Travel Accommodations for the Raw Fed Dog

Every now and again, I have to leave town. Sometimes, it’s vacation, but more often, it’s for work, as was the case this past week.

In my previous life, as a kibble-feeding dog mama, whenever I traveled, I kenneled my dogs either at the vet (if there were medical issues) (and there often were), or at a dog daycare. I fed them expensive prescription kibble, and just handed over a bag of food whenever I left town.

In other words — gave 0 thought to it.

At. All.

Lazy American, right here.

But fast-forward to present day. Because (in my enlightened state) I put so much more thought and effort into Pearl & Truman’s nutrition, it’s more of a challenge when I have to travel. They don’t have medical issues, so they don’t need to kennel at the vet. Plus, I would rather they have the chance to play outside, or inside, or just not be in a cage all weekend. So most of the time, they stay at Just Happy Hounds (check ’em out. They rock!), unless I am able to arrange an in-home Pug-sitting exchange with my friends.

Even so, pressing my approach to canine nutrition onto others who are less accustomed to it raises the bar a smidge when seeking someone who may otherwise be willing to keep my dogs.

So. What to do?

Answers Pet Food provides the answer!

You knew I was going there.

Y’all may get tired of me advocating for this food. But it is truly a game changer. Nutritionally and financially.

A 4-pound carton (64oz) of Detailed Answers Beef is $18. Once thawed, I divide into 7 smaller containers that hold about 9oz each. Each dog then gets 3oz per meal. (Evelyn gets the same as Pearl & Truman because we’re trying to put weight on her. She’s currently up to 13.2lbs! Yay!) (Follow us on Instagram @SamInBham for almost daily pics of her and the other two knot-heads).

Those smaller containers can be re-frozen, and then thawed as needed. Just move from freezer to fridge the day before, and all the babysitter has to do is spoon it into bowls.

Easy peas-y, lemon squeeze-y.

Each 4-pound carton contains 21 meals for us. The math on that is $18 divided by 21 meals = $0.85 per meal.

Totes. Do-able. Particularly since I had calculated the per meal cost to be about $3 each when I was first starting down the raw path last year. Experience pays.

You can find an Answers retailer near you hereThe website provides ingredient and calorie information, and serving suggestions. Everything you need to feed a balanced, raw diet conveniently and economically.

Problem. Solved.

Get some!

pugs & kisses!

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Gobble, Gobble!

Y’all. Answers Pet Food, one of my go-to’s for my prepared raw rotation, has developed a new flavor.

TURKEY!

Check it out here!

We are so excited to try it, but it hasn’t arrived in Alabama yet. That does not mean that it hasn’t arrived where YOU live.

So #BOLO (not to be confused with #YOLO).

This is truly my favorite commercially prepared raw food company for several reasons.

1. They are very particular about their supply farms. They only cooperate with the best of their local grass-fed, cage-free, antibiotic-free, GMO-free, free-range you name it humane farms that care about the lives of their stock from start to finish.

2. They are a certified Green company. All of their packaging comes from recycled materials. They don’t use plastics, so everything has a bit of a simple look about it, which is appealing to me.

3. They incorporate kombucha (fermented green tea) which is SO good for the gut. Just like for you and me, replacing the healthy gut flora regularly through live, active probiotics may be the most crucial element of a healthy diet. Because without healthy digestion — which is more than just the breakdown of food we eat, it’s absorption of nutrition — everything is just passing through.

4. The Detailed line is as balanced as one could realistically hope for in a commercially prepared food. Much, much, MUCH more so than any kibble, no matter the quality. Just look at the ingredient label and compare it to what you’re feeding your dog. Even if you’re comfortable with your kibble of choice, the process the ingredients go through to transform it into tiny little round bites necessarily compromises the nuritional value for your dog.

5. Which is why I encourage my friends who insist on feeding kibble to supplement with Answers Goat Milk. It, too, is loaded with probiotics, is an easily digested protein source, and is a natural antihistamine.  Read all about it here: http://answerspetfood.com/additional.html

Detailed Answers is a great alternative to incorporate into your raw rotation.

Give it a try!

pugs & kisses,

Sojos makes it easy to feed your dog a raw diet

First things first. Shout out to my sister, Leah, on her birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEAH!!

Now on with the show.

I’ve convinced my dad and some of my friends to switch to raw.

YIPPEE!!

But nobody has the time to do what I do every weekend — prepare dog meals for the week ahead.

#sads

And sometimes, when I travel, my grand weekend jaunts to farmer’s market and my Saturdays spent chopping, cooking, freezing, and prepping for the week get pushed aside.

In those instances, Sojos Complete freeze dried raw food comes to my rescue. And the affordable convenience of Sojos has enabled my friends and family to feed a raw diet to their pups as well.

IMG_1112
2 pounds of dry makes 10 pounds of rehydrated food. The price works out to less than $2 per meal for the Pugs.

My friends at The Whole Dog Market in Homewood began to carry Sojos this spring, and I’m so glad. So many of the prepared raw foods are so cost prohibitive. Sojos is not. And it comes in several varieties, including Turkey, Lamb, and Beef. It also comes in a form that you can add your own fresh, raw meat to.

I use homemade bone broth instead of water to rehydrate.

Beef bone broth made with raw beef bones, cinnamon, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, coconut oil, and water
Beef bone broth made with raw beef bones, cinnamon, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, coconut oil, and water
IMG_1114
Rehydrating Sojos in a glass container covered with plastic wrap. Looks like turkey stuffing.

Pearl and Truman love it. I still prefer to make their food myself because that way I control what’s in it, particularly when we’re experiencing times when they need more or less of certain ingredients to address particular issues. But, to add variety, ensure balance, and in times when I just don’t have the time, this is a fantastic option.

Just look at the ingredients:

Reads like a really healthy grocery list. You don't eat this well, do you?
Reads like a healthy grocery list. You don’t eat this well, do you?

When I first started feeding raw, I fell for FreshPet in the refrigerator at the grocery store because I needed a convenient option for times when I was away. But I have since learned that it is heat pasteurized, and frankly, I just don’t trust the quality of any dog food product on the shelves at the grocery store anymore. I am much more confident in the quality nutrition in Sojos.

And, my great friends at Just Happy Hounds are happy to feed Sojos to Pearl and Truman when they keep them when I travel. They treat ’em like I do!

You can order it directly from the company if you don’t have a retailer in your area. Check them out at www.sojos.com

pugs & kisses,

We are Diggin the Bone Broth, baby!

Have y’all discovered bone broth yet? If not, permit me to introduce you.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across an article touting the benefits of bone broth, and last week a friend shared with me another. I decided to give it a try, and now I’m hooked.

I’ve been feeding raw bones to Pearl and Truman for months, but I’ve limited them to chicken and game foul because of their size. I’d gotten a look at beef bones back in the early Fall, and they were far too large for a Pug mouth, and I’ve puzzled over how to get some variety into the bone offerings.

Enter: bone broth.

Isn’t it the same thing as stock?

No. Stock will typically have onions and other vegetables in it, and onions are a no-no for dogs. Also, it’s most likely quickly processed at a high heat, which compromises the nutrients that may have once resided in the bones. Plus, the stock or broth you buy at the store is often LOADED with sodium to keep it from turning rancid while it sits on the shelf waiting for you to buy it.

It’ll be better if you make it yourself.

Fresh, Douggie.

That’s how we roll now anyway, right?

But, why bone broth?

  1. It’s easy.
  2. It’s inexpensive.
  3. It’s full of beautiful nutrition.
  4. It’s a great way to warm refrigerated meals.

Bone broth is rich in amino acids, and loaded with natural glucosamine, gelatin, and chondroitin, which are all good for joint health. It contains protein, of course, plus vitamins C, D, K, calcium, thiamin, potassium, iron, and everything else that raw bones have to offer–except the pure pleasure that comes from gnawing and crunching.

How do you make it?

  • Get some bones. Any kind. Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck, whatever. Raw or cooked. Raw is better, of course. But I used a rotisserie chicken carcass to get additional use from it before I tossed it. After you’ve cooked them, remember do not feed to your dog. Toss ’em.
  • Put them in a pot. A stock pot or crockpot. (Good use for that crockpot that otherwise takes up space waiting for you to make chili for the office cook-off). Simply cover the bottom with bones.
  • Fill the pot with water.
  • Add a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar, or regular vinegar if you don’t have ACV.
  • Cook it low and slow. The longer the better. I cooked mine overnight.
  • You can add delightful things like turmeric or parsley or unrefined sea salt. This is a good way to incorporate herbs, minerals, or other natural supplements depending on your dog’s needs. Make sure anything you add is safe for your dog to consume.

You can freeze it in ice trays, or soup containers, or freezer bags. Gently thaw it in a double boiler or in warm water (better than microwaving), and ladle it over your dog’s dinner.

If your pup is feeling puny, bone broth is a gentle way to get vital nutrients in his system.

If you’ve got a senior pet that is in need of joint support, bone broth is a healthy, natural way to supply the body with the essential nutrients it needs.

Adding a measure of turmeric, depending on how much you’re making, can provide an arthritic dog with a natural anti-inflammatory, instead of a synthetic drug or vitamin supplement.

Underlying all of that, it’s just a real simple way to add richness and variety to your dog’s diet.

Give it a try!

pugs & kisses,