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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
- “Natural” and “Organic” are marketing buzz words and not always true.
- Large breed puppy dog food is for large breeds; Rodrigo and Sydney are not large breeds.
- Dog food and dog treats with glucosamine aren't a substitute for a quality joint supplement.
- Cats shouldn't be fed kibble AT ALL.
- Some cats love kibble and may refuse raw and canned.
- Employees at Petco and PetSmart don't know anything about dog and cat nutrition.
- The product demonstrators don't know anything about dog can and cat nutrition.
- Shopping at small, local pet stores is more expensive, but you'll leave with the right product.
- If you're going to feed a kibble diet, soak the food in bone broth.
- Kibble does not clean a dog or cat's teeth.
10 Things I've Learned About Supplements for Dogs
- Fish oil for humans isn't always good for dogs.
- Just because other people are doing it, doesn't mean that it'll work for your dog.
- Adding too many supplements doesn't make a dog healthier.
- Adding too much turmeric to a dog's diet may make their coat smell like cat pee.
- Shark cartilage can cause some dogs to have diarrhea and vomiting (or just Rodrigo).
- Coconut oil is not a substitution for fish oil.
- If it takes 15 minutes to prepare your dogs' food, you're adding too many supplements.
- Coconut oil and apple cider vinegar cancel out the benefits of goats milk.
- If you don't understand the ingredients in a supplement, do your homework.
- Start with the dosage recommendation, then find the right amount for your dog.
10 Things I've Learned About Raw Feeding
- You'll have tons of great friends who feed raw.
- There's a raw food co-op down the road from the house.
- Raw feeding is cheaper than feeding commercial dry and canned dog food.
- You can save 75% on a freezer by shopping at outlet stores.
- Strangers in raw feeding groups lack degrees in veterinarian medicine or canine nutrition.
- People will never agree on which model of raw feeding we should feed our dogs.
- Don't waste money on cheap knives; buy a quality set of knives from Costco.
- When buying in bulk, the meat arrives in one heavy, frozen block.
- Only feed the dogs eggs from local farms and not the grocery store.
- Not all commercial raw brands are quality; I recommend very few.
10 Things I've Learned About Raw Feeders
- Raw feeders are a snobby, judgmental crowd (myself included).
- Some of us refer to kibble as “Death Nuggets.”
- Many raw feeders believe they're experts when they don't know squat about dog nutrition.
- Many raw feeders believe everything can be resolved through diet.
- Raw feeders hate the word “anecdotal” when referring to our experiences.
- Raw feeders will never agree on what and how we should feed dogs.
- Raw feeders read the ingredients and Google what we don't understand.
- Raw feeders cringe when we see a bag of Pedigree in a cart at Costco.
- Some raw feeders, the scary ones, will confront you about that bag of Pedigree.
- Some raw feeders know more than a veterinarian about dog nutrition.
10 Things I've Learned About Dogs
- My dogs will forgive me for anything and everything.
- Bad habits can be corrected with patience and consistency.
- Dogs live in the moment and make it easier for me to do the same.
- Walking my dogs off leash is dangerous for them and those around us.
- When someone allows their off leash dog to rush us, I can be patient and kind.
- It's important to respect a dog's nature; it helps make training more successful.
- Dogs love hugs; you just need to know how to hug them.
- There's a difference between comforting a dog and rewarded a fearful reaction.
- Someone will always criticize the choices we make for our dogs.
- 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?