I’m late to the Pet Blogger Challenge this year, because as I was going over the questions, I didn’t think I would participate. I don’t write about blogging, I write about raw feeding, dog supplements and raising littermates.
So I decided to tailor my responses to this year’s questions to those 3 topics.
But before I dive in, check out prior year challenges hosted by GoPetFriendly.com:
2015 Pet Blogger Challenge and Raw Feeding
1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
I started blogging about raw feeding in April 2014. I work best when I can focus on a topic that I love and after receiving some great feedback from readers, bloggers, and brands, I decided to narrow my focus to what I know and love: raw feeding, dog supplements, and raising littermates.
One thing I see consistently online is the black and white treatment of dog health, nutrition and training. It’s “do it THIS way or you’re a terrible dog owner.” I’ve been guilty of doing this to people – I posted on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page that she should consider surrendering her grandson’s therapy dog to rescue if she’s going to allow him to stand on the dog. That wasn’t very nice; it was very black and white.
It’s not easy being grey, but I try to be so daily on my blog.
2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud.
The A to Z Challenge in April 2014. I’m notorious for starting challenges, but not finishing them and I was excited that I made it through this one and look forward to doing another one in April 2015. It helped that I chose a subject to write about: raw feeding.
I'm also proud of my raw feeding group Raw Dog Food Chat over on Facebook. Membership passed 1,000 dog lovers in it's first year.
3. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own blogs?
I learned that there are a lot of questions about raw feeding, dog supplements and raising littermates. With the advent of the Internet and blogging, everyone has a platform to share their opinion and many people share their opinions as if they're facts. This makes learning something about raw feeding, for example, confusing.
I make a point to always share my experience and I make clear that I'm a dog nutrition blogger, not a dog nutritionist and not a veterinarian. Although what I do works for our 4 dogs, this doesn't mean that it will work for all dogs and it's an important distinction.
4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
In 2014, I've started doing more networking with dog lovers who share my interest. Groups, forums and communities are a great way to connect with people, make friends and attract new readers.
Raw feeding can be a polarizing topic, but if you remain focused on sharing and learning (and not changing or ‘being right'), then the amount of great information out there is amazing.
5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular?
In January, I wrote a post warning dog owners about Nylabone dog products when our puppies vomited pieces of a Nylabone chew made for puppies. In the post, I recommended Nylabone dog products that have proven to be safe for our dogs.
I still get comments on this post monthly from dog owners who share their experience with Nylabone products.
6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year?
My favorite post was one in response to a press release on the risks of raw feeding by Colorado State University's veterinarian school. When I first wrote the post, I was angry and fired off a long response that expressed how I felt about their press release. I then went back and took all the anger and fire out of the post and the result was a great post that addressed each point they made in their press release.
I sent it to them and didn't get a response. But I have received compliments from several pet professionals.
7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?
I only do product reviews or giveaways on products that really make sense for this blog. I don't want to waste my reader's time by promoting products that I would never use and now take the time to review ingredients for food and treats, I do my homework on supplements, and I've even scheduled phone meetings with brands to gain a better understanding of their product.
This change has helped me connect with raw dog food brands, creators of truly healthy dog treats, and I also discovered great products like In Clover OptaGest (a digestive enzyme that cured Rodrigo's diarrhea) and Herbsmith, Inc, their SuperFood supplement has been great for curbing our dogs need to graze on grass.
It's been hard, because there are a lot of things I want, but if it doesn't make sense for my readers, then I have to politely decline the opportunity.
8. What’s your best piece of advice for other bloggers?
Always seek to learn and improve your craft and stop telling yourself what you can't do.
When I first switched our dogs to raw, I was blown away by how hard it was; it cost a lot, balancing the meals was complicated, and I quickly felt overwhelmed. Sunday night, I was mixing up meals for the week while watching the Golden Globes. Raw feeding is easy, I have a great system, I've found affordable sources, and our dogs are healthier. I've achieved this, because I continued to learn and improve.
Seek feedback from your readers, always proof read your posts (something I had to come back to do on this one), don't compare yourself to others, and love what you write about.
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?
In 2015, I would like to make Keep the Tail Wagging bigger and better. My goal isn't to make people switch their dogs to a raw food diet; instead, I'd like to show dog owners that there is a way to improve the nutrition and health of their best friends. Even if it's by cooking up of bone broth twice a month to mix in with a kibble meal, buying salmon or pollock oil, or questioning a recommended vaccination protocol.
10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
I would love to connect with more pet bloggers who feed raw (dogs and cats) or are raising littermates.
Thank you for reading!