warm water and a little bit of salt to make a paste. Dry, it is also an incredible odor absorber, and many people keep an open box in their refrigerator just for this reason. I don’t have carpets any more, but it is my favorite pet odor absorber for rugs and fabrics that can be vacuumed. Simply let it sit for 30 minutes and after a vacuum run, the smells will be completely gone. (For tougher carpet stains, instead of baking soda, a vinegar paste can be made with salt. 2 tbs salt and 1/2 C white vinegar can be mixed into a paste, rubber in, left to dry and then vacuumed. If this doesn’t work you can try mixing 1 tbs of vinegar with 1 tbs of cornstarch and letting it dry for two days before vacuuming. These are much healthier solutions to carpet wash because it can be SO dangerous!)

Baking soda is also great to use under kitty litter and it can even be added to freshen up laundry! Plus, it’s edible so it can even be a great doggie toothpaste additive!

3. Coconut oil has very powerful disinfectant properties. It’s great for cutting boards because it also conditions wood. Mixed with baking soda it can remove upholstery stains. I use it to season cast iron and sanitize all wooded utensils. It does all this while moisturizing my skin!

4. Borax, Mineral oil and Castile soap such as Sal Suds (my favorite- this lasts FOREVER!) are some other common household items that are also considered safe.

And finally,

5. Essential oils such as Lemon oil or Lavender oil are considered safe cleaning solution additives. They contain some disinfectant qualities and can improve scent. There are many others, but these are the two most common. I use them mostly to make my own laundry soap. This is important because everything my dog lays on and touches all day, has usually been washed.

Laundry detergent has a huge track record of causing problems for humans. Studies on this involving pets are scarce, but I’m pretty convinced that it’s even more dangerous to them. This is ALL simply related to them breathing in the washed fabrics. If ingested, it can actually be fatal. I make sure that all of my dog’s toys are rinsed in vinegar or washed with organic soap only, and I try to never buy pet products that were made in China, including beds!

A very simple recipe for homemade powdered laundry detergent is:

  • 2 Tbs Sal Suds
  • 1/4 C Baking Soda

Or a recipe from wellness mamma that I like a lot is:

Dry:

  • 1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s (or other natural fragrance-free soap bar) Grated with a cheese grater
  • In a large bowl, mix 2 parts washing soda (sodium carbonate) – Arm and Hammer is a popular one, 2 parts Borax and 1 part grated soap or 1 C of each and one soap bar
  • Store in a closed container and shake before use
  • Use 2 tbs to 1/4 C per load

Liquid:

  • 1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s (or other natural fragrance-free soap bar) Grated with a cheese grater
  • Melt the grated soap in a pan with 2 quarts of water, stir until dissolved
  • Add 4.5 gallons of hot tap water to a large bucket and stir in:
  • 2 cups of Borax and
  • 2 cups of washing soda until completely dissolved
  • Pour melted soap into the bucket and stir well
  • Cover and leave overnight
  • Shake or stir until smooth and pour into containers for storage
  • Use 1/2 C to 1 C per load

*Note: adding 2 Tbs of Sal Suds to these two recipes can help avoid buildup in the washing machine and

I ALWAYS add some white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment because it really works well for that! I also add a lambs wool dryer ball (dryer sheets are horrible!) for extra softness and static cling. You can add essential oils to these recipes, but I just put some on the ball.

I also make my own coconut oil soap that I use in this and to wash my dog with, but thats a separate topic 😉

*Even natural Fragrances and rooms sprays can very taxing to an animal. There are many homemade organic room sprays, without propellant and other added chemicals, that are a better option when lightly used. I prefer to use 100% organic beeswax candles with pure essential oils to accomplish this. The beeswax has air purifying properties and the essential oils are transmitted lightly but effectively. They don’t need to be lit all the time either. When I’m home I often use a candle warmer instead.

For years now, I have been using homemade cleaners for most things around the house, but my introduction to organic cleaners was a little different than most people’s. I started for effectiveness and then stayed for the health benefits! I was living in a house with white tile floors and struggling on a daily basis to keep them clean. I tried every product on the market, and nothing worked! I had a friend who did organic house cleaning for a living. She recommend that I try white vinegar and Sal suds wiped with a towel. I was blown away by the results! It worked so much better than anything I had ever bought and cost pennies per wash.

My reasons for using it now are completely different, but the effectiveness of it is what keeps me from looking elsewhere. Needless to say, my dog licks the floor. If I used a product with bleach for example, it would be extremely dangerous to her over time.

The idea of “going green” is becoming a lot more popular. For the most part, this is great but I’ve also noticed a lot of products entering the market with more creative “green” labels, and less reputable ingredients. As with everything that gets popular, it’s unfortunately something we have to pay attention to, especially considering the fact that many ingredients that are safe for people are not safe for animals as well. I like to buy organic soaps for example, because Castile is too harsh on my skin. I’ve tried and failed to make a good liquid soap, so I buy them where I get groceries. I’m busy and not interested in googling anything, so my rule of thumb is simple. If I don’t recognize it, I don’t buy it, period. Later on if I want to look up an item I will, but on the spot I won’t take a chance. I’ve made the mistake before of thinking that the front of labels were truthful. Most are somewhat accurate, but many had plenty of things in them that just made them expensive versions of chlorox. (Natural laundry soap was a biggest offender here.)

As far as the floor is concerned, I stick with my original formula.

1/2-1 tbs Sal Suds (any Castile soap is fine)

2-4 C distilled white vinegar

Added to a bucket of mop water

I make my own counter sprays just with vinegar and water or some lemon in a spray bottle. I aim for 50/50 but I honestly probably make them stronger now since feeding raw. For hand and dish soap, I usually just buy it from the store. Dr. Bronner’s or Mrs. Meyer’s are my favorite.

An easy dish soap from diy naturals is:

  • 1 3/4 C boiling water added to a bowl with
  • 1 tbs borax
  • 1 tbs grated castile soap (dr. bronner’s is a great one)
  • Add essential oils of your choosing
  • Mix until combined and let cool for 6-8 hours before putting in a squirt bottle and using.

An easy hand and/or dish soap recipe from live simply is:

  • Mix 1/2 C distilled water with 1 tbs white vinegar
  • Add 1/2 C Sal Suds and 1 tbs jojoba, sweet almond, coconut, olive or other moisturizing oil and stir
  • Add mixture to a dispenser
  • Shake before each use

For my dog’s bowls, I use straight vinegar and sometimes baking soda.

I like DIY for quality control, but it can get very time consuming, so I really want to find brands I trust. Right now, its a short list that still a work in progress, but it includes:

Dr. Bronner’s, Mrs. Meyers, Thieve’s, Skout’s Honor, Green Shield, Planet Ultra, Better Life, The Honest Company,  7th Generation, Earth Friendly, Eco Care, Ecover Zero, Emma Eco Me, Planet Natural Detergent, and Gaia. Method and Green Works are ok and a bit easier to find.

We are still in the process of making the switch 100%. My focus started with what’s safe for my dog. Now I’m trying to slowly transition the rest of the house. In addition to this with winter coming, and closed windows, I worry about the air quality. We live near an airport so we’re getting a second air purifier. I also have a list of natural air purifying plants that I hope to share in a future post.

The product swapping can feel like a lot all at once, but over time it starts to become an easier way to live. I hope at least one of these recipes was helpful! Before next year I am hoping to have a lot more of my own recipes to share!

j

Just for laughs… dogs and vacuums! 😉

Kibble

As most people know, as a general rule for myself I am truly 100% against kibble as being an appropriate food source for cats and dogs. However, that being said, I am also very aware that not everyone feels this way. We are fortunate today to have options. Small companies that are willing to take the time to deliver wholesome, pre-made, balanced, frozen raw food to the market at affordable prices along with freeze dried options make it very easy to make the switch but still, it’s not appropriate for everyone at every time. Shelters are a good example of this and during the holiday food drives I absolutely plan on participating and buying kibble. Because of this I feel obligated to share some positive information on the subject. All kibble is not created equal. I have a list of brands I suggest to anyone who needs to feed this way. Just as with any product it’s important to stay up to date, as companies get sold, formulas change, etc. but as of now this is what I have found to be the most trusted:

Origin, Acana, Zignature or Nutrisource for dry

Honest Kitchen, Grandma Lucy’s, Humankind, Stella and Chewy’s or Primal for freeze dried.

There may be others of course but the reason I feel the way I do about kibble is simple. Most brands in the store have unregulated (AAFCO doesn’t count) labels and parent companies. They use trusted celebrities like Rachael Ray and key words that they’ve changed definitions of to make people think they are doing good for their pets. They mislead consumers and lie about things including “organic”. People are losing their animals because of this so I am heartbreakingly passionate about spreading awareness about this. Please just consider these realities. You don’t have to go raw or watch “Pet Fooled” just please consider other options. We all buy what we think is best, don’t let these companies get away with abusing key words to make us purchase their products! The cost is the same and it could literally save your animals life!

Ethical Raw Feeding

There are two main reasons ethical meat sources matter. The first is obviously because animals deserve to be treated humanely and the second is health. There have been countless studies that provide hard evidence that humanely raised animals yield healthier meat. When so much of a dog’s diet is comprised of meat this becomes even more important. One example of this is vitamin D. Unlike us dogs are unable to produce this vital vitamin on their own. They need to get it 100% from their diet. Chickens that never go outside don’t contain vitamin D and chicken is the most common meat in dog food. It’s even been said that the well being of the animal matters. Well fed but caged up isn’t really good enough. If I want to go as far as raw feeding I absolutely believe it’s important to do it right so I’ve been painstakingly looking up how to access meat from ethical farmers. To start with I wanted to find a prepared food from a company I trusted. I chose this because while I wanted to learn how to prepare food myself I know that it takes time. It’s a lot to learn and I don’t want to cut corners or make my dog wait to switch her food over. (I found Answers pet food to be a trustworthy source as well as one called Steve’s that someone just told me about. These were available locally so I just started there.) I knew the transition wasn’t going to happen over night but I was still surprised at how reluctant my dog was to the new food since she hasn’t had kibble in over two years and has been eating a mix of freeze dried raw and cooked meat ever since. I tried everything and the only thing that seemed to work was plain organic raw chicken breast. This prompted me to advance on finding better meat sources a little sooner that I had originally planed because even though I’m not going to start making it yet, I needed better meat to ease the transition than they sell at my local grocery store. I was thrilled that I was actually able to find some! This link is a good tool but I know there are many others. You just type in where you live and it shows farm options. I had two in my area and decided to start with the one that looked like it was run the best way. I’m mostly sharing this to give hope to anyone out there who has never seen this option made available locally (I never have). It’s a wonderful resource for meat for everyone really! I don’t eat meat so I’m fortunate I only have to buy for my dog. Where money is a factor the prepared sources were actually the most cost effective for us. It’s just nice to have options. Companies and products change all the time so to have this as a backup for source for us is a great advantage. I am so grateful there are these ethical farms out there, if I support the meat industry with my business, I absolutely want it to go here!

http://www.eatwild.com/products/

Giving Back

No matter what we have going on in our lives, I believe in the importance of giving back. Sometimes we can do more than others. I do not have a lot of money at the moment but it still does more for my soul than anything money could buy to know that somewhere somehow I helped someone. I also can’t have more dogs right now so knowing how many are is such desperate conditions just breaks my heart. Still, There are SO many wonderful ways to share. Volunteering, spreading awareness etc and there’s also a lot of great charities out there. I like greater good mostly because I feel confident about where my money is going but also because they offer so many great options. You can donate as little as $1, there are many very specific and unique projects to help, and they have a HUGE store where you can find really awesome gifts and even household items that directly benefit a charitable cause. I try to shop there for things that I’d buy elsewhere as much as I can afford to because I love their stuff so much! We all love our dogs and are so grateful they are in our lives. I try to say thank you to the universe for mine by giving to other dogs in need. Whatever or however I can. It’s easy to forget in the busy day to day but it’s like food for the soul and it really does make a difference! I’m only writing this as a reminder even just to myself of the importance of this and to let people know, if you want to give somewhere or need a gift for an animal lover check this site out!!

http://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/ars/home