Learn about Dog and Cat Natural Raw Food Delivery Services and Subscription-Style Pet Food Delivery Services. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Dog and Cat Natural Raw Food Delivery Services | Subscription-Style Pet Food Delivery Services

Darwin’s Pet Food Convenient Delivery Service – A subscription-style pet food delivery service

Raw Pet Food Delivered

Learn about Dog and Cat Natural Raw Food Delivery Services and Subscription-Style Pet Food Delivery Services. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Natural Raw Pet Food Delivery

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. However, I will always try to offer my readers great product selections. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

Don’t let a busy schedule stand in the way of feeding your pet a healthy raw pet food diet. I often hear pet parents say they can’t feed their pets a species-appropriate diet because they don’t have time to make a balanced raw diet at home. Or that their pet store does not carry raw pet food. But luckily for health-conscious pet parents, Darwin’s Natural Pet Products offers Dog and Cat Food Delivery right to your door! Darwin’s pet food convenient delivery service – a subscription-style pet food delivery service.

But let me back up a little and tell you why I’m a fan of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products and why their brand is part of both Dexter’s and Nutter’s food rotation.

Pet Food Made with Human Grade and Grain-Free Ingredients

Darwin’s starts with human-grade ingredients—nothing you would find on the cutting room floor or in a large garbage bin waiting to be turned into “pet feed.” No, all ingredients are human-grade, high-quality, and fresh. All of Darwin’s recipes are grain-free and fully balanced to meet the needs of your carnivore.

Humane grade ingredients
Humane grade ingredients

Antibiotic- and Hormone-Free Options

I believe in feeding Dexter and Nutter antibiotic- and hormone-free meats in their daily food. This is actually a deal breaker for me when choosing a raw dog or cat food. Darwin’s Natural Selections line uses meat from animals that are cage-free (free-roaming) or pasture raised, grass-fed, and free of steroids, antibiotics, or artificial growth hormones. They even visit every farm that raises the animals used in their meals to ensure they employ good farming practices and treat both their animals and employees with respect.

Raw Pet Food Made Fresh

At Darwin’s, the food is made fresh, then immediately frozen in vacuum-sealed packages to preserve quality and nutrition naturally. Darwin’s takes pride in being the freshest in the market by delivering the food within 4-6 weeks from production! Darwin’s lists a manufacture date on each meal, instead of an expiration date.

Free Menu Consultation and Prescription Meals

If you are new to Darwin’s, raw food, or just don’t know where to start, Darwin’s offers a free menu consultation service. They also offer a HEALTHY prescription diet line. Intelligent Design™ Veterinary meals for dogs are specialized formulas designed to provide extra support to dogs facing certain health issues.

Freshly made dog and cat food
Made Fresh

Darwin’s Pet Food Convenient Delivery Service

Darwin’s Pet Food not only offers an amazing raw pet diet, but they ship direct to consumers, eliminating any middleman. Darwin’s Natural Pet Products convenient delivery service is a subscription-style pet food delivery service.

Ready-to-Serve Raw Pet Food Meals

Remember, each ready-to-serve raw pet food meal is delivered 4-6 weeks from the manufacture date, so your pet’s food arrives fresh and dense with nutrients. Your pet’s food is shipped in insulated containers and packaged in an 8-ounce frozen, vacuum-sealed bag with an EZ-Peel tab in the corner, making it a breeze to open without a mess. All you do is simply thaw and serve a complete and balanced raw pet meal.

Learn about Dog and Cat Natural Raw Food Delivery Services and Subscription-Style Pet Food Delivery Services. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
EZ-Peel tab

Raw Pet Food Delivery Service Schedule

Darwin’s tailors each pet food delivery schedule to meet the individual customer’s needs. All pets and families are different in their needs, which is why I recommend contacting Darwin’s to set up your pet’s raw pet food meal delivery plan. Your order can contain a mix of different meals with different proteins, so you can provide variety in your pet’s diet. If you would rather just test the waters, you can order Darwin’s special introductory offer.

Pet Food Delivery Changes

What’s really nice about Darwin’s is that you will receive an email reminder before each shipment and you can change or cancel your pet food delivery service at any time. Their customer service representatives will be happy to assist you.

Learn about Dog and Cat Natural Raw Food Delivery Services and Subscription-Style Pet Food Delivery Services. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Darwin’s Raw Pet Food Delivery

Healthy Dog Treats and Raw Meaty Bones

As an added bonus to subscription members, Darwin’s offers a variety of raw bones and chews that you can add to your order. Grass-feed beef marrow bones, raw duck necks, green tripe, and even venison jerky treats. Your dog will be hopping for joy!

Benefits of Choosing Darwin’s Pet Food Convenient Delivery Service

  • Human Grade Ingredients
  • Antibiotic- and Hormone-Free Options
  • Fresh Pet Food Delivered within 4-6 weeks of Manufacturing
  • Free Menu Consultation
  • Healthy Prescription Meal Plans
  • Ready-to-Serve 8-oz Meals with EZ-Peel Tab
  • No Middleman
  • Change Subscription or Cancel Service at Any Time

Don’t take my word for it, visit Darwin’s Natural Pet Products and take a look at their values, products, and services.


Do you feed your pet a raw diet? Tell me in the comments.

Learn about Dog and Cat Natural Raw Food Delivery Services and Subscription-Style Pet Food Delivery Services. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #rawpetfood #rawdogfood #naturalpetfood #healthypetfood
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Transitioning your dog or cat to a raw pet food diet. A species appropriate raw pet food diet is a great way to provide your pet optimal health. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Changing to a Raw Dog Food or Raw Cat Food Diet

Species Appropriate Diets and Pet Nutrition

How to Switch to a Raw Pet Food Brand from Dry Pet Food

Transitioning your dog or cat to a raw pet food diet. A species appropriate raw pet food diet is a great way to provide your pet optimal health. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Changing to a raw pet food diet

Disclaimer: This is a post is sponsored by Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

I am so happy you are looking to switch your dog or cat from a dry, highly-processed pet food to a fresh, natural raw pet food diet. Yay! You should be extremely pleased with yourself that you are ready to make the leap. Your dog or cat’s health will improve dramatically after you change to a raw pet food, such as Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. But the big question is always, HOW. SLOWLY.

If your pet has been eating dry dog food for most of his life, his gut may not be in the best shape. But don’t worry, by switching to a raw dog or raw cat food, you will be working at restoring his gut microbiome, which is essential to good health.

Transitioning Your Dog to a Raw Dog Food Brand

Plan on transitioning your dog full time to raw over about 7-10 days. By changing your dog’s food from dry kibble to raw slowly, you will help prevent gastrointestinal upset. However, don’t be surprised if your dog’s stools change. You may even notice a little mucus coating as your dog goes through a detoxification and his body eliminates toxins he has built up over time. As your dog eats more fresh food, he will also start to utilize the nutrients and eventually his stools will likely become firmer and smaller. This is all good!

  • Raw dog food should be served at room or body temperature
  • Days 1-3: Start your dog’s transition with a 75/25 split of his old food and new food.
  • Days 4-5: Increase the raw food to a 50/50 split.
  • Days 6-7: Increase the raw food to a 25/75 split.
  • Day 8: You did it! 100% raw.

Transitioning Your Cat to a Raw Cat Food Brand

Oh, the finicky cat! It’s not necessarily that your cat is finicky; it’s just that cats can be leery of change, especially when their cat food is changing. But changing your cat from a dry cat food or a canned cat food to a raw cat food diet is worth the time and effort it may take.

No More Free-Feeding Cats

If your cat is used to having a bowl of food available 24/7, that’s the first thing to change. Start with four regular feeding times per day. Place your cat’s current food down for about 30 minutes, then remove what he doesn’t eat until his next feeding. Be patient with your kitty. However, it’s important to realize that cats will starve themselves, so do not allow more than 24 hours in between meals.

Once you have established a cat feeding schedule, add about ½ tablespoon of the raw cat food to your cat’s current food. At this point, you just want your cat to start getting accustomed to the taste, smell and texture of the food. Just like raw dog food, the food should be at room temperature, not cold. If your cat refuses, add even less raw with your cat’s regular food.

Once your cat is eating his raw and dry cat food, very gradually increase the amount of raw and decrease the dry. SLOWLY. You can expect this transition to take about four weeks. If your cat is eating a mix of raw and kibble, but not quite making the 100% switch, that’s okay. Just keep going, but a bit slower. Your patience will be worth it in the end!

Transitioning your dog or cat to a raw pet food diet. A species appropriate raw pet food diet is a great way to provide your pet optimal health. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Raw cat food diet

Pro Tip from Darwin’s Natural Pet Products“Feed you cat on a small plate. Put their usual food in the middle and dab half moon shapes of Darwin’s around the lip of the plate. The cat will eat it. We don’t know why, It has zero scientific backup, but has worked for most customers in the past.”

Transitioning Tips, Concerns and Reminders

  • Raw pet food should be served at body or room temperature. To achieve this, stir in a little warm water.
  • Most prepared raw diets can be lightly cooked (raw), which can help during the transition period. Once transitioned, lessen the cooking to get back to raw.
Transitioning your dog or cat to a raw pet food diet. A species appropriate raw pet food diet is a great way to provide your pet optimal health. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Lightly cook raw pet food
  • Use a flat plate to feed your cat.
  • Not all pets tolerate a raw pet food diet. Some pets have a weakened immune system and they cannot process raw food. In this case, consider lightly cooking a prepared raw or a home-cooked diet.
  • If you are concerned, speak to a holistic vet specializing in fresh diets.
  • Be patient, but don’t starve your cat.  Cats must eat every 24 hours.

Once you have successfully switched your dog or cat from a dry pet food to a fresh, raw pet food brand, you should start to see your pet’s health improve. His coat will likely get shiny, his energy will improve, and he will be so happy he is eating a fresh and healthy pet food. But don’t stop at one protein source; it’s important to rotate proteins and other ingredients to ensure optimal health and nutrition. More on that topic soon!

If you’re looking for a fresh, healthy pet food, check out Darwin’s Natural Pet Products! Try Darwin’s for Only $14.95 for 10lbs. Darwin’s has an introductory offer that an assortment of our premium raw pet food meals – free-range and cage-free meats (with organic vegetables in our dog meals.)


Do you feed your pets a fresh diet? Tell me in the comments.

Transitioning your dog or cat to a raw pet food diet. A species appropriate raw pet food diet is a great way to provide your pet optimal health. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
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Top 5 Worst Treats You Should Never Give Your Dog or Cat. Toxic dog treats and unhealthy dog treats rule the market. Here are 5 treats that may have been recommended that you should avoid. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Top 5 Worst Treats You Should Never Give Your Dog or Cat | Toxic Dog Treats

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Top 5 Worst Treats You Should Never Give Your Dog or Cat | Toxic Dog Treats

Human Food to Avoid with Your Dog

Top 5 Worst Treats You Should Never Give Your Dog or Cat. Toxic dog treats and unhealthy dog treats rule the market. Here are 5 treats that may have been recommended that you should avoid. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Not very healthy dog treats.

As a professional dog trainer, I often recommend to clients to feed their dog healthy dog treats for a good behavior. Teaching a dog what we want them to do and rewarding them for that action is a great way to train a dog. I teach my dog training students how to determine if a dog treat is healthy and how to calculate those dog treats as part of their dog’s daily calorie intake. You see, I believe in real food for dogs, dogs need meat, and meat is a high-value, healthy dog treat that can actually be counted towards a dog’s daily calorie goals. This makes dog training easy and fun for both humans and dogs.

However, I often see dog blogs or other pet professionals recommending nasty “dog treats” for training or to stuff in a dog’s hollow treat toy or chew bone. Here are my top no-no dog treats, or at least my reasons on why you may need to reconsider or look deep into their ingredient panel before tossing one to Fido.

1. Marshmallows: Marshmallows may seem like the perfect treat to hide a dog pill or to motivate the picky dog, but looking at the ingredients of a marshmallow may make you change your tune. I may actually need to dump my favorite campfire treat myself, too! Typical Marshmallow Ingredients: corn syrup, sugar, dextrose, water, modified cornstarch, gelatin, contains less than 2% of natural and artificial flavor, tetrasodium pyrophosphate (whipping aid), artificial color (includes blue 1). That’s a lot of sugar products for a dog! And what about the artificial ie. Chemical flavor? What’s tetrasodium pyrophosphate? A cleaning agent! And according to Toxnet, it is alkaline, irritating, can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after ingesting. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Let’s not forget the artificial colors including Blue 1. In 2003, the FDA put out this statement regarding some use of Blue 1 in the medical field: “Use of Blue 1-tinted enteral feedings for detecting aspiration has been associated with several serious adverse events, including death, although a direct causal relationship has not been definitely established.” Now, there are some healthy marshmallows for us humans, but the ones I’ve seen still contain a lot of sugar and carrageenan, which I wouldn’t recommend feeding to a dog.

Top 5 Worst Treats You Should Never Give Your Dog or Cat. Toxic dog treats and unhealthy dog treats rule the market. Here are 5 treats that may have been recommended that you should avoid. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
I’ll pass.

2. Lunch Meat: Now, I’m a big fan of using real meat when training dogs; however, we have to be careful when using lunch meats. Once again, it boils down to the list of ingredients, that ever-so-important ingredient panel. Most, but not all, lunch meats contain ingredients that both dogs and humans should stay away from. Typical Deli Style Lunch Meat Ingredients: Chicken breast, water, cultured dextrose, contains less than 2% of modified cornstarch, salt, sugar, vinegar, cultured celery juice, sodium phosphates, carrageenan, cherry powder, lemon juice solids, coated with seasonings (garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, thyme, white pepper, dried parsley, dried basil), salt, cayenne pepper, red bell peppers, caramel color, oleoresin paprika. You may have noticed I mentioned in #1 I didn’t like carrageenan, and here it is as an ingredient in our lunch meat. Carrageenan can trigger inflammation and wreak havoc on your digestive system. And the caramel color, according to Why Dye? is typically made with a 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) which is associated with carcinogenic effects. Don’t forget the added onion salt, which is toxic to pets.

3. Hot Dogs: Just like lunch meat, hot dogs can be riddled with nasty and toxic ingredients to your dog. Typical Hot Dog Ingredients: Mechanically Separated Turkey, Mechanically Separated Chicken, Pork, Water, Cultured Dextrose, Contains Less than 2% of Dextrose, Salt, Corn Syrup, Distilled White Vinegar , Cultured Celery Juice, Sodium Phosphate, Cherry Powder, Flavor. Although this may not kill you, it sure is full of garbage and sugar.

4. Peanut Butter: This is a very common recommendation for dog training or stuffing a hollow toy or bone. Once again, it boils down to the ingredient panel. Typical Peanut Butter Ingredients: Made From Roasted Peanuts And Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed And Soybean), Mono And Diglycerides, Salt. There’s that sugar again. A word of caution—many peanut butters now contain artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. You can buy 100% organic peanut butter, without any other ingredients; however, I prefer almond butter.

Top 5 Worst Treats You Should Never Give Your Dog or Cat. Toxic dog treats and unhealthy dog treats rule the market. Here are 5 treats that may have been recommended that you should avoid. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Never. Ever. Period.

5. Fake “bacon” or “meat” Dog Treats: You know the ones. The dog treats that are in bright, colorful packages that look like a piece of bacon or meat. Are you ready for the ingredients in a typical “bacon flavored dog treat”? GROUND WHEAT, CORN GLUTEN MEAL, WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, GLYCERIN, GROUND YELLOW CORN, SUGAR, SOYBEAN MEAL, BACON (PRESERVED WITH SODIUM NITRITE), SALT, BACON FAT (PRESERVED WITH BHA AND CITRIC ACID), PHOSPHORIC ACID, SORBIC ACID (A PRESERVATIVE), CALCIUM PROPIONATE (A PRESERVATIVE), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL SMOKE FLAVORS, RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1, YELLOW 6, ADDED COLOR. T-4005 I just want to scream when I see this ingredient list. There isn’t ONE ingredient I would EVER feed to my pets. Preservatives, wheat, corn, gluten, sugar, soybean, food colors and artificial flavors. This treat isn’t getting within ten feet of Dexter.

Take Away

The point of this post on unhealthy dog treats isn’t to bash a company or brand, but to remind you to read the ingredient panel, not just the front of the package on everything! This includes our own foods and products. I even saw carrageenan in freshly packaged natural chicken thighs. If we start to purchase cleaner foods for ourselves and our pets, the pet food and pet treat companies might just step up and provide even more healthy options. Now, go grill up some real chicken for your dogs!

Top 5 Worst Treats You Should Never Give Your Dog or Cat. Toxic dog treats and unhealthy dog treats rule the market. Here are 5 treats that may have been recommended that you should avoid. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
I just wanted chicken!


Do you read the ingredient panel prior to purchases? Tell me in the comments.

Top 5 Worst Treats You Should Never Give Your Dog or Cat. Toxic dog treats and unhealthy dog treats rule the market. Here are 5 treats that may have been recommended that you should avoid. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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Best dog food for pets
Learn how to home cook for your dogs.

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Healthy dog treat recipes

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Low Fat and Low Calorie Dog Treats | Healthy Homemade Dog Treats. I want to help my dog lose weight with real food and exercise, not with a nasty, processed, low-fat dog food.

Low Fat and Low Calorie Dog Treats | Healthy Homemade Dog Treats

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Low Fat and Low Calorie Dog Treats

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes: Dehydrated Organic Vegetables

Low Fat and Low Calorie Dog Treats | Healthy Homemade Dog Treats. I want to help my dog lose weight with real food and exercise, not with a nasty, processed, low-fat dog food. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Low fat and low calorie treat recipe.

OK, so Dexter The Dog isn’t fat, but he does need to lose a little weight. I always make a conscious effort to keep my pets at their ideal weight. No, I don’t feed my dog a prescription diet dog food (Nasty-Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Mill Run, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Pork Flavor, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Caramel Color ….) or any other processed food. Dexter receives balanced and fresh home-cooked meals daily. No preservatives, no fillers, only real and healthy food. When I’m working on dog training exercises or just something to keep him busy, I’m careful to use his daily food calorie allotment with those “snacks.” However, with Dexter’s twice-a-day canine rehabilitation exercises and weekly sessions at the Animal Rehabilitation Facility, I have been going over his ideal calories, and he’s put on a few pounds.

I want to help my dog lose weight with real food and exercise, not with a nasty, processed, low-fat dog food. Dexter’s home cooked dog food is low fat and healthy, what happened is I’ve added a lot of dog treat calories (dehydrated fruit) and with winter, less physical activity. The organic dehydrated fruit snacks are a healthy dog treat in moderation, but he’s been getting a lot! Dexter still needs a high reward system for his canine rehabilitation exercises because he’s still learning what to do and I’m asking him to challenge his body and mind daily.

I have a few options for healthy dog treats for his dog training. One, I can cut his healthy dog food and use the ingredients as treats. For example, his meals are about 75-80% meat, so I can cut his portions back and give him meat for training, such as dehydrated beef or rabbit. Or, I can pick a dog-friendly vegetable and use those as training treats. I’m choosing the vegetables!

Low Fat and Low Calorie Dog Treats | Healthy Homemade Dog Treats. I want to help my dog lose weight with real food and exercise, not with a nasty, processed, low-fat dog food. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Healthy vegetables for dogs.

There are a lot of raw vegetables that are safe for dogs that I can choose from. However, vegetables are very fibrous and when they are raw, they are hard to digest. If I’m using Dexter’s daily vegetables for dog training, I really want him to digest them and receive the nutritional benefits, so I choose to dehydrate some organic vegetables for dog training. I dehydrated kale, peppers, and cucumbers.

Healthy homemade treats for dogs
Healthy foods for dogs

It was super simple: clean, remove seeds, slice, dehydrate. Dexter is really enjoying his new low calorie dog treats. So, the kale didn’t work well for treats for training, but make a great topper for his dog food. 😉


Do you make homemade dog or cat treats? Tell me in the comments.

Low Fat and Low Calorie Dog Treats | Healthy Homemade Dog Treats. I want to help my dog lose weight with real food and exercise, not with a nasty, processed, low-fat dog food. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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What's really inside your pet's food? It could be your pets!

Healthy and Not Healthy Pet Food Ingredients | Poultry, Fish, Meat and Animal

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How to Understand Your Pet Food Ingredients

Best and Worst Pet Food Ingredients

What's really inside your pet's food? It could be your pets!
Are these healthy pet food ingredients?

Why you should never feed your pet a pet food that contains poultry.

Is poultry bad for your dog or cat? Well, yes and no. Here’s the scoop on poultry and pets, and why you will never find the ingredient poultry in YOUR food. What?

Have I totally confused you yet? I want you to picture what poultry looks like or what it is……OK. Do you have a picture? Was it a chicken? Turkey? Goose? Ah, do you see where I’m going with this? The ingredient poultry is any remnant of any bird that has been rendered in a pet-food rendering plant.

Healthy and Not Healthy Pet Food Ingredients. Your dogs, cats, roadkill, and zoo animals are also included in rendering plants! Yes, you read that right. Have you ever seen either of these words in your pet's food or treats: “meat,” “animal,” “animal by-product,” or “meat by-product”? You can be assured that this includes pets! 
What’s really inside your pet’s food?

What is a rendering plant and why is it best to avoid those ingredients in your pet’s food? First, the feed that comes out of a rendering plant is not fit for human consumption. That right there means I’d never feed it to my dog or cat. Rendering plants recycle the scraps, waste, and goo from a slaughterhouse. This also includes all the rejected food from the human food industry.

Your dogs, cats, roadkill, and zoo animals are also included in rendering plants! Yes, you read that right. Have you ever seen either of these words in your pet’s food or treats: “meat,” “animal,” “animal by-product,” or “meat by-product”? You can be assured that this includes pets! A quote from JIV Day, “One estimate states that some 40 billion pounds of slaughterhouse wastes like blood, bone, and viscera, as well as the remains of millions of euthanized cats and dogs passed along by veterinarians and animal shelters, are rendered annually into livestock feed.” Livestock feed is pet food.

Very Graphic Video of Rendering Plant

What's really inside your pet's food? It could be your pets! Click To Tweet

So, the next time you are reading your pet food label and you see a vague term like poultry, fish, meat, or animal, you can be assured that meat came from a rendering plant. In all honesty, MOST (not all) meat ingredients from large pet food companies come from unsavory sources. Do your homework before feeding your pet. Remember, you are what you eat.


Do you really know where your pet’s food is coming from? 

Healthy and Not Healthy Pet Food Ingredients. Your dogs, cats, roadkill, and zoo animals are also included in rendering plants! Yes, you read that right. Have you ever seen either of these words in your pet's food or treats: “meat,” “animal,” “animal by-product,” or “meat by-product”? You can be assured that this includes pets! 
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Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Best dog food for pets
Learn how to home cook for your dogs.

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Healthy dog treat recipes




Healthy Homemade Dog Treats | Hawaiian Meatballs for Dogs. Why Make Your Dog's Treats? Avoiding sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and maltodextrose. Bonding. Knowing what exactly is in your dog's treat and where each ingredient was sourced. Cost effectiveness. Customization. These are just a few of the reasons deciding to make your dog's treats is beneficial to you and your dog.

Healthy Homemade Dog Treat Recipes | Hawaiian Meatballs for Dogs

Healthy and Natural Dog Treat Recipes

Homemade Healthy Dog Treats | Hawaiian Meatballs for Dogs

Healthy and Homemade Dog Treat Recipes | Hawaiian Meatballs for Dogs. Recipe from my dog treat cookbook, Dexter’s Delights. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Healthy Treats for Dogs

Why Make Your Dog’s Treats?

Pet treat recalls. Avoiding preservatives such as Ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT. Avoiding sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and maltodextrose. Bonding. Knowing what exactly is in your dog’s treat and where each ingredient was sourced. Cost effectiveness. Customization. These are just a few of the reasons deciding to make your dog’s treats is beneficial to you and your dog. The bottom line is that by making your dog’s treats, you have the power to ensure only the finest ingredients and the best handling practices are used. Not only that, but it also feels so good to take the time out of your busy day and do something extra special for your dog. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Today, I will share a healthy dog treat recipe from my dog treat cookbook, Dexter’s Delights. But first, let’s talk about the flour used in this recipe.  I intentionally stay away from wheat products, including wheat flour. Coconut Flour: Coconut is a fruit powerhouse. Coconut can combat yeast, inflammation, and skin infections, and it even helps with digestion. It is high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

Learn how to find the best dog food for dogs and puppies. Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food

Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food

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Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food

Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food

Learn how to find the best dog food for dogs and puppies. What Is The Best Dog Food Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Best food for dogs and puppies.

(Excerpt from Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems)

Healthy Dog Food and Proper Weight   I am sure you have heard the old saying, “You are what you eat.” I have no doubt that this holds true for both humans and our canine friends. Choosing the correct dog food for your puppy can be very confusing, and if you ask five friends and five vets what a healthy dog food contains, you will likely get ten different answers. So let us look at the six main categories of dog food, or dog’s diet: dry, freeze-dried, roll, canned, raw and home cooked. Then we will discuss how to read a dog food label, and what kinds of ingredients your puppy needs to thrive.

Dry dog food is by far the most popular category in the pet food industry. There is no doubt that dry food is very convenient and can range in price from cheap to quite expensive. Dry dog foods tend to be high in carbohydrates, which then turn into sugars when digested. Another down side in a dry dog food is that the high temperatures used in the manufacturing process make the food less digestible and nutritious for your dog.   This processing takes out almost all the moisture in the food. Moisture in your dog’s diet is important to prevent dehydration, kidney disease, organ function, and proper digestion. Adding water to the dry food will not provide your dog with adequate moisture.   Dry dog food does not typically help with dental care since a dog tends to gobble up his food instead of chewing. Moisture in your dog’s diet is important to prevent dehydration, kidney disease, organ function, and proper digestion. Adding water to the dry food will not provide your dog with adequate moisture. Dry dog food does not typically help with dental care since a dog tends to gobble up his food instead of chewing.

Dehydrated or freeze-dried dog food is another dog food category that is pretty convenient to give. The manufacturing process uses lower heat than dry, which helps maintain the nutritional value of the dog food.   However, once again the moisture is taken out of the product, so if you are using this product make sure you add enough water to fully re-hydrate.

Dog food rolls can either come in a refrigerated variety or one that can stay at room temperature prior to opening.   Dog food rolls are less processed and at lower temperatures, which helps preserve the nutritional value. Rolls are also higher in moisture content than dry or dehydrated.

Canned dog food tends to use a lower temperature and is less processed than dry dog food. Again, the lower temperature processing keeps more of its nutritional value. Canned food is also high in moisture.

Raw dog food can come in a prepackaged patty, frozen, or made at home. A prepackaged raw diet is nutritionally balanced with little or no preservatives. Since the diet is raw, it has not been processed and keeps all of the nutrition and moisture of the food unless it is a dehydrated raw. If you provide your own fresh raw diet, you are able to customize the ingredients to meet your dog’s needs. You will however need to ensure that the diet is balanced and add vitamins and minerals.

Home cooking for dogs
Home cooking for dogs

Home cooked dog food is truly a customized diet for your dog’s specific needs. This diet will be high in moisture, and nutritional value, will not be processed and will not contain any preservatives. If you choose organic ingredients, you can also ensure that the food is pesticide and chemical free. This diet will also need to be balanced and have added vitamins and minerals.

Reading a dog food label can be confusing and time-consuming, but is truly imperative if you want to provide a high quality, nutritionally rich dog food. Minimally the first 3-5 ingredients listed should be a named meat source such as salmon, turkey, chicken or lamb. The more muscle meat, the better. “Meat,” “animal,” or “fish” is not a named meat. Meals such as chicken meal are highly processed and may or may not contain skin and bones. Grains such as oats, quinoa (actually a fruit) and brown rice are not bad as some marketers may lead you to believe. However, ideally they will not make up the majority of your ingredients. Fruits and vegetables should make up the other portion of your dog’s food.

My personal top 11 ingredients that should NOT be in dog food or treats:

  1. Flavors of any kind, natural or artificial-No artificial or natural “flavors” of any kind. If it says, “flavor” in the ingredient list, back on the shelf it goes. It is not real food. And if it is not a real food ingredient, it does not have a place in my dog’s treat or dog food.
  2. Sugar of any kind including high corn fructose, corn syrup or cane sugar-Added sugar or high corn fructose is just adding empty calories. Not only are these ingredients bad for your puppy’s health, they will also hop him up, and your puppy can become hyperactive.
  3. Sorbitol-A sugar commonly found in berries, but it is prepared synthetically, so it is now a synthetic ingredient.
  4. By-products or digest-I can not think of one reason that a by-product or digest would be in a dog treat or dog food. If you are looking to provide healthy food and products for your puppy, something that is left on the floor of some meat manufacturing plant should not make the cut. And these products can even be carcasses from veterinarian practices! That is a pretty scary thought.
  5. Coloring, artificial or natural-Why would a pet treat manufacturer put dye or coloring in a dog’s treat?       To please the consumer’s eyes, of course. This is not necessary in a food item, especially when the coloring is artificial. Artificial anything is a chemical process and has a long list of possible side effects. “Natural food coloring” is not any better.       If the ingredient list does not list specifically what the coloring agent is, then natural can be made by things like bugs and rocks.
  6. Animal fat or anything “animal” or “meat”-Can you picture the animal when you read “animal” or “meat”? I would venture to say no. If the listing is that vague, it means that anything can be in the bag. A meat should list what kind of meat such as chicken, beef, or lamb.
  7. Chemical Preservatives-Chemical preservatives of any kind should be avoided. Healthy does not equate to chemicals. No BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene), BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), Ethoxyquin, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone), Propyl Gallate, Propylene Glycol or Sodium Nitrite should be in your puppy’s treats or food. BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin are banned in human foods.
  8. Corn, wheat, or soy-A lot of dogs are allergic, or have a low tolerance to these ingredients.       Excessive soy may contain estrogen that might provide some estrogen-like activity in your dog and contribute to slightly lower thyroid hormone levels.14 Why risk it?
  9. Glycerin, vegetable glycerin or glycerol-Glycerin or glycerol can actually be produced as a by-product of diesel fuel. It will be unlikely you will know the difference from reading the ingredient list (although vegetable glycerin is plant based, not from fuel). This is an ingredient in dog treats that helps make a treat soft and sugary. It is not uncommon for dogs to get a big case of diarrhea from eating treats or food with this ingredient.
  10. Binders such as agar agar, cassie gum (gum Arabic), guar gum, tapioca, gluten, xanthan gum, and carrageenan can block your dog’s intestines and even their esophagus while eating. These binders often cause gas and diarrhea. High doses have also been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation and colon cancer.
  11. Added salt, regular or sea salt-Every living creature needs sodium in their diet, but too much can cause problems such as seizures, diarrhea, and extra water intake. A lot of foods have naturally-occurring sodium, so you do not need extra salt added to treats or dog food. However, salt is a natural preservative, so this alone would not rule out a dog food or treat for me if I could not find a better selection and this is the only not-so-favorable ingredient.
Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food
Fresh, home cooked for Dexter The Dog.

My philosophy is that a dog needs a high meat diet with fresh, whole foods and a lot of moisture. I typically shoot for about 75% meat. I personally home cook for my dog Dexter, using as many organic ingredients as possible. Home cooking for your puppy does not have to be complicated, but you do need to ensure that you are providing a balanced diet over time and supplementing with the appropriate vitamins and minerals. For more information on how to start a home cooked diet for your puppy, you can purchase my book What’s For Dinner, Dexter? Cooking For Your Dog Using Chinese Medicine Theory.

You will need to consult with a veterinary food therapist to learn how to balance the phosphorus and calcium for a puppy.

(Excerpt from Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems)


Do you cook for your dogs? Tell me in the comments.

Learn how to find the best dog food for dogs and puppies. What Is The Best Dog Food Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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Learn how to find the best dog food for dogs and puppies. Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food

For National Cook for Your Pets Day, I thought it would be a good time to talk about people food vs. pet food. Is there a difference?

People Food vs Pet Food on National Cook for Your Pets Day: Healthy Homemade Pet Food

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National Cook for Your Pets Day November 1, 2016

People Food vs Pet Food What You Need to Know. Do you know that "pet feed" can include meat from animals referred to as 4D – dead, dying, diseased and disabled? Learn more. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
REAL FOOD BABY!

 

I know, I missed it.  Dexter The Dog and I headed for Vermont the last week in October and I just was not able to get this post finished before our departure. I hope you can forgive me and enjoy a belated National Cook for Your Pets Day. 🙂

Finally, a national holiday I can really celebrate! For National Cook for Your Pets Day, I thought it would be a good time to talk about people food vs. pet food. Is there a difference? Well, there actually is, but it may not be what you think. Pet food is considered animal feed and not fit for human consumption. And you may think a named meat such as “chicken” means that meat was handled properly and your dog is getting a high-quality cut of meat, but that may not be the case. Most pet food manufacturers use leftovers from the human food industry, such as out-of-date meat and remainder parts such as beaks, feathers, and fat. Even meat from animals referred to as 4D – dead, dying, diseased and disabled – is fair game. And please don’t even consider food that says “meat” or “animal,” because this can include road kill, euthanized cats and dogs, and zoo animals. Now, that does not mean ALL pet food manufacturers are using awful waste materials like these, but most are, so do your research if you are feeding your beloved pet processed pet food.

So just how does a dedicated pet parent provide the best food for your cats or dogs? My first suggestion is to make your own home-cooked pet food or home-prepared raw diet. My second is to find one of the very few pet food companies that use human-grade ingredients that contain mostly meat (75% or more) and ideally organic ingredients, or at least free of antibiotics and hormones. Researching how to safely cook for your pet or how to find the best food company does take time, effort, and energy, but aren’t your pets worth it? I think so.

Need a little inspiration?  Check out the Pet Nutrition page for dog and cat recipes.


Do you feed your pets a fresh diet? Tell me in the comments.

People Food vs Pet Food What You Need to Know. Do you know that "pet feed" can include meat from animals referred to as 4D – dead, dying, diseased and disabled? Learn more. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

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Dexter's Delights: Fun and Healthy Treats for Dogs by Tonya Wilhelm
Dexter’s Delights: Fun and Healthy Treats for Dogs by Tonya Wilhelm

Did you know that your pet's food also affects your pet's internal temperature? Your pet's food, and yours too, is not only for nourishing the body, but also plays a large role in quality of life, including behavior, health, and personal comfort. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), everything in life has a balance of energy and heat: think Yin and Yang. Yin represents female, cold, dark, quiet, and inward, whereas Yang represents male, hot, light, loud, and outward.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Food Therapy Basics: Yin and Yang Energetics of Food

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Food Energetics. Your pet's food and yours too is not only for nourishing the body but also plays a large role in the quality of life, including behavior, health, and personal comfort. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Food Therapy: Energetics of Food

With winter almost upon us here in the Midwest, it’s time for me to start thinking about warming up my pets. We often think about dog coats and dog jackets, dog sweaters and dog boots. Maybe you have a quality pet warming blanket for your cat, or even warming pet discs. These are all great starts to help your pet stay warm and safe in the winter. But did you know that your pet’s food also affects your pet’s internal temperature?

Your pet’s food, and yours too, is not only for nourishing the body, but also plays a large role in quality of life, including behavior, health, and personal comfort. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), everything in life has a balance of energy and heat: think Yin and Yang. Yin represents female, cold, dark, quiet, and inward, whereas Yang represents male, hot, light, loud, and outward.

Now think about your pet. Does he seek warmth, slow or lethargic, or sleeps a lot? He might be a bit Yin (cold). Or maybe he’s always hot, active, and full of energy, then he’s more Yang (hot). We are always seeking that balance of both Yin and Yang, not an excess of either; this is where food can play a role. Food also has its own characteristics that can help balance a body’s Yin and Yang. Foods will either help internally warm a body or cool it. When seeking food for your pet, you are looking to create a balance. You don’t want all warming or cooling foods. In the winter, I prepare Dexter‘s home cooked meals to be energetically warm/neutral, and in the summer I prepare cool/neutral. Below are some common foods you might give your pet, along with their energetics.

Energetically Warming Foods

  • Chicken
  • Goat
  • Lamb
  • Kangaroo
  • Venison
  • Sweet Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Oats
  • White Rice
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Peach
  • Raspberry
Energetically Cooling Foods

  • Clam
  • Duck
  • Alligator
  • Rabbit
  • Cod
  • Wild Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Pears
  • Banana
  • Blueberry

So the next time you are preparing your dog or cat’s food or grabbing a bag of healthy treats, consider the ingredients and how they affect your pet’s internal heat.


Is your pet more Yang or Yin? Tell me in the comments.

Food Energetics. Your pet's food and yours too is not only for nourishing the body but also plays a large role in the quality of life, including behavior, health, and personal comfort. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

 

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The Quality of Ingredients Matter

Should you be concerned about antibiotics and hormones in your pet's food? Here's what you need to know. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Healthy Pet Food

 

One of my biggest soap boxes is for people to read the entire ingredient panel on products. It doesn’t matter what the product is: pet food, dog treats, pet shampoo, our shampoo, or even the menu from a fast food restaurant. Knowing all the ingredients inside a product is the first step in determining if that product is healthy or something you want to consume, feed your pet, or use on your pet or yourself. If the ingredient panel checks out, the next step is the quality of those ingredients, and they can vary greatly.

For an example, let’s look at a fictitious dog treat ingredient panel. Ingredients: Beef liver, apples and carrots. At first glance, this would be a treat I would feel comfortable giving Dexter. There are only three ingredients, those ingredients are named ie. BEEF liver, not ‘liver’ or ‘meat/animal.’ But I need to do a little more investigating to determine if this is going to be a healthy dog treat I would actually purchase. I will take my thought process one ingredient at a time.

Beef Liver. Again, it’s a named meat and part of the meat. It’s from a cow and it is the liver of a cow. This is good: no by-products or mystery meats. I know exactly what it is; I can visualize it. But I want to know HOW that cow was raised. Was this cow given growth hormones or antibiotics?

Did you know that it is estimated that 80 percent of all US cows are injected with growth hormones? Not to mention that large factory farm operations are injecting Monsanto’s genetically altered hormone rBGH or rBST. And the kicker? We are moving towards less and less required product labeling, which means as a consumer, we really have to get good at digging and finding the truth if we want to avoid hormones, antibiotics, or GMO ingredients.

Just say no to hormones. What makes growth hormones so bad? Added hormones have been linked to things such as developmental disabilities, reproductive issues, and breast and colon cancer, just to name a few. Not to mention that the hormone residue is leaking into our environment and contaminating our earth.

What about the use of antibiotics in the meat? Are you ready for this quote? “In 2011, drug manufacturers sold 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics for use on industrial farms, the highest amount ever reported and four times the amount sold to treat sick people.” One of the biggest concerns is that when an animal is given antibiotics, when we, or our pets, eat that animal, we are also ingesting those drugs. The more we have, the more we are developing resistance to that drug, and in turn, creating super bugs because a typical antibiotic will no longer “cure” us.

The other thing to consider when choosing a healthy meat is what that animal ate. Did that cow graze on pesticide or eat GMO corn? Or was he 100% free-range from start to finish? These are all things that I take into account when choosing a treat, food, or chew for Dexter The Dog and Nutter The Cat.

Now, what about those apples and carrots? I also want to know how they were grown. Were they genetically modified? Were they grown in a soil with pesticides or artificial fertilizers, and hit with radiation to kill bacteria? Once again, we are looking at an increase in cancer and birth defects with the use of pesticides and the like. Not to mention, that not using them increases the nutritional value of foods! For me, that means 100% organic fruits and vegetables are preferred for Dexter’s treats and necessary for Dexter’s food.

If a manufacturer is not required to label how their ingredients were raised or manufactured, how the heck can we know what we are feeding? I know, it’s tough. However, if a company is providing a product they know is superior, and those that are not using hormones, antibiotics or chemicals are making a conscious effort; they likely will promote it. Their label will probably say: hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic, etc. If the label does not say that, you can hop over to their website to look, call, or email. But, I would venture to guess, if they don’t say hormone-free, they probably are using hormones. If the ingredient doesn’t say “organic apples” they are probably not organic.

Should you be concerned about antibiotics and hormones in your pet's food? Here's what you need to know. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Healthy Pet Food Matters

You may be thinking to yourself this is overkill, but I don’t agree. The health of my pets is a top priority and I take my job as their MOM seriously. When it comes time for me to give my pets a healthy pet treat, I look for organic and antibiotic- and hormone-free whenever possible. When I am feeding my pets and making a home-cooked meal, I always use antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, and get organic whenever possible. I am not going to risk their health by adding unnecessary and damaging meat that contains hormones or antibiotics. I want to provide them with the healthiest and safest food I possibly can. I try to eliminate as many unnecessary chemicals and preservatives as I possibly can. Their lives are too short as it is, and as the saying goes, you are what you eat.

By the way, I think it’s important for us to look at this for our own food products, too, not just the ones we are feeding our pets. We are what we eat, too!

Science News (January 2002) Hormones: Here’s The Beef

The Food Revolution Network (March 2014) Bovine Growth Hormone : Is rBST the same as rBGH?

Black, Jane: Prevention (February 2014) Why Are There Still So Many Antibiotics In America’s Meat?


Do you cook for your dogs?  Tell me in the comments.

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