Keep Calm and Carry On: A Pep Talk
Do One Thing: December, 2019. This article is part of the 2019 "Do One Thing" series, which focuses on one small project we can do each month to support our dog's health.
This has been a year of making small but consistent improvements to your dog's diet and lifestyle as we work together to build a healthy and resilient dog. Much of my focus has been on feeding fresh food, removing toxins in the form of artificial scents and chemicals, and taking a proactive approach to your dog's health by focusing on foods that benefit gut health and fight inflammation. Along the way I encouraged you to become an advocate for your dog and take an active role in his health by examining traditional health care and feeding recommendations and protocols.
Your assignment for December and beyond...
Keep Calm and Carry On.
As we finish up this series, I encourage you to keep calm and continue to take small steps to support and improve your dog's health. Try not to become overwhelmed or discouraged at the seemingly endless checklists of 'do this but don't do that' or 'feed this but don't feed that'.
Perhaps this year you couldn't find it in your budget to do a full raw diet, but you added fresh food toppers to your dog's kibble and added more fresh treats. Great! That is truly a great start. Perhaps this year you chose year round chemical flea and tick treatments - but next year you'll investigate some more natural methods. The fact that you are reading this article and becoming educated about fresh food diets for dogs puts you in the next level of pet parents!
It's Never Too Late
It is never too late to make improvements in your dog's nutrition and health status by adding fresh food. If you are new to my site and you have been feeding processed foods only, don't panic. Even if you have been feeding kibble for 20 years, you can still work towards adding fresh food to your dog's bowl or fed as treats.
Go At Your Own Pace
You can go as slowly as you and your dog need to make diet improvements. You can pause, back up and restart as many times as you need while you work towards your goal of feeding your dog a fresh food diet and incorporating more holistic health care practices. Feeding should be fun and not stressful. Most dogs are actually quite resilient and a little boo boo here and there as you learn will likely not matter in the scheme of things.
Choose Information Wisely
Be selective of the advice given on dog health forums, from pet store employees, Facebook, and from pet food manufacturers. There is a huge amount of information and misinformation available; everybody seems to have an opinion about everything. Unfortunately, while well-intentioned, this information may not be accurate and may not apply to your own dog.
Seek out information that makes sense to you and follow a step-by-step improvement plan - just as I have done with this series.
Who's a Good Boy?
As you go forward in 2020 I want you to pause and enjoy your dog. Pet them, play with them, do things just for fun. Dogs live in the moment and find joy daily in the most simple of things. Remind yourself that you are doing your best, that you don't have to be perfect and that small improvements lead to the big ones. Show your dogs each day how amazing they are and how much you love them. That's probably the best advice I will give.
Thank you so much for being part of this series!
If you are just joining us, you can start the series from the beginning here.
For those of you who are not too busy this month, and would like to add something new to your dog's diet... add a few cranberries. Cranberries are in season right now and easy to find in grocery stores. Raw cranberries need to be mashed or whizzed in the food processor before feeding them to your dog.
Cranberries are low calorie, low sugar, rich in antioxidants, fiber, and are well-known for their ability to promote bladder health (although it's best to use a concentrated cranberry powdered supplement if you are using cranberry for help treat or prevent bladder infections).
This is my recipe for making sugar-free cranberry sauce for my dogs.