We have a new member of our family! I’m excited to introduce you to Sadie Sev Ella (named by Penelope, who has a flair for extravagant pet names – she named her goldfish Mowanda, Shoshawnda and Coral this summer). She is a pure-bred Boston Terrier and just turned 9 weeks old. Sadie is the sweetest little girl and we are so happy to have another dog in our family, and Penelope is thrilled to be a big sister! For the last year, she has asked us for a baby sister and a puppy EVERY DAY. We aren’t able to give her a baby yet, but we are so happy to be able to give her a puppy to love! Sadie is on the smaller side for her breed, she was the runt of the litter and her mama is on the small side. After having a big pit bull for so long, it’s so weird having a tiny dog underfoot, but she is already such a joy.
Our beloved Sky dog died this time last year and our hearts were broken. He was only 11 years old and we hoped to have several more years with him. We still miss Sky dearly. I bet he would have really loved Miss Sadie.
Sky was a well-loved and cared for dog, but he was our first pet and there are lots things we could have done differently. We are excited to get a chance to do things differently with our new puppy Sadie.
One of the things we are doing differently is to give her RAW food.
I really hope that by feeding her the way dogs are meant to eat, we will ensure her a long and healthy life. Processed, dry pet food has only been on the market for 100 years and it is not good for dogs to eat that way.
It’s kind of like how humans should limit their grains. Humans haven’t always eaten grains and our bodies’ processes haven’t caught up yet. And to top it off, the grains of today are in no way similar to the original grains humans first started growing and eating, nor do we prepare them properly these days either. Dogs and cats certainly haven’t made the evolutionary jump from being designed to eat raw meat to being able to digest grains.
Pets’ digestive systems are unable to process grains and of course almost all commercial pet foods have grains in it (it’s a cheap filler to drive up the pet food companies profit margin), not to mention questionable meat products and all kinds of processed fillers, preservatives and chemicals. All this crap going into your pets’ bodies puts enormous strain on their digestion and overall health. They are in a constant state of inflammation and eventually pathology (disease) manifests. I am convinced that Sky’s diet, in combination with overvaccination, is what gave him cancer at such an early age.
Simply put, raw food diets for dogs provide nutrition the way nature intended it, just like my dog’s ancestors ate. Cooking meat causes proteins to denature (think of shattering a glass vase and then gluing it all back together – it’s not the same glass vase). Proteins, vitamins and minerals are all more bio-available in the raw state, and that means your dog can better absorb these nutrients.
Feeding your pet raw food will heal allergy symptoms, provide them with healthy skin and coat, help them maintain a healthy weight, have smaller/firmer stools, cleaner teeth and breath, and increased energy and vitality.
What about salmonella, you ask? Well, the bottom line is that your pet’s GI tract is full of potentially harmful bacteria whether you feed raw foods or the processed stuff. In other words, your pet is already ‘contaminated’ with salmonella. Dry pet food (and other food from the grocery store) has potential to contain salmonella. Everything we eat does. It’s just a fact of life. Getting good food from local sources will greatly deminish the possibility of a salmonella outbreak, as well as just plain common sense and cleanliness in your home kitchen.
Dogs and cats are built to handle bacterial loads from food that would cause significant illness in you or me. Your dog’s or cat’s stomach is highly acidic, with a pH range of 1-2.5. Not much can survive that acidic environment – it exists to keep your pet safe from contaminated raw meat and other consumables. Remember, your pet’s body is well equipped to deal with heavy doses of both familiar and strange bacteria because nature built him to catch, kill, and immediately consume his prey.
About 8 years ago is when I first heard about raw food for dogs, I had read a bunch of holistic medicine and nutrition books. After that research, I stopped vaccinating Sky and began to make his food. I couldn’t yet handle the idea of giving him raw meat and thought that giving him good, grain-free cooked food would be healthy enough (don’t get me wrong, it was certainly an improvement from run-of-the-mill dry pet food). He also received raw egg yolk several times a week, a daily probiotic, and cod liver oil. Once Penelope was born, I no longer had time to cook his meals, so we switched to organic, grain-free canned dog food and still kept up his supplements.
But it wasn’t enough. He still died of cancer at almost 11 years old. A cancer that had taken over his whole body and caused him a lot of pain and suffering. If I could do it all over again, I would have sucked it up and switched to raw meat the moment I first heard about it. I wish I had gotten over my fear of handling raw meat for the sake of my dog’s health.
Don’t make the same mistake. Switch to raw meat today.
I was so lucky to find an open-minded breeder who, at our request, actually gave Sadie the raw food as her first food before she even came home to us – so her gut is pristine. While Sadie dog is a puppy, we are giving her Primal Pet Food. There is a natural pet store near us with frozen raw dog food in their freezer section. I thaw a small serving and feed her three times a day. As she gets older, I will start introducing cuts of raw meat with the bone. Raw bones are super important in a raw food diet.
Right now we are also supplementing her raw meat diet with raw goats milk – she is not a fan of water, but loves goat milk. Raw goats milk is a great substitution for breastmilk for puppies who are abandoned, not getting enough from mama, or as a transitional food during the weaning process. In the wild, wolves actually feed their puppies regurgitated raw meat as they wean off breastmilk.
But you can’t just give your dog a bowl of raw ground beef and call it a day. Other healthy pet tips ideas:
- Give your pet a daily probiotic.
- Don’t overvaccinate your pet, except for the ones required by law (and sometimes even those you can skirt by getting a letter of exemption from your vet). Same with humans, if you keep your immune system healthy and put good food in your body, your body is capable of fighting bacteria, viruses, and diseases. I stopped vaccinating Sky when he was about 3 or 4, but am happy that we know better now and Sadie will not be overexposed to harmful vaccinations. We are choosing to do Parvo and Distemper since we love to travel and go on long hikes, but we are delaying these vaccinations – she will not get Parvo until 16 weeks and Distemper at 20 weeks. We will have to keep her pretty close to home before then. We will wait till the very last moment for rabies, she will get that vaccination at 8 months of age. You can also ask your vet to give your pet half a dose. Most vets routinely give the same size vaccination to a 20 pound dog that they do a 50 pound dog, there is no reason for a small dog to have to process out that much toxins.
- Consider a Holistic Vet. The vet we have chosen is a traditional vet AND an acupuncture doctor. Very similar to our own healthcare for the humans in my family, we treat naturally first and pull out the big guns only when absolutely necessary. This vet is also gives homeopathic treatments with vaccinations, so you get what you need from the vax and then the homeopathic treatment helps the body handle the stress of the toxins.
- In addition to raw meat and bones diet, add raw egg yolks, cod liver oil, and bone broth to their food twice a week.
- Exercise your pet often. So much of what makes a dog happy is being walked and exercised. I learned that the hard way with Sky, too. Once Penelope arrived, the time we spent exercising him dropped off considerably and it was hard on him. Like any second time parent, we are going to do better now that we know better. 🙂 Quick tip: If you can only fit in a short walk for your bigger dog, try having him wear a weighted backpack for more of a workout and gives him a sense of having a “job” to do.
- Read Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer books. I have now read three of his books, they are all phenomenal. Just like you need education to be a great human parent, becoming a dog parent is the same. Take that shit seriously, and do your research.
For more research on feeding dogs raw meat, check out this book.
So what do you think? Do you have any concerns about feeding your pet raw meat? Or are you ready to dive in and make the change?