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In 2014, I decided to start sharing my journey as a raw feeder. I had been feeding my dogs a raw food diet for a year and wrote about what I had learned as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Looking back, I cringe at how little I knew about raw feeding and decided to update each of those blog posts in 2018-19.
As a raw feeder, you quickly begin to realize that pet stores don't carry a lot of things that are good for our pets. The first thing I stopped buying is dog food. Then I became concerned about ingredients and sourcing for dogs treats and they were crossed off my pet store shopping list. Even the raincoats for dogs are cheap and overpriced. And it's more affordable to buy their harnesses online.
Today, the only thing that I purchase at the big box/chain pet stores is clearance toys because Rodrigo loves to tear them to pieces. Who am I do deny him that joy? And we get koi food from the pet store too.
I'm Not a Fan of Chain Pet Stores
I'm not a fan of chain pet stores for several reasons. I don't trust their level of knowledge about pet health and nutrition and there is little that would appeal to me in these stores.
What ruined it for me?
Well, raw feeding and the introduction to local pet stores. When I walked into my first local pet store and saw that the employees were well educated not only about dog nutrition, health, behavior, and training. But they knew about all of the products too. I felt like I was on an exciting first date after a long dry spell. I was in love!
The owners of these pet stores have high standards with regard to the products they allowed in the store. They take the time to meet with the brands and distributors, they do research on sourcing and ingredients, and they taking that extra step to educate their customers – just wow, Bethanny, wow! #RHNY
Where I Shop Today
Once I became comfortable as a raw feeder and was no longer afraid that I'd kill my dogs, tons of opportunities opened up. The world became my Raw Feeding Supermarket.
Most of my food comes from our local raw food co-op – Wazzuor serves parts of Washington and Oregon. If you live in the area and visit their site, you may be
Darwin's Natural Pet Products – lamb, lamb tripe, duck, and raw cat food come from Darwin's Pet. I still have a small monthly order (actually, every 5-6 weeks). I'm loyal to Darwin's Pet because they helped me to get started on this journey and it's nice to have their food on hand when I forget to thaw raw for meal prep, which I just realized that I forgot to do. #Dammit
Walmart – I buy canned (boiled) oysters from Walmart. It's the only place where I can find them and we have three in our city. Yep, you read that right. A city that is a fraction of the size of Seattle has three Walmarts.
Fred Meyer/Costco – I buy vegetables from my grocery store and Costco. I do try and grow most of them, but the grocery store is an affordable alternative. I also get my eggs from the grocery store too.
Friends with Chickens – Living in a rural city provides ample opportunity to pick up several dozes of pasture-raised, organic eggs. If my friends have run out, I can walk over to a neighbor's house and buy some. They're everywhere! I've learned to be wary of getting eggs from strangers because if they aren't collecting eggs daily, you can end up with one or two rotten ones in the dozen.
Online Shopping – And, finally, I buy some of my supplements through Amazon (I'm a Prime member) and Chewy.com (which has great prices). I know that there are people who have an issue against online stores and I respect everyone's opinion. My priority lies with my dogs and cat and I have to stay within my budget to continue feeding them a diet of fresh food and these sites allow me to do this.
I get emails all the time from people who want to know where to shop for their dogs and I remember being confused. Our options vary depending upon what's around us and our budget. The above list is what works for me.