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5 Easy Ways to Learn About Raw Feeding

By Kimberly Gauthier, Dog Nutrition Blogger for Keep the Tail Wagging®

With the growing awareness of the importance of nutrition when raising dogs and cats, more pet parents are flocking to the Internet to learn about raw feeding only to become overwhelmed by the amount of contradictory information they find. If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. There are several resources for pet parents who want to learn how to feed their dogs and cats a species appropriate diet.

 

 

Why Information on Raw Feeding is Inconsistent 

The topic of raw feeding isn’t black and white and while we may start at the same place, we quickly find that we need to adjust what we feed in order to meet each pet’s individual needs. It’s also important to remember that although raw feeding isn’t a new concept, the popularity of raw feeding has inspired people to learn more about animal nutrition, and as we learn more, we adapt how they feed our pets. This is why we see, for example, some people who promote feeding vegetables while others do not.

Despite the inconsistencies, there is a lot to learn and it’s important to take in as much as you can because what may work for one pet, may not work for another and the more information you have, the easier it will be to adapt to your pet’s specific needs.

1 – Books on Raw Feeding 

If you scroll through Amazon’s offerings, you’ll find a lot of books on raw feeding, including my book -A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs. To choose which books are right for you, read the reviews to see how others feel. If the book offers a snippet, check it out to see if the writer’s voice is something that appeals to you. If after reading reviews and chapter samples you’re still not sure which book is right for you, do a Google Search for Top Raw Feeding Books to see what results come back. Many bloggers review books and have published lists with their favorites to save others the time of searching for the right book.

2 – Join a Raw Feeding Group 

Facebook raw feeding groups are infamous for being unwelcoming and judgmental. It’s not the topic, it’s the venue. Whenever you get a group of strangers together who are protected by anonymity while discussing a passionate topic – you’re going to have some drama. Don’t allow that to get you down. While you may have to kiss a few frogs before you find the right raw feeding group for you, that group is out there.

Groups provide you the opportunity to learn from hundreds of raw feeders who are sharing their meals, their sourcing, asking questions, and offering solutions.

Are you shy? Don’t worry, many people remain silent, only following along with discussions and quietly learning about raw feeding.

3 – Search YouTube Videos for Meal Planning 

There is a growing number of vloggers who are posting videos about the benefits of raw feeding on YouTube, however, what I find to be most valuable are the meal planning videos and videos showing pets eating raw meals.

The meal planning videos give novice raw feeders an idea of what goes into building a balanced raw diet for their pet. You can see the brands people use, many times the vlogger will share their sourcing, and the videos take the mystery out of raw feeding. Watching dogs eat raw meaty bones, raw sardines, and other food helps calm any nervousness about transitioning to the diet.

4 – Sign up for a Raw Feeding Course or Local Workshop 

With the growing awareness of the importance of canine nutrition and raw feeding, online courses are becoming available for every budget. An online course may be preferable because it provides structure that a raw feeding group doesn’t have; keeping you on track to learning step by step how to feed your pet better without distraction. A local workshop goes one step further by providing you with an opportunity to participate in an active, live discussion and get answers to your questions.

To find a list of workshops available, visit the Workshops Page of KeepTheTailWagging.com.

5 – Work with a Holistic Veterinarian 

You may not have a holistic veterinarian in your area, but that’s no longer a problem. Many veterinarians are now offering phone and Skype consultations to help you better understand animal nutrition and raw feeding. Because this is a new service, you’ll have to request recommendations from other raw feeders. I found the consultation useful because I was able to learn from an experienced professional. During my consultation, I not only learned what to feed my dogs, the fee included 30 days of scheduled calls or emails where I could ask follow up questions. This went a long way in assuaging my nervousness when I transitioned from pre-made, commercial raw to DIY raw feeding.

I would share my veterinarian, however, she retired earlier this year.

Raw feeding doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many options to help you learn how to feed your pet better along with the support you need to answer questions, share wins, and gripe about frustrations. The raw feeding community is growing daily; join us!

Kimberly Gauthier is a dog nutrition blogger and author who shares her experience feeding a raw food diet to her four dogs on the blog Keep the Tail Wagging®. Kimberly has also recently published the book A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs to help other dog lovers learn more about feeding a species appropriate diet. Kimberly and her boyfriend are raising two sets of litter mates in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy a property with plenty of room to run, swim, and explore.

 
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Pet Adoption Vs Purchase: Lesser Known Rewards

By Jenn Johnson

We all know the biggest reason why adopting an animal from a shelter or rescue organization is a much better choice compared to other avenues. Saving a life is the first thing that pops into our minds, but what about other ways we can reap rewards from adopting an animal from these environments instead of more traditional methods?

For those of us seeking a particular pet, perhaps an exact breed, size, shape or age and think that shopping at a breeder is the only alternative available without limiting your choices at a shelter, think again. Whether you’re looking for a specific tiny terrier or an enormous Great Dane, many shelters and rescue organizations will be happy to address your unique request. As with any special order, it may take a bit longer to find your perfect match, but you’d be surprised what you’ll find there and what they can deliver.

For example, many people don’t know the number of purebred animals found in shelters are upwards of 25%, which begs the question, why pay a breeder for an animal that’s questionable in the way they were born and raised, which is where the term “puppy mills” comes from. This is one of the main reasons some of these animals wind up being boarded here. Because they were “rescued” from these types of abusive environments.

Young & Old

If you’re looking for a puppy or kitten, going to a shelter or rescue spot is an excellent option since they have a good selection available on hand the vast majority of the time. Even if they don’t have a litter available at the moment you stop by, there will be one on the way almost immediately. The entrance of these little ones seldom matches the demand for them being selected for adoption.

On the other hand, those who are seeking a partially-grown or adult animal, these critters are usually housebroken, mostly trained, already “fixed,” have given some medical clearance and are simply looking for a forever home with someone who will share the love they have to offer. Even though they may have been abused in the past, they’re forgiving in nature and open to another chance at a life beyond what they’ve experienced and known.

Because They Know

The best part of this rewarding experience that comes along with adopting a pet is the fact that they know. What do they know? Science can’t explain how animals can predict weather patterns, why pets separated from their masters will often travel hundreds of miles to be reunited with their families or how some of them can detect cancer in their owners.

They also know – somehow – whoever let them out of that cage on a permanent basis – once and for all – is the one they’ll love forever and ever. Who took them away from a life of misery that led to that confinement. Once they’ve been adopted or rescued permanently, they know. Somehow, they just know.

They say you can’t put a price tag on love, but you can certainly get plenty of unconditional love for a smaller investment in time and money when investigating shelters and rescue organizations.

Born in Chicago and raised in Boston, Jenn is a journalist and freelance writer. She completed her PhD in Journalism from Northwestern University. You’ll find this pet enthusiast and free lance journalist living happily with her husband, three kids and their two beloved  dogs, Thunder and Lightening in the Back Bay area of Massachusetts, just outside Boston.

 
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Kick Cabin Fever: 7 Tips when being Indoors with Your Dog

By Stephanie Minturn

The winter months can be tough! We’re inside a lot more with our pets and being stuck indoors can drive anyone crazy after so long and our pets are no exception. They experience cabin fever just like us! As the snow is falling, we have gathered 7 of our favorite activities and tips to help you boot the boredom!

 

  • Play Hide and Seek. Hide treats around your home and let Fido sniff them out! This will definitely keep him busy!
  • Work on some simple obedience training. Just a few short sessions per day can help teach your dog new tricks and burns lots of mental energy!
  • Make some frozen treats! Feeding your BARF patties or nuggets frozen will delight your pup and give him a little something to work on. Freezing pumpkin is a great treat as well!
  • Alternate Toys. Put your dog’s toys out of his sight and only introduce one or two at a time.
  • Open Curtains and Blinds and allow in as much light as possible. This helps to balance the body’s natural rhythm and aids in preventing symptoms of seasonal blues or Depression.
  • Try to get a change of scenery. For example, sit in the kitchen with your laptop and your pup then move to the livingroom and then the bedroom. Changing rooms and positions can alleviate boredom for your pet.
  • Talk and Sing to your dog! They love hearing your voice and this will help relieve anxiety!

 

Stephanie, is a Registered Nurse and proud mother, of 4 whom has always loved animals and the purity and beauty they bring into the world. She enjoys researching current trends and evidence based practice in the pet industry and relating it to the healthcare industry for humans. She has passion in discovering new found knowledge with other pet owners like herself.

 
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Emergency Preparedness Tips for Dog Owners

 

By Stephanie Minturn

Disaster can strike at any moment, anywhere in the world. It is important to not only be prepared for yourself and your family but for your pets as well. Here are a few tips that will help in the event of an emergency…

  • Prepare a pet emergency kit including items such as at least seven days worth of food, water, medications and treats. Barf World offers freeze dried nuggets that are perfect to keep on hand just for these instances! They have a long lasting shelf life and if you are a  raw feeder, feeding freeze dried won’t disrupt your pup’s routine! Its also a good idea to pack basic first aid supplies, waste bags, feeding dishes, flashlights, toys or comfort items, extra blankets, Vet info and extra tags and collars.
  • THE ASPCA recommends placing a rescue alert sticker on or near your front door, alerting rescue workers that there are animals in the home, how many and what types. To receive a free sticker visit www.aspca.com.
  • Arrange a safe place to go if exactuation is necessary. Contact your Vet for a list of preferred boarding kennels and emergency shelters and facilities. Even certain hotels accept pets! Making a plan ahead of time will prevent more complication during a chaotic situation.
  • Be sure that your dog has up to date tags and identification and keep a copy of his medical records.
  • Pets tend to flee or wander during a crisis situation so be sure to keep leashes nearby.

A disaster situation is a stressful time but being prepared can reduce that stress and help keep you and your pets safe!

 
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