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!

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

Play time! Healthy Toys

One topic that used to come up a lot at the dog park was tennis balls because if you’re a dog park regular, you know the tennis ball habit can get expensive lol. I used to not think twice about this, get the biggest bag at the lowest price and GO! Then I read an article that really opened my eyes. It wasn’t just about tennis balls but how toxic pet toys in general can be. Most of them are made in China and there are no regulations on them like there is for toys for kids. It’s less of an issue for us now but when Jersey was a puppy she absolutely destroyed toys. I think the worst offender was the “indestructible” Nylabone plastic bones because she ended up eating large portions of them. For a while I bought her baby toys, balls etc to chew on. Now that’s she’s less of a chewer I try to get organic balls for the house.

Green Bone Wonderpet makes some that are great at a good price and

WestPaw makes a good variety also as well as some soft toys made out of hemp

When we go out places, I won’t deprive her of playing with a tennis ball but I try to encourage her now to play with her “friends” instead. She gets a bit territorial when a ball is involved, it’s not great for her teeth or joints and I think it’s just plain better for her to be social. I’m not against fetch I just think it’s healthier if she’s doing a wider variety of play when we’re out with other dogs.

I also didn’t have the heart to toss her old toys, they don’t pose much of a threat to her with her chewing habits now and she doesn’t sleep with them so I’m not going on a crusade. I’m just mindful now when I shop because I had been so naive in the past. I am also grateful to have some healthier alternatives because I definitely want to encourage play time and I think it’s SO beneficial to BOTH of us every day!

Homemade Raw

Being introduced to Honest Kitchen early on in my quest for better dog food, I was predisposed to the belief that good companies like this one actually existed. So when we made the decision to kick out the cooked meat and use raw (I still use a small amount of Honest Kitchen base mix for adding in her vitamins) I already had at least a hope that I could get a good raw meat source. I know when it comes to raw meat it’s ALL about the source, so for some reason I just never thought even organic grocery store meat was good enough. Because of this I never actually tried it. I was scared because I kept hearing that it’s sold only to be cooked, etc. Lately I’ve started to look more closely into this and I think it might not actually be true. Because I’m mostly vegan and don’t own a bone grinder I am realistically still going to try to find a good company that I can buy from but due to the fact that the transition is taking longer than expected, I am also going to see if there is something I can make in the mean time. Seeing the carcinogen effect that cooking meat can have I no longer want to go that route. This week I’ll try to talk about what recipes I’ve tried and how they go because I think it’s important to be able to make something on the go or in case we can’t get the specialty brands from the store. This link is affiliated with a brand I know nothing about yet so I am in no way advocating the food itself but it came with some decent info for anyone interested in making this transition. There’s obviously a TON more info on this topic but I just thought I’d throw it in there as a nice place to start!

https://bullymax.com/raw-dog-food-guide/

 

Pet Fooled and Prescription diets

I wasn’t going to write about this now because it’s such a vast and detailed topic but I just finished speaking to someone who was convinced by their vet to buy the Hill’s prescription food and it made me so incredibly sad. This stuff is snake oil. Many well meaning vets who were taught certain things in school do not even know how detrimental these foods can be. They are treating things with a simple method that keeps patients coming back. I know that for a majority of their clients it’s actually a far as they are willing to go to help their pets stay healthy, but I also know that there is a LOT of pet parents who would want to do more if the information was made available to them. They should at least be given the option and not told just the one way that profits the vets office and the corporations that fund them.

If you haven’t seen it yet and feed kibble or any kind of prescription diet please consider watching the Netflix documentary “Pet Fooled” If you love your animals you will be so grateful you took the time to! I know raw foods not for everyone but there are SO many better alternatives to what they often tell you at the vet. Hill’s, Royal Canin etc are all the same. Finding alternatives can add years and quality and this alone makes the effort SO worth it!!

https://www.netflix.com/title/80164393