After reading a whole lot about the raw diet (see Part 1), and considering it for many years, it was actually visiting Darwin’s Natural Pet Products in Seattle that completely changed my world. Meeting the great folks who pour their love and expertise into making healthy food for dogs and seeing the products being made, first hand, made me realize that this was truly the best thing I could do for my dogs.
1. Darwin’s Natural Selections. This is the creme de la creme of raw. It’s fresh, minimally processed, and researched so that it provides everything a dog needs to truly thrive. I LOVE the fact that Darwin’s cares enough about not only your dog but also the animals that are the source of the food. These meats come from farms and suppliers that use CERTIFIED HUMANE PRACTICES, and their veggies are organic. Way to go, Darwin’s. And it’s produced and shipped directly to your door for the ultimate in freshness. So once a month, we have a big celebration when the FedEx guy drops off the well-packaged, dry-ice wrapped contents of that special box at our door. Each package is divided into quarters and we put it right into the freezer. I was initially grossed out at the thought of thawing raw meat in my fridge, but your first order comes with a ridiculously simple solution to the gross factor: a white plastic box. Place two quarters of the food in the box in the fridge. Within about 12 hours, you can take out one package to feed, replace it with a frozen one, and put the box back into the fridge. At the next meal, take out your thawed package, replace it with another frozen, and on and on. Super simple and efficient. Read more about it here.
2. Honest Kitchen: Preference. I am so tempted to eat this mix myself (if it weren’t for my allergy to bananas, I would). This is a dehydrated mix of, in sum, fruits, veggies, vitamins, and minerals. It’s all human-grade and pure and wonderful. I rehydrate this with boiled water, wait about 10 minutes, and then add it to the doggy’s food bowls to add more good taste and calories. They love it. Seriously, if it weren’t for those bananas… Read more about it here.
3. Ziwi Peak Daily Dog Cuisine (either Lamb or Venison Recipe). A sprinkling of this on top of everything else gives the pups additional whole meat nutrition along with a delicious, jerky style texture. This also can be used for training treats. Read more about it here.
4. Canned Organic Pumpkin. A couple of big tablespoons for the big dogs, 1 teaspoon for the little one, and they have added fiber. Plus, it’s a great material to make a ‘meat ball’ in which to put any necessary pills (ie. Whiskey is hypothyroid so his thyroid supplement is placed in a pumpkin ‘meat ball’).
5. Welactin by Nutramax. This omega-3 supplement for dogs is your basic fish oil blend, but with substantiated levels of omega-3s. Read more about it here.
6. Dr. Mercola Healthy Pets Digestive Enzymes. A tiny sprinkling on each meal. Increases absorption of nutrients. Again, research has lead me to not only add digestive enzymes to the dogs’ bowls, but also to my own meals. Read more about it here. And don’t miss the wonderful Dr. Karen Becker’s excellent explanatory video on why dogs can benefit from digestive enzymes.
All three dogs are at ideal weights now, with beautiful coats, and are very healthy and happy. It’s worth your while—and the life and health of your dog—to do some research and strive to feed what’s best for your dog. In the meantime, maybe my dogs’ diet will give you some ideas. Food for thought…
Note: Since ChoCho has arthritis in his one remaining front arm, and Lucia has luxating patellas, they also receive receive joint supplements: ChoCho gets Dasuquin with MSM and Lucia gets Cosequin. Both of these are made by Nutramax.