National Adoption Weekend!

Not only is it National Adoption Weekend at PetSmart, but it’s also Jackson Galaxy weekend in Las Vegas! What an exciting time to be alive!

Most of the PetSmart’s in Las Vegas will be hosting adoption events for cats and dogs this weekend. With any adoption, you get free food and an adoption book FULL of coupons! I’ll be at the Summerlin store this Saturday, with lots of samples and advice for new pet owners…and at the Rainbow and Lake Mead store on Sunday doing the same! Come on down and see me!

I’m going to the NSPCA open house on Friday to, hopefully, meet Jackson Galaxy and meet some amazing adoptable pets!

Let’s get some homeless pets adopted!!!

Dry Matter Analysis…What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Since leaving Mud Bay, I’ve noticed that very few of my coworkers know what Dry Matter Analysis is or how to calculate it. Basically, dry matter analysis is how we accurately calculate how much of any ingredient is in canned/pouched/frozen raw food.

Say your vet tells you to go find food for your pet with less than 20% fat, due to a liver issue…well, in dry food, that’s super simple but if you are feeding wet food, it can be a lot more complicated. See, when they do the guaranteed analysis on dry food, there’s only ever 10% or less moisture in the recipe…however, when they do the G.A. in wet food, there is 75 to 85% moisture in the formula, so we need to subtract that moisture, in order to figure out how much fat is actually in the formula. The G.A. may read 4% fat, which seems low, but if there is 85% moisture, there is actually 26.7% fat.

What a minute! How could I possibly know that??? Here’s the formula:

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Confused? Okay, let’s break it down. So, you have a canned food that is 85% moisture, that means that 15% of that formula is NOT moisture. So, 100% of the formula – the moisture is 15%. Now, the G.A. lists the fat as 4%…so, the 4% divided by 15% is .26666 times that by 100, which basically sets the decimal point back by 2, and you have 26.666%.

Still confused? Don’t sweat it, it took me FOREVER to figure this out. There is a link at the beginning of this post, for a calculate you can input the values into to figure out the actual percentages. Even though I know the formula NOW, I still use the calculator all the time…because MATH.

One thing to remember is that ALL canned, pouched and raw food is going to be higher in protein and fat than any dry food, because there is more meat in almost all of it, but it is much more digestible that kibble will EVER be. So, when you are looking for food with certain levels of protein, fat or fiber, which is usually listed in the G.A., do the math…however, remember that wet food and raw food is much easier for the body to digest and get the proper nutrients from than any kibble, so if one of the vital organs is struggling to perform, the more moisture the better. Cats and dogs are carnivores and meant to eat real meat, not biscuits as a main diet. I will always encourage any wet food over any dry food…but you know that by now.

Those Evil Peas!

Hello fellow crazy cat servants!

Blue Buffalo recently put out an ad  regarding peas, thanks to that annoying FDA “study” about grain-free diets causing DCM in dogs, that says that peas and grain-free kibble is causing heart failure in our pets. You know how I feel about this, it’s not the peas or rice, it’s the lack of meat in the kibble that is causing problems…oh, who am I kidding? It’s KIBBLE that is causing the problems.

You know that I don’t believe in feeding cats any vegetables or fruits, they don’t need it, their bodies don’t get anything from it and you should always feed raw food if you can. I will stand by that truth until the end of time.

But! Let’s get one thing clear, PEAS are NOT the problem! Yes, there are pets that are legitimately allergic to peas and I respect that. There are many options out there for those animals but peas are not evil. However, come next summer, or just before you will see literally EVERY pet food company come out with a “pea-free” options in KIBBLE. I’ve been in pet food for long enough to see the trends coming before they appear. The thing is, my fellow pet parents. that you need to take responsibility for what you choose to feed your pets. We all do!

It’s time to start listening to actual pet biologists and nutritionists, rather than pet food company commercials and veterinarians regarding proper diets for our carnivores! We are the only ones that are here to speak for them and make decisions for them. Vets are good at medicine but not trained in nutrition. Science Diet, Royal Canin and Purina are the only companies that “train” them in “nutrition” and that is NOT proper nutrition for carnivores.

If you have any questions, or need advice, please let me know.

Oy Vey, FDA! Here We Go Again!

Being inside the pet food industry is challenging but usually fulfilling…I get to meet lots of different pet parents, sales associates, rescue groups, etc…however, just as people in the medical industry hate WebMD, GOOP and Dr. Oz, we have our own list of flies in the ointment. As a nutritional professional, I work so hard, trying to educate pet parents on what is ACTUALLY healthy for their pets, just to be met with “well, I read on the internet…” or “my vet told me only to feed Hills, Purina, Royal Canin”. Oh, the misinformation makes my head hurt and my eye twitch!

Listen, your vet knows medicine, that is their job but they are not trained in nutrition…No, they aren’t. They only get a few hours of nutrition training and it’s always sponsored by one of the aforementioned brands. Yes, ALWAYS.

In regards to this FDA nonsense, there really is only one, true culprit in the increase of DCM in dogs…

Here is a graph, put together by Dog Food Advisor regarding DCM in dogs:

Mostly kibble

See that big, tall red line? 452 cases reported were dogs who ONLY ATE KIBBLE. Chances are pretty good that the other cases were people either home cooking meals that didn’t have proper nutrients or an overabundance of salt-filled human food, or people attempting to feed vegetarian or vegan diets. Feeding ONLY kibble is what is causing this spike in DCM in dogs because the amino acids from animal protein are lacking, they’ve either been cooked out or there isn’t enough meat to allow the cysteine and methionine to help produce enough taurine to keep your dog’s heart healthy.

It’s really THAT simple but you can help! If you HAVE to feed a kibble to your carnivore, make sure it has lots and lots of meat in the top 5 ingredients AND ADD HIGH QUALITY CANNED, DEHYDRATED OR RAW FOOD TO THE MIX. That last part is crucial! We have to make up for the lack of amino acids in your dog’s cereal, I mean kibble. 

If you had to eat plain cereal for every meal, every day, your body would go wacky too. But if you were allowed to add things like yogurt, fruit, nuts and different kinds of milk to it, it would be easier to remain balanced and healthy. THIS IS COMMON SENSE, PEOPLE!

Pet parents, WE are in charge of learning the facts and making sure our carnivores are healthy, happy and stick around as long as possible. Stop being fooled by nonsense that, if you just stop to think about it clearly, DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

I’ve met a lot of you out there and I know you aren’t stupid. Don’t let the FDA, Dog Food Advisor, Royal Canin, Hills and Purina make you FEEL stupid.

Do your RESEARCH. Give your dog VARIETY for a wider panel of amino acids. This will ensure your dog is creating all the taurine they need. Also, if you want to add meat to the mix for extra taurine, go here to know which meats are highest in TAURINE.

Also, please keep your pets safe this week, lots of bombs make for lots of pets that run away. Use calmatives and white noise and keep your pets indoors.

As God is My Witness, They’re Not Going to Lick Me

Lucky for me, I didn’t have to lie, steal, cheat OR kill…but there were a few moments when I thought I might. It took 2 months, but I landed my dream job as a territory manager for PetSmart, making more than what I was aiming for. My previous employer tried her best to take me down, she managed to deny me unemployment benefits, almost denied me SNAP benefits and gave me bad references, (I believe but can’t prove). After all of that, being super discouraged and feeling defeated, my experience and glowing personality won out, in the end.

I fly out to Phoenix, AZ on the 10th to start my training, which means I will leave Bugsy and Ezmerelda alone with daddy for 3 nights and 4 days. I’m not gonna lie, I’m nervous about it. I know he’ll take care of them, but I also know that he doesn’t want to clean litter boxes, so I always do it and all I can think about is coming home to someone pooping in the bathtub, (There’s ALWAYS a reason for litter box problems). Aside from litter box issues, I’m nervous about them getting enough play time, especially Bugsy, because he gets onry and destructive when he doesn’t get enough play time. 4 days is a long time away from my babies, but it’s for a good cause. I’ll be making enough money to keep them on their raw diet, as well as not be poor anymore. Gideon and I will be able to go enjoy our city, I’ll be able to afford good makeup and all of our bills will be paid, (I’m making almost double of what I was making before).

I’m super excited to be working again, and I’ll get to meet lots of new people, since I have about 20 stores in my territory. I will NOT, however, be “friending” anyone on Facebook. Never in my life have I had to deal with such deceitful, mean-spirited, malicious and fake people. I truly hope to never have to deal with any (with the exception of 2 of them) of them again. Onward and upward!

Here are some pictures of Bugsy that Gideon took.

Now That THAT’S Over…

I’m officially out of the pet food sales business…I’m now seeking to be in more of a “behind-the-scenes” position. I have an interview with PetSmart that I’m looking forward to. From what I understand, I’d be going from store to store, guiding store teams into merchandising, understanding and selling a specific PetSmart brand product. I don’t know if that’s food or what, but it sounds fun. I meet all of the qualifications and I like traveling around, learning about my new state. I’ve applied to a lot of jobs, over the last couple of weeks, but only have been excited by a couple…this being one of them. Wish me luck!

The Skinny Truth on Hyperthyroidism

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I had Elijah for almost 18 years. He was always a chunky kitty, so when I noticed he was losing a lot of weight, I had a feeling that his thyroid was working too hard, (probably caused by a tumor), speeding up his metabolism and making him super hungry, all the time, and causing his body to eat his fat and muscles. I only knew about hyperthyroidism because I’m in the pet food industry and have been trying to help others with their hyperthyroid kitties.

It made me so sad for Elijah, knowing there wasn’t much I could do for him at his age, aside from try to feed him as much as I could, while not exacerbating the thyroid. I did my research and there were so many “tips” out there, none of which helped or made sense. He was too old for radiation therapy, there were mixed results with the ear cream, (side effects include vomiting and anorexia, which defeats the whole purpose!) and there was no way I was putting him on Hill’s prescription food, (which are filled with plant material that his body didn’t need). My question was, what caused the hyperthyroidism, in the first place? Once I realized that everyday things could have caused this, I was furious! As usual, my ignorance has caused one of my babies to get sick. Awesome. Moving on.

I knew from my research that his hyperthyroidism was connected with his failing kidneys, and was causing his blood pressure problem, including his blood clot in his foot. I knew his time was almost up, which broke my heart. I also knew that, had I fed him a better diet, this may not have happened, or may have been delayed a few years, but there was nothing I could do about the past. I fed him as much as I could until the day he couldn’t breathe and we took him and put him down. It was so sad, but I was determined to keep Missy healthy as long as I could.

I got her onto all canned food, (she would not eat raw) and gave her supplements to keep her healthy and had her for 3 more years (and never had failing kidneys or hyperthyroid!). When she lost her battle with lung cancer, I was completely broken and my life was empty of purrs. I made the decision, that when I got cats next, they would be fed only raw meat!

As always, email with questions and take a looksie at those links!

Amanda

 

 

 

How Your Cats Communicate with Each Other, It’s Not How You Think

I’ve had several new cat parents come to me with “behavioral problems” between their older cat and newer cat. Each time, I’ve assured them that there’s nothing to worry about and everything that is happening between the cats is perfectly normal. It occurred to me that I haven’t written a post about how to read cat language, so here goes.

Cats do NOT meow at each other. They evolved the meow to communicate with us, humans. It was brilliant, really. They needed to look and sound cute, so we would do their bidding and it worked! They meow, we reply “how high?”. However, they communicate very differently with each other and it can be unnerving, if you don’t understand cat language.

Those videos on YouTube of cats making that noise that sounds like they are saying “oi-oi-oi-oi” are NEVER good sounds. It means they are super irritated at something or not feeling well.

Cats communicate with each other using body language and eye contact. When they mutually chase each other, that’s generally a good thing! When one chases the other, all the time, then we may have a territory issue but if they take turns, they are A-Okay.

I HAD all the examples written out and hyperlinked for you, but WordPress messed it all up and now I don’t feel like rewriting it.

Remember, IF you have ANY questions about cat behavior, please don’t hesitate to send me an email or leave a comment. I will respond, ASAP!

What DO You Say to Your Vet About Raw?

Such a great question! A customer asked me this question, yesterday. She took her bulldog to the vet, and when she mentioned that she was feeding raw food, which is why her dog was finally doing well, her vet gave her “the look” and lectured her about e.Coli and salmonella…blah blah blah.

I’ve been feeding raw food to my babies for several months and had told my vet that I would be doing so…luckily, my vet was cool with it and didn’t give me the lecture or the look but I know many vets will.

Keep in mind, while your vet is well trained in medicine, he/she is NOT trained in nutrition. At least, not if they went to a traditional vet school. Most vet schools only do a short training on nutrition and it’s usually sponsored by Royal Canin, Purina or Hills Science Diet…that means that most vets are only trained in kibble. We all know how I feel about kibble. yyuhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggggggggggges. <—— Bugsy says hello.

So, how DO you respond when your vet gives you the look and the lecture?? Easy…first, you stand your ground. Don’t let your vet bully you into being scared of e.Coli or salmonella…your cat has the bacteria in their gut to destroy any pathogen in raw meat. After all, they kill and eat ALL KINDS of prey, loaded with gross pathogens! Rats, birds, cockroaches, snakes and other vermin. Seriously, don’t sweat it.

Second, you educate your vet. Yes, really. They should have been trained in the digestive tract of dogs and cats, but may need a reminder that their digestive tracts are only 12 to 14 hours and e.Coli and  salmonella have incubation periods of 22-24 hours long. That means that IF there is bacteria in the meat, it will be in and out of the cat and dog body before it can even try to do any damage…IF their gut bacteria hasn’t already annihilated it…which it probably has.

Third, have your vet touch your pet! After they pet your dog or cat, do they have a giant handful of fur? No? I wonder why? Have them look at their teeth, ears, paws and if possible, their waste! Everything about a raw fed pet is healthier than ANY kibble fed pet…PERIOD. It doesn’t matter how good the kibble or canned food is, your pet will have a healthier coat, mouth, ears, paws and healthier, smaller poop with raw food. If they REALLY are diligent about trying to convince you that you’re poisoning your pet, many raw food companies have their test results on their website, so you can show them that they’ve high pressure pasteurized their food and there is no living bacteria in the food.

After the tragic shutting down of Rad Cat, by means of harassment from the FDA and AAFCO, it’s important to stay diligent. WE KNOW that our pets are thriving on what their bodies are made to eat and we are their parents. We aren’t denying them vaccines and sending them to the dog park, we are simply giving them the food their bodies need to be healthy. I will never NOT feed raw meat to my babies. It’s what they need and they are so healthy on it. If I have to educate, or re-educate, a few vets in the process, so be it.

Stay strong!