Have dog, Will Travel…

I’m starting with the Kimpton brand because we have 2 of their awesome boutique hotels here in Dallas, The Palomar and Hotel Lumen. Having worked in the the hotel sales and event planning world, I like this brand on an entirely separate level (they’re beautiful, accommodating, and GREEN!), but the fact that they allow pets is fantastic! It’s not just that they simply allow pets, they spoil them and welcome them with open arms and doggy goodies!If you’re not familiar with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants take a look to see if they’re in any of your future destination cities.

Kimpton Hotels are pet friendly!

Here are some interesting travel trends…

Travel Industry Association of America (January 2009)

• 14 percent of all U.S. adults (29.1 million) say they have traveled with a pet on a trip of 50 miles or more in the past three years

• The percentage of households traveling with pets increases during summer months when more families travel

• When traveling with pets, cars are the primary mode of transportation (76%), followed by RVs (10%), and airlines (6%)

• 29 percent of people traveling with pets stay at a hotel

• Dogs are the most common type of pet to travel with (78%)

• Other traveling animals include cats (15%), birds (2%) and either a ferret, rabbit, or fish (3%)

Where do you fall into the category? How many of you travel regularly with your pets? Where do you go? I’d love to hear stories and see pictures!

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Digest this!

Canine Digestion quick fact:

A dog’s digestive system is one of the shortest in the mammal world. Unlike humans who have amylase in the saliva, a dog’s digestion does not begin in the mouth. Aside from chewing food to allow for easier swallowing, there’s no digestive breakdown in a canine mouth by salivary enzymes. The breakdown of food and nutrients begins in the stomach where, in conjunction with various organs (pancreas, liver, small intestine to name a few), hydrochloric acid breaks down food and, along with a number of enzymes and actions, is reduced into nutrients (carbohydrates to simple sugars, fats to fatty acids, and proteins to amino acids) your dog’s cells use to transport, feed, and cleanse the body.

Canine Digestive System

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March Madness!

ERIN GO BRAGH! (We’re O’Dwyers over here)

It’s been a bit quiet here on The Organic Dog…

I could sit here and lament how mommy duties and surgeries and sick kiddos and home remodels and… oh wait, I’m lamenting… I’ll stop. I could make excuses, but I won’t. I made a promise to bring as much info as as possible on canine (and feline now, too!) nutrition and health & wellness when I started this blog (and a resolution if you’re keeping track. oy.) and haven’t quite followed through with that. Well, that’s about to change. I’ve taken this time to really read up on different topics and trends, study, experience, try out, and discuss amongst friends and professionals about this venture and I’ve now decided on the direction in which I’d like to head. I’m excited about what’s to come and I hope everyone who joins me is, too! We’re all about moving forward and learning new things so let’s get started 🙂

Here’s what’s on deck for the month of March:

* RECIPES, PLEASE! One recipe a week for all who are interested in incorporating this nutrition journey into you and your pet’s lifestyle!

* Tips, How To’s, and Q & A for general Health, Training, and Behavior!

* Guest Posts from fellow Canine/Feline Nutritionists, Vets, Massage/Acupuncture -pressure Specialists, Trainers, and more!

* Canine/Feline Health 101 – Will focus on different health topics such as Diabetes, Auto Immune Disease, Allergies, etc (give us some suggestions if you have any in mind)!

* Lifestyle, Trends, Travel, and Fun Stuff (contests, too!)

I’m really looking forward to pumping this into full gear and would love to hear comments, critiques, questions, or suggestions (keep the hating to a minimum, please) so we can all benefit and learn more about our canine and feline friends.

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PupCulture Magazine DEC/JAN

Have you guys checked out the launch issue of PupCulture Magazine? This is the first full issue (as opposed to October’s teaser issue) and it’s chalk full of excellent articles, tips, gift ideas, and more. Ever heard of Surf Dog Ricochet? Now’s your chance to get the whole story of this wonderful mutt. Get holiday dog biscuit recipes, gift ideas, learn how to keep your dog happy and healthy during the winter, and so much more.

Pup Culture Magazine Dec/Jan Issue

There’s also a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway (whiiiccchhh I’m already behind in announcing, but you’ve still got a few more days at a chance to win!) of some pretty awesome little gifts, trinkets, and services.

Next issue of Pup Culture Magazine will come out Mar/April and will be full of even MORE good stuff. Stay tuned and check out The Organic Dog on both Facebook and Twitter for the link to enter daily for the giveaways 🙂

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Rotations Pet Food trial part 1

Have you guys heard of Rotations Pet Food Holistic Recipe? We were asked to try and review the food and concept, and received our package last night: three 5 lbs bags of 1) New Zealand Lamb and Potato 2) Natural Chicken and Brown Rice and 3) Wild Salmon with Peas and Carrots. I decided to start out with the NZL Lamb & Potato bag as it’s the closest thing to their last Lamb & Rice kibble.

Rotations Pet Food Holistic Recipe

 

I’m hip to the rotations concept, but we’ll have to see what happens…

Have any of you tried this brand before? Anyone curious to give it a whirl? They’ve offered a special coupon to try it out to those who are interested. Simply go to their website at www.rotationspetfood.com and, upon checkout, enter code ROTATIONSFREE15. You’ll receive a 15 lb bag and only pay the shipping/handling. A pretty good deal, I’d say, to try out a new food for those who aren’t fully convinced of the homecooked or raw diet plan for their pets. I should mention that the offer is limited to one bag per household, however. Get your bag and see what your pups think!

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PupCulture Magazine! Teaser Issue is out…

In case you’re all wondering why I haven’t been writing as much… it’s because I’ve been working with a new publication called PupCulture Magazine!

Welp… the Teaser Issue is out and ready for your viewing pleasure 🙂

PupCulture Mag Teaser Issue

You can check out a direct link to their online magazine here or tool around their website and learn more about the pub here

 

 

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BABY GETTIN’ JIGGY

Brace yourselves! This is exclusive never before seen footage… of Baby PLAYING!

It’s true… Miss Prissy Pants herself actually engaged in some toy play with uber goober Ellie. Is it the cooler Fall weather? Is it the changed and improved diet? I like to think the healthy diet has a large part to do with it, but I’m sure the fact that it’s below 129.9 degrees might have a little something to do with it 🙂

Her legs and shoulders aren’t bothering her as much! Her eyes are brighter! I’ve noticed her teeth are cleaner and gums are looking better! Remember, this is my foster who came from the shelter as an “owner surrender”. She was seriously overweight, her teeth were horrible, and her joints looked creeky and painful (which I’m sure had something to do with the extra poundage).

Who knows what she’d been eating before, but when she first came here I had them both eating Diamond brand Lamb & Rice dry dog food. Not the best, but about a kajillion times better than anything you get at Walmart or your neighborhood store. Thank God for Canine Commissary right around the corner 🙂 It’s honestly what got me started on this journey when I first found Ellie back in Jan/Feb. I started reading labels and researching ingredients… and I started to become utterly disgusted with the one and only bag I bought of Pedigree Puppy on a desperate whim when I first found Ellie the day before an ice storm (the ice storm from hell!). Yuck. Never again. Not even in desperation.

So here I give you Baby at play 🙂 Now, I realize my voice sounds hideous and there’s a giant shop vac in the way, but let’s get over these annoyances and focus on little Miss Spring In Her Step, Baby!

Also… I think in every video I have with Ellie in it… she jumps on me and nearly pushes me over.

 

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PupCulture Magazine!

Guess what, guys and gals! I’ve been asked to contribute to a brand new, soon to be launched magazine called PupCulture Magazine! It’s an exciting step for me and I look forward to bringing as much information as possible to this new generation of dog and animal lovers.

PupCulture Mag

I would love to address any questions or thoughts you guys have on different subjects of feeding and animal health and well being! I’ll be speaking to and including interviews with experienced standard practice DVMs as well as with Holistic and Naturopathic Animal Doctors on a myriad of topics. Get in touch with me at TheOrganicDog@yahoo.com should something pique your interest! You just might be featured in an upcoming article or column 🙂

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FALL, BEAUTIFUL FALL!

We’re working on some new Fall recipes over here! The one that’s currently filling my house with yummy smells is a combo of Squash, Sweet Potatoes, and Apples boiling down with some Chamomile and a dash of Cinnamon. All are excellent for tummy and digestive health (as well as skin and coat issues!).

We’ll cook the pureed form with some ground beef or turkey… er, actually, we’ll go for that reall homecooked feel and bake some chicken and peas. YUM! The girls are eatin’ good tonight…

sooooo… what are the rest of us gonna eat?

Fall Harvest - Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Apples... with Chamomile and Cinnamon

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BSD:: Breed Specific Diets

another Delicious Dog Dish

With all the research I’ve been doing regarding ingredients, content ratio (fat-to-protein-to-vegetable, etc), benefits of certain foods and which foods to avoid, combinations of each, etc… the list goes on, I’ve noticed a rather prominent common factor when it comes to appropriate diets and menu creation: all dogs are not created equal; all breeds are different, as are their natural dietary needs. If you’re not already aware of breed specific diets, is it something you’d ever considered before? I’ll be honest, it was maybe a fleeting thought in my history of dog rearing and rescuing. Does that make me naive? Possibly. Ignorant? Mmmmmeeehhh that’s not such a nice way to put it, but I’d definitely say I was grossly uneducated on the subject of pet food and labeling. Growing up, we always bought bags of kibble for our little menagerie of dogs and breeds without so much as a second thought as to whether or not it mattered. It was dog food. It seems so strange now, especially with all the recalls and knowing what randomly horrible “ingredients” they throw in there. But in the 80s and 90s when I was still a kid, I automatically assumed dog food was dog food was dog food was dog food, and why in the world would these people lie or not have my pets’ best interests at heart. Right? Well, I’ve since learned that MANY of these companies (not all!) do not, in fact, have our pets’ best interests at heart. In fact, most of these foods are not only bad for their heart, but their liver, kidneys, skin, brain… should I go on? Of course, not all dog foods are created equal… and thank God for that! There are many brands that aren’t mainstream (or cheap for that matter) who actually DO put our pets’ health at the forefront. With that in mind, one dog food does not fit all. Did you know Chihuahuas shouldn’t be eating the same things as a Boxer mix, or a Bichon Frise, or a Pug? Because before this year… I did not.

I hope I’m building a strong case against those nasty store brand bags of kibble, and for introducing your fur kids to the wonderful, and healthful, benefits of homemade meals designed to fit their specific needs. Making the switch will mean a world of difference not only to pet’s mind, body, and soul, but to your pocketbook when you save on vet visits for pesky issues like hot spots or… I dunno… cancer.

It all makes perfect sense when you think about it.

Now that my eyes have been widely opened (is widely a word?) on the questionable intentions of these dog food companies, I’ve thought good and hard on what I will feed my own two not-so-little mutts; and here’s where my Breed Specific Diet plans come into play. I’m lucky, though, in this instance. Both of my dogs are “northern” breeds, meaning they both hail from the far northern hemisphere and have adapted to and been bred for work, cold environments, scarce and varied food supplies including both land and sea plants and animals. And while I don’t have a steady flow of whale meat, kelp, or caribou, I can focus on and substitute other readily available proteins, grains, and vegetables with ingredients I can find locally or order at a reasonable cost; as well as supplement vitamins and minerals as needed. In looking at my girls, a Husky mix and a Labrador mix (these are their very dominant breed traits I’m going on), I can narrow the field and look where these particular breeds come from and what their “ancestors” ate and how they’d adapted as a breed and why.

Baby - Husky mix foster

Let’s start with Baby, my foster Husky mix. I can muster an educated guess she’s also mixed with Pitbull, but I’m going with her obvious breed here. Huskies and other sled dogs were bred over generations to be workhorses in cold northern regions along the Arctic Circle; think Siberia, Scandinavia, and Alaska where conditions are harsh and food sources scarce. Both domesticated and “wild” huskies adapted to and learned to thrive on limited food and thus have a very efficient metabolism and require less food than other breeds (and also developed a strong natural prey drive so watch out kitty owners- I learned the hard, scary way). They absorb a higher level of energy and vital nutrients from their food and are able to survive on smaller amounts of food in times of scarcity when other animals requiring more food would have struggled to do so (note: do NOT starve a Husky intentionally because of this! It’s simply key point to note when considering a healthy, sufficient, and appropriate diet). Let’s then consider what their natural diet would have consisted of: fish (oily fish like Salmon), whale and seal meat, perhaps scavenge the occasional caribou, birds, small game, and, by default through the stomach contents of their prey (or meals) kelp, grasses, berries, and roots. Huskies are also quite hyper and active and require lots of excercise and can expend lots of energy for a long time. Are you getting a good idea of what some of their meals should consist of in your house? Allow me to cover the other mutt’s breed before I get into what dinner was today.

Ellie is my giant 10 month old black Labrador puppy who wants to be a teeny lap dog. Don’t they all? Anyway, for her case, I’m going with her dominant breed, the obvious breed, when researching her natural diet. Now, to keep things kosher with the millions of Lab people out there, we’ll keep this simple and assume Ellie is more American Lab than English. She’s longer, taller, and leaner than the shorter, stockier “work” lab. Labrador Retrievers, as with Huskies, come from way up north around Newfoundland and theLabrador Sea. They are believed to be directly related to the St. John’s Dog (or lesser Newfoundland) and cross-bred with other English and European breeds such as spaniels and possibly terriers to hone in and create the highly trainable working dogs they were bred to be. Used on fishing boats in icy waters to retreive loose fish and nets, and brought along on hunting trips to (here’s that word again) retreive water fowl, Labradors have adapted to a variety of foods similar to Huskies. One thing worth mentioning with Labs, however, is that they are almost predisposed to be overweight regardless of their activity level. Simply put, they are walking stomachs. They will eat almost anything if left to their own devices so it is important to monitor their intake. Having said all that, let’s consider where these pups are orginally from: Newfoundland and points north and west (and east for those English bred Labs). And what sources of food were readily available up there? Why, whale meat, fish, caribou, and small game and fowl, of course.

Ellie - black Lab mix

What luck! They can share and benefit from the same foods!

Now, just to clarify, I know these girls each have their own issues and needs according to their breeds and individual doggy pasts, so I will generally include supplements based on their individual needs with their meals. I yet decided on a brand or exact combo, but I will report back when I finish researching the best recommendations and balance for my dogs. This, I hope, will add years and bounce to the girls’ lives and, in return, add love and affection into my family’s.

So what are they having for dinner tonight? Ground Turkey cooked in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic with Grated Carrots, Blueberries, and Spinach on top of Brown Rice cooked with Whole Oats. YUM! I’ve also added a preventative joint wear supplement with Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

*Just a note: I’m not a veterinarian nor am I claiming anyone should forego seeking the advice and wisdom of your pets’ doctor. I’m simply providing information based on personal research and consultations with select few holistic veterinarians.

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