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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Give Your Dog a Bone – Doggy Dental Health.

Lola & Buster enjoying their bones.

Lola & Buster enjoying their bones.

So I planned to write a nice post on the benefits of raw bones for your dogs teeth for the month of February. February is National Canine Dental Health Month. But here it is the 1st of April. Many people think that bones need to be cooked. This is NOT the case for dogs! In fact, cooked bones can often be very dangerous for dogs. They can splinter and cause tears in their intestinal lining. So when feeding bones make sure they are raw! And yes, you can feed your dog chicken bones, IF THEY ARE RAW! Bones such as rib, spine and neck bones are wonderful for your pooches health and contribute the the 10% bone ratio suggested for a healthy RAW diet.

Recreational bones such as knuckle and marrow bones do not count as the 10% bone in their diet. These bones are meant more for recreation and gnawing rather than as food. This is because they are too dense for your dog to eat. Feeding your dog one recreational bone a week however, is like the equivalent of you brushing your teeth twice a day for a week.

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Nakia’s teeth. Never had a professional cleaning and haven’t been brush since she was a little puppy. BTW she will be 7 in July!

Nakia has never had her teeth cleaned and I don’t brush them…I personally HATE brushing my dog’s teeth. That and vacuuming. Such a pain in the butt. Our vet is always impressed by Nakia’s pearly whites and says she has teeth like a one year old pup. It has also helped clean up Rosie’s teeth quite a bit. When I first started fostering her she had one of the things Chihuahuas are notorious for. No, not yipping…OK, yes there is yipping but I’m talking about really bad teeth. Through weekly bones and her new raw diet her teeth are looking loads better.

Rose inspecting the new box from Meiers.

Rose inspecting the new box from Meiers.

My favorite place to get recreational bones for the dogs is Clay Meier Game Processing in Draper, Utah. They sell 10 pound boxes of free range deer and elk leg bones for only $10! They also sell meaty bones boxed in 40 pound boxes for $80. You can also pick up beef marrow bones from your local butcher. They are fairly inexpensive too.

So, go on, give your dog a bone!

Rose and Nakia enjoying their raw deer and elk bones

Rose and Nakia enjoying their raw deer and elk bones

Cindy Lou going to town on her bone

Cindy Lou going to town on her bone

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

Offal success!

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Yay! I finally found an offal, or organ that Rosalie will eat! Today I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some salmon for the flaxseed salmon treats that I previously promised. While I was there I also found chicken liver, heart and gizzards! My plan was to dry them all in the dehydrator, mostly because I got so excited to see them that I bought them immediately with out considering the fact that I have absolutely no room in my freezer. I am also drying up some beef liver. I haven’t given the dogs any of the chicken hearts and gizzards yet but I fed them some of the chicken liver in last night’s meal. Rose gobbled it right up. I am so excited. Good dog!

How do I start feeding my dog raw?

I like to tell people who want to know where to begin feeding there dog a RAW diet to start small and build slowly. I started out by adding just a little of Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw patties to my dogs kibble.20394 I began by adding about a quarter patty to Zuke and Nakia’s food for about a week or two then slowly built from there. Eventually I got to the point where I would feed them kibble 5 days a week, fast them on the 6th day and feed strictly the RAW patties on the 7th day. I then started increasing the number of RAW days.

Feeding a pre-made raw food like Stella and Chewy’s is an easy and convenient way to feed RAW. My dogs loved Stella and Chewy’s but it got pretty expensive for me. Plus, I could not stand the smell. It was torture for me every time I had to prepare their meals. I am glad I switched because I really enjoy putting together the components of their meals myself, I find it more rewarding. If you are interested in taking the already prepared RAW approach, I suggest Stella & Chewy’s.  Plus, they also make RAW food for your cat.

When I say, “just start out simple” I mean to add things gradually. Don’t go all out right at the beginning. Of course, if you have done your research and want to start out big, feel free. For the average beginner though, start with something simple. Start adding pieces of raw chicken pieces or a little bit of ground beef on top of their kibble.

Great source of Omega-3 for your dog. Only $5.99 from Costco!

Great source of Omega-3 for your dog. Only $5.99 from Costco!

I also suggest starting out with fish oil. I love the capsules of fish oil from Costco. It’s only $5.99 for 400 soft gels. Most dogs will just gobble them up with the rest of their food. I give Nakia 2 capsules at night with dinner and cut open 2 capsules and drizzle over Rosalie’s food. I have been told that Alaskan Naturals Wild Salmon Oil (currently $25.89 for a 32 oz bottle on Amazon) is a winner but I have not tried it myself. It comes in a pump bottle and is much more convenient for dogs like Rose who can not eat the capsules. I don’t mind the extra work of cutting open the capsules though so I prefer to go with the cheaper option.

Slowly work up to larger portions. Your dog’s stomach pH needs time to adjust to the change in diet. It is best to start with bland, easy to digest foods, like chicken. Worry about vegetables and organ meat later. Don’t get too crazy at first with protein sources either.

dog with boneLet your dog get used to it. I like to tell people to start with raw bones too. You can find raw beef marrow bones at your local butcher. They will usually cut them into smaller pieces for you.

You may find as you are building up to more and more RAW meals that your dog begins to refuse to eat his or her normal kibble. He or she now knows there is a better option. Don’t worry, your dog is not going to let itself starve to death. However, if your dog goes a few days without eating at all, see your Vet asap. It could be a sign of something more serious.

Some people start feeding their dogs RAW using what is known as the cold turkey method. With this method, you stop feeding kibble immediately start feeding all RAW. Of course, your dog will most likely have an upset stomach and the runs for the first little bit. I personally did not want to cause my dogs the stomach upset so I used the slow method.

Keep in mind while most dogs do really well on RAW it is not necessarily for every dog. If your dog just doesn’t seem to enjoy it or suffers from lots of tummy upset it just may not be for him.

And so it begins…..

…our journey into RAW. I work at a dog training center where many of my colleagues feed their dogs a RAW diet and their dogs are in such great shape. Beautiful teeth and coats, bright eyes, healthy energy levels. I knew it was something I had to try. However, it takes lots of research to begin a RAW diet for your dog. I have spent more than a year reading and researching RAW as well as picking the brains of anyone I could find who could further my knowledge. I have been feeding my dogs RAW with the occasional kibble meals for several months now. When my best friend, Ali saw the benefits my dog Nakia showed she asked me where she should start if she wanted her dogs, Joey and Sadie to get in on the goodness as well. I decided to start this blog to help her and others interested in getting into the RAW lifestyle because that’s really what it is, a lifestyle. I have another blog, Bow To The Wow Wow dedicated to my knowledge and experience with dogs as not only a curious individual but also as a dog trainer, pet sitter and dog walker. I feel I have so much to say on RAW I decided to break away from Bow To The Wow Wow and start a new blog, RAW Dog Eats. I hope to share my research, successes, failures, recipes; you name it. So I hope you all enjoy!

………And here we go………

Me and my girls, Rosalie (aka Rose or Rosie) and Nakia

Me and my girls, Rosalie (aka Rose or Rosie) and Nakia

This is me and my two girls, Rosalie and Nakia. Nakia is a dog who came from my days of ignorance, I bought her from a breeder on KSL. I met the breeders in a mall parking lot “just to look at the puppies” and of course took one home. They claimed she was a “pure breed pit bull” but because they didn’t have papers and she was the runt of the litter I got her for super cheap. She was such a skinny little thing. She is still pretty lanky but has blossomed into one of the best dogs anyone could ever ask for. On her 5th birthday I realized that her life is most likely nearly half way over. I can’t imagine my life with out her and began to ponder how I could keep her around longer….without getting into some freaky science experiments. I also wanted her quickly approaching golden years to be as pain free and happy as possible. And so, began my journey into RAW. More on this later.
Back in October, I brought home two chihuahua fosters from Davis County Animal Shelter. My mom named the little 4 pounder Rosalie and the larger one Daisy. After the first week and some semi intensive health problems from her spay, I fell in love with Rosalie. I officially signed the papers making her my first “foster failure” in late November. Daisy found a great home with a family including a little boy who stole her heart. While tiny Rose eats a mere fraction of the food Nakia eats, I have found that small dogs have a whole array of dietary needs that big dogs do not, which I will also be exploring. I hope you can enjoy this new adventure with me and my dogs. Maybe we can even be of a little help. Happy reading! 🙂