Choosing the right dog food for your dog is not an easy decision. After much research, hemming & hawing, and perseverating, we finally figured out what to feed our pups. We ruled out feeding Bernie a raw diet.
With his atypical Addison's Disease we just can't risk exposing him to salmonella poisoning. We also learned that many therapy dogs are not allowed to eat a raw diet, especially if they want to visit hospitals. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America has a guide for Animals in Healthcare Facilities that specifically states no raw diet within 90 days of a visit.
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We decided to feed Bernie and Lizzie kibble, specifically Castor & Pollux's Organix Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe. We like that this food has an Organic label, which means that at least 95% of the ingredients are Organic, and verified as non-GMO. We can also easily add this dog food to either our Amazon monthly Subscribe and Save order or our monthly Chewy auto ship.
If we can't feed raw, then we want to avoid as many toxins as we can for both our pups. Protect Pets from GMOs and Pesticides is a program in the Institute for Responsible Technology, the people who brought us the documentary film Genetic Roulette, which forever changed how I view produce. Most recently, they've created this documentary short to inform pet parents about the risks of GMOs in your pet's food.
Two years ago, after I watched Rodney Habib's TEDx Talk "Why Don't Dogs Live Forever?" I was inspired to start adding even more people food to our pups' kibble every day.
I found a great deal of inspiration on Rodney Habib's site Planet Paws. His infographic Fridge Foods was incredibly helpful as I started experimenting with adding different people foods into kibble. While our pups haven't liked every supplement, many of these human foods are a big hit!
Our simple plan for organizing different people foods...
1. We use two different sets of food containers to help us remember what's safe for the pups. We have an older set with red lids and a newer set with gray lids. Anything that goes in a container with a red lid is safe for the pups to eat. If we place foods in containers with gray lids, the food is either not safe for the pups or we're not sharing those yummies.
2. I keep a shopping list of "Dog Food Supplements to Try" in my Evernote shopping notebook. I clipped the Fridge Foods infographic into a note for easy reference. As I'm preparing my weekly grocery list, I'll look over these choices and determine what I want to add to the shopping list.
3. Preparation has been tricky over the past year. When I first started supplementing their kibble with vegetables, I could just chop up or shred the various greens into smaller pieces. Drizzle some coconut oil over the greens and kibble, and the pups were thrilled to eat their dinner.
I just pour the bone broth into the NutriBullet cup and add some spinach or kale. Sometimes I'll add other veggies as well. I blend for thirty seconds, and pour the liquid veggie smoothie over their kibble. Bernie and Lizzie love every bite.
Short on time? No fresh ingredients? Pantry items to the rescue!
For some meals, I'm short on preparation time, or I realize I don't have a single fresh vegetable suitable for dog consumption. Or the worst transgression, as far as the dogs are concerned, I'm out of boiled organic chicken breast or Certified Humane organic hard-boiled eggs!
What's a dog mom to do? I turn to my ready-stocked pantry!
Nummy Tum-Tum makes an Organic Sweet Potato and an Organic Pumpkin that's good for dogs and all your pets. I keep several cans of each on hand. After I add a few tablespoons to the kibble, I'll grab our two HyperPet Lickimat Feeding Plates, and spread some of the sweet potato or pumpkin on them. Then I place them in the freezer for a treat in the next fews days. Whatever's left over I scoop into freezer bags for future use.
The two sources of protein that I keep in our pantry at all times are Stella & Chewy's Meal Mixers, and Wild Planet Wild Sardines. The pups love both, but the Dandy Lamb flavor from Stella & Chewy's Pet Food is by far their absolute favorite. I actually have to be strategic with feeding Bernie any Dandy Lamb. That Doodle will pick out every bite of Dandy Lamb and ignore everything else in the bowl, so he gets this special treat on nights when I know he's hungry and he'll eat the entire meal.
Wondering how I feed the dogs raw meal mixers? Stella & Chewy's uses High Pressure Processing, HPP, which is "recognized by the USDA as an anti-pathogen treatment since harmful bacteria can't survive in high pressure environments."
Wondering if HPP is really safe? Well, read High Pressure Processing in Raw Dog Food from Whole Dog Journal. The short version: HPP is fine for humans and dogs.
What do our pups love the most?
spinach and kale blended with bone broth
raspberries as long as they're crushed really well
hard-boiled eggs with the shells crushed
plain Greek yogurt
What other supplements do we love?
Humarian's Probonix for Dogs (8 drops each morning over Bernie's kibble mix and 6 drops for Lizzie). Between our high quality kibble and a daily probiotic that's effective enough to get to their guts, their poops have never looked better!
If you and your vet feel your dog (or cat) would benefit from an effective daily probiotic, check out Humarian's Probonix Passes this Dog Mom's Picky Pants Testing to save 20% on your order!
Milk Thistle for Bernie to help his liver manage the prednisone he's on for his atypical Addison's Disease.
Turmeric Chews for both pups to support their joint and immune systems.
There are still so many veggies and other human foods to try. And the pups don't seem to mind the variety. With the help of a daily probiotic their digestive systems handle these small variances well.