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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Butternut Squash Garden Veg Puree

Squash from our garden

Squash from our garden

I know I recently talked about the benefits of pumpkin, and the benefits of butternut squash are not far off, but I love it so much that I had to write about it. This year we attempted (successfully I might add) to grow our own butternut squash. This magical winter squash is one of the healthiest vegetables you can feed to your dog. It is higher in Vitamin-C than any other winter squash. It is also a packed full of fiber, vitamin A and potassium. Vitamin-c helps boost your dog’s immune system while vitamin-A helps with vision health.

For the Butternut Squash Garden Veg Puree I started off by peeling, seeding and cutting up the squash. 20130930_160935[1]

I then pureed the squash in a few different batches because it quickly filled my food processor. I added olive oil to the puree to help my processor out. 20130930_161459[1]

I then separately pureed some Swiss chard, kale and a pear from my garden. I also added some apple cider vinegar and some more olive oil.

20130930_162242[1]I then mixed all the purees together. You can do this all in one batch if you use smaller quantities or if you have a giant blender…which I don’t.

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And, Voila! You have a big mixing bowl full of veggy puree. I bagged it up into six labeled and dated freezer zip locks and one small tupperware. The tupperware portion will be served up for the pups meals for the next week or so and the freezer bags will keep me stocked for a while. Of course, I still have plenty of produce  growing in my garden so I’ll probably make a couple more fresh purees before the snow really starts to fall.

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Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Biscuits

20130915_160123Ok, so I was hesitant to write this post because these treats contain wheat flour. However, while I myself eat fairly healthy the majority of the time, I feel everyone should splurge in junk food occasionally. So that is what I am doing for my dogs. Today we baked cookies!

What better way to bring in fall than baking in the kitchen. These treats made my whole house smell simply delicious.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Pinetrest and can not unfortunately find the link again. I wanted to minimize the whole wheat flour so I cut it back and added some flaxseed.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together all ingredients. Add water as needed to make the dough workable, however it should be dry and stiff.

3. Roll the dough flat into 1/2 an inch thickness.

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4.Use cookie cutters to cut out biscuits.

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5. Place on a cookie sheet and bake until hard, about 20 minutes.

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I had a few dogs boarding at my B&B and as you can see, they were all anxiously waiting for the biscuits to be done….that and the occasional pieces of dough. They all LOVED them!

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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.

Berry Veggy Puree Hearts

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With spring in the air, cravings for fresh fruits and veggies enter my mind. I get excited for the garden and part of that excitment leads me to my local grocery stores produce aisle. The dogs benefit from my trips just as much as I do. The result are purees like my most recent Berry Veggy Puree Hearts. I’m moving further away from dried fruits and frozen veggies that make up the majority of my produce intake in the winter. I am still weening myself away from convenience food. It’s a slow process. Humans are creatures of habit and my habit is bad.

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For the Berry Veggy Puree Hearts I used: 5 fresh strawberries 1 1/2 cups blackberries 1 package butternut squash, precut into cubes. 1 package green beans 2 handfuls Trader Joe’s frozen kale 1 big handful spinach 1 fresh champagne mango, which I peeled and removed the core 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar I pureed all the ingredients in my food processor and the put into my heart shaped ice cube tray and froze portions for later use.

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

Nakia’s Cinnamon-Sweet Potato Crunchers

I got the basic recipe for these treats from stubbydog.org. I have been doing some reading on the benefits of cinnamon and decided to modify the stubby dog recipe with my own little kick. (I will write more on cinnamon at a later date.) I first made a batch of the stubby dog Easy Sweet Potato Crunchers. They are so easy it’s stupid. Just cut up sweet potatoes and stick them in the oven at 250 degrees for about 2 hours.

Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients, such as:nakia sweet potato treat

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Manganese
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin B6
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron

Most dogs love sweet potatoes because of their sweet taste and they are easy to digest. Nakia has always LOVED sweet potatoes so I named my version after her. These are delicious and nutritious for people too! Recipe can easily be doubled, even tripled.

Nakia’s Cinnamon-Sweet Potato Crunchers

  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2. Wash potatoes and  slice into 1/4 inch slices.

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3. Put in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Mix in cinnamon.

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5. Lay flat on an ungreased cookie sheet.

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5. Bake for two hours, flipping halfway through.

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6. Turn off oven. Let sit in oven for another hour or two.

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7. Store in air tight container.

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