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,

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VEGGIE SMOOTHIES!!

In our quest to reduce sugar, and thereby reduce yeast and trim the waistline, I worked on a few smoothie options that contained more veg and less fruit. These options have been working. Pearl’s urine is clear, that potent smell is now gone, and she’s lost over half a pound in 2 weeks!

There are some base ingredients I put in all their smoothies, so it may look like a long list of stuff, but half of it is the routine add-ins, including:

A pinch of sea salt because the body needs salt to function properly, and they’re eating whole, unprocessed food that contains no salt. So, we have to add it back in.

Raw honey for its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and homeopathic treatment of environmental pollen allergies. For a more detailed account of all things marvelous about honey in your dog’s diet, read this.

Raw, fermented goat’s milk for the protein, probiotics, and natural antihistamine.

A+ Answers pet food raw fermented goats milk
It comes out clumpy, which freaked me out until I read on the carton that it contains curds. Shout out to Little Miss Muffet, yo!

1 clove of freshly minced garlic. I’ve discussed it before. It’s on every veterinarian’s list of what not to feed your dog. This article in Dogs Naturally Magazine explains why that is and refutes it. In such a small quantity, it’s good for the gut. It’s anti-fungal, antibiotic, antiviral, and boosts immune health.

The other thing I’m adding is blueberries while they’re in season. Blueberries are such great antioxidants, and good for the smooth muscles of internal organs. A small handful doesn’t bring in too much sugar.

These two recipes below include several “cooling” foods that also support the liver.

Cucumber Mint

  • small bunch of fresh mint, stemmed
  • 2-4 slices of cucumber
  • 2 kale leaves, stemmed (I use flat leaf kale grown locally)
  • 2 oz fresh blueberries
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 2 oz Answers raw goat milk
  • 2 oz filtered water

Avocado Basil

  • 2 kale leaves, stemmed
  • small bunch of arugula
  • small bunch of fresh basil
  • 2oz fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 2oz Answers raw goat milk
  • 2oz filtered water

Note: The avocado makes a thick and creamy smoothie. You may want to add more water to make it thinner.

Broccoli Carrot

  • 3-4 broccoli florets
  • 2 kale leaves, stemmed
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 2 oz fresh blueberries
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 2 oz Answers raw goat milk
  • 2 oz filtered water

These have been super easy and very popular. Of course, my dogs will eat just about anything I put before them, but they’ve not turned a nose up even once. Plus, I really feel good about feeding these things to them. At night, they of course get meat protein, and I don’t have to worry about balance because they’re getting these wonderful greens to start their day.

I also feel confident that we’ve got our yeast, bladder, and liver issues on the run.

pugs & kisses,

Is your dog a bread maker?

I’ve been piecing together a bit of a puzzle here of late.

As we all know, Pearl has gained a little weight since Christmas, and truthfully, she hadn’t lost much after switching to Raw.

Womp womp.

Her sweet tooth is the size of an iceberg…the part that’s below the water surface.

She LOVES fruit. All kinds.

Despite our daily walks, when all that sugar (albeit natural. it’s still sugar) is coupled with her post-menopausal metabolism (she’s spayed), it’s a recipe for roundness that’s not in her best interest.

Also, so much sugar in her diet can cause a yeast imbalance.

She has cloudy, smelly urine, and gunk in her ears. And she scratches. A lot.

A few weeks ago, she presented with what appeared to be …

…a bladder infection!

YIKES!

When I came home from work one night, there was a puddle in her crate. Then, after our squatting several times on our evening walk, she went on the floor by the back door. The frequent urination while on the walk didn’t concern me. But when I cleaned up the spot by the door, it had blood in it.

Crap. Crap. Crap.

I mean, that’s what prompted our switch to Raw last summer. Everything has been fine until now.

I hear your sneers. (Stow it, Flo!)

What have I done wrong?

My hypothesis is this: After I began feeding so many fruit smoothies, her body was able to absorb the nutrition in the fruit (and the sugar) much more so than when I was rough chopping it. She now consumed it in a useful form instead of it just passing through her making colorful poop rainbows. So in addition to making her fat, it’s causing excessive yeast in her system, which may be contributing to the urine issue.

What to do?

First things first.

Dr. Natalie told me that blood in urine is not necessarily always caused by an infection. In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, the cause is sometimes attributed to “heat” in the liver, which can be caused by some sort of trauma (physical or emotional) or toxin (like a vaccine or medication) or other imbalance (excess yeast, perhaps?).

So I set out to “cool” and detox the liver.

But how?

I immediately thought of Basil tea with Slippery Elm Bark. Slippery Elm Bark is wonderful for calming the digestive tract, but also has, in my experience, a healing effect on the bladder as well. Basil tea is basically a cure all. Mix the two, and wow. 

I also keep milk thistle seed in my dried herbs. It is super awesome for liver support. I grind the seeds then add them to smoothies or on top of the evening meal.

Two days later…no more blood in the urine!

Herbs FTW!

(Do y’all like how I link back to my old posts? Smart, huh?)

Duck and Rabbit are cooling proteins. So we picked up some Stella & Chewy’s ‘Duck Duck Goose’ freeze-dried duck formula. We also keep a healthy stock of Orijen Free-Run Duck treats. Freeze-dried, whole prey treats. Duck. The whole duck. And nothing but the duck.

Orijin Free Run Duck Treats
Truman & Pearl are coo-coo for these treats. Like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Then I made a healthy, homemade bone broth with some grass-fed, hormone-free beef bones from a local farmer to use to rehydrate the food instead of plain water. Beef is a ‘neutral’ protein (meaning neither warming nor cooling) and can be used in combination with other cooling or warming foods to provide variety.

Next, as Dr. Karen Becker says in this outstanding article, I needed to cut the food source for the yeast, i.e., sugar.

Yeast needs sugar to survive, so we had to dramatically reduce or eliminate the sugar in her diet, which meant dialing way, way back on all the fruit. And, since yeast is a fungus, we needed an anti-fungal. Enter: garlic.

I picked up kale, broccoli, heirloom carrots and tomatoes at the farmer’s market, all of which are cooling and contain very little sugar. I added powdered kelp from my pantry (which they have a the Whole Dog Market), which should cool things down as well.

Are you ready for a VEGGIE SMOOTHIE recipe? Here goes:

  • 2 small kale leaves, stemmed
  • small bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 broccoli florets
  • 1/2 small carrot
  • 1 teaspoon powdered kelp
  • 4 oz Answers goat’s milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Blend until smooth. Makes about 8 oz. Pearl and Truman each get 4 oz for breakfast.

I was afraid they wouldn’t eat it because there was no sugar in there, but they both lapped it up like a boss!

After a couple of weeks, Pearl had dropped over half a pound. After a month, she’s down another pound and back to pre-Christmas weight. I’ve also noticed a big difference in how much they scratch. And the urine is back to normal. Her ears are clean and pink. Their breath is pleasant. The poops are dark, solid and healthy. The liver has obviously cooled, and the yeast is on the run.

Food is medicine!

There are lessons here.

1. Don’t let your dog convince you to feed her too much fruit.

2. Don’t freak out at the first sign of a little urine discharge. You can treat it naturally with a little patience and know-how. But, if after a couple of days you don’t see a change for the better, definitely go see the vet.

3. You may be surprised by how much your dog likes a veggie smoothie.

Live and learn!

pugs & kisses,

SMOOTHIES!!!

Berry smoothie for dogs

You too can make your HOL dog a smoothie that he will LOVE.

Basically, any fruit will do, and the recipe is largely the same except for the fruit. You could drink it yourself, except that the Answers raw, fermented goats milk I use in all of them is not for human consumption b/c it’s not pasteurized. So, here’s you some options to get you started. All recipes are for a 50lb dog. Adjust according to your dog’s size.

SMOOTH AWAY!

Straw-Monkey

  • 1 whole banana, peeled (duh) and broken into pieces
  • 5 strawberries, topped
  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • small bunch of fresh mint leaves without the stems
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon or turmeric
  • 1 heaping Tbsp raw, local honey
  • 1/2 cup raw, fermented goats milk.

WHIRRRRR in the blender till smooth. Makes 8 oz.

Berry Blitz

  • 2 oz Blueberries
  • 2 oz Raspberries
  • 2 oz Strawberries
  • small bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon or turmeric
  • 1 heaping Tbsp raw, local honey
  • 1/2 cup raw, fermented goats milk.

WHIRRRR in the blender till smooth. Makes 8 oz.

Orange Crush

  • 3-4 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric or cinnamon
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping Tbsp raw, local honey
  • 1/2 cup raw, fermented goats milk.

WHIRRRR in the blender till smooth. Makes 8 oz.

Green Goblin

  • 1 small avocado, pitted and peeled
  • small bunch of mint and basil, stems removed
  • 1 tsp dried kelp
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping Tbsp raw, local honey
  • 1/2 cup raw, fermented goats milk

WHIRRRR in the blender till smooth. Makes 8oz.

I make an 8oz smoothie every morning and divide it between Pearl and Truman. That is their breakfast. They get their meat meal at night.

The goats milk provides them with protein, as well as probiotics to start their day. The cinnamon or turmeric act as natural anti-inflammatories, as well as digestive aids (among other things–enough to fill their own blog post). The garlic is for flea & tick avoidance. Such a small amount should not bother your dog, but some dogs may be hyper-sensitive to garlic. So try a little and see how your dog reacts. If he doesn’t have a reaction, go with it. If he does, please use your brain and quit giving it to him. The raw, local honey is an antimicrobial, contains wonderful phytonutrients, and helps keep seasonal allergies in check.

Give them a try! Simple as pie!

pugs & kisses,