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We are living in unprecedented times and I'm watching the news daily for an announcement from our Governor that we're under a mandatory shelter in place. I'm not going to panic and empty store shelves of supplies I don't need, but I do need to make sure that we have plenty of supplies on hand for our dogs and cat.
So, what do the grocery stores look like in your town? Here in Marysville, the shelves and freezers are bare, which can suck for raw feeders who source their meat from the grocery store. Our dogs are solid and I want to share what I'm doing to make sure that we don't have to break into that emergency bag of kibble I purchased during a weekend of stocking up in anticipation of a Shelter in Place order.
Where to Shop for Raw Pet Food
If you're like me, then the grocery stores are bare and buying commercial raw is out of the question because it's too expensive. I'm lucky because I'm a member of a local raw food co-op and I can source 99% of what I need through the co-op. Everything else I get from the grocery store, ethnic market, and a local pet store. If you're having trouble finding food, here are a few ideas for those of you who can order in bulk:
- Restaurant Meal Supplier – I know that restaurants only offer take out at the moment; their suppliers have meat to sell. Find out if there are any meat suppliers in your area. If you have a friend who works for a restaurant, find out what companies deliver meat to their door.
- Local Farms – another industry that's impacted by this pandemic are local farmers. Are there any farmers or homesteaders in your area who need customers?
- Local Pet Store – ask your local pet store manager if you can order a case of a product. I ordered a case of fermented fish stock and raw goat's milk from my local pet store and because I was ordering in bulk, I was able to save a little on the retail price.
If buying in bulk isn't a possibility, then consider buying in bulk with friends.
My Raw Food Shopping List
We have five big dogs and one has protein sensitivities, so I have to shop carefully to make sure everyone has enough food.
I feed my dogs a diet that I call 80/10/10 Plus or FrankenBARF. This is basically a raw food diet that has a base of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ meat. The “Plus” includes vegetables, fermented fish stock, raw eggs, and a handful of supplements my dogs need. When I was placing my orders, I made sure to only buy what we would need over the next few months. Thankfully, I make a point of keeping my freezers and pantry stocked, so I didn't have to buy too much and the following table is what's in our freezers right now.
|Rabbit||Duck Wings||Beef Organ Blend||Dr. Harvey's Paradigm|
|Quail||Pork Ribs||Pork Heart||Dr. Harvey's Raw Vibrance|
|Duck||Lamb Necks||Pork Liver||Vegetable Mix|
|Pork||Fermented Fish Stock|
|Beef Tripe||Raw Goat's Milk/Kefir|
|Oysters (for zinc)|
When I was new to raw feeding, I made the mistake of going overboard with supplements. I see a lot of people asking “what supplements do I need to balance my dogs' diet?” and I run away from those discussions because I don't believe that there is any single supplement that can magically balance a dog's diet. And, if you follow me, then you know how I feel about balance. *insert eye roll here*
Instead of trying to achieve balance, I strive for feeding a nutritious diet. All of my dogs are different and what would be “balanced” for one dog may not work for the others. And who decided on what represents balance anyway? Ahh, don't get me started.
For supplements, I focus on what each of my dogs NEED in their diet based on what I know is missing or what I know they need (for support), like a joint supplement, for example.
- Bio Case Plus – this is a pancreas enzyme supplement that is great for dogs with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency or EPI, which Rodrigo was diagnosed in 2019. Without this supplement, Rodrigo cannot absorb nutrients and would slowly starve to death.
- Glandular Support – my dogs don't get a lot of glandular meat in their diet, so I feed a supplement to cover this food. I added this supplement after a chat with Dr. Karen Becker where we discussed the benefits. The supplement I prefer contains pancreatic enzymes that help improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients, healthy fats and vitamins and supports our dogs' overall health and hormonal balance. There is a female and male version and I give the appropriate one to my dogs.
- Mushroom Complex – it is said that 50% of dogs will develop canine cancer; this percentage increases once a dog reaches their senior years. We currently have two senior dogs and after hearing so many stories of canine cancer, I decided to add a mushroom supplement to their diet and I found one that I trust.
- Vitamin B – when I had a hair analysis done on each of my dogs to check their nutrient levels, the results showed a slight need for more Vitamin B. I add this through organ meat and through a supplement.
- Joint Supplement – Rodrigo and Sydney are senior dogs and both have arthritis. WINPRO Mobility has improved their mobility and quality of life. Scout and Zoey are now six years old and I began added a joint supplement to their diet when they turned four. Scout and Zoey don't have the joint issues that their older siblings experienced, so they take a joint supplement that you can pick up at Costco – Cosequin DS Plus with MSM.
And that's it for supplements. I try to keep it easy with my dogs.
Stocking Up on Dog Treats?
Thankfully, a few months ago, I came across a deal and stocked up on bully sticks, so we're set for chews. But I didn't want to spend money on dog treats – they go too fast with five dogs. So, instead, I purchased all of the chicken hearts and gizzards from the grocery store and I'm dehydrating treats (stay tuned for recipes). I can spend $20 and have enough treats to last a month or I can buy two bags of freeze-dried treats that are gone over a weekend (or sooner).
Don't have a dehydrator? You can make treats in the oven. While my dehydrator was busy, I baked oysters in the oven for the dogs. It's super easy.
If We're Stressed, They're Stressed
I don't know about you, but I'm stressed the hell out over this pandemic. I've had to stop watching the news and unfriend loads of people who are sharing maddening conspiracy theories. My anxiety level is high and I know if I'm stressed, my dogs are stressed too. So I stocked up on CBD oil. I recently did a review of King Kanine's product and I was most impressed with their easy dosage guide and oral syringe which makes giving CBD oil to the dogs quick and easy.
Another CBD oil that I have had great success with is Canna-Pet, which offers capsules that last up to 12 hours. Our puppy has separation anxiety and the Canna-Pet helps him tremendously when we have to leave for work.
Is Your First Aid Kit Up to Date?
Thankfully, our first aid kit is up to date. We have various bandages and wraps, hydrogen peroxide, a thermometer, and I ordered a couple of Must Have items for our dogs:
- DGP for Pets, which is a natural pain killer that doesn't impact the liver and kidneys the way some prescription medications do. We have active dogs and sometimes they overdo it. CBD oil can help, but it's expensive, so I like to alternate with DGP for Pets and save the CBD oil for bigger ouches.
- Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Wound & Skin Care Pet Spray – and injuries happen and having this spray on hand is a lifesaver. A couple of sprays and the wound heals right up.
Don't forget the Cat…
We have a cat and he was easy to take care of; a lot easier than the dogs. I stocked up on…
- Wet Food – he prefers Almo and Weruva BFF in the Pouch
- Treats – he loves Ziwipeak (the food, but he thinks it's a treat) and freeze-dried minnows
- Feline Pine kitty litter (several bags)
My pet store offers a case discount so I can order Cosmo's food locally or through our raw food co-op.
So, that's my list.
Take care of yourself, try not to stress out, and if you find that you need to return to kibble temporarily to get you through this pandemic, then do it. You will never get judged by me. I purchased two big bags of Nulo just in case.