Hello.

As I sit here trying to figure out where to start I keep imagining what kind of place I want this to be.  I want this to be a place where people (you included) could openly discuss what’s on their mind.  A place where no one is trying to sell you something you don’t need.  A place where new ideas and fresh thinking is encouraged and most of all a place where I can speak openly.
In my day to day life I often have to be very cautious of the info or suggestions I give to people as it doesn’t correspond with my bosses opinions or a vet’s opinions or a customer’s opinions, or because it may be considered practicing veterinary medicine without a license.  So let me be perfectly clear I am not a vet, I don’t play one on TV and I certainly don’t play one on the Internet.  I am, however, a fully conscious human with a brain and the mental capacity to form an educated opinion on many matters including, but not limited to the care of my fur babies.  Any information learned here does not replace your vet, that is not the purpose of this place.

Is there anything you would like to talk about let me know in the comments.

-FM

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Confession time. Kibble while visiting.

Holiday season just ended, and traveling and visiting was already stressful enough trying to explain how I raise my dog to my family was just not in my bag.  

So we packed up, I separated Echo’s food into days, made sure she had enough organs in each container and brought some toppers too.  When we are at home she eats once to twice a day at meal times.  I do not have scheduled meal times so that we can always be flexible, but we don’t have an open buffet all day long for a number of reasons; raw meat left out would go bad, just like us animals tend to eat when they’re bored, it’s harder to keep track of how much they’re eating which is usually the first sign that something is wrong. And you have probably guessed everyone we visited leaves the food down and just tops up the bowl.  Of course Echo, who has never been trained not to eat another dogs food since we only have one dog and all of our animals have their own rooms, headed straight for the bowl and ate what she thought were treats. By the time it came for her food she didn’t want to eat anymore.  I mean when you were a kid would you want to eat dinner if there were always cookies? 

So yes Echo ate kibble for a few days, and while I wasn’t happy about it so far the worst was the size and amount and consistency of poo. My goodness, I had forgotten what kibble poos were like and I can’t wait till she gets it all out of her system.

Of course no matter how aloof I tried to act everyone tried to assure me that they had the best food or care etc.  That’s actually what really got to me. I had already rationalized Echo eating kibble by reminding myself that I had been eating McDonald’s for the past 3 days and in my mind they are the same thing. I did not need them to belittle me or talk to me as if I’m overprotective.  Seriously if I hear one more time “It’s from the vet.” I’m going to scream.

Mistakes I made with the raw diet.

While I talk and write with confidence, please never mistake that for me thinking or claiming to know everything because I don’t and just like you I have made mistakes.  I will try to recall these in order.

My first mistake assuming that feeding kibble and raw was a good idea. No nothing bad happened, the problem was that all the good I was doing with the raw was being undone by the kibble. 

I mistakenly believed (was told by my co-workers at the pet store) that in order for the raw food to be complete it had to contain vegetables.  While it is nice to have veggies and I fully support adding certain veggies into their diet a complete meal does not need to contain vegetable matter.

Choosing the wrong brand.  Echo can be picky if she smells something is off. I don’t mean that it has gone bad, I mean if they used hormones, or antibiotics or if the meat has been sitting in the freezer too long. Things that you and I wouldn’t know unless we snuck on the farm.  It took a while to figure out this was why she was refusing to eat.

Not balancing the amount of organs with the amount of bone content and assuming that Echo needed pumpkin when she actually needed more organs.

And the last mistake for this post is trying to explain raw food to my family who believes the kibble from the vet is magically better than kibble in the store, or that the commercial says this is the best food and that raw food is bad. Yes now I just smile and nod because I know they will never get it.

What mistakes have you made? Or if you are worried about raw what are your concerns?

Long time no post: Raw Food.

It has been quite a while since I posted to this blog so today I’d like to talk about something I have been doing that some of you are going to cheer for and others are going to look at me like I’ve lost my mind.  I’m talking about raw food.  That’s right Echo has been eating food that has not been cooked, just like a wild animal (GASP!).   When it comes to how you feed your fur babies it is your choice, just as it’s your choice what you feed your children.  So if you want to feed your kids processed food with lots of sugars and starches that’s ok by me just don’t complain later if they develop health problems, or maybe they’ll be the lucky ones and have no problems.  I take the same approach to Echo’s food, I don’t believe processed food with loads of sugar and starch is healthy no matter how pretty the pamphlet is or how much the rep sweet talked it to my vet.  (Side note I have a background in marketing and sales so it makes it easier for me to spot a line)

Don’t think I made the switch to raw food lightly, I spent months researching and learning and even though I have been doing this for years now I’m still learning and have made mistakes. The main reason I switched was just as I mentioned above the amount of sugars and starches in ALL kibble is astronomical.  You actually can’t make kibble without adding a starch to hold it’s shape.  You may notice the kibbles that list really low starch content are usually quite crumbly and you end up with half a bag of dust.  The only way to get around that is additives. At this point I’m not sure what additives would hold the kibble shape so I’ll refrain from commenting on that. These starches often encourage yeast growth and just aren’t part of a dogs natural diet in such high quantities.

The next factor for me was price. Echo is a large dog and has a very fast metabolism so needless to explain she eats a lot.  By the time I was done buying kibble, cans, treats and bones I was well over $200 A month and that’s not including toys, supplements or vets.  With the raw company I currently buy from I spend $180 and it’s delivered to my door.  That includes food, bones, treats etc. Shocking right?! Yes you read that right I’m actually saving money by buying raw!

Take some time an let that sink in next post will be about some of the mistakes I made with the raw diet.

Ugh FLEAS!

Ugh fleas again.  I live in a bug zone, plenty of swamps and bogs the perfect breeding ground for all manner of creepy crawly things and while mosquitoes are irritating, gnats are annoying and spiders just plain creepy the worst is fleas. Flea season begins the moment the ground freezes and ends only after the ground has been frozen for 3 days straight. Of course unless they’re in your house then it’s never ending.  Keeping them under control is a must and not as easy as some would have you believe.  

If you talked to a conventional vet they would tell you to put some poison on your pets and around the house.  Of course they will charge you a fortune and don’t tell you all the side effects or that it might not work as fleas are becoming immune to these chemicals.  They do tell you, however, that if you don’t use these you’re a horrible pet parent. 

So what’s a pet parent like you (and me) to do? We, for obvious reasons, don’t want to douse our beloved fur kids in poisons and we don’t want them to have to deal with fleas either.  In my search for than answer I have tried many home remedies and before I get to what works let me tell you some of the crazy things I have done to get rid of fleas.

Blue Dawn Dish Soap 

Used on pet as shampoo, on floors and everything else that doesn’t fit in the washing machine.  This was recommended by a local vet. I was told the soap would suffocate the flea and was safe for use on even the most sensitive skin.

Does it sound too good to be true? That’s probably because it is.  First yes soap put directly on any bug will kill it, however, dish soap was meant to remove grease, oil and stubborn stains from dishes; and it does a very good job of that. Humans and pets have a layer of protective oils that are important not only to keep skin hydrated and from flaking but for providing a barrier from unsavory organisms. The dish soap that is so good at removing tough oils has no problem when it comes to the delicate protective oils. And once the dish soap has washed away it’s flea killing powers are gone too.

Essential oil blends

While essential oils can be very powerful I find in most cases they are over mixed a and thus do not target fleas very well.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Tried both topically and orally, neither seemed to have much effect.

Garlic

Orally, this showed some promise until I ran out of organic garlic and couldn’t find anymore.

Cloves

Topically diluted, smelled great but showed no improvement

Diatomaceous Earth

Topically, once again showed some promise but was a bit messy.  However works great around the house and was amazing for the deer mice who roomed with me last summer.  Not so great for my big shaggy girl.

DIY flea shampoo

This was just a horrible mess and smelled even worse.

So what actually worked (and has worked more than once)? A bath and Coconut oil and lavender oil diluted in water.  Pretty simple eh? 

1. First soak for 8 min make sure all areas out of water are soaped up with a pet safe shampoo.

2. Rinse off and allow shake off (just make sure you pull the curtains across as fleas will be flying)

3. Squish any fleas you see even if they appear dead (they need to pop)

4. Grab an oil squeeze bottle run the tap so the water is very warm

5. throw in a few tbsp of coconut oil (not liquid)

6. about 30 drops of lavender

7. fill the rest of the bottle up with warm tap water and shake well.

8. Use oil dilution as leave in.

Why does it work?

The bath helps to reduce the amount of fleas hiding. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is very effective  at killing fleas, lavender has been proven to repel fleas.

What do you do/use for fleas?

-FM

My Rabbits DON’T Have Bedding or Shavings!

20161227_012816You guessed it! It’s confession time again.  If you have been following along you have already met Echo my wonderful Giant Schnauzer, so now it’s time to meet Sapphire and Meadow my beautiful bunnies. Both are rescues; Sapphire from the humane society with a hooked paw and Meadow from a construction yard. Before it comes up, no Meadow was not a wild rabbit but rather an Easter dump.

Today I confess with absolutely no guilt I don’t use paper bedding, wood shavings or fluff for their bedding.  They also don’t live in a tiny cage.  I have put together 2 dog exercise pens and given them majority of my laundry room. This means there is no top or bottom to their home and nothing to stop bits of paper or wood shavings from getting spread everywhere.  So instead they get quilts and blankets and cat huts and tunnels, they even have their own couch.

The blankets get brushed once a day or twice depending on how messy they have been, their litter boxes are scooped once to twice a day and the whole thing is stripped once to twice a month depending on (once again) how messy they have been.  Not using disposable bedding saves me roughly $50-60 a month and since I can keep reusing the blankets until they disintegrate I get to feel like I’m saving the environment too.

-FM

Nutrition; Science or Art

I remember way back in grade school they combined our art and science class due to budget cuts at the time I thought it was a very odd pairing.  I don’t ever remember getting a real answer, or maybe I just never understood the answer.  In art we were expected to add or subtract elements until we felt it was right and in science we were expected to be very precise to get the correct answer. 

Well I finally understand, art and science are not mutually exclusive.  Especially when it comes to things like nutrition which is both a science and an art. On the science side we have our understanding of vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) and fats, proteins and carbs (macronutrients)  how they affect the body. And on the art side we figure out the balance of both macro and micronutrients for a particular body.  Yes I know I can hear you yelling, but there are equations to figure that out, and you’re right there are but not every body will behave the same when subjected to the same things.

So there you have it not every fur baby will react the same and you must find the right balance for your fur baby.   I know that sounds scary and overwhelming but don’t worry I’m here to help you along. For free no less.

Are you having a little panic attack wondering where to start? Check out what these vets have to say:

Dr. Karen Becker:  Healthypets.mercola.com

Dr. Peter Dobias:  Peterdobias.com

Dr. Rodney Habib:  Planetpaws.ca 

Dogs Naturally Magazine:  Dogsnaturallymagazine.com

-FM

Once I let a vet scare me.

20170420_130126Confession time! I’m human and I can be fooled and scared just like all of you.
Echo my wonderful Giant Schnauzer had become a woman (no longer a girl), I called my vet and they told me I would have to wait for another 10 weeks until after she was done bleeding. And I did, and then I got strapped for cash and time so we put it off, and as things go I kept putting it off until it was almost too late. About a month or so before she was due to come into heat again I quickly phoned the vet to get things ready. This is when we found out I was behind on a few of her shots (yup bad mom!) So we had that appointment first and I used this time to talk to the vet (new vet at the clinic) about other options rather than a full spay. The vet gave me that look and explained that there are other options and it was my decision. Sounds good right? Of course, he was making me feel like it was my decision. He then went on to tell me about the heartbreak of dogs getting cancer and in his opinion because you can’t get cancer in something you don’t have a full spay was the way to go. I promptly went out and scheduled it for a week and a half later.
Yup didn’t even think twice, I was won over by the cancer scare tactic! Now some of you are wondering what’s wrong with that advice? After all no one wants cancer and no one wants anyone they care about to get cancer either. But would you cut off your arm because you might get cancer in it? Probably not, what about your tongue? Or liver? Throat? Thyroid? Toes? I do realize there are people out there who do remove body parts as a preventative measure, the difference is they are genetically disposed and if the doctor is worth anything they had to go through rigorous testing to make sure this was actually a viable option. My vet never did any tests on my dog, didn’t look into her bloodline didn’t even mention that schnauzers are prone to toe cancer. And in my panic I fell for it.
Now I don’t think my vet was maniacally laughing at me after I left, I think he truly believed everything he was telling me. He really was concerned about cancer and thought I should be too. After all that is the opinion his schooling has taught him. And this is why I feel the need to confess, I failed my girl by panicking. I should have stopped taken a step back and looked at this rationally and asked my vet the same line of questions I just asked you.
In the end the surgery went well and I have not noticed any major issues. She is still running around and acting like herself. But I don’t know how this decision will affect her later in life and I don’t know if I would make the same decision the next time I’m faced with it.
-FM