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.
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
Confession 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.
As more and more people start learning from non-traditional sources, like the Internet, there will inevitably be more disagreements and arguments and often in the middle of these fights you will hear (or read) someone yell “Well that’s your OPINION!”. It’s often said as a slur, meant to end an argument that one cannot win without fully giving in and agreeing with the other party. Of course very rarely does it actually end the argument, it’s actually more likely to spiral a relatively calm debate into a full temper tantrum. Essentially, by telling someone the info they gave you is an opinion (rather than a fact), you told them that they’re stupid, uneducated and are plain wrong.
In truth, there are very few (if any) facts period, everything we learn is actually someone else’s opinion or theory. Take a second for that to sink in. That’s right when you go to school and learn about say nutrition, you are learning someone else’s opinions and assumptions. Your doctor learned someone else’s opinions regarding medicine and makes assumptions based on those opinions. Wow. Yes I did just say that but before you start yelling at me in the comments take a second and open your mind.
How did the practice of medicine start? I imagine someone wasn’t feeling well then ate something and felt better, then the next time they felt unwell they ate that same thing and again like magic they felt better. They then told someone else who wasn’t feeling well to eat that same thing and the other person also felt better, and now when anyone feels unwell they eat that same thing and most feel better. So here we have a person who assumed that what they ate was what made them feel better they also assumed that it would make someone else feel better. In their opinion (or from their viewpoint) they were the same and thus the same treatment would work. But of course as we know now what works for some (even for most) might not work for everyone. Of course I don’t know if this is how medicine actually started but this is my theory on the matter.
So what is a theory? You guessed it; it’s an assumption based on observable data.
Now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with fur babies, and the answer is everything! I often here people say well I don’t agree with what my vet told me to do but they’re a vet. Or I don’t really like using _____ but the trainer said it’s the best thing. Or we’ll the breeder said this was the best/ the only thing I can use. I usually want to smack and shake these people back to reality, your gut is telling you something is wrong. Do not ignore your gut! Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to question anyone, yes that includes me. Remember every single person who tells you something is telling you their opinion. And it never hurts to get a second or even third opinion.
Of course there are limits, and there are things you really should trust your vet on. For example if your vet refuses an operation or a medication ask why don’t just dismiss their opinion. If your vet says no to specific foods, maybe that food will counteract a medication or maybe it will give a false positive on a blood test. There really is a lot to learn when it comes to medicine, and while it is based on theories, opinions and assumptions your vet has had a lot more experience than you (and me).
My rule of thumb… leave medicine and surgery to the doctors; and question everything.
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.