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Rodrigo and Sydney's Happy Gotcha Day! - 6 years ago, we brought home two littermate puppies and they changed my life! #rawfeddogs #keepthetailwagging

This weekend marks Rodrigo and Sydney's Gotcha Day.  When I brought them home, I had no idea how much my life would change.  And, I had no idea what it takes to raise a happy, healthy dog.

I was clueless.

Today, six years later, I can write a book; in fact, I've written two about feeding my dogs.  As I was thinking about how much has changed over the past six years, I was reminded about how many things I wish I knew then that I know now.

50 Things I Wish I Knew Before Started Feeding My Dogs a Raw Food Diet

10 Things I've Learned About Pet Food

  1. “Natural” and “Organic” are marketing buzz words and not always true.
  2. Large breed puppy dog food is for large breeds; Rodrigo and Sydney are not large breeds.
  3. Dog food and dog treats with glucosamine aren't a substitute for a quality joint supplement.
  4. Cats shouldn't be fed kibble AT ALL.
  5. Some cats love kibble and may refuse raw and canned.
  6. Employees at Petco and PetSmart don't know anything about dog and cat nutrition.
  7. The product demonstrators don't know anything about dog can and cat nutrition.
  8. Shopping at small, local pet stores is more expensive, but you'll leave with the right product.
  9. If you're going to feed a kibble diet, soak the food in bone broth.
  10. Kibble does not clean a dog or cat's teeth.

10 Things I've Learned About Supplements for Dogs

  1. Fish oil for humans isn't always good for dogs.
  2. Just because other people are doing it, doesn't mean that it'll work for your dog.
  3. Adding too many supplements doesn't make a dog healthier.
  4. Adding too much turmeric to a dog's diet may make their coat smell like cat pee.
  5. Shark cartilage can cause some dogs to have diarrhea and vomiting (or just Rodrigo).
  6. Coconut oil is not a substitution for fish oil.
  7. If it takes 15 minutes to prepare your dogs' food, you're adding too many supplements.
  8. Coconut oil and apple cider vinegar cancel out the benefits of goats milk.
  9. If you don't understand the ingredients in a supplement, do your homework.
  10. Start with the dosage recommendation, then find the right amount for your dog.

10 Things I've Learned About Raw Feeding

  1. You'll have tons of great friends who feed raw.
  2. There's a raw food co-op down the road from the house.
  3. Raw feeding is cheaper than feeding commercial dry and canned dog food.
  4. You can save 75% on a freezer by shopping at outlet stores.
  5. Strangers in raw feeding groups lack degrees in veterinarian medicine or canine nutrition.
  6. People will never agree on which model of raw feeding we should feed our dogs.
  7. Don't waste money on cheap knives; buy a quality set of knives from Costco.
  8. When buying in bulk, the meat arrives in one heavy, frozen block.
  9. Only feed the dogs eggs from local farms and not the grocery store.
  10. Not all commercial raw brands are quality; I recommend very few.

10 Things I've Learned About Raw Feeders

  1. Raw feeders are a snobby, judgmental crowd (myself included).
  2. Some of us refer to kibble as “Death Nuggets.”
  3. Many raw feeders believe they're experts when they don't know squat about dog nutrition.
  4. Many raw feeders believe everything can be resolved through diet.
  5. Raw feeders hate the word “anecdotal” when referring to our experiences.
  6. Raw feeders will never agree on what and how we should feed dogs.
  7. Raw feeders read the ingredients and Google what we don't understand.
  8. Raw feeders cringe when we see a bag of Pedigree in a cart at Costco.
  9. Some raw feeders, the scary ones, will confront you about that bag of Pedigree.
  10. Some raw feeders know more than a veterinarian about dog nutrition.

10 Things I've Learned About Dogs

  1. My dogs will forgive me for anything and everything.
  2. Bad habits can be corrected with patience and consistency.
  3. Dogs live in the moment and make it easier for me to do the same.
  4. Walking my dogs off leash is dangerous for them and those around us.
  5. When someone allows their off leash dog to rush us, I can be patient and kind.
  6. It's important to respect a dog's nature; it helps make training more successful.
  7. Dogs love hugs; you just need to know how to hug them.
  8. There's a difference between comforting a dog and rewarded a fearful reaction.
  9. Someone will always criticize the choices we make for our dogs.
  10. Dogs will help me conquer depression.

I have loved nearly every minute of being a dog mom.  The moments when I lost two precious souls, Riley and Blue, were tough to get through, but I know those losses helped me become a stronger dog owner.

I still remember the first day with Rodrigo and Sydney, they were running around playing with the toys I bought for them, and I quickly realized that I was out of my depth.  We quickly saw their individual personalities and they're still true today – Rodrigo is very outgoing and loves people who love him; Sydney is shy and reserved.  My only regret is that I don't have more pictures of that first weekend.  I was exhausted.

What idiot decided to adopt littermates?

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