What’s the big deal about avocados?

It was not long ago that I completely flipped out on somebody for feeding a dog guacamole.

YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO FEED AVOCADO TO DOGS!!

After I became a raw food convert, I poked around a bit more on the question of avocados because my textbook suggests the fruit is very good for dogs due to the vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats so necessary for complete nutrition.

Why the confusion?

Avocados are on the ASPCA’s list of hazardous foods, but there is usually an accompanying explanation that most people fail to read.

Certainly, if your large breed dog snarfs down a whole avocado, peel & pit, an intestinal obstruction is likely. Those pits are rock-solid and impossible to digest.

Also, the skins could be coated in pesticide. If you’ve let your avocado sit out and get too ripe, and you have a garbage hunter in your pack, you might want to take measures to avoid consumption of the whole fruit from the trash.

And depending on the variety of avocado you’re dealing with, it could contain high levels of persin, which is a fungicidal toxin harmless to humans, but which causes illness in some animals. I don’t dare hazard a guess as to how much of that toxin it would take to make a dog sick, or even as to how much is actually present in your average grocery store avocado. The amounts for each of those inquiries will depend on size and variety of avocado, and size and breed of dog, no doubt. This is probably the reason why most people fear feeding them to dogs (and probably the reason why one website I found advises “don’t feed anything to your dog that is not dog food.” That kind of advice presumes readers are stupid, and indicates a lazy writer…but I digress…)

However, my dogs love the occasional avocado, sprinkled with unrefined sea salt, and mashed up with a splash of goat’s milk. I let them enjoy a serving about once a month, and they’ve had no problem with it.

WebMD calls the avocado a “Nutrient All-Star” because it offers almost 20 vitamins and minerals, including potassium, lutein, folate, Vitamins B, C, and E. They’re low in sugar, and high in fiber. They are very high in fat, but it’s good fat (yes, there is such a thing). It’s monounsaturated fat, which reputedly reduces cholesterol.

Fat = Energy.

So, for all the reasons avocados are the “it” food for anything and everything trying to show a healthy option these days, they’re healthy for your dog, and delicious to boot.

Here’s what I do for my 25-lb dogs:

  • 1/2 small-medium avocado, mashed
  • dash of unrefined sea salt
  • 1-2 oz raw, fermented goat’s milk

So, as long as you’re responsible with your trash and feed on occasion, you should be fine.

pugs & kisses,

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Warm Winter Veggies

My weekends are as busy as my weekdays.

I spend Saturday and Sunday shopping, planning, and often cooking for my dogs so that I don’t have to think about it during the week.

As I’ve mentioned before, even in a RAW, wHOLe food diet, some things have to be cooked. Dogs don’t do too much chewing with their semi-molars, so we need to help them break down the cellulose in vegetables by gently cooking them.

I’ve developed a recipe that admittedly takes some prep time, but yields a large quantity, freezes well, and is loaded with winter veggie goodness to supplement the protein sources I give my dogs. It’s also an easy way to add some coconut oil and sea salt to their diets.

Here’s a recipe I call Warm Winter Veggie Mash:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium to large Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed
  • 6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4-6 sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 oz organic chicken stock

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375. Toss your squash & carrot chunks in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tender.
  • Rinse and pierce your sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Place them on another parchment-lined baking sheet, and put them in the oven beside your squash & carrots. Bake for 1 hour or until the skin puckers and the sugar starts oozing out of the fork holes.
  • Let the veggies cool before combining them in a blender or food processor with the salt and chicken stock. The stock is really just to get things moving in the blender. You can use purified water or another flavored stock. Use more or less depending on how thick you want your mixture. Depending on the size of your vegetables and your blender, you may have to puree in batches.
  • Spoon the mixture into 6oz plastic containers, and freeze. One container will defrost over night in the fridge.

Now you have several days of delicious, fresh, wHOLe food nutrition to add to raw chicken wings, thighs, or beef!

WOO-HOO!

These warm root vegetables are so nourishing during the cold winter months and POWER PACKED. Rich in vitamins and minerals that are naturally present — not added back in artificially– including:

Vitamins A, C, E, B6, and K, Niacin, Thiamin, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, Dietary Fiber, Iron, Copper, and Pantothenic Acid, but low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.

Check your bag of dog food for THAT list of goodies, then ask yourself who really loves your dog. Them or you?

This is a good mixture to have on hand if your dog develops an upset stomach, btw. You can add it to cooked ground turkey meat as a gentle, flavorful fiber to settle a runny bowel.

As with any cooked food, always add a digestive enzyme when you serve it to help your dog absorb the nutrients.

Give it a shot. Even if your dog doesn’t like it, you can put it in a pot, add some heavy cream, and presto! You’ve got yourself a delicious butternut squash/carrot/sweet potato soup!

pugs & kisses,

The Incredible Edible Egg

Cage-free local farm eggs are my go-to breakfast for my dogs when I’m looking to break up the rotation, or when I’ve struck a wrong note with something new.

Like, for example, when I learn that Pearl doesn’t care for the Answers pork formula, an egg is my backup plan.

So, I keep them on hand in the fridge.

Why?

Eggs are nearly a perfect food. Some might say they’re a Superfood. (wink wink, nudge nudge).

They are loaded with protein, essential amino acids, good fats, vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients. They contain antioxidants that are particularly good for the eyes. They are full of iron, phosphorous, and selenium, as well as Vitamins A, B2, B12, and B5.

Although they contain cholesterol, they do not elevate cholesterol levels in the blood stream (the butter and cheese you add to those scrambled eggs, and the salt and bacon, and gravy or whatever else you pile on are to blame for your high cholesterol. The egg by itself won’t do it).

Eggs will make your dog’s coat so soft. Velveteen Puggy, for real.

And, eggs are CHEAP, yo!

I buy a dozen at the farmer’s market for $3. For my dogs, that’s 12 meals at a quarter each.

BARGAIN!

Convenient, too. A wHOLe week of breakfast sitting right there.

Easy peas-y lemon squeeze-y.

I can hear your question, though, kids:

“Do I just feed them the wHOLe raw egg, or what?”

Um, yes.

Here’s what I do:

  • 1 raw egg, beaten and mixed with
  • 1 oz raw goat’s milk
  • 1/2 oz fresh blueberries

Breakfast. Is. Served.

BOOM!

pugs & kisses,

Get in the Game

Last Fall, I was the fortunate beneficiary of my brother-in-law’s generosity. He had a freezer full of plucked, cleaned, and vacuum packed game fowl that he kindly contributed to my raw diet adventures. Best part?

FREE.

Back in October, I was still nervous about feeding raw bones. I thought the smaller, more delicate bones of these game birds might be easier for Pearl and Truman to crunch and less likely to cause an obstruction, particularly if I cut them sufficiently. I was correct.

Pearl and Truman LOVE quail, pheasant and chucker. The dark meat is rich and flavorful. Having been cleaned and packed fresh at the hunting camp, they were full of what nature has to offer a hungry pup–fresh, raw, bloody meat, and bones rich with calcium and the incomparable nutrition of the marrow. These small wild birds were not raised in a massive chicken house, or in a cage, nor fed growth hormones or antibiotics.

I don’t do guns, and I don’t approve of hunting just for the sport of it. But I live in Alabama, and you can’t throw a rock without it landing on a hunter, even if you’re surrounded by women. (And they’ll point their rifle at you for throwing the rock at them, so it’s not advised). Given that reality, if you have a hunter in the family, and you happen to luck into some excess duck or Venison, your dog will love you if you let him Get in the Game.

You can pretty much feed anything from a hunt– Duck, Venison, Quail, Pheasant, Rabbit–to your dog. These protein sources are biologically appropriate for canines. Dogs have consumed these animals from the time of their earliest existence. Just be aware of your dog’s ability to get through a bone. Doubtful a Pug or Pomeranian can manage a deer bone. So, as always, use common sense.

Here’s a recipe for Winter Quail & Sweet Potato (makes 2 meals for a 25 lb dog):

Ingredients:

  • 1 raw Quail (1 Quail is usually about 6 oz)
  • 1/2 small local, organic sweet potato, baked (Hint: I usually bake 2 or 3 sweet potatoes at a time, then keep them in the fridge for use in several meals during the week).
  • 2 oz raw goat’s milk
  • 2 tsp raw, local honey
  • half scoop of digestive enzyme

Directions:

  • Check the bird for birdshot and remove any pellets.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut the meat away from the bone as much as possible. (I do this for my small dogs to assist them because their mouths and teeth are small. This step and the next may not be necessary for a larger dog).
  • Cut the bones of the wings and legs at the joints. Then cut the breast bone in quarters.
  • For 25-lb dog, measure 3oz of meat with bones in the bowl.
  • Add 1/4 (about 1 oz) baked sweet potato, skin removed, and mashed. Sprinkle with digestive enzyme.
  • Add 1 oz raw goat’s milk, and 1 tsp raw honey.
  • Watch your dog try to eat through the bottom of the bowl.

Enjoy!

pugs & kisses,