Rodney Habib and the IACP Educational Conference

Hello there. So, it’s been just a little while since I last wrote. I am ashamed to say its been nearly 4 years. As many of you know, I am a professional dog trainer and I started my business approximately 5 years ago. Things took off and I am sad to say that in the craziness this blog was put to the wayside. Unfortunately so did my dogs diets as well as my own. Enough is enough! I have a new found commitment to health especially for my dogs!

Rainy and Hobbes

Best buds, puppies Rainy (>1 year) and Hobbes (1.5 years)

About this time last year I adopted a new puppy, Rainy. Rainy is now just over a year old and will eat pretty much anything I put in front of her. She is basically a walking garbage disposal just like little Daisy. Sure makes feeding her easy. The key is not over feeding. Then on the other end of the spectrum we have Nakia, Rose and Sensi the cat who are SUPER picky! And right in the middle we have my boyfriends dog, Hobbes,  a beautiful red Doberman. So now we have 5 dogs and a cat to feed…oh and did I mention I also currently have 16 chickens? All that and with all the dogs who come into our care with the business it almost seems like all we do all day is feed the hordes. Why am I telling you all this? I guess to try to help you understand why I fell back into the ease of kibble. BUT NO MORE! As you may guess, feeding this many dogs a raw diet takes up A LOT of fridge and freezer space. So, I found a used mini fridge on Facebook Market Place (negotiated down from his asking price of $75 to $45. Quite proud of myself!) which I will be picking up today and have been stocking up on meat, supplements, Tupperware, etc. Sooo…keep an eye out for more posts to come. I promise you will not have to wait another 4 years for the next one.

 

With all that being said, on to today’s actual post. This last week my boyfriend (who also happens to be my employee) and I attended the IACP Educational Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. No not the Insane Clown Posse conference, the International Association of Canine Professionals. Basically 4 days of dog talk and fun! While there I had the privilege to see Rodney Habib speak. If you have not seen any of this guys YouTube videos. I highly suggest checking them out. If you follow our Facebook page you have more than likely viewed one of his videos. I re-post them a lot.

Rodney Habib

Rodney Habib speaking at the IACP Educational Conference

Speaking the first day, I was ecstatic to see his presentation. I have been a fan for quite a while and the topic he choose sounded very interesting. K9 Bio Hacks for a Better Brain and Body. He spoke quite a bit about the ingredients of most dog food kibble on the market today. Did you know, the average bag of dog food contains 40%-70% carbs and starches? That includes grain-free bags! He spoke of the amount of sugar in a bag of dog food and the results were absolutely shocking. Here is the link for a video by Rodney Habib discussing the sugar content of a few major brands of dog food, including some that are prescription diets. With all of this, it’s no wonder so many pets today are obese.

So, WHAT ARE the 5 Bio Hacks for a Better Body and Brain according to Rodney Habib?

  1. ADD HUMAN FOOD – as a trainer, it always makes me sad when people tell me veggiesmixduring a consultation, “don’t worry we don’t feed Fluffy human food”. Many people don’t understand that what we really want to hear is that you are not feeding Fluffy from the table and that you are feeding Fluffy fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables. You’d be surprised to hear how many people feed Fluffy, “a Wendy’s kid’s meal and Twinkies for dessert”. Or something along these lines.
  2. EXERCISE
    Pack hikes in the mountains

    Dogs exercising their minds and their bodies hiking in the mountains with a pack and following their pack leader.

    and no, letting your dog run around in the back yard doesn’t count. That is unless your back yard is 5+ acres, then possibly.

  3. DOGS FED LESS LIVE LONGER – “Study findings revealed that the median lifespan of the lean-fed dogs was extended by 15%, or almost 2 years”! Except for the chihuahuas we fast our dogs…well kind of. I always feel guilty so it’s technically just a bone day where they receive some kind of weight bearing bone to chew on.

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    Slide from Rodney’s Presentation

  4. MIX COCONUT OIL WITH OMEGA-3s – Now this one was a surprise to me. I had heard that it was bad to feed the two oils together as they counter act one another. However, upon more research it seems that it is more beneficial to feed them together. Rodney also talk liking fish sources with shorter life spans, like anchovies or sardines because these have less time to absorb the pollutants from our oceans.
  5. CHANGE THE DIET – Assuming you don’t feed any raw food at all at the moment and are reading out of either curiosity or research, Rodney Habib suggests that feeding even a little raw or fresh food can make a big difference. He claims that even changing 20% of the diet to fresh food can vastly lower your dog’s chance of disease.

I highly recommend checking out Rodney Habib’s YouTube channel. He has some really great information, recipes, etc on there. I also recommend checking out Dr. Karen Becker a veterinarian with a lot of really great things to say about pet nutrition as well. Dr. Becker also took part in the new documentary Pet FOOleD which you can find on Netflix.

 

 

 

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Pumpkin

pumpkinI know August just began but I am seriously looking forward to cooler temperatures and the smells and tastes of fall. Utah temps have been way too hot for far too long! This year I planted my first ever pumpkin plant in our garden in hopes of having lots of excess to puree for the dogs. You see, my pups LOVE pumpkin. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met a dog yet who doesn’t enjoy a spoonful or two mixed in with their usual grub both RAW and kibble alike.

Besides being a favorite addition to many bowls, pumpkin helps with

  1. digestive health – Just a tablespoon or two of pureed pumpkin, without any sugar added of course, is a great source of fiber and will help with both constipation and  diarrhea. Their high water content will also help hydrate their intestines further assisting with constipation.  I give a little to my dogs when they have an upset stomach and it usually helps them feel much better.
  2. urinary tract health  – It is believed that the oils in pumpkin flesh and seeds aid in urinary tract health.
  3. weight loss – If you have been struggling with your dog’s weight and just can’t seem to get him or her to shed a couple pounds, try replacing a portion of their food with pureed pumpkin. The fiber in the pumpkin will help them feel full.

Pumpkins are also a good source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron and the seeds are high in essential fatty acids which is great for your dogs skin and coat.

By the way, it is great for cats as well! That is if you can get them to eat it.

Nothing makes you loose your appetite quite like clipping the nails off of chicken feet

Owpid-20130427_113052.jpgh, the things l do for my dogs. A few days ago l picked up a couple pounds of Chicken feet or as the package proclaimed, chicken paws, for the pups. l have read that they are a wonderful source of glucosamine so l thought I’d try them out. Upon further reading, of course after l had already bought them, I discovered that you need to trim off the claws or nails before feeding them to your dogs.

Until a few years back, l couldn’t even bring myself to touch raw meat much less Chicken feet. Needless to say the “paws” sat in my fridge for several days. I would pull them out a couple of times each day with the resolve to finally get the trimming done. Then I would “chicken out” and put it off for later. wpid-20130427_112348.jpgFinally this morning l did it! l had to call my best friend in the process so we could chat about boys and keep my mind off the task at hand. When the job was done I put a few in the dog’s bowls and the rest into freezer bags. Now here it is a little past noon and l still have not been able to eat anything today. Not only did the chicken feet contribute to my lack of appetite but l decided to give the dogs some full sardines that l purchased from Primal as well. These are not the canned kind that I often feed to the dogs and Nakia at least quite enjoys. They are full on frozen fish.

Watching the dogs crunch into a whole fish did me in. Surprisingly enough though, I may have found something Nakia doesn’t like. She crunched into the fish bodies opening the carcasses, then left them for Rose to roll in. So, that is how my morning went, chicken paws, fish guts and bath time, all on an empty stomach.
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So why not cook my dogs food?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHuman evolution included learning how to cook foods like meat to make them more easily digestible. So why would we not do the same for our dogs? Well for one heat destroys many of the vitamins in the food, especially many B vitamins and Vitamin C. One reason we cook our food is because enzymes begin breaking down the raw product causing it to spoil. If we cook it, the enzymes are destroyed, stopping this process and allowing us to store food more effectively. When cooking food for our dogs, the enzymes which control chemical reactions are destroyed. These enzymes are important to your dog because they help aid in digestion as well as slow the aging process. Without these enzymes, your dog’s pancreas is force to work harder thus resulting in health problems like Pancreatitis and Diabetes. Antioxidants, another anti-aging nutrient, are also destroyed when heating food. This can lead to degenerative diseases during old age such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

When you cook your dog’s food two essential amino acids are lost with the heat: Lysine and methionine.  The loss of these essential amino acids can lead to growth problems, skin problems, reduced resistance to disease and more.

IMAG1599Basically, when you cook your dog’s food all the major nutrients, the fats, the proteins, the carbs are all changed. Dogs were not designed to process a steady diet of cooked foods. So, while just like everything, it is ok in moderation, cooking food is just not the best option for your pooch. Think about this as well: when you provide homemade cooked meals for your dog they are usually deprived of the chewing, ripping and tearing that accompanies raw meat. That means that not only are they not getting the best nutrients but they are also being deprived of the exercise when eating their meal. It also means that their teeth are not being cleaned while they eat. Meaning you have to do more brushing, bleh. (Those of you who follow my blog know I HATE brushing my dog’s teeth.) So more brushing and more work cooking, that alone is reason enough for me to feed my dogs RAW!

Paw Paw’s and Tripe Chips

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One of my clients highly recommended a local self service dog wash that happened to be very close to where I live called Paw Paw’s. I wash my dogs at home but it is always nice to know of a close place to wash off my hiking pack when they get super muddy and I just can’t justify leaving them in their homes in that condition to muddy up their nice carpets. Not to mention, my clients talked very highly of the owner Ali. I went in to introduce myself. A young business women in her twenties, Ali was warm and welcoming. Paw Paw’s is not just a dog wash but a dog health food store and boutique as well. I am so happy to have found this place. I love The Dog’s Meow but it is just so far away from my house and Paw Paw’s is nice and convienient for me. Paw Paw’s carries various high quality foods for your pet, including Stella & Chewy’s raw food. I asked Ali if she carried tripe and she told me they were going to start carrying it next week. They did however have a product I have never tried.

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Made by a local company here in Utah, Proof Pawsitive Tripe Chips. “Your dog will try to convince you that you can’t give just one.” Nakia loved these chips so much that I caught her trying to sneak more out of the pantry. At about $11-$12 for a half pound package it was well worth the tail wagging. If you live in the Salt Lake Area, I also strongly suggest stopping by Paw Paw’s. Whether to pick up an adorable Easter Woof Wear collar, also a local company, or just to give your dog a spray down Ali makes you feel like you and your dog are her number one clients.

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The Benefits of Adding Apple Cider Vinegar to your Dog’s Diet

applesFor centuries people have been using apple cider vinegar to improve their health as well as for the heath of their pets. Raw apple cider vinegar is packed with potassium. One tablespoon contains 11 mg. When it is combined with foods that have significant vitamins it helps the body assimilate them. It will also help the body absorb calcium and other minerals. Vinegar helps prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses in the digestive tract. My theory is that this helps reduce the chance that your dog will have any issues with harmful microbes that may be in the raw meat you are feeding them. Especially because it will not effect the body’s beneficial bacteria. You can add it to their food or water, or apply it topically to your dog’s skin. If using topically for the first time, test it on a small patch of skin to be sure your dog doesn’t have an allergic reaction. Adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar daily to fresh water can help with eyes, teeth and coats. It is also a non-toxic cleaning product that is safe to use around your furry friends. You can use it to disinfect toys, deodorize bedding and to help remove pet stains.

Vinegar in general has a low pH. While water is neutral with a pH of 7, most vinegars are in the 2 to 5 pH range. Apple cider vinegar is in the 4.25 to 5 pH range making it less acidic than most vinegars. ACV, white vinegar and balsamic vinegar are the most familiar vinegars and are available at your local supermarket. Organic apple cider vinegar is made by crushing organic apples into a cider which is then aged in wooden barrels. The finished product is dark and cloudy because it is raw and unfiltered. It is usually light brown or orange color.

Apple cider vinegar can help with ailments such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Skin Problems like dandruff and static control

It also helps:

  • Cholesterol problems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sinus infections
  • Regulate blood sugar levels
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • muscle aches
  • sunburn
  • insect bites and stings

I also like to add it into some of my vegetable purees. My dogs seem to love the taste.

Have you ever used apple cider vinegar for yourself or your dog? How do you use it?

Sources:

Puotinen, CJ. The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar to Dogs. The Whole Dog Journal. January 2012

Flaxseed Salmon Treats

These treats have become a favorite of my dogs. They are rich in protein and omega-3s. They are also really easy to make. I found the recipe in Natural Dog magazine’s 2013 annual.

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For these treats you will need:
– 1 14-ounce can of salmon
– 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal. I used golden flaxseed meal.
– 2 egg yolks

1. Drain the can of salmon. Empty drained salmon into a large bowl and finely shred with a fork removing all bones and hard pieces.

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2. Add the flaxseed meal and egg yolks. Mix well.

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3. Take 1 teaspoon of the mixture and form into flat patties about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick.

4. Place on dehyrator tray. Patties can be placed close together but should not touch.

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5. Dehydrate at 160 degrees for 6-8 hours or until dry and crisp.

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Store in an airtight container in the fridge and use within a few weeks. Excess can be frozen.

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