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I'm tempted to delete my Facebook account because my feed is depressing. People trolled me for warning people about keeping pets safe during fireworks. Damn, some people's kids.
For the past year, all of the posts that come through my feed are either political, about the pandemic, or warning me of the many ways I'm killing my dogs. So I thought I'd write about it because blogging always cheers me up.
Feel free to add anything I've missed in the comments.
1 – Feeding Kibble or Not Feeding Raw Correctly
When you look at the ingredients in kibble, you'll see that kibble is a high carb diet and I don't care how many kibble companies claim that dogs have evolved to eat a high carb diet, I don't buy it. I was told by a vet that my dog wouldn't live long past his third birthday. I switched that dog to raw 8+ years ago and he's 11-1/2 years old now. What's the difference? He no longer eats kibble, I don't use chemical flea repellents, and I no longer vaccinate. Coincidence? Maybe, but I don't think so.
But before I start patting myself on the back for feeding my dogs raw, I have to ask, “am I feeding raw correctly?” According to many people, NO. Like with every topic we can think of, there will always be people who disagree with our POV and that's okay. I know that I'm feeding my dogs correctly, but others may not agree. The world is still spinning.
2 – Raw Meat
So, while we agree to disagree on how to feed raw, there is an entire veterinarian community who believes that we shouldn't be feeding raw meat AT ALL. What about the bacteria? Salmonella? E-Coli? Listeria? I've reached a point where I'm exhausted with these discussions because how do you ask a scientist how they could have forgotten science? How is it that we support species-appropriate feeding when we look to wolves and other carnivores in captivity, but when it comes to our dogs, we feed them a dried-up kibble with synthetic ingredients and loads of carbs.
And then we wonder why our dogs are all sick.
3 – Raw Bones
Raw bones have to be on the list, but I can understand the concern about them because no matter how many precautions I take, one of my dogs can be injured eating a raw bone. But I feed them anyway. Over the years, I've figured out which bones are best for each dog. And even with this knowledge and my habit of monitoring chew times, I'm still nervous about feeding raw bones.
Yeah, yeah, eating raw bones is natural for dogs, but it's still nerve-wracking at times. Like when Scout tried to swallow half of a turkey neck (I don't feed those anymore) or Rodrigo tried to swallow a spiky piece of rib bone (those are off the menu too).
4 – Air Dried Bones
Last year, social media lost its ever-loving mind when a dog was thought to have been injured by an air-dried bone and the brand wouldn't pay the vet bills.
It turned out that the dog had an upset tummy, but that wasn't enough for the mob that was screaming “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS,” to anyone who would listen. Like raw bones and other chews, air-dried bones come with risks and it's important for us to know what works for our dogs and what doesn't. Still not convinced? Then don't feed them; we all have to do what's best for our dogs. But I'm not convinced that these bones are harmful to my dogs.
5 – Garlic
No matter how many people post information about the benefits of garlic for dogs, there will always be someone who comments “garlic is toxic to dogs.” Now, if after reading all of the information that shows that dogs can, in fact, eat garlic you're still not on board, fine – don't feed garlic. It blows my mind that people continue to spread the myth of the dangers of garlic. Y'all veterinarians need to get on the same page already.
That being said, I don't often feed garlic to my dogs. If I can get organic garlic, I might add it to a batch of my DIY veggie mix and I have Springtime garlic on hand for fleas. But garlic isn't something that is a regular part of my dogs' diet.
6 – Dairy
Dairy always lands on one of those Foods Toxic to Dogs lists and it's wrong. WRONG!!!
So, the belief is that since dogs are lactose intolerant, they can't eat dairy. Great news!! Raw goat's milk is lower in lactose than cow's milk, it's very nutritious, supports gut health, and my dogs love it. I also feed my dogs kefir as a big gut boost. My dogs love cheese treats. And I have grass-fed butter on hand for when I want to get one of my dogs into ketosis.
Once day a week, my dogs enjoy a meal of raw goat's milk and/or kefir. They love it and it's a nice break from mixing up raw meals.
7 – Olive Oil
Olive oil landed on the list because someone visiting my blog warned me that olive oil is dangerous for dogs. What's their evidence? It just sounded right. And I can only imagine that it's because of the fat.
While I don't plan to make olive oil a big chunk of my dogs' diet, I do feed sardines in olive oil (Costco) and the amount of olive oil in those tin cans isn't enough to throw off my dogs' diet or cause harm. In fact, some veterinarians say that olive oil brings the same benefits as fish oil. But I'm not convinced that it's an appropriate alternative.
If I were to feed sardines in olive oil daily (or several days a week), I would adjust the meals to account for the fat from the olive oil. But, for now, I don't make any adjustments. My dogs usually get fresh fish; I only crack open the tins of sardines once or twice a month nowadays.
8 – Coconut Oil
Remember Coco-Gate? Yeah, that was interesting. Some people believe that coconut oil is harmful to dogs and, in my opinion, based on information that I've learned from professionals, this is bollocks. Of course, if a dog has health issues that preclude them from consuming coconut oil, then don't feed coconut oil. But I think it's wrong to unilaterally state that coconut oil is bad for dogs based on studies that weren't conducted on healthy, high-quality coconut oil.
I use coconut oil to brush my dogs' teeth, to give them medication, as a treat in their meals, and more. In fact, I have a blog post that lists all the ways that I use coconut oil with my dogs (and for myself).
9 – Nuts, Peanut Butter
If I open a container of peanut butter, heads pop up and, soon after, I hear the tippy tap of paws walking into the kitchen. My dogs love peanut butter. So why are people saying that it's not safe? It's because of the aflatoxins. Basically, nuts are stored in warehouses, mold on the shells grow and spread, and while this isn't supposed to kill us (or our dogs), nor does it reach the nut inside the shell, it's not great for our health and many don't want to take the risk.
The other issue with peanut butter is the sugar and some brands use xylitol, a chemical that is harmful to dogs, to sweeten their sugar-free butters. And, lastly. peanut butter and nuts are high in fat and it's believed that dogs prone to pancreatitis (or weight gain) should avoid nuts.
I have a few friends who have sworn off all peanuts. I still use peanut butter as a treat or a pill delivery system. It's not on the menu daily, but peanut butter comes through here and there.
10 – Mushrooms
When people say that mushrooms are toxic to dogs, they mean some of the mushrooms that grow in our yard in the Fall and Spring. Not the mushrooms in the produce section of the grocery store.
I've added mushrooms to my veggie mix and I've made mushroom broth – but I primarily add mushrooms to my dogs' diet as a supplement that keeps cancer away. I alternate between Mercola's Mushroom Matrix and a DIY supplement blend that I make that contains Turkey Tail and Chaga mushrooms. I don't know if the mushrooms are doing their job with my dogs. I hope so since everyone is doing well. But I do know that the mushrooms aren't harming my dogs.
11 – Apples, Apple Seeds
We have two apple trees and every fall, the dogs start picking and eating apples. Seeds and all. I've posted pictures and people lose their minds – THERE'S CYANIDE IN THE APPLE SEEDS!!!! Rest assured, I am aware. I'm also aware that my dogs don't eat enough apple seeds to cause harm. 2021 is a light-year for our apple trees. But on the years when we have an amazing crop, I'm out there picking apples and I keep a knife on hand so that I can core apples and pass them out to the dogs to keep them occupied while I'm picking fruit.
The only concern that I have about apples is the sugar. I have a dog that is in remission and I don't want him eating a ton of sugar, so I'm glad that this is a low-producing year.
12 – Bone Broth
Yes, you read that right, bone broth can be harmful to dogs – according to some. Why? It's because of the sourcing of the bones. So if you get bones from animals exposed to loads of toxins, then this may be reflected in the bones, which are then cooked into the broth and consumed by our dogs.
There is an easy solution – look for sourcing that you trust. I source 99% of my bones through a local raw food co-op and I get the rest from friends who raise their own meat.
13 – Grains
I haven't seen a post demonizing grains in at least four days.
Yeah, grains were a hot topic a couple of years ago with grain-free kibble being blamed for DCM in dogs. Even raw feeders were concerned and some were so freaked out that they either started adding grains to their meal prep or they took their dogs off of raw and started feeding Purina Pro Plan. The issue, as I understand it, wasn't the grains – it was the legumes kibble companies used in place of the grains.
A very simplified history lesson: Pet parents connected grains with food sensitivities and allergies in their dogs. They demanded a grain-free option. Brands complied, replacing the grains with legumes, which acted as a nutrient barrier (specifically to taurine), the lack of taurine (for heart health) led to heart disease. Before you leave a nasty comment – this is VERY simplified and, give me a break, I'm not a veterinarian. There is also a genetic predisposition to dilated cardiomyopathy and heart disease.
Recently, it was discovered that the cause of DCM isn't clear to everyone, which wasn't a surprise to anyone.
14 – Water
I've always believed that if the tap water is clean, then it's perfectly safe for my dogs. I live in an area that is known for safe water and Johan and I have a private well. The water is filtered on its way into the house and it's perfectly safe for all of us. So, clearly, there's no need for me to be concerned about our water.
But just because I'm safe doesn't mean that there aren't others who need to take a few steps to make sure their water is safe.
The concern, as I understand it, is that there are areas of the country (and world) where the water is high in toxins or minerals. Some people have expressed concerns that water that is too alkaline will result in kidney stones in their pets (although I haven't found a study that supports this). And the other concern extends to bottled water – one-use plastic is bad for the environment and plastic is constantly shedding toxins into everything it touches (more on that below), hence the concern over bottled water.
If you're concerned about your water, talk to your veterinarian (or a few) about the risks.
I will not, however, allow my dogs to drink from a shared bowl when I don't know the other dogs. I've always thought it was gross but knowing that these Come-One-Come-All water dishes transmit disease has me clutching my pearls. Damn, I sound insane.
15 – Feeding Cold Food
I've had a few people ask me over the years about the risks associated with feeding cold food. Some of the people who advocate for feeding cooked meals to dogs have shared that dogs eating in the wild wouldn't be eating food straight from the fridge – it would be a warm, fresh kill. So, warming the food, or feeding cooked food, would more closely resemble how their ancestors ate.
Ummmm, potAYto, potAAto.
In the summertime, I happily feed cold food because of the weather. But, in the winter, I will admit that I often warm up their bone broth and pour over my dogs' meals to take the chill away. But I wasn't thinking about their ancestors. I was humanizing my dogs because I wouldn't want to eat cold food on a cold day. I will also warm up food when a dog isn't showing interest in a meal. As long as the meal doesn't have bone pieces or green tripe, I'll warm it on the stove (or the evil microwave) to bring out the smells.
The only risks to feeding cold food that I've heard about (and please correct me in the comments) are:
- some dogs may regurgitate the food because the cold food irritates the gut
- some dogs may be disinterested in the food because the cold sucks on their teeth/tongue or the food doesn't smell as yummy as when it's warmer
To Be Continued…
This blog post is long AF so I've divided the list into two parts. Part 2 will be published on Thursday, September 9. And, if I'm worth my salt (is that a saying?), I'll link Part 2 to this post and Part 1 to the other. Yeah, I'm salt.
In the meantime, what things are you constantly told are a threat to your dog?