Let me start by saying that I am not a vet. I am not a doggy nutritionist. I am not an expert. I am not recommending you practice what I practice, or that what I have decided that I feel is best for me and my dog, is best for you and your dog. I am simply sharing my experiences and opinions. If there is anything that I post on this page that strikes your interest PLEASE do your own research, and ALWAYS consult your veterinarian before making any lifestyle changes with your pet.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Basic Guidelines

Making the decision to feed raw can be extremely nerve racking, but having a plan can help. For starters you will want to feed your dog roughly 2-3% of their body weight per day. If your dog is very active you would probably want to start out around 3% or so and if your dog is less active then start out with 2%. During the first couple of weeks monitor your dogs weight, if the maintain then you are at a good amount. If they loose or gain (assuming your dog is at an ideal weight to begin with) then increase or decrease accordingly.
Now onto what your going to feed. This is the really SCARY part. It is very hard to go from a "balanced nutrition" in a bag, to taking your dog's health into your own hands. This is something that I really struggled with when I decided to switch. We have been taught that the only way for our dogs to get a balaced diet, is by feeding kibble. Believe me I went back and fourth for quite some time before actually deciding to make the switch. I was so worried that I would feed too much of this, or not enough of that. The thought behind raw food is balance over time. If you feed a variety of foods and meats, then your dog will get what it needs. Heck, thats what WE do and we manage just fine in my opinion. So onto the point... a basic guide of what to feed:
If your not feeding veggies:
  • 65% raw meaty bones
  • 25% muscle meat
  • 10% organ meat

Feeding veggies:

  • 50% raw meaty bones
  • 20% muscle meat
  • 10% organ meat
  • 20% veggies

These are the two most basic options. There are some people who choose to feed veggies for the nutrients and vitamins, and some that choose not to because they don't feel it's necassary. I will discuss each in another post, along with the subject of supplements.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Must Have Mondays

Flea Protection

I don't know about the rest of the country, but where I am from fleas are bad this year. I mean BAD. If you live in an area where fleas(or ticks, if thats the case) can be a major problem, do yourself a favor and be pro-active. Trust me, it is a whole lot easier to try to prevent an infestation than it is to get rid of one. Now that being said, there are a ton of options out there. The problem is that the products on the market all work, but it all varies between situations. For me personally it has been Advantage.

Advantage is a once monthly spot on treatment. It kills fleas, flea larvae, and lice. IT DOES NOT DO TICKS. I personally do not have a problem with ticks, and thus I use this. Now the company that makes Advatage also makes Advantix which controls fleas, flea larvae, ticks, lice, and mosquitos. The thing to keep in mind is that in order to add the extra ingredient to kill ticks, they have to use less of the ingredient that kills fleas.

Frontline is another option. This is also a monthly spot on treatment, and both the regular and the Plus kill fleas and ticks. The Plus also kills flea eggs. I personally have not had a whole lot of luck with Frontline or Frontline Plus, but I know a lot of people that swear by it.

There are also a couple options that are available through your vet. Keep in mind that these are perscrition only and often cost more.

Revolution. This is monthly spot on treatment for fleas. In addition to being a flea treatment, it also protects against heartworms, ear mites, and ticks. I do not personally know much about this product, but it does seem to to have good reviews.

Comfortis. This is a relatively new product. It is a monthly pill that you give your dog which protects against fleas. I have heard nothing but good things about this pill. If you are someone who is really having trouble getting rid of fleas, then this may be the answer for you. Consult with you vet to find out. I would say the only bad thing, is that since it is a pill, it can sometimes be hard on your pets stomach.

Last but not least is a home remidy. Garlic. There are no studies that have proven its effectiveness, but none the less, it is said to help prevent against fleas. Rememeber hat although safe in small amounts, garlic can be toxic to dogs in large doses. If this is something that you decide to add to you dogs food, don't get carried away.

Dr. Messonnier (author of The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs) recommends one clove of fresh garlic per 10 to 30 pounds of weight a day, three to four days a week, to boost the immune system and cancer prevention. You could also try garlic powder. Give 1 tsp per 20 lbs a day, three to four days a week. I personally try for about every other day.

Please understand that if your pet currently has fleas(or ticks) then these products probably will not have your desired results. You will need to take extra steps to rid your dog, and most likely your home, of fleas.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day Nine

Sorry that I have missed a few days, I have been a bit under the weather.


  • 2 raw bone in, skinless chicken thighs (about 3/4 of a lb)

  • 1 raw bone in chicken thigh (this one had the skin on)
  • 1/4 of a lb of raw turkey necks (not for appealing if you ask me, but she didn't seem to mind)
  • 1/4 of a lb of raw chicken necks (same thought as the turkey necks, but at least they're smaller)
So I have Dakota back on twice a day feedings. Her stomach is no longer upset. And with the that I am going to share another benefit of raw diets (I have heard similar things about homemade cooked diets as well). Big dogs poop a lot right? Right. Well not anymore! Those big disgusting pills of dog poop are a thing of the past for me, and let me just say that this is awesome! You see I live in an apartment, and thus I have to walk around with little pick up bags and clean up after my dog. And not to go into a page long discussion on the specifics of my dogs bowl movements, but they have become about 1/6 (maybe less) the size of what they were a week ago. Yay!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How Could You

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad", you'd shake your finger at me and ask "how could you?" But then you'd relent, and roll me over for a belly rub. My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be anymore perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love". As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch-- because your touch was now so infrequent--and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family. I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understood the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers." You had to prise your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?"

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you, that you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream...or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realised I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate. I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a seperate room. A blissfully quiet room. she placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?" Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained that it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself -- a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her.

It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.THE END.
A note from the author: Jim Wills, 2001 -- If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, It is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who die every year in Animal Shelters around the world. Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed. Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in your newsletters, on animal shelters and Vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay and neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Must Have Tuesday

This week was supposed to be the start of "Must Have Mondays". Did I mention that I am a MAJOR procrastinator? If I didn't, let me inform you of it now... I AM A MAJOR PROCRASTINATOR. Anyways... last week while flipping through a magazine at work, I came across these really fun leashes. So, my pick this week is the Laughing Leash from Laughing My Tail Off.

Aside from the fact the this leash is pink AND fuzzy (enough said if you ask me), it eliminates the problem of your dog getting tangled in it's leash when you are out walking. It kind of like a scrunchie, or a bungee. It starts off as a two foot leash and as you dog pulls it will extend to up six feet, but it will only be as long as it needs to be! So when your doggy is walking nicely beside you, you won't have four feet of leash dragging the ground and getting tangled around your poor dogs legs. It also comes in different colors or non fuzzy, if you aren't obnoxious like me. Personally though I think the one in the picture is AWESOME. Go check out their website at, and let your dog enjoy walks more!

Not the World's Greatest Blogger

A few days into this and I am already getting behind.... Better late than never right?

Day Four:

  • 1/4 lb of raw pork neck
  • 1/2 lb of raw lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb of raw turkey neck

Day Five:

  • 1 lb of raw, bone in chicken thighs

Day Six:

  • 1/2 lb of raw turkey neck
  • 1/2 lb of raw chicken hearts and gizzards

I have switched completely to the raw. I am only feeding her once a day right now because her tummy has been a little upset. I think I was throwing too many different types of meat at her too soon (i.e. chicken, pork, turkey, lamb, beef). I think if I had it to do again I would stick would just chicken until she is fully adjusted; then start adding in different things. WHICH if I would learn to pay attention to everything that I read, is what almost everyone recommends. Hind site is 20/20 right?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Meet Dakota

That's my girl :0) She is a 5 1/2 year old Bullmastiff. And I am was truely blessed with an amazing dog (I know everyone says that, but ask anyone that knows her). She is calm, loving, obedient, and at times incredibly goofy. She is without a doubt the best dog I have ever owned. And although I have trained several animals in my life, I am not claiming to be the reason for my dog being such a good girl. She just REALLY wants people to be happy with her, and she HATES it when your not. Anyways, she is the real reason for all of this. Like I mentioned before, she has been on almost every food out there. I have spent hundreds, probably thousands at this point, trying to give her what she needs. And after sampling countless dog foods, this is where I am at.

So please stick around. I don't want to preach to you, or tell you what you should or shouldn't do. It's not my place, and quite frankly everyone has a different idea of what is right. I do feel; however, that there are a lot of people that want what is best for their pet, but just don't know what to look for. If you want to stick to dog dry food that's ok. I do hope to help people learn what to look for, and what to avoid. I am open minded and understanding. If you have anything you would like to share with me please do, and if you have any questions please ask. I will answer to the best of my abilities, and if I don't know the answers have no fear I am a Google whore, and will thus find out for you =)

Bacteria and Bones

Raw chicken with the bones?? What the heck am I thinking, right?

Let me start with the issue of bacteria. Dogs are not humans. I am sure that we can all agree on this one. Dogs are built a little differently. Being carnivourous, they have digestive tracts that are short and also more acidic than some other animals. They also have immune systems that are designed to break down all of the lovely bacteria that coats things (like raw chicken). Now if you have a dog that was ill, or for whatever reason may have a weakened immune system you might not want to feed raw. If bacteria is still a concern for you ( I know some people are just plain freaked out by what could be crawling around on a piece of raw chicken) you could always blanch the meat, in boiling water, for about 60 seconds. You could also soak it in distilled white vinager and have the same bacteria killing effect.

Ok, now onto the next concern. Chicken bones. All of those scary things you here about dogs eating chicken bones are true. However, these stories are about dogs eating cooked chicken bones. NEVER FEED COOKED CHICKEN BONES TO YOUR DOG. When bones are cooked they become brittle and can splinter. This is when they could become potentially dangerous to your dog. Raw bones are actually easily digested by dogs. Remember dogs digestive systems are different than our own.

Dogs are basically the same as wolves. Wolves eat raw meat (bones and all) all of the time. Anything from bambi to thumper, and anything else that is available. Yes dogs have been domesticated for a very long time, but evolution is a very slow process. Not to mention, that in reality dogs have only been eating "dog food" for the past 50 years or so.

Day Three

  • 1 1/2 cups of kibble
  • 1 whole raw egg (shell and all)
  • 1/2 lb of raw lamb neck


  • 1/2 lb raw bone in, skinless chicken thigh
  • 1/2 lb raw chicken hearts and gizzards

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day Two

  • 1 1/2 cups of kibble
  • 1/2 lb of raw chicken breast
  • 1 egg (shell and all, just crushed it up and mixed it in)
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder (safe in small amounts, helps against fleas)

Dakota enjoyed her breakfast so much that when I brought her back from her walk, she went over to where her dish was and licked the floor. No lie.


  • 1/2 lb of raw chicken thighs (bone in, skinless)
  • 1/2 lb of lamb neck
  • drizzle of olive oil

This was Dakota's first entirely raw meal. She looked at it funny for a few seconds and then dove in. This was also the first bone in meal that she has had. The lamb neck took her a few minutes to get through, but this is a good thing. One of the major benefits that people find with feeding a raw diet is the overall health of their dogs teeth. The reason that I gave her skinless chicken, is because she is new to the diet. Sometimes the fat in the skin can upset their bellys a bit. I also intend to continue feeding the oil atleast everyother day, but I will be switching to salmon oil.

I think that I will continue on the 1/2 kibble, 1/2 raw in the morning and the full raw at night until I finish up what I have left of her dry dog food. It should be gone in about a week. So far I have not seen where this switch has upset her stomach at all. One thing I can say is that for the first time since Dakota was about 6 months old (she is now 5 1/2 years old) she is absolutely estatic at meal time. She has the same look on her face as I do when someone brings me something like carrot cake =)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day One

My mom and I took her puppy to a new vet today. He specializes in holistic medicine (I will provide a few links concerning the controversies of vaccines). Anyways, he was very supportive of homemade diets, and at the very least canned dog food. He also personally knows people that feed raw diets, and he said their dogs do wonderfully. This was the final push I needed. This afternoon I went to my local market and bought me some chicken hearts and gizzards, cottage cheese, and eggs. And for those of you that are worried that this may be an expensive alternative to dog food, think again. I got a pound of gizzards and hearts for a buck.

Tonight for dinner Dakota got:

  • 1 ½ cups of her kibble (I still have a little left)
  • 1/3 of a lb of the hearts and gizzards
  • ¼ cup of cottage cheese

The verdict so far? She gobbled it up! I haven’t seen her eat with that much enthusiasm since she was a puppy! So far so good…

And as promised a couple links concerning the issues with vaccines. One that I found to be particularly interesting on rabies:

a little background info on me

I love all things furry and feathered, and as I am sure many of you can relate I am especially attached to my dog. She is my best friend. My love affair started early and even when I was little I always wanted what I thought was best for my four legged friends. Growing up I remember always trying to convince my parents to by the best food for our dogs. At the time I am pretty sure that I was convinced that Pedigree was the Holy Grail of dog food (for those of you who are not aware this is ABSOLUTELY not the case).

When I was old enough, it was only natural that I would wind up working in a pet store. In the beginning, I was wonderfully ignorant. I was in awe, at all the different types of dog food available. I talked to all of the vendors I could, soaking up all of the wonderful things they had to tell me about their foods and what dogs need in their diets. After six years of working in the pet retail industry, I can honestly say that my dog has sampled just about every dog food on the market. I can also honestly say that what most dog food companies tell you is a big fat lie. Don’t get me wrong, there are some foods out there that aren’t bad foods. Unfortunately, I have found that the more I learn the less even the best foods appeal to me. I can find something I don’t like in 99% of the bags of food I pick up. Not to mention that my dog hasn’t actually LOVED a single one of them. She’ll eat her kibble, but she doesn’t really enjoy it.

During my quest to find a better way to feed my dog I stumbled upon raw diets. For me this concept makes perfect sense. I truly believe that our animals deserve better than the processed kibble that has become the standard for our dog’s nutrition. I also believe that converting to a raw diet is scary stuff. It is difficult to find anything that tells you exactly what to feed and when to feed it. So after browsing through numerous websites and reading my recently acquired book called Raw Dog Food by Carina Beth MacDonald, I have decided to stop worrying so much about the what, and when, and how much and just give it a whirl. I think this idea is something that can be intimidating, and so I have also decided to blog about this new journey my dog and I are embarking on. As I go I will post links various websites that I find to be interesting. On top of the things that I post here, you can also Google “raw diets for dogs” and get lots of sites on the pros and cons of this alternative method.