Introducing a Raw Food Diet to Dogs

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Feeding Bear and Scooter a raw food diet is something I’ve been toying with for years. I’ve checked out books from the library, talked with friends about it, done my online research. You might say I’ve been slow to make the leap. In recent years, the raw food options on the market have really expanded. Not only have the new raw food options become easier to understand and accomplish on your own, they’ve also become more affordable over the years as raw food has changed from a fad to a widely acceptable way to nourish our companions.

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As we learned, there are a few solid guidelines to follow when first introducing your dogs to raw food.

  • Go Slow: It’s not advised to just replace their kibble with raw food out of the blue one day. Instead, start topping their kibble with some raw one day, and make it a gradual transition over the course of a week.
  • Add Probiotics: Probiotics will give your pups gut a jump start on digesting all the news foods you’re planning to introduce into their diet.
  • Keep it clean: Just like working with raw meat in the kitchen, you must keep things super sanitary when raw feeding your dog. This means washing their dishes after each meal, or using a compostable bowl that is changed out each time. Many pet parents use gloves to handle their pets raw food, and wash all utensils in the dishwasher for adequate sanitation.

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When it came to starting out with raw dog food, I was fairly interested in keeping things as simple, and clean as possible. When we discovered AllProvide pet foods it seemed too good to be true. AllProvide Fresh Pet foods are a complete meal packed into 1 pound portions packed in plastic; meats, fruits and vegetables all included. We were sent three flavors AllProvide fresh pet foods to try out, and I was thrilled to learn how simple feeding this brand of raw food would be! With this being our first experience trying anything other than freeze dried raw food,

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I really appreciate that AllProvide has created a raw dog food that can be fed two ways:

1. Nature’s Way (Raw)

OR

2. Freshly Cooked

This way pet parents who may have an ick factor associated with feeding their dog raw, red meat can still provide their dogs with the nutritional benefits associated with this diet. Additionally, some dogs, especially toy breeds, have been found to enjoy their food slightly cooked. A full list of ingredients and sourcing is available as well. We’ve found that both Bear and Scooter were excited and willing to give raw food a try as soon as we offered it to them.

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AllProvide makes their pet food in the USA, and uses all natural, human-grade ingredients. All of the meat they use is inspected and approved by the UDSA for human consumption. All of the 1 lb. portions are 80-95% fresh meat and bones which are ground together with natural supplements and nutrients so that you can feed your pet a wholesome, complete & balanced diet.

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New customers can enter code STARTERBOX at checkout and receive the AllProvide Starter Kit at a 50% discount! Additionally they’ve got a wonderful raw food calculator on their site that can help you determine how much raw food your dog or cat should be consuming, as well as how much that costs on a daily or monthly basis.

So where do you stand with raw food? Do you feed your dogs raw? Are you considering it? Or are you a kibble feeder for life? Leave me a note in the comments!



Keepin’ Cool with Cool Pet Pad

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As I’ve already shared with you this Summer, Bear is just one of those dogs who is always hot. We  don’t have air conditioning in our home, so naturally we have several tricks that we use to keep him cool and hydrated in the summer months. Needless to say,  I’m always on the lookout for new technology that could lend a cooling paw as well.

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The Cool Pet Pad by The Green Pet Shop is a revolutionary self-cooling cushion for your pet. It provides a constant cooling spot for your pet to lay, and relieves aching joints/bones. The great part is that the Cool Pet Pad doesn’t need water, electricity or refrigeration in order to cool your pup which makes it an extremely eco-friendly option for continued use. The cooling pad recharges automatically as well and is perfect for traveling in the car or for use in your pets crate.

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Bear was sent a medium sized Cool Pet Pad to review and our only complaint is that it’s not a bit bigger. Bear can’t sprawl out on this pad, but it does work for his chest area which is where it is most important.We’re of the mindset that having a bigger mat would be better than having one that is too small, as it would work more effectively to cool him down more quickly. The medium sized pad is surprisingly perfectly sized for Scooter to lay on- which he really enjoys doing in the car.

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For Bear, we place the cooling pet mat centered on his dog bed in front of the fan and he’ll happily lay there for hours on end. The cooling effect of the mat lasts for about 3 hours, and then recharges on its own after 15 minutes of non-use. The only rule for use with this cooling pet mat is that you can’t leave it in direct sunlight, or a heated environment (like your locked car sitting in the sun) or this will affect the performance of the cooling pet mat. We love that the mat folds up as we take it with us when we travel, and it’s easy to wipe down with a damp cloth.

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Is a cooling pet mat something you think your dog would enjoy? We’re wondering when they’re coming out with the human version so the whole family can hang out on cooling mats together ;)

Disclaimer: SheSpeaksBark was provided with the Cooling Pet Mat for the purpose of this review. SheSpeaksBark was not compensated in any way to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are exclusively my own, and we only share products and services on SheSpeaksBark that we feel are relevant to our readers. As always, thank you for supporting brands that make SheSpeaksBark possible! 



Tasty Treats from My Dog Bake Shop

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Scooter caught wind early on that these treats from My Dog Bake Shop were special, homemade treats, and quickly volunteered to participate in this photo-op. Typically, he’s my go-to pup for photo shoots involving food/treats anyways, because he has a high threshold for that particular type of puppy torment, unlike his brother Bear. This proved to be Scooter’s most difficult photo shoot yet though- he could hardly tear his eyes away from the tasty treats long enough to maintain eye contact with me!

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Kimberly, the bake chef behind My Dog Bake Shop has a degree in Health & Nutrition that’s put to good use sourcing ingredients that make healthy and sustainable treats for your pup to enjoy. There is a wide variety of treats to choose from, even breed specific treats are available. We tried both the Blueberry Bites, and the Tummy Soothers treats which both went over extremely well with our boys. Scooter has a very sensitive stomach, and I love the idea of feeding him treats specifically designed to help his tummy feel good.

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The My Dog Bake Shop treats have that homemade look to them, like something that might come out of my own kitchen (ok, except cuter and more uniform!) which makes me proud to feed them to Bear and Scooter. The packaging is simple but cute, just what you want when you’re seeking out a delicious treat for your dogs.

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I was a bit hesitant about the size of the treats (for Scooter) as we almost always have to break up even quarter sized treats into something smaller. As you can see in the photos below, he was able to easily devour them on his own, with them holding together well, but being crumbly enough that he could complete the task- a perfect texture for this pomeranian!

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Have you ever purchased homemade pet treats that your dogs went wild over?

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Disclaimer: SheSpeaksBark was provided with the My Dog Bake Shop treats for the purpose of this review. SheSpeaksBark was not compensated in any way to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are exclusively my own, and we only share products and services on SheSpeaksBark that we feel are relevant to our readers. As always, thank you for supporting brands that make SheSpeaksBark possible.



Camping With Dogs: Meals & Snacks

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One of the other major factors that comes into play when you’re camping with your dogs are their meals. The type and quantity of food you’ll need to pack varies based on both the type and length of your trip. Kibble is heavy to carry if you’re backpack camping, and it’s bulky to store if you’re car camping- while it certainly works, we think there are better methods.

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As far as we’re concerned, when it comes to camp meals for the dogs there is nothing better than Bravo’s Homestyle Complete- which is a freeze dried raw food that you simply re-hydrate with water. The pouch you see below is a 1 pound pouch and lasts us through the weekend perfectly. This freeze dried food is full of big hunks of meat, as well as fruits and veggies that I feel good about offering to Bear and Scooter. Bravo Homestyle Completes are available in: Beef, Pork, and Turkey flavors; Bear loves beef best, while Scooter adores the Turkey flavor most.

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We use the dogs Sleepypod Yummy Bowls to feed the dogs when we’re camping, because they are perfectly designed for travel and each dog has their own food and water dish. We can fill the lower portion with water (or better yet if we think ahead to freeze it first!) that we offer to the dogs while we’re driving, hiking, or at the campsite. We also keep the Sleepypod Little Germs kit in the car- it’s full of organic, pet safe cleaners that we can use to clean up after some time outdoors.

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Because the Bravo HomeStyle Completes pouches are so packable, Bear carries the boys food and treats in his green backpack. Dogs truly love to have a job, and Bear wears his backpack proudly and with purpose. The Bravo Homestyle completes come in a plastic bag that’s waterproof, and we pack the treats similarly so when Bear takes a swim with his backpack on there’s nothing harmed.

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Of course while you’re hiking or camping, snacks are always important! Hubby and I pack things like trail mix, dried fruit, nuts, and more along with water for ourselves. The dogs too have drinking water packed, and their favorite low-weight, high protein snack are the PetSafe Indigo Smokehouse Strips. These treats come in both chicken and bacon flavors- Bear and Scooter love the bacon!

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These treats are an easy way for us to keep the pups energy up when we stop to take in the view, grab a sip of water, or take a short break. The only thing I don’t like is the smoky/jerky scent left on my hands after I pass out treats to the boys :)

Have you made it out camping with your dogs yet this year? How do you prepare for your dogs meal and snack needs? I’d love to know what works for you as well!