Where’s that little green vomit emoji when you need it?

Bet you thought I quit again. Nope! Just been super busy.

Raw Roundup 2015 has changed us. My biggest take-away so far comes from noted Australian veterinary surgeon, Dr. Ian Billinghurst who coined the term BARF.

BARF isn’t just a verb in all caps. It isn’t even merely an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It’s an also the adjective that describes what the food we should be feeding our dogs is supposed to look like… at least when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

Gross, right?

(not as gross as a raw cow liver, or the dried cow trachea I touched by accident yesterday).

On the “biologically appropriate” point, Dr. B discussed the evolution of dogs, and kept coming back to the point that if you have a question about whether a dog should eat something, ask yourself whether the dog evolved eating it. When you ask that question about cooked grains and processed, complex carbohydrates, the answer will be ‘no’ every time.

Dogs may eventually evolve to adequately digest these things, but they’ve only been around a couple of hundred years, which is not enough time for dogs to have successfully evolved to derive nuritional benefit from them. Some pet food manufacturers and even veterinarians assert that dogs can not only digest cooked grains, but live long, healthy lives on a diet that consists mostly of them (cooked grains are cheap, yo). (Insert lecture about the power of the almighty dollar here). But they cannot dispute, because the facts are irrefutable, that a dog’s physiology is not genetically equipped to properly digest and absorb complex carbohydrates and cooked grains. (Note: “Breed-appropriate” is a marketing ploy. Don’t fall for it. There is no biological distinction in the dietary requirements of a Great Dane and a Chihuahua).

A dog’s digestive tract is much, much shorter than an herbivore’s. For example, cows have 4 stomachs to digest the grasses and grains they are designed to cosume. Dogs don’t have true molars (look in your dog’s mouth. Does he have flat teeth? No.) or the tendecy to grind up their food in their mouths before swallowing.

I’ve made this point before when discussing the need to cook some vegetables I feed to Pearl & Truman. But it still didn’t occur to me that the cell structure of all plants, with that rigid cell wall surrounding each individual cell, is just as present in a banana as it is in a potato, despite the softness of the fruit and the fact that it is edible raw.

Dr. B says we must “pulverize” any fruit or vegetable to break down that cellulose for fruits and vegetables to have any positive nutritional benefit for the dog. Chopping into chuncks may satisfy the need to chomp something, but it’s not doing much nutritionally. But when an ancestral dog killed a prey animal that was an herbivore (as most are), and consumed its stomach contents, the grasses, fruits and other vegetation were partially digested. The prey animal had broken the cell wall of the plant material, which left it absorbable for the canine carnivore. Makes total sense.

Ergo, BARF

My eyes were opened.

I’ve been cutting fruit for breakfast for months. The Pugs love it, and they seem to be thriving. But in the past 3 weeks since the Roundup, I’ve been ”pulverizing” and it’s made a difference.

1st, the poops are even more dense & almost totally stink-free. And the dogs create less poop! There’s less waste because the nutrients are being absorbed and used.

Total bonus. Less to pick up at the park.

Dr. B says you can use a blender, macerator, or juicer. Drink the juice yourself, and give your dogs the ground up pulp. I have a juicer, but it is a big ol’ pain in the butt to use, and extremely difficult to clean. (Thanks anyway, Jack LaLane.)

I also have a big fancy blender that is also a hassle to clean, especially for such a small amount of fruit.

So, I found an individual-serving blender at my trusty neighborhood Target for the low, low price of $19.99, and we are in business, baby!

Now, every day I make SMOOTHIES!! Faster and simpler than chopping so much fruit first thing in the morning.

Not getting any complaints either.

recipes in the next post.

pugs & kisses!

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You’ve got questions

They’ve got answers.

Talking about Answers raw pet food.

Dr. Natalie turned us on to it.

She said that because my babies look so freakin awesome, she was hesitant to tell me to change it up. But, she suggested Answers Pet Food as a way to simplify my life a bit.

She used to do what I have been doing, but now she feeds Answers. It is an excellent product, a mixture of high quality meats and produce. The company is family-owned in Pennsylvania, and is environmentally conscious with their production and packaging. Green Certified. No GMO.

There are 3 meat choices — pork, beef, and chicken. I had read that pork was not a good thing to feed dogs, but these folks suggest otherwise. So before we pork it up, I’m going to research it a bit more.

It is truly raw. Not heat or pressure pasteurized. No need for additional vitamin and mineral supplements because they’re in there at the precise amount.

They also sell raw, fermented goat’s milk. It contains added probiotic cultures, honey and organic cinnamon. It contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is known as the cancer fighting fat. It has caprylic acid, which is known for fighting yeast (and should help us with our candida issue). And goat’s milk is a natural antihistamine.

For you cat lovers, they have a cat formula as well.

We are so on board.

While I love creating lovely raw meals for my dogs, sometimes my law practice and other life duties make it hard to plan and prepare. It’s time consuming and expensive. I will feel good about giving this to Pearl and Truman. It’s a bit easier on my wallet, and they love it.

Check their website to learn more and find out where you can buy it. http://www.AnswersPetFood.com We found it at Hollywood Feed at Cahaba Village.

pugs & kisses,

Answers Pet Food detailed beef formula raw food for dogs
Here’s the beef. It comes frozen in a milk carton. Thaw, spoon & serve
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!

To grain, or not to grain

pugs, pugs in holiday attire, dog Christmas sweaters

Alison posed the question a few weeks back, and I promised an answer. I wanted to read about it more before I jumped in with a response. Here goes, Alison. Hope it addresses your concerns.

The use of grains in dog food has begun to raise a bit of a controversy these days. Some vets recommend cooked grains because of their impressive nutritional content. One theory is that wild dogs consume grains when they eat the digestive organs of their prey. The theory goes that since grains are historically & evolutionarily a part of a dog’s diet, dogs can process them, need them, and should have them.

Lots of people are going grain-free in their own diets. (Not me. I love pizza & cookies too much). Dog diets tend to follow people diets. It stands to reason that some people would transfer their concerns about gluten and what-not onto their dogs.

However, is going grain-free the right thing for your pet?

Since going RAW a few months ago, I have been giving Pearl & Truman one ounce of wHOLe, uncooked rolled oats each morning. I mix it with yogurt & raw honey or applesauce, and let it sit while I cut other fruit or beat raw eggs to give the oats time to soften. Except for the various treats they eat a couple of times a day, that’s all the grains they have in their diet. But, I’ve been wondering lately whether I should give even that small amount to them.

Commercially produced convenience foods are full of grains and corn. They are cheap and plentiful. Large quantity for low price. (That’s what we’re all after, right?) They give bulk and boost calories.

But, according to the Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care, dogs (& cats) do not easily produce enough of the enzyme amylase, which is necessary for digestion and assimilation of carbohydrates. The proteins in grains are therefore less digestible than animal proteins. The stress of difficult digestion can result in an irritated or weakened immune system over time, which then can result in allergies or other immunity issues.

One of the leading causes of allergies in dogs is soybeans, followed by wheat and corn.

If you’ve got a diabetic pet, check the food bag. Does it contain corn? They make sugar from corn, you know. Probably not the best thing to be feeding a diabetic animal. Just saying.

Sure, wild dogs have consumed grain-eating prey. But grains are not historically a substantial part of the wild, ancestral diet primarily because to be digested, grains have to be sprouted or cooked, and then chewed up good. Dogs have lived around farms for centuries, and have been tossed more than a few crusts of bread. But before the advent of farming, dogs most likely didn’t do a whole lot of baking.

Many of the nutrients in grains, such as B vitamins and trace minerals, are more readily available in other things like organ meats or vegetables that dogs have an easier time digesting. Plus, dogs simply don’t have a real need for complex carbohydrates.

If in the balance, the dog does not really need grains, then it’s probably best to remove them from the diet. It’s much, much easier to do that if you’re feeding raw, wHOLe foods.

pugs & kisses,