4 Big Reasons Eggs Are Great For Dogs!

Eggs are one of nature’s most complete and perfect foods! Adding a raw egg to your dog’s food is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to supercharge their diet. If you think about what an egg is, its easy to see why. An egg contains all of the ingredients necessary to grow life. This is pretty significant! Why don’t more people take advantage of this? Mostly because lately eggs have gotten a bad rap.

Some Myths About Raw Eggs

  1. Cholesterol– It is true that for HUMANS this could definitely be an issue. Dogs however don’t digest things the same way as people do. The only dogs that would ever have to be monitored for cholesterol are those that are either diabetic or have hyperthyroidism. Outside of that small percentage, a dog is not ever going to have to worry about this.
  2. Salmonella– Again, unlike people, dogs are literally built in a way to handle things like salmonella. Exposure to it won’t give them salmonella because their stomach acid literally destroys it. This is why a dog can eat out of the garbage can and we can’t!
  3. Biotin deficiency– Eating egg whites only might be healthier for people but the same is not true for dogs. As long as a dog also eats the yolk, they don’t have to worry about having a biotin deficiency. This is because egg whites contain a biotin inhibitor called avidin. The easiest way to counteract this is by eating the yolk which is naturally rich in biotin. This eliminates the risk. The other way to do this is by cooking them, in which case egg whites lose their avidin. The problem with this is that they also lose a large number of other nutrients that are extremely beneficial.
  4. Digestive upset- Egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors that make them difficult for some people to digest. As long as your dog is not eating eggs and nothing else, they should have no problem digesting them. One egg mixed in with dinner for example is a great way to introduce them and reduce the risk of any digestive upset.

Why Are Eggs So Beneficial?

  1. Eggs are one of the most complete sources of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential to life. When a protein is correctly evaluated, its value lies in its amino acid profile. High protein is useless without the amino acid profile because these are what the body uses exclusively and the rest just turns into waste. The amino acids in eggs are also highly digestible for dogs which make them even better!
  2. They are packed with vitamins and minerals including but not limited to:
  • Vitamin A – A fat-soluble vitamin that promotes eye, skeletal and muscle health. This is a good vitamin for dogs because they easily convert it into a usable form. This is an especially important vitamin for growing puppies.
  • Biotin – Necessary for growth, digestion and muscle function, it also is important in maintaining skin and hair health.
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B) – Also known as B 2 is a water-soluble coenzyme that regulates the energy production from fats, maintains cells and helps the body utilize amino acids. It is essential to growth, muscle development and skin and coat health. As with the other B vitamins, it is not stored within the body and must be present in the diet.
  • Vitamin B 12 and Folic acid – Folic acid and B12 are necessary for bone marrow and bone health because they help the marrow produce red blood cells.
  • Niacin– Promotes essential enzyme production.
  • Panothenic Acid – Enables the body to produce useable forms of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
  • B6 (pyridoxine) – Helps the body utilize amino acids and is essential to life.
  • Phosphorus – A mineral that works with calcium, that is vital to bone development. Together they maintain the growth and structure of the skeletal system.
  • Vitamin D – A Fat-soluable vitamin necessary for bone formation, nerve and muscle control. It balances phosphorus and calcium and regulates these in the blood stream, allowing calcium to be utilized and retained. Vitamin D is an important part of a dogs diet because they cannot produce it on their own. Vitamin D toxicity is very rare but could have a negative effect by causing calcium deposits in the heart, muscles and other soft tissue. (This is not a concern in one egg!)
  • Iron – A mineral that increases the production of red blood cells. This helps maintain bone marrow and prevents anemia. Iron is necessary for certain enzymes in the body to function normally. Iron also combines with copper and protein to produce hemoglobin (the molecules in red blood cells that carry oxygen). The body needs a constant supply to maintain red blood cells, as they need to be replaced in the body every 110 days.
  • Selenium – An antioxidant that works with vitamin e and certain enzymes to promote heart and skin health. It also helps prevents arthritis and cancer.
  • Fatty Acids – Essential to organ health.
  • Protein: Maintains healthy bodily functions and provides energy fuel. Protein is necessary for all aspects of growth, development and immune health. This is because it contains amino acids and the body cannot produce every one that is essential on its own. They must come through diet and eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids plus 4 non-essential amino acids.

3. Eggs Shells are full of Calcium which can be very important for dogs lacking calcium in their diet (explained at the end). They also contain micro-elements, such as magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.

Calcium is a mineral that is essential for bone formation, blood coagulation, muscle contraction, nerve and impulse transmission, heart health, immune health and endocrine function. Calcium is an important part of your pet’s health! (Without calcium in the diet, the body extracts it from its own bones, which leads to many issues related to mobility.)

Many dogs will eat the shell with their food but I only trust shells from local growers because most from the grocery store have been sprayed to look nicer. My dog is not one who will eat the shell. For days when she may lack bone for calcium in her diet, I save the organic unused shells.

You can dry them in the oven on low for about 10 minutes and then easily crush them into a powder using either a clean coffee grinder or a pestle. This a very easy way to make your own calcium supplement. I love this because there are a lot of concerns about the safety of many calcium sources in supplements on the market and as long as you get good quality eggs, this takes away the guess work.

My dog is 25 lbs so she needs 550 mg of calcium per day. (50mg per kg) She gets calcium from other sources so if I need to I only use 1/4- 1/2 tsp. based on the assessment that:

“One whole medium sized eggshell makes about one teaspoon of powder, which yields about 750 – 800 mgs of elemental calcium plus other microelements, i.e. magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.”

4. Dogs usually LOVE eggs! Even dogs who love food, don’t always love things that are healthy. Because eggs are so highly palatable, I use them as a food topper to help get my dog to eat other healthy items that she’s less fond of!

Calcium Phosphorus Ratio:

NOTE: Eggs without the shell will have more phosphorus than calcium in them. If you are not feeding them with other items that have calcium (bone) it is important that some calcium be added to balance this out. Each shell-less egg has about 78 mgs more phosphorus than calcium, this means you should add about 85 mgs of calcium if your dog is not getting it from other sources. An occasional egg will do no harm, this is more for those that use them every day without balance because the imbalance may add up.

The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be about 1:1 or 1.2:1 in favor of slightly more calcium. Because calcium is the mineral that is required in the highest amount, phosphorus is number two. Phosphorus deficiency is very rare in dogs. Too much phosphorus is more common and can accelerate kidney failure or renal disease. Because the calcium to phosphorus ratio is so important in dog health, its important to pay special attention to the amounts of both in each food. Excess or deficiency of either can cause problems. There are some foods that have a natural balance, like green tripe, but not most. For this reason, out of everything thats in an egg, this is the one I would pay attention to most. Imbalance over time can cause skeletal problems that can be very severe. There should not be enough phosphorus present in eggs to cause an issue, due to other food items, but it’s a good thing to be aware of.

We feed about 4-5 raw eggs per week with bone and/or shell powder when we have it. We use a lot of eggs, but my dog also has plenty of bone in her diet so I don’t worry about it very much.

I love eggs because my dog loves eggs and they are so good for her and easy to keep in stock!

Another great use for eggs shells:

Raw Dog Diary 11/12/17

Another busy week but we’re making progress! On tap for this week is:

  • Unconventional oils such as black seed and CBD
  • Colloidal silver

Along with at least 15 other things that I’m currently researching.

It’s been a lot of computer time for Jersey Girl to endure but I’ve been doing better with the walks! It’s gorgeous out now so we do an hour minimum. It’s no where near the exercise we used to get but it’s better than it was!

The biggest news this week was that we finally found a holistic vet! They all seem so busy I was afraid we’d never get an appointment, but we finally got one for the end of the month. It’s good timing because I really want to change her heart worm pill and that’s usually when she takes it. I love living in Florida but the heartworm meds are a problem. I am 100% holistic except for this and I hate that. I’m really praying for some answers! I’m also interested in seeing her most recent blood work. I finally got a glucose/keytone reader (that we’ve yet to use lol) but that’s not my primary concern, so hopefully we’ll have a good experience with this new vet!

She’s finally being open minded and eating all of her meals!! For a while it was only the farmers market items but now it’s everything and I am so thrilled!

I’m starting official classes in canine nutrition soon so I am probably going to be blogging less but hopefully I’ll also have a lot more to share!

Best wishes to you and your fur family and love always,

Jeanne & Jersey Girl

Mushrooms for Dog Health

When it comes to mushrooms for dogs, my general rule of thumb has always been, “when in doubt, go without”. The truth is, there are MANY different species of mushrooms. There are some that are toxic to dogs and people also, however, there is a reason people still eat mushrooms, and its not just because they like them. Mushrooms can be a powerhouse of nutrition and have been used for centuries in medicine. When I kept seeing dog “immunity blend” vitamins with mushrooms in them, I decided this was something definitely worth looking into.

While I would never trust a mushroom that I found outside, most of the mushrooms that you will find at the grocery store are also safe for dogs. That being said, not all mushrooms are created equal. Some mushrooms are worth a lot more than others health-wise. Because my dog’s not particularly interested in veggies, if I am going to incorporate mushrooms in my vegetable blends or broths, I want them to be worth the effort. Immunity blends can be great, but I prefer whole foods and unless my dog has a specific need for a blend, I always prefer to go the homemade route. There are a number of vitamins, minerals, biologically active compounds and fungal enzymes in mushrooms that can help with things like:

  • Immune system health
  • Digestive health
  • Detox
  • Respiratory health
  • Joint health
  • Normal cell growth

Some mushrooms are easier to find than others, so I also have a list below of whole-foods based supplements that might be helpful for those varieties that are not as easy to buy locally. Blends can also be beneficial because many contain important nutrient dense parts of the mushroom like the mycelium, that you just can’t buy in a store because they are cut in order to sell.

As with everything, moderation is key. Not all vitamins are beneficial in high amounts. Vitamins A, C and D for example can become toxic at certain levels, so it’s best to be aware of how mush your dog is getting combined with their other food per day. The benefit of buying store-bought mushrooms is that a lot of them have nutrition facts that can give you a general idea of how many vitamins you are dealing with at a time. The easiest to find beneficial varieties that can either be grown at home or found at most stores are shiitake, maitake, reishi, and button.

Shiitake: 

Most notable attribute: They are a symbol of longevity in humans and have health benefits for dogs as well. They are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods.

Additional benefits: They contain: protein, zinc, copper, thiamin, folate, selenium, iron, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, manganese, pathothenic acid, niacin, vitamin D and dietary fiber. They also contain more than 50 enzymes including pepsin, which aids in digestion.

Maitake: 

Most notable attribute: They are one of the most medicinal mushrooms on earth. They have a host of healing qualities and have been called an anti-cancer agent.

Additional benefits: Regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and immunity enhancing. Due to the unique chemical structure of its ploysccharide compound it has proven to be a strong tumor suppressant. They contain protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium and vitamin D.

Reishi: These mushrooms come in a variety of colors but those that are purple, black, yellow, blue, white and red are the most beneficial. Red is the most common.

Most notable attribute: It helps reduce fatigue, bone marrow suppression and risk of infection especially for those undergoing chemo therapy radiation.

Additional attributes: They are used to relieve allergies, support cardiovascular health, improve digestion, improve the immune system, aid in detox, improve cognition, healthy respiration, they are anti-inflammatory and increase energy. They are rich in polysaccharides, polypeptides, 16 amino acids, organic acids coumarin and micro elements. They contain protein, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, choline, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, omega 6, and selenium.

Button aka White mushrooms: 

Most notable attribute: They contain antioxidants that are not destroyed through cooking.

Additional benefits: These mushrooms have growth cycles that produce Button (can be white or brown), then Crimini and finally Portobello. The nutritional values vary between growth cycles but they all contain all of the B vitamins except 12, protein, fiber, omega 6, vitamin C, vitamin D, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid, choline, betaine, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium.

Other beneficial mushrooms:

These are much more rare but worth getting in a supplement:

Lion’s Maine: Helps improve memory.

King Trumpet: Anti-oxidant, maintains healthy cholesterol levels and contains high levels of l-ergothioneine, selenium and beta-glucans.

Turkey Tail: Promotes immune, digestive, urinary and respiratory health as well as normal cellular growth. This is because of a a particular polysaccharide called PSK.

Chaka: An immune nourisher, cancer preventive, and an aid to those dealing with melanomas.

Coriolis: Maintains, protects and restores immune health.

Himematsutake: Immune support and cellular growth. Related to the button mushroom.

Cordyceps: Restores stress from aging, supports healthy energy, circulation, respiratory health and healthy cholesterol.

A Brief Description Of What Makes Mushrooms So Valuable:

  • Beta-glucans and Proteoglycans: Two of the most biologically active compounds that support the immune system. Beta-glucans in mushrooms are exceptional because they are large, complex long-chain molecules made up of polysaccharides. Proteoglycans are special protein found in connective tissue. They also contain other bioactive compounds such as: alpha-glucans, pectins, ribonucleases, peptides, lectins, ubiquitin-like proteins, enzymes and antioxidants.
  • Digestive enzymes: Protease- digests proteins and aids in detox. Lipase- helps digest fat. Cellulase- breaks down fiber, promotes bowl health and regularity. Amylase– breaks down starch into sugar and supplies energy. This is important because unlike humans, dogs don’t produce this in their saliva and they need it to absorb nutrients from vegetables.
  • Antioxidants: Mushrooms contain many antioxidants including polyphenols and selenium but they are unique sources of the most powerful antioxidants which make them truly exceptional. One is L-ergothioneine. This is now called the “master antioxidant” because it can be transported throughout the body to fight free radicals and oxidative stress. Mushrooms are the only producer of this anti-oxidant. Unless your dog can receive some through grass fed cows that happen to be eating grass that was fertilized by these mushrooms, they will not be getting any at all. It’s ability to target and fight oxidative stress, protect cellular DNA and protect against free radical damage that speeds up aging, makes this a vital source of health and longevity. They also help prevent cancer and allergies.
  • Protein: Maintains healthy bodily functions and provides energy fuel. Protein is necessary for all aspects of growth, development and immune health. This is because it contains amino acids and the body cannot produce every one that is essential on its own. They must come through diet and protein quality is based not on the amount of protein itself, but the number of essential amino acids that it contains.
  • Manganese: Regulates carbohydrate and protein intake and fortifies the skeletal system. It is also essential for certain enzymes in the body responsible for the production of energy and making fatty acids. Excess levels of calcium and phosphorus can interfere with the absorption of manganese in the digestive tract. Manganese toxicity is virtually unheard of but deficiencies can lead to significant skeletal abnormalities and increase the likelihood of injury.
  • B vitamins: Water-soluable vitamins necessary for cell metabolism. B1 (thiamin) promotes nerve and muscle health. Niacin promotes essential enzyme production. Pantothenic acid enables the body to produce useable forms of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. B6 (pyridoxine) helps the body utilize amino acids and is essential to life. Folic acid and B12 are necessary for bone marrow and bone health because they help the marrow produce red blood cells. Biotin is necessary for growth, digestion and muscle function, it also is important in maintaining skin and hair health. B vitamin toxicity is virtually nonexistent because the vitamins are not stored within the body. Because of this, it is important that they are provided through diet.
  • Vitamin D: A Fat-soluable vitamin necessary for bone formation, nerve and muscle control. It balances phosphorus and calcium and regulates these in the blood stream, allowing calcium to be utilized and retained. Vitamin D is an important part of a dogs diet because they cannot produce it on their own. Vitamin D toxicity is very rare but could have a negative effect by causing calcium deposits in the heart, muscles and other soft tissue.
  • Vitamin C: (Ascorbic acid) A water-soluble vitamin that boosts the immune system, speeds healing, promotes bone formation and can decrease joint pain. It also fights viral diseases, bacterial infections and is an anti-carcinogen. Vitamin C is not an essential vitamin for dogs because they can produce it on their own but deficiencies can happen on occasion. Because it is water-soluble, it is considered safe and too much usually just causes diarrhea.
  • Riboflavin: Also known as B 2 is a water-soluble coenzyme that regulates the energy production from fats, maintains cells and helps the body utilize amino acids. It is essential to growth, muscle development and skin and coat health. As with the other B vitamins, it is not stored within the body and must be present in the diet.
  • Vitamin A: A fat-soluble vitamin that promotes eye, skeletal and muscle health. This is a good vitamin for dogs because they easily convert it into a usable form. This is an especially important vitamin for growing puppies. The chances of toxicity are low with this vitamin but as with all fat-soluble vitamins it should still be avoided.
  • Potassium: Regulates hydration and proper fluid balance throughout the body and maintains the nervous system. Potassium is necessary for proper enzyme function, muscles and nerves. Digestive disturbances (like diarrhea) can lead to potassium deficiency which can be very dangerous. Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea should always be checked by a vet. As long as the kidneys are properly functioning, potassium toxicity is very rare. If the adrenal glands are not functioning properly, however, blood potassium levels can reach dangerous levels and cause addison’s disease. Dietary potassium may exacerbate this condition but it is not the cause of this disease.
  • Selenium: A trace mineral that should be used in limited amounts. It is an antioxidant that works with vitamin e and certain enzymes to promote heart and skin health. It also helps prevents arthritis and cancer. Selenium deficiency is very rare in dogs because they usually get an adequate amount in their diet. In rare cases, if dietary intake is in excess of 0.9 mg per pound of food eaten, over time, toxicity may occur and symptoms such as hair loss, anemia, liver failure or lameness may occur.
  • Iron: A mineral that increases the production of red blood cells. This helps maintain bone marrow and prevents anemia. Iron is necessary for certain enzymes in the body to function normally. Iron also combines with copper and protein to produce hemoglobin (the molecules in red blood cells that carry oxygen). The body needs a constant supply to maintain red blood cells, as they need to be replaced in the body every 110 days. Iron toxicity in dogs is extremely rare but can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb phosphorus.
  • Phosphorus: A mineral that works with calcium, that is vital to bone development. Together they maintain the growth and structure of the skeletal system. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be about 1:1 or 1.2:1 in favor of slightly more calcium. Because calcium is the mineral that is required in the highest amount, phosphorus is number two. Phosphorus deficiency is very rare in dogs. Too much phosphorus is more common and can accelerate kidney failure or renal disease. Because the calcium to phosphorus ratio is so important in dog health, its important to pay special attention to the amounts of both in each food. Excess or deficiency of either can cause problems. There are some foods that have a natural balance, like green tripe, but not most. For this reason, out of all of the items on this list, this is the one I would pay attention to most. Imbalance over time can cause skeletal problems that can be very severe. There should not be enough present in mushrooms to cause an issue, but it’s a good thing to be aware of.
  • Dietary fiber: Carbohydrates that aid in the metabolism of nutrients by regulating the digestive track allowing for better nutrient absorption. Fiber also lowers blood sugar and prevents the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the digestive track. Fiber can help with weight management, reduce the chance of diarrhea, constipation and diabetes.

Water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues but not stored. If they are in excess, they simply pass through usually with minimal side effects or slight digestive upset.

Fat-soluable vitamins are the ones to pay close attention to. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body for long periods of time for further use. For this reason, the body doesn’t need theses vitamins every day. They are mainly stored in the liver and fatty tissue. They are essential to health but when eaten in excess they can cause toxicity.

How To Use Mushrooms:

When dealing with mushrooms at home, it is always best to cook them. It is also safest to buy organic and wash them throughly before using, to get rid of any possible pesticides. The easiest way for a dog to digest mushrooms is to cook them and cut them up, puree or make them into a broth. The broth may lose some nutritional value but it also helps release some of the nutrients. They are more likely to get a higher concentration especially if they are not interested in eating them.

I mostly add them to purees or make broths and save the mushrooms for our dinner.

There is much more to the story! I tried to cover a manageable amount here, but mushrooms are really amazing. I will be interested to see what else there is to learn!

6-Benefits-of-Reishi-Mushrooms-for-your-dog-526x1024

Some Good Mushroom Blends To Increase Immunity:

Dr. Mercola

Well Pet Dispensary

BIXBI

Mush

Canine Matrix-Turkey Tail

Canine Matrix blend

In an effort to be responsible I wanted to be sure to add a bit about which mushrooms are most toxic. Generally these may only be found on occasion outside, but I consider all outside mushrooms to be dangerous.

This is from PetMD:

Poisonous mushrooms for dogs include the following types:

Liver toxic mushrooms

– Amanita phalloides (Death Cap Mushroom)

– Amanita ocreata (Angel of Death)

– Lepiota (False Parasol)

– Galerina

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

– Conocybe

– Gymnopilus

– Psilocybe

– Panaeolus

Toadstool Mushrooms

– Amanita pantherina (Panther Cap)

– Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)

Mushrooms Containing Muscarinic Agents

– Inocybe

– Clitocybe

False Morel Mushrooms

– Gyromitra esculenta (Beefsteak)

– Gyromitra caroliniana

– Mushrooms in the Verpa genre

– Mushrooms in the Helvella genre

Mushrooms That Cause Gastrointestinal Distress

– Boletus

– Chlorophyllum

– Entolomo

Find out more information on mushrooms that are poisonous to dogs.

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?

Phytoplankton, Fish oil or Raw Fish? Safe Ways to Give Your Dog Omega 3

NOTE: If you are using fish oil: Using just any fish oil truly is not safe. Rancid fish oil is a huge problem in the industry and this can have life threatening effects on a dog. Source is extremely important when using fish oil.

As our society changes and scientific progress is being made, we now have an abundance of information available to us about ways to improve the lives of our pets. This can be overwhelming, but one thing that has become abundantly apparent, is that dog’s need Omega 3’s in their diet. One reason for this, is that they get an abundance (or over-abundance) of Omega 6 and 9 in the food that they eat. Too much omega 6 and 9 can lead to inflammation, chronic disease, faster aging and slower healing. This was not an issue for the dog’s ancestors, because their diets were not nearly as laden with these oils as they are today. There are many contributing reasons for this, but one simple reason is livestock feed. Today our meats contain drastically higher amounts of omega 6 and 9 due to what these animals are fed. The most effective solution for the overabundance of these oils and the diseases they create, is introducing Omega 3. This balances the omega 6 and 9, reduces inflammation, promotes healthy healing and eliminates many causes for chronic disease. Omega 3’s (EPA and DHA) also improve brain function, prevent dementia, slow aging, promote skin, coat and hair growth, improve joint health and reproductive health. We can help reduce the omega 6’s in the diet through feeding things such as raw, clean, grass-fed meats, avoiding vegetable oils and staying grain free, but for many dogs this simply is not enough. Dog’s can’t produce Omega 3’s on their own and this is what makes it such an important supplement for them to get. The best sources of these for our dogs, come from the ocean. This is because unlike people, dogs can’t convert plant based sources of omega 3 (such as flax) and therefore need the DHA and EPA in pure form. This translates to meaning marine animals and algae. This brings me to the main point of this article: trying to decide which source of marine omega 3 is best.

*Note: Always stay within feeding guidelines for all types of omega 3 supplements. Too much of any of these may cause very adverse effects including difficulty clotting blood, slower would healing and proper immunity responses where inflammation is necessary to trigger the body’s appropriate response.

After an exhausting amount of research, I basically came to the conclusion that there is no easy answer to this. Each and every leading source available today has pros and cons. It mostly boils down to just what works best for each individual. I personally try to do a combination because it is what works for us.

Raw Fish

Pros:

  • Whole food is the most natural way for a dog to receive nutrients – I try to always go here first
  • The Omega oils are much less likely to be affected by oxidation or getting rancid
  • Parasites can be easily eliminated by freezing
  • Many fish contain additional nutrients including high quality protein, amino acids and vitamin D. This can be very beneficial when fed in moderation because dog’s can’t absorb vitamin D from the sun. (Amounts should be limited here and depend on what else the dog is eating because vitamin D is fat-soluble. Too much can be toxic and too little can cause damage as well. It’s always best to be moderate and ask a vet.)
  • Extra sourcing precautions should be taken with shellfish, (very clean water only) but certain shellfish such as mussels and oysters can be fed safely. They don’t have bones. They contain less omega 3 but still provide some. Mussels for example, contain approximately 665mg per 3 oz serving.  Green Lipped mussels from New Zealand, also make great joint supplements and also provide an array of other nutrients that make them beneficial including manganese, amino acids, antioxidants and enzymes. Oysters contain about 558 mg omega 3 per 3 oz serving and also have B12, iron, copper, calcium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
  • Fats contained in fish help your dog’s body absorb nutrients, fat-soluble vitamins and minerals
  • Most Fatty fish contain approximately 1-2 grams of omega 3 per 3 oz serving, but this varies greatly between fish (this example was taken from salmon). Sardines contain approximately 1.8 g of omega 3 per 4 oz serving.

Cons:

  • A lot of dog’s refuse to eat fish
  • Toxins are stored in fish skin and fat
  • Fish bones can be a danger if swallowed whole instead of chewed (but processed fish is only considered safe for humans)
  • Salmon from the pacific northwest is not safe due to the presence of a particular parasite that can be deadly, its just not worth the risk.
  • Many people choose Sardines and Hearing because they are both high, well-balanced sources of DHA and EPA and dogs seem to eat them more easily. The downside is that even though these fish don’t contain high levels of mercury, they DO very often come from the contaminated waters of the pacific. This means they may have been contaminated by radiation poisoning and contain high levels of strontium, among other things. Whats worse is that MOST sardines come from Japan (where the radiation levels are the highest) and even companies that have no indications on their label, may be sourcing their sardines from these contaminated waters. There are ways to find safe sardines, it just takes a little work. And you can get them boneless.
  • Small fish either eaten whole or processed contain the bones. This means when eating fish from the contaminated waters, the dog is eating the toxic selenium directly because it is stored in the bones. (This also makes fish oil made from small fish more risky.)
  • They carry the same risk of heavy metal toxins as fish oil does including mercury poisoning.
  • Because our oceans are so heavily contaminated we also have to be concerned about industrial chemicals such as PCB’s, dioxins and pesticides
  • Some fish contain high amounts of omega 6’s (such as catfish and tilapia) this could cause more harm to an animal who is already eating a diet high in omega 6. They are also not high enough in omega 3 to provide a benefit.
  • Even wild and sustainably caught fish pose a risk. Many larger fish are simply too high in toxins to ever be safe including, tuna, mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish and grouper to name just a few.
  • Farm raised fish often contain growth hormones and residue of drugs meant to prevent diseases.
  • You can research the fish source, but it is not as easy to be confident it has been tested for purity (and you can’t do this at all with fresh fish)

* A good reference guide for sardines is Here I buy coles or crown prince now

Fish Oil

Pros:

  • Extremely easy to administer
  • Easy to absorb
  • You don’t need a lot
  • Easy to measure amounts of DHA and EPA
  • The safest source seems to be cephalopods such as octopus and squid. They lack bones that store radioactive substances and have very short life spans that keep their mercury and other heavy metal toxin levels at a minimum. They also contained high and balanced levels of both DHA and EPA
  • When produced properly and stored in dark glass ONLY, oxidation levels are usually much less.
  • Rancid oils often have a smell to them. Even when oxidation is taking place, it can be avoided by using a reputable manufacturer combined with proper use and storage.
  • Fish oil is only as good as the amount of DHA and EPA that it contains. Each one is different, but you can tailor it to be the exact amount that your dog needs.

Cons:

  • Heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. Heavy metals can cause nervous system dysfunction, epilepsy, blindness, certain cancers, irreversible liver and kidney damage and even death.
  • Other toxins such as those from PCB’s, dioxins and furans may be present – same as with raw fish and most manufacturers will not disclose this.
  • Mixed oil blends often pose the highest risk of toxins
  • These toxins are stored in fat, so the oil is highly concentrated in them if they are present.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are extremely vulnerable to oxidative damage. This basically means when the oil mixes with oxygen, the fat particles break down into smaller compounds such as MDA (malondialdehyde) and contain free-radicals. Both of these damage proteins, DNA, other cellular structures and can lead to disease. Most fish oil has some of this before you even buy it. Sometimes its hard to tell if an oil is rancid but it is CRUCIAL information because rancid oil will do a lot more harm than good!
  • Fish oil stored in plastic (even dark plastic) is at a MUCH higher risk of oxidative damage. Dark glass is always a safer option. Opening the bottle does this damage also, so it is always best to keep this at a minimum.
  • A lot of fish oil comes from salmon sources in the pacific. These fish carry with them the extra threat of being contaminated with radiation poisoning. Fish from these waters are testing positive for radioactive particles such as cesium-37 and strontium-90 which can be deposited into bone marrow when ingested and cause innumerable problems including leukemia and cancer.
  • Krill is a good source of omega 3 but it is being over-fished and is not stable for the environment. Also, the added antioxidant “benefits” have absolutely no proof of making any type of effective difference.
  • For source transparency the oil must be third party tested. If it isn’t, it’s essential to ask for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from the manufacturer before you know the analysis is legitimate.

*NOTE: When using fish oil it’s good to look for one with vitamin E in it. “It can help prevent the oxidative damage in omega-3 oil. Not only that, but it may also benefit your dog’s skin health, immune system, osteoarthritis, and more.” bncpet

Phytoplankton

Pros:

  • Easy to administer
  • Easily absorbed
  • You don’t need a lot
  • Easy to measure amounts of DHA and EPA
  • Marine Algae, plant based
  • Does not accumulate heavy metal toxins
  • Farm raising keeps harvesting them from affecting our oceans
  • Is rich and balanced in DHA and EPA
  • Most dogs are mineral deficient and it also contains extra added benefits including trace minerals, manganese, selenium, chlorophyll, magnesium, iodine, antioxidants (such as superoxide dismutase which removes toxins and heavy metals from the body), essential amino acids, protein, vitamins and carotenoids. These are extremely beneficial to overall heath and can prevent and reverse serious disease.
  • It already comes in an easily digestible source so these nutrients can be absorbed in to the system more easily than if they came from other plant based sources. This makes is very restorative and easy on the liver.
  • Phytoplankton contain approximately 14.4 mg of omega 3 per gram of powder

Cons:

  • Almost 100% of it is genetically modified (GMO)
  • Almost all of these producers are being controlled by Monsanto (despite what they advertise)
  • It must be sustainably grown on land and be without any fillers
  • It must be free of radiation, heavy metal and other toxins
  • It is difficult to find transparent sourcing information
  • Farm raised waters can still get contaminated
  • It contains no fat or the benefits that go along with it
  • Has benefits very similar to other algae (such as spirulina) that are easier to get source information on

For more info on this, or a purchasing reference, this article is a good start.

Conclusion:

The cons lists look much longer than the pros list on these. This is misleading though, because I listed the universal pros in the heading. I am in no way trying to discourage adding Omega 3’s into your dog’s diet! It is called an essential fatty acid for a reason! They really should have this in their diet. I’m just trying to present all the facts. So many people just find one source and stop, and I don’t think this produces very balanced view points. I do my best to look at every angle.

I choose to supplement with a fish oil that I’ve had years to research and trust, add occasional green lipped mussel powder and feed a small amount of raw fish, also from a trusted source. My dog doesn’t like most fish so, this is just what works for us right now.

I have not had enough time to properly source phytoplankton, so I will not purchase this supplement yet. I also already use spirulina. It contains the other benefits that phytoplankton has, and I have had time to source this correctly. Right now, I’m just using a muti-mineral supplement for this, but the way I found the last spirulina supplement that I used, was by reading articles such as this.  For this reason, I don’t find it necessary to add phytoplankton right now.

Having said that, our oceans are getting more contaminated, not less. If anything changes, and I find a source, I will update immediately.

The two supplants I currently use are:

Feel Good Omega which I also take myself, and for spirulina I use Green Min

These charts are a great resource and quick reference guide for selecting raw fish! I am still actively trying to get my dog to be more open minded, but when making a selection, I start my research here first.

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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! 😉

Safe Ways To Store Food In The Freezer Without Plastic

For years now, I’ve being hearing all the negative studies and chatter going on about the dangers of storing food in plastic. I always used to use Debbie Myers Tupperware without a care, but these just gave me a false sense of security. Even BPA free plastic is considered unsafe. All plastic leaches chemicals and many have proven to be even worse than BPA! I knew this, but at the time I only really had to worry about refrigerated items and making the switch to glass and silicone was pretty easy.

Now as a raw feeder I’m a lot more concerned. First of all we need to freeze EVERYTHING! Second, freezing and thawing items in plastic is a lot more dangerous because the process of freezing and thawing causes a lot more toxins to be released. Third, dog’s are more sensitive to these toxins than humans are. Fourth, my dog gets enough toxic chemicals just from her heart worm pill and Fifth, this is her FOOD!

I know most people use ziplocks and call it a day. They see no ill effects and everyone is fine. For the items I buy that are already frozen, I don’t have a choice. If I want duck necks, my local butcher is never going to have them, so I’m forced to either buy them as they are (in plastic) or not have them at all. What I CAN do however is change the container when I get them. It may not do a whole lot at this point, but it’s worth a try. The other thing I can do is transfer all the fresh meat I buy immediately before freezing and gain at least some measure of safety that way. Some people can take their own contains to buy the meat. Currently our supplier is not set up that way or I would do that also.

Then comes the issue of the freezer itself. Space is problematic and I really need to make the most of every inch. I know I have some good containers that can technically go in the freezer but they are not meal size portions and it’s important not to defrost too much at a time. This led me to finding a better solution.

The best way to store small items in the freezer

Answers pet food uses milk cartons. I love this idea plus they are recyclable. I own some bags that are paper and waxed on the inside. My problem is I’m not 100% confident about what the wax is made of in these. The ways to buy them are limited and I’ve yet to see a decent explanation of what’s inside. I’m sure there are safe waxed boxes and bags out there, I just haven’t found them yet. I also need things that are reusable!

Reusable options

Silicone is not only great in the fridge, but works awesome in the freezer too. These containers are also collapsible, so if they are not full they can be pressed down without risk of breaking open.

They are also expensive, so my next thought was silicone freezer bags! They are a great option for items that are very moist. There are a TON of brands that make them and many you can even vacuum seal! It is however important to research the source a bit. I haven’t found a favorite yet but when I do I’ll update this! My problem here is again economical. I would love to use more of these but I will have to reserve them for wet items only.

Glass is another great option. I think I like glass the most in general. These in particular come in a good variety of sizes and have silicone lids. They make a lot now also for baby food which is too small in most cases, but because of this the options are widening.

Mason jars are awesome too and they make silicone lids now that fit any bowl, but I just don’t have the space. I will use the jars for bone broth though.

All of these are expensive methods however. I don’t have the budget for this many containers of either kind. That led me to finding my two new favorite things!

Natural parchment paper and one that’s even better because it’s reusable is

Beeswax storage paper The obvious problem with these is the fact that there is no seal. Freezer tape doesn’t cut it. To remedy this I would prefer to double wrap but with so many meals to freeze, this just isn’t economical. I choose to fit a week of wrapped food inside one glass container. I just happen to be a glass fan, but Stainless steel would work great too. This remedies both freezer burn and leakage. (Many people double wrap with tin foil but this worries me.) For the items that are longer term stores, I will also use the parchment and wrap a lot heavier.

Another great idea is using muffin tins. You can fill them with meals and cover them with the bees wrap. My dog’s meals are a bit too large, so this options out for us, but I’m sure it would work great for someone!

If you’re really ambitious, you can make your own beeswax paper much cheaper. I haven’t tried this yet but I really want to! Homemade beeswax wrap

One day I hope to be able to invest in 100% glass or maybe silicone… I’d like to see more studies done on it first though. I feel like silicone is just too new. I also hope to get a second freezer. Until then however, I’m just doing my best!

There is a movement towards plastic free options. Blogs like My Plastic Free Life are making a difference and spreading information. My hope is that in the years to come it will be easier to accomplish this!