Raw Green Tripe

Fortunately I got introduced to green tripe and heard about the benefits BEFORE finding out what it was (I’m pretty sure I thought it was fish) or what it smelled like. Luckily what it really is only actually matters when you need to source it and the smell well that just takes a little getting used to. Green tripe is called green tripe to distinguish it from tripe that has been altered in some way (usually for human consumption) but renders it useless for health benefits, so not all tripe is the same. It comes from the lining of a ruminant or grazing animal such as cow, bison, sheep or deer. It is usually brown mostly maybe with a hint of green. It is enormously nutrient dense and an incredible resource because of the unique composition that allows these nutrients to be fully absorbed. The tripe is the stomach lining only found in these grazing animals that have 4 digestive chambers, because they need it to digest plant material and utilize it themselves. The chambers break down grasses with digestive enzymes, amino acids and gastric juices. The digestive enzymes make the tripe very easy to digest and have the staying power to help increase digestion for weeks or more following consumption. Digestive enzymes also cleanse and purify the blood, remove toxins, parasites and fungus. This includes things like e-coli, salmonella and listeria. One unique enzyme that dogs and cats can’t produce is amylase. This is what allows the grazing animal to absorb nutrients from vegetable matter. By eating the tripe, those nutrients are then transferred to the dog or cat that would otherwise be unable to receive them by eating vegetables on their own. Digestive enzymes also improve hormonal function and the immune system. The combination of digestive enzymes and pre-digested green matter is what makes it such a powerhouse of nutrients. All of this is dependent on the tripe being raw.

The high quality mid-range protein, easy digestion, balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio and slightly high pH make it a especially valuable for animals with kidney disease.

So, basically it helps the animals receive the full nutritional value from their food, eliminates needing a probiotic and strengthens their immune system! THEN there is the omega factor. Natural omega 3’s and 6’s help enhance skin and coat, lubricate the joints and promote healthy brain function.

Green tripe has also been said to help animals with allergies. All in all this is a pretty amazing food source.

The only down side is availability. Because getting it canned or even freeze-dried reduces the quality so much (cooked or canned being the worst) finding it can sometimes be a little tricky. The farm I buy from doesn’t have any right now so I decided to do some further research.

I know the importance of finding this organically or grass-fed so I may have to wait for a local supplier. The sad thing is most farms either throw it out or only sell to big companies in bulk. This is starting to change as more people request it locally but it’s still hit or miss where I am. Some smaller organic pet food companies sell it frozen or mix it in their food, so I’m hopeful some of the companies I trust will start to also. I know the raw food “suppliers” by me don’t use quality meat so it might cost more but it’s worth it. This is not something my dog needs a ton of so that is helpful. In the mean time I got some freeze-dried from a company that seems to use a quality source but this was mainly just to get some (and turkey necks because they’re also hard to find by me) in the house right away. I will update as I find more resources!

Update: I may have located a place that is connected to others around the country and looks to be good quality. Will post the link as soon as I get the details!

Yes! The website Hare Today Gone Tomorrow is awesome and ships nationwide! There are others too so I am extremely excited to replace this freeze https://hare-today.com/. dried!

Raw Goats Milk

I was first introduced to raw goats milk actually just as a way to help get my picky eater to try new things. We had some raw goats milk cheese treats that she loved so I grabbed the milk, kefir and yogurt to try also. She loved it all and I was thrilled even before I found out about all the amazing benefits!

It’s hard to know where to begin but it aids in digestion, helps joint tissue, relieves allergies and has been even linked to treating cancer just to name a few things. Here is a bit of a break down of how and why that I got from an article that summed it up pretty well.

Digestion:

“Raw Goat milk contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes, protein, and fatty acids. In fact, the body can digest goat’s milk in 20 minutes. Having fat molecules one-fifth the size of those in cow’s milk makes it easily digestible and tolerable even for dogs with digestive issues.

It is packed with pre and probiotics (over 200 species).

Those, mixed with enzymes help the gut to establish healthy flora, ease digestion and help alleviate any GI issues. Because of the speed of digestion this also makes it almost 100 times better than probiotic powders or pills.

It is also a great source of easily absorbable and palatable protein.

It can even be used as replacement milk for kittens and puppies.

Arthritis or other joint problems:

The same enzymes that help relieve digestion issues can also help to alleviate inflammation, swelling, and pain related to joint issues. They also help speed up tissue repair and improve circulation, all things that can help to alleviate arthritis symptoms.

Allergies:

Raw goat’s milk contains high levels of caprylic acid. This acid helps to fight yeast that often builds up in response to allergies (have you ever given your dog’s paws a sniff? If you have, you might notice they smell a bit like corn chips. What you’re smelling is yeast which naturally develops in that area. Allergies can make that yeast multiply which is why a dog who has allergies will often chew at their paws, among other things). Also, like the good flora that gets built up in your pet’s GI system, raw goat’s milk will also help that healthy flora to establish on the skin and in the ears which will help curb any infections that often are linked to allergies. Raw goat’s milk is also a natural antihistamine.

Cancer:

Many researchers have found that carotene (or Pro-Vitamin A) contains cancer preventing properties. The milk fat in goat’s milk contains a higher evolved carotene that is readily available for the body to absorb. There is also a fat in raw goat’s milk, called conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA), that is known as the cancer fighting fat. CLA has actually been shown in some cases to shrink cancer tumors.”

Raw goat’s milk is also great for people who normally can’t digest lactose because in raw form the composition should not impact the intolerance.

I’m still collecting information on this but I wanted to put something out now as there seems to be a big increase in the market lately. As long as it’s raw and from a good source I’d say it’s absolutely worth a try!

NOTE: raw goats milk is best when fed separate from coconut oil or bone broth that contains apple cider vinegar because this can compromise the nutritional value.

Raw feeding part 5

Ever since Jersey ate the chicken foot I’ve been stoked about the fact that if she’s willing to do that there’s hope for us yet! It can be overwhelming at times trying to learn how to really do this right. I try to remember that it’s only been a few weeks. Even though we’re not starting the transfer from kibble (we used Honest Kitchen and cooked meat) it’s still a big change and I need to give it time. I’ve come a long way also, in terms of sourcing and reading up on how to measure things but there is just SO many resources out there. I’m trying to be patient. I get really excited when I find new supplements and I try to share them here. Raw goats milk and Fish stock are two things I will be discussing this week! I also found an awesome calculator in the App Store (called Raw Dog on apple) which is full of great info and additional reading. (Pictured below)

Today we made some great source connections. I found a local, ethical and high quality meat vendor that had literally everything I could ever need (including the weird stuff like turkey necks) no tripe but whole animals so there’s hope there. I bought a whole chicken, beef and organ mix. We did pretty good at dinner tonight but she turned her nose up at the raw egg and shell that she loved yesterday… even the goat milk… so I’m forced to conclude there’s no rhyme or reason for her pickiness. The fact is I spoil her and cater to her pickiness so it’s really not about her adjusting as much as me. Stopping that will help. I have to be ok if she doesn’t eat. I actually heard a doctor give a talk about the benefits of dogs fasting one day a week. It helps them detox and is more in line with how they would eat in the wild. It’s all stuff I know but implementing it is still hard for me. So we’re advancing maybe at the pace we should be. I’ll report on how the chicken goes… I might need some assistance touching that! My vegetarian belief system is cringing but the love I have for my dog will make me do literally anything lol! Progress not perfection.

Calcium and Feeding Bones and Bone Alternatives

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Most people learn early on that it is 100% unsafe to give dogs cooked or smoked bones because of the fact that they are brittle and pose choking and digestive hazards. Due to this a lot of pet parents stay away from bones altogether. As a result the pet food industry is full of all kinds of manufactured bones for dental health, chewing, recreation, vitamin supplements etc. These are just as bad (if not worse) then the kibble products and in some cases aren’t even safer in terms of choking and digestive hazards. If you feed raw you most likely already know a bit about bone safety but if not here are a few reasons so many raw feeders love RAW meaty and recreational bones.

1. They are a wonderful source of calcium and phosphorus. 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.) They also contain a variety of minerals not found in other food.

2. They are the best possible form of teeth cleaning outside of the vet’s office. They promote gum health and reduce bad breath.

3. They provide ruff-age and help to maintain anal glands naturally

4. They can help balance the digestive tract and tone digestive muscles that can help reduce stomach issues later in life.

When fed appropriately (about 2-3 times a week unless ground in food at 10%) the digestive hazards are avoided because raw bones break down naturally in the stomach and don’t stay large enough to pose any threat. It’s important to always supervise your dog with a bone no matter what. Instinctively they should know how to chew and swallow them correctly but anything can happen. Aside from the smaller raw meaty bones like poultry necks, spines, feet etc. the general rule of thumb for recreational bones is that they should be about the size of the dogs head or larger. Never smaller because these types of bones are meant to be chewed on and scrapped of marrow but NOT eaten completely. I am personally not a fan of the recreation bones because they can chip teeth and don’t contain the nutrition components that make their positive attributes outweigh their risks. If my dog loved this activity, I’d make an exception but otherwise I see them as completely unnecessary. Marrow can be obtained without them so she doesn’t need a knuckle bone to pass the time and possibly break her teeth on. Raw meaty bones on the other hand are a different story. They should never be weight bearing bones because they are too hard to chew and unlike recreational bones are meant to be eaten completely. I see the value of these bones but they still make me nervous so I plan on sticking with necks and backs because the are considered to be the safest. Chicken wings can be cut to be made safer, but I still don’t love these because I have other options. Ideally I would give her lamb and goat bones because they are considered to have the perfect balance of hardness to effectively clean the teeth but not break any. However these bones, for me at least, are very hard to find. Although red meat should make up about 50% of her diet, chicken, duck, lamb and duck are closer to a dog’s natural prey so they make the safest bones to eat. Chicken and duck are much more readily available where I live and while they might be considered too soft to clean teeth by some people, I brush her teeth daily and am more interested in their nutrition than their dental care anyway. That being said, if your dog (or you) is really against dealing with raw bones in general there are 100% adequate alternatives available and you do not need to feel forced to do so. It may be controversial in some circles but I truly believe you can go without bones and still have a healthy and balanced raw diet as long as you are educated. Things like bone meal are dangerous alternatives (most are toxic unless from a local farm that makes food Grade) but egg shells are a GREAT alternative source of calcium! You can dry and crush them into a powder very easily and make your own 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. A lot of people also just add one whole egg shell and all to get the same result. I don’t do this daily so I keep the shells as back up on a day she doesn’t get a bone. For the other minerals you can simply use a mineral supplement, which actually should be given even if you do feed bones because it’s broad spectrum and you know that your pets needs are being met. Some feeders are against supplements altogether because your dog wouldn’t “get fish oil pills etc out in the wild” however I disagree. We need supplements now because of the world we live in TODAY. We have depleted the soil and changed the environment. For this reason I think it’s appropriate to adjust. My dog’s wolf ancestors didn’t live in the same world and it’s the same reason I take supplements myself. I just want the best shot and as long as I am getting them from trusted sources and know how to use them, I think they’re great! Teeth cleaning can be substituted rather easily as well. Any mouth size appropriate tooth brush will do. You can make your own toothpaste or even just use coconut oil. If your dog won’t let you brush, a bit of ground kelp added to the food should help. For more advanced dental issues and plaque you can either get a cleaning at the vet or look up where to get one that is anesthesia free. This method is increasing in popularity, so they’re relatively easy to find now. Either way there are many alternative methods, all of which would be great to add EVEN with the help of bones.

Bottom line, raw bones are WONDERFUL if your dog likes them but if not you can absolutely still feed raw! Some dogs warm up to them over time so I’d say don’t give up but don’t stress over it too much either! It’s no reason to wait to go raw or worse not at all.

Personally I am doing about one small raw meaty bone per week because my dog doesn’t love them. Chicken feet are the easiest to find organically and they are an excellent joint supplement (glucosamine and chondroitin) so because she eats egg shells and takes supplements I know her dietary needs are being met. Eventually I hope to move to a food that has some ground in so this 1 per week will probably stay at that and if we miss a week it’s no cause for concern.

My super easy calcium supplement is pictured below. My dog is 25 lbs so she needs 550 mg of calcium per day. (50mg per kg) She gets calcium from other sources so 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.”

A vet should be able to assist you if you don’t want to measure it out on your own. Fortunately dog’s having a “fast track” metabolism helps mitigate some concern. A good thing to remember is the simple fact that wild dogs eat what they find. Some days they get a lot of one thing and other days none. It tends to balance out over time but I also do blood tests at her annual check up. Hair tests can be very helpful also. So far we’ve been right on track but never hesitate to ask a medical professional. I know many holistic vets even offer nutritional counseling now so there are resources available if you have any concerns!

*Another great bone replacement for calcium is raw green tripe! It has an ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio and most dogs absolutely love it!

Homemade Bone broth and bone marrow soup

I’ve been using bone broth for some time now. There are some great ones on the market so I never really intended on making my own until today. Today I got to visit a real working farm and it was incredible! In my effort to be efficient I grabbed a little bit of everything. In doing so I ended up with a package full of recreational knuckle bones that were WAY too small for my dog to eat. Rather than let them go to waste I decided to turn them into broth. Because these bones were full of marrow, this is sometimes called ‘marrow soup’ however the process is the same. I chose to add in some chicken feet because I had a lot of them and they are a great broth source because of their high glucosamine and chondroitin concentration. The process takes a while (about 24 hours for chicken, 48 for beef) in a crock pot or on the stove top but the recipe is super easy.

Fill a pot with the bones you want to use and cover with filtered water. Add 2-4 tbs of raw apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hr for chicken, 2 for beef. Reduce to low and leave on heat for 24-48 hours and that’s IT! The same goes for the crock pot (high medium and low settings). You can add dog-safe vegetables if you want but that’s the basic process. I’d say it’s important to keep an eye on the water level because I had to add some half way through but other than that I ignored it.

For my first batch, I kept it very simple. I don’t have a crock pot yet but I found one on Amazon that claimed to be lead free (the problem with many crock pots is chemical leaching). It’s stone ware so I think they are considered safest. When that comes maybe I’ll get more creative, but Jersey definitely gave her stamp of approval! It’s a great supplement to help her eat her vitamins and an all around great dietary addition no matter what (for both of us) so it’s one of the best mistakes I ever made!

Here are just a FEW awesome benefits that bone broth provide:

It helps maintain a healthy gut, especially for dogs with digestive issues.

It supports your dog’s immune system and detoxes the liver.

It helps protect his joints and is a wonderful source of collagen and glycosaminoglycans including glucosamine and other joint protecting compounds.

Also the “glycosaminoglycans from bone broth are resistant to digestion and are absorbed in their intact form. According to Dr Shanahan, they act like hormones, stimulating cells called fibroblasts, which lay down collagen in the joints, tendons, ligaments, and even the arteries.”

It’s full of minerals, including calcium, silicon, sulphur, magnesium and phosphorus.

The list goes on but these are the highlights and why so many people love it for themselves and their dogs!

NOTE: Excess bone broth should be frozen because the shelf-life of this is very short. 3-4 days in the fridge max

Raw feeding part 4

It’s been a busy week so far but we’re still truckin! I’ve spent the last several nights researching green lipid muscle supplements because I am adamant about verifying quality sources before I give anything to my dog, this somehow led to me also researching natural ear infection treatments lol so I will hopefully have posts about both later in the week.

We had a furry house guest these past 6 days so it was a littler harder trying to transition to the new foods without giving Jersey other options so I guess I had a little set back there. I still gave her all organic raw meat along with raw goats milk mixed with her supplements, I just didn’t focus as much on the new stuff as I probably should have.

Due to the length of time this transition may take I followed up with the local humane farm resource that I found last week. I figured if she eats that no problem, I might as well look further into how to get her the best meat. The woman I spoke to was awesome, unfortunately not able to really help us at the moment. It’s a small farm so any order would have to wait until late November and organs might not be easy to obtain. There is one more farm in reasonable distance that I’m going to try tomorrow, if that doesn’t work out, I’ll have to stick with the best I can find at local markets. I wasn’t ready to make my own food yet anyway but I’m glad to be finding this all out now before I do. After that I put a call in to a recommended holistic vet. That’s another thing I wanted to work out before Jersey’s next check up. We’re still waiting to hear back but there’s a database online that we will look on if this one is too busy. She’s still not eating Answers or Steve’s but we are still making some progress… with some things anyway! 🙂

I guess not every path is meant to be straight and we are learning a lot on this one. For that, I am grateful!

The products in the picture are some of Jersey’s favorite. They get her to eat her long list of supplements with no problem! They haven’t quite gotten her to eat the food but I’m hoping they will help. I love these along with honest kitchen bone broth with turmeric and raw goats milk by Steve’s and Answers because they add flavor with so many health benefits!!

**Side note- I’m still perfecting making my own toothpaste but only 1 week using my own vs the best I could find on the market, showed SO much improvement, I’m really psyched about that! I’ll update my previous post and share a new one with a recipe this week also!

UPDATE: This week is turning into a study week. I was finally able to track down a local grass-fed, free-range organic etc farm that had meat ready to purchase by Saturday. They are big enough to purchase organs from too which is a big deal because otherwise I was at the mercy of butchers and grocery stores with questionable supply origins. If I’m going to give Jersey anything prepared by myself human Grade doesn’t cut it. I need the organs to be as healthy as the meat. Finding this source opportunity has me investigating recipes now as well so hopefully by the weekend I’ll have some helpful tips there also!

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/

Some Homemade Raw Info

So although I’m not going there yet, I know many people are going the homemade route for raw food. Reading this article helped me a lot! I had no idea that fat was bad for vitamins etc. I do hope to eventually get to a place where I can make my own foods confidently but as a vegan I’m at a bit of a disadvantage because I have no idea where to get good meat! I’m working on it though little by little and collecting information as I go along.

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/09/01/amp/serious-mistake-with-pets-raw-food.aspx

Raw Feeding Part 3

We’ve still got a ways to go on this but i just wanted to share the one thing that seems to be working. Adding just plain old raw organic chicken breast on top of the other foods we’re trying to upgrade to (Answers and Steve’s). She’s not digging into the new stuff yet but it seems to be the most enticing tactic so far! She at least ate all the chicken along with her supplements that I mixed in with raw goats milk that she LOVES (Answers makes a great one and Steve’s does too) She’s a bit gassy tonight lol but that happens any way every now and then. Time takes time, we’re not giving up!

(Not my photo I should say but its super fitting 😉

Going Raw part 2

Although I am still a huge supporter of Answers pet food (using that is still our goal) my super picky eater is still not warming up to the idea. Mixing it with her old food and stuff she likes isn’t working. I’m trying to be strong and trust that she’ll try it eventually and not give in to giving up and going backwards in our diet goals. Today I decided to try another brand I really think is good but her reaction was the same. I think it will just take time. These companies are both an awesome solution to the food dilemma. As of now they are very transparent and high quality. Sometimes these companies get bought out but so far so good with these two and I know there are many others. These foods can be difficult to get because they need to stay frozen but if you are interested in trying this method of raw feeding, a local specialty pet shop should be able to get you an order! And the best part is at least these two I know are extremely affordable! I’ll keep a log of the foods we try so if one pops up that seems to work the best I’ll try to save someone the trouble of the same trial and error, but every dog likes what they like so I’ll also stay on top of the companies that stay transparent because as we all unfortunately know that can change and no one wants to support that!