Homemade Organic Sweet Potato Dog Treats

RadioFence.com Homemade Organic Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Our dogs love the store bought sweet potato dog treats. But I can’t ignore my realization that we could save a ton of money by making our own homemade dehydrated sweet potatoes for them. Plus, homemade means I can control where the sweet potatoes come from. I can get organic ones from our local farm for less than I spend on the store bought bag of treats!

Organic sweet potatoes make the best dog treats!With all of the controversy recently over treats making dogs sick, I love the fact that homemade treats are free of preservatives, fillers, chemicals, and any other unnecessary additives. I know my dogs will benefit most from the treats that come out of my own kitchen, and these treats are so easy to make with only one ingredient – organic sweet potatoes!

Our RadioFence.com dogs love homemade dog treats!Our dogs are intrigued by anything that they think is “human food.” When I brought the sweet potatoes out, they were immediately zoned in on getting a taste before they even knew what it was.

Our RadioFence.com dogs love homemade sweet potato treats!Before I make any new homemade dog treat recipes for them, I place the ingredients in front of them to see if they approve to spark their curiosity. I barely got the sweet potatoes on the floor before they snatched them up and ran off to devour them!

Jem from RadioFence.com loves sweet potatoes!Sweet potatoes are so sweet on their own that they don’t need anything else added for dogs to approve of them as a favorite treat. Our dogs didn’t even require them dehydrated before they were obsessed!

Laci from RadioFence.com loves sweet potatoes!Imagine how much they’ll love them once they are cooked!

Step 1: Tools You’ll Need

We have a food dehydrator, but if you don’t own one you can easily dehydrate the sweet potatoes in your oven. I’ll demonstrate how to dehydrate the treats using an oven today so everyone can try these wonderful treats. 

Step 2: Choose The “Perfect Potatoes”

Choose the best sweet potatoes: choose ones that are similar in size so they will cook at the same rate.

Step 3: Wash, Dry, and Cut The Sweet Potatoes

My pups were trying to be thoughtful and figured that “washing” the potatoes meant using their tongues and teeth to scrape the bad parts off the potatoes. Thanks for the help guys! Aren’t they the sweetest?

Jem cleaning the potatoes with her tongue!If you’re going to cut the potatoes into strips by hand, the first step is to cut the top of the potato to create a flat surface to rest on the counter to stabilize it for cutting the strips.

RadioFence.com cut the top off the potatoCut the rest of the potatoes into 1/3″-1/4″ thick slices. You can use a mandolin for easier, more precise cuts and set the measurement to exactly 1/4″ if you’re a perfectionist! 

Cut the potatoes with a mandolin or knifeYou can also use a food processor to cut your strips if you don’t have a mandolin. I decided to make my treats 1.4″ thick using the mandolin so they would be crunchy.

RadioFence.com - Cut the sweet potatoes into strips

Step 4: Bake For 3 Hours

Baking instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  • Place treats on a cookie sheet
  • Bake for 1.5 hours
  • Flip the treats
  • Bake for another 1.5 hours for a total of 3 hours. 

RadioFence.com Bake the sweet potatoes for three hoursBaking the sweet potatoes for 3 hours will create a nice and crunchy treat. If you think your dog would rather have a chewier, softer snack then bake them for less time.

Yummy sweet potato dog treats from RadioFence.comThey may be slightly soft when they first come out of the oven, so let them cool completely before you serve them to your doggies.

Zoey and Jem from RadioFence.com patiently waiting for their sweet potato treat

Step 5: Enjoy!

Our dogs went crazy for the sweet potatoes before they were dehydrated into a yummy crunchy snack… so I expected them to freak out when they finally came out of the oven.

Our dogs from RadioFence.com couldn't wait for the sweet potatoes to be done!Zoey is usually the most reserved of the bunch and patiently waits her turn while the others act frantic, but I was shocked to see her react the craziest over these treats! 

Zoey from RadioFence.com freaks out for sweet potato treats!Jem was patient and let Laci and Zoey get most of the treats, but she wasn’t shy for long and jumped at the chance to try the treats. She was so crazy over them that I couldn’t catch her picture!

Jem from RadioFence.com loves sweet potatoes!The dogs would be so polite and patient for a second as I reached for another treat…

RadioFence dogs patiently waiting for their treatsBut the anticipation was killing them and they couldn’t resist any longer…

Laci and Zoey love sweet potato dog treats!They went NUTS over these treats and couldn’t keep their composure!

Zoey and Laci going crazy for sweet potato treats!Zoey has never been this excited over a treat in her entire life!

Zoey from RadioFence.com loves sweet potatoes!Jem couldn’t even enjoy her treat in peace without Zoey hot on her tail trying to snag it…

Zoey trying to steal Jem's treat!After seeing how much the dogs loved these treats, they will now be a regular staple in our household for years to come! They’re simple, inexpensive, easy to make, and the dogs couldn’t be happier. Plus they’re so healthy! 

The RadioFence.com clan loves sweet potato treats!Store the dehydrated treats in the refrigerator and discard them after 3 weeks – although there’s no way these yummy treats will last sitting in our refrigerator that long with these hungry hounds! If you want to store them for longer, you can freeze them for up to 4 months.

Why Are Sweet Potatoes So Healthy For Pups?

Sweet Potatoes have the highest amino acid content of any starch which are essential to your dog for maintaining healthy, strong, lean muscles. The high fiber content is great for the digestive system. They also have increase antioxidant activity in your dog’s body which are needed to get rid of free radicals that cause cancer and other diseases. Sweet potatoes also get rid of fatty cells in the liver and help keep other vital organs healthy. Wow! I feel great knowing that this simple homemade treat will have such great lasting health effects on my dogs!

Easy Dehydrated Organic Sweet Potato Dog Treats
One of the purest, healthiest treats you can give your dog - and so easy to make that you'll never buy them from the store again!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. Organic Sweet Potatoes: choose potatoes that are all similar in size so they will cook at the same rate, and buy as many as you think your dogs can eat!
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. If you cut the potatoes by hand: Cut off one piece of the potato to create a flat surface to rest on the counter and stabilize it for cutting the slices. Cut the pieces into 1/3"-1/4" thick slices.
  3. If you're using a mandolin: You can use a mandolin for easier, more precise cuts and set the measurement to exactly 1/4"
  4. Place the strips on one or more baking sheets
  5. Place in the oven, bake for 1.5 hours
  6. Flip the sweet potatoes and bake for another 1.5 hours for a total of three hours
  7. If you think your dog would rather have a crunchier treat, bake for longer.
  8. Let cool, and enjoy!
Notes
  1. The lower the temperature of your oven, the longer they will need to bake. If you bake them at 175 degrees, they can bake for up to 8 hours.
  2. Store treats in the refrigerator - discard them after 3 weeks
  3. You can freeze them for up to 4 months
Adapted from Dogington Post
Adapted from Dogington Post
RadioFence.com Blog http://blog.radiofence.com/

The Essential Vet Exams for Your Dog

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 4.55.43 PMHave you ever left the vet feeling like you spent all of your budget but aren’t sure if your dog really got your money’s worth out of it? Sometimes the open communication between ourselves and our veterinarian can be rushed or lacking, and we are left feeling like we’re in the dark about our dog’s wellness regimen. Its better for our wallets, peace of mind, and our dog’s health if we understand exactly what the essential vet exams are, and which treatments are unnecessary and excessive. 

Denise Petryk, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Trupanion and our friends at The I Love Dogs Site gave us all the answers about what healthcare is essential for your dog.

What Exams Are Essential?

Your dog needs routine wellness exams in the same way that we need routine physicals. If your dog doesn’t have a wellness exam between the ages of two and six, that’s like you not seeing a doctor between the ages or 24 and 40! If you can imagine how many changes and risks there are to your health in those years then you can imagine the same for your dog. A year is a long time in a dog’s life. If he lives through his early teens to be 13, yearly exams will only equate to 13 exams in his whole life which isn’t a lot when you think of it that way!

Routine Wellness Exams

Wellness visits are essential for maintaining a relationship with your veterinarian and establishing the best preventative care so you can address health concerns early on. We all know that preventing disease and catching it early is so much better than treating it once it has progressed to a severe stage. Preventative health care on a regular basis saves you and your dog from needless suffering and a greater financial strain.

Zoey and Laci Waiting to See The Vet

Zoey and Laci Waiting to See The Vet

Wellness exams play a crucial part in prolonging your dog’s life and keeping her healthy long term. Puppies should have wellness visits 2-3 times per year at the beginning of their lives, and adult dogs should go at least once per year and twice per year if your budget allows it. Laci goes to the vet more often than Zoey and Jem because she’s a seven month old puppy. Zoey and Jem see the vet twice per year for preventative care and wellness exams. We love to see how comfortable they are at the vet from going regularly. Jem even fell asleep on the floor of the exam room! Now that’s relaxation.

Senior dogs should begin having wellness exams twice per year minimum and sometimes three times per year. This is when things can change most rapidly with your dog’s health. You want to catch any diseases or concerns as early as you can for the best chance of curing it. These visits are important for:

  • Understanding age-related changes and degenerative conditions
  • Exercise and diet
  • Comfort support
  • Routine lab tests to detect disease early

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 9.33.42 AMWellness Exams Check List:

  • Share any concerns with your vet
    • Have questions addressed, answered, and documented for future reference
  • Diagnose any health problems in the early stages
  • Update vaccines
  • Test for/control intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks, and mites, heart worm
    • Refill prescriptions for preventatives
  • Nutrition
  • Dental health
    • Care you can administer at home, observe any odors, pain, or signs of disease and establish a course of treatment  
  • Exercise
    • Note how much exercise your dog is getting including how often, what kind, and any changes in your dog’s ability or enthusiasm to exercise
  • Ears and Eyes
    • Note any discharge, redness, irritation, itching, or smell and treat for infection
  • Stomach and intestines
  • Breathing
    • Report any coughing, shortness of breath, sneezing, or nasal discharge
  • Behavior
    • Share with your vet any changes in mood, happiness, behavior problems, or changes in temperament
  • Urinary
    • Note any abnormal accidents and an increase in the frequency of urination for signs of infection
  • Feet and legs
    • Report any limping, weakness, lameness, or toenail concerns
  • Coat and skin
    • Any hair loss, pigment changes, lumps, itchy spots, shedding, mats, or anal gland problems
  • Blood tests
    • Especially for geriatric dogs, dogs with medical problems, and those receiving medications
  • Preventative care options
Zoey's Weight Is Still Slim and Trim Since Last Time!

Zoey’s Weight Is Still Slim and Trim Since Last Time!

The American Heartworm Society firmly recommends your dog be tested for heartworm every year at her wellness visits, even if you are religiously following a heartworm prevention regimen. There have been numerous cases where dogs were on heartworm prevention and still contracted the disease. The AHS strongly suggests getting tested every year so if your dog contacts the disease you have a better idea of the time frame it was contracted than if you haven’t had him tested in 3 years or more. Annual testing and uninterrupted routine heartworm prevention can make the difference between life and death of your furry best friend. You’ll never wish you had used prevention more than when it becomes too late! Never take that unnecessary risk.

Jem Tested "Negative" For Heartworm! That Preventative Really Works!

Jem Tested “Negative” For Heartworm! That Preventative Really Works!

Vaccinations

According to an article from PetEducation.com, experts agree that the core vaccines necessary for all dogs are:

The non-core vaccines that vets will give dogs include:

There have been controversies recently about vaccines for dogs and cats. Some researches believe that we don’t need to vaccinate every year for most of the diseases. However, they haven’t determined exactly how often we should vaccinate for each disease because they actually don’t know how long the protection from the vaccine lasts. Surprised? Me too! I always assumed it was a pretty exact science and trusted that yearly vaccinations were the necessary standard. They say that one vaccine may last 5 years, another for 3 years, and a different one for only 2 years. 

Almost all researchers still believe that we need to give puppies at least three combination vaccines that must be repeated when they turn one year old. Rabies must continue to be given within the guidelines of local ordinances. 

Zoey Was Due For Her Vaccines and Took It Like a Champ!

Zoey Was Due For Her Vaccines and Took It Like a Champ!

There is new research from the veterinary schools at the University of Minnesota, Colorado State University, and University of Wisconsin that suggests a new approach to vaccines where we alternate which vaccines we give our dog from year to year. Instead of vaccinating against more than one disease at once, your dog would receive the distemper vaccine one year, canine adenovirus-2 the next year, and parvovirus the third year repeated. However, other researchers still believe we don’t know enough about these vaccines yet to recommend only vaccinating every three years. It is up to each individual dog parent to discuss vaccines with your vet to determine the best course of prevention for your dog. 

Controlling Intestinal Parasites 

Fecal exams and deworming is as controversial as vaccines when it comes to how often your dog should be tested. Testing and deworming decisions should be based on:

  • The age of your dog
  • Likelihood your dog is exposed to feces from other animals
  • If your dog is on a heartworm preventative that controls intestinal parasites
  • If your dog has been infected before
  • If there are children who play with your dog

The American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and The Companion Animal Parasite Council all suggest testing for parasites and deworming at your yearly wellness visit. If your dog follows a strict heartworm/intestinal parasite preventative regimen year-round, they still suggest having a fecal test done. If your dog is not on a heartworm/intestinal parasite prevention (have your dog tested immediately and started on a preventative), then he needs a fecal test 2-4 times per year and to be treated accordingly. 

Senior Dogs

Older dogs are at risk for conditions that younger dogs are not. If your dog is reaching his senior years, you may want to have him tested for:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Kidney disease
  • Hormonal diseases

Identifying these conditions before severe or irreversible damage is done is vital for treating the condition early. A normal, healthy result is extremely helpful so future test results can be compared. If your dog is on medication, blood work and screening is important to see how the medication is affecting his body. 

Jem and Zoey Love Seeing the Vet Twice A Year!

Jem and Zoey Love Seeing the Vet Regularly!

Annual wellness exams, vaccinations, heartworm testing, and parasite control combined with recommended blood tests will play a critical role in keeping your dog healthy and help him live longer! Jem and Zoey are used to having a calm and stress-free exam at the vet, so they don’t dread the visits or get nervous and scared. They are very calm and content at their regular wellness exams.

The responsibility of keeping your dog in tip-top shape isn’t only up to your veterinarian. You should always keep a close eye on your dog’s health at home year round and report back to your vet regarding her personality, activity level, eating habits, etc. Check for lumps, bumps, flakes, scabs, irritation, redness, and itching. Pay close attention to eating and drinking habits because changes can be signs of serious problems. We all wish our dogs could just tell us what is bothering them, hurting, or when they feel sick. Unfortunately, we have to rely on our gut instincts, observations, and subtle signs our dogs show us. If you can remember to pay attention to changes in your dog from home and stick to a routine vet exam regimen, then your four legged furball will be in great shape!

Is Canned or Dry Dog Food Healthier?

Canned or Dry Dog Food? Which One Is Healthier?

We are always researching what the healthiest and best diet options are for our three dogs Zoey, Jem, and Laci. Zoey eats only canned wet food because of her frequent urinary tract infections (the water in the wet food helps prevent her UTI’s). Jem eats dry kibble with a scoop of Zoey’s wet food because she sees Zoey’s food and is envious of the flavor. Laci is just a puppy and indulges in her dry kibble without complaint, but she never misses an opportunity to sprint over to Zoey and Jem’s bowls after they’ve finished to lick them dry! 

DSC02554

According to an article from DogFoodAdvisor.com, canned food may be a better option for dogs than the dry kibble – and no this article was not written by a dog who wants to convince his human to buy canned food just for the flavor of it! 

Why Can Canned Be Better Than Dry Kibble?

Canned foods typically have more meat protein and fewer carbohydrates than dry kibble. Because of the cans’ air-tight packaging, they usually don’t have synthetic preservatives, flavors, and colors. This means the fats and oils in the food won’t become rancid. 

Why Does My Dog Go Crazy Over Canned Food?

Has your dog ever had a taste of canned food? If she has I bet she went crazy over it! Our girls can’t seem to get enough. The smell lures them in and the taste gets them hooked. Laci fiends for Zoey’s wet food so bad that we have to put Zoey in a separate room to eat. Jem has become so spoiled by the scoop of wet food that we add to her kibble that if we don’t add it she looks up at us like we’re crazy and refuses to eat!

DSC02359One reason dogs go so nuts for canned food is because the meats are closer to their natural state. This makes canned foods tastier and more appetizing than the dry kibble. 

The Moisture Content Helps With Overall Health and Health Issues

PetMd explains that not all dogs drink as much water as they should and wet food can be a great source of hydration. This is one of the main reasons we feed Zoey wet food – she seems to be indifferent to drinking water. Moisture in a pet’s diet becomes increasingly important as the dog ages, whenever the dog is ill, or if the dog lives in a hot climate.

For our Zoey, the canned food is a must. The high moisture content is perfect for preventing her frequent UTI’s. If you have a dog with urinary issues, the water in the canned food helps significantly more than dry kibble. DSC02472Is your dog overweight? It’s much easier for an obese dog to loose weight by eating wet food because it makes him feel fuller quickly. Your dog can eat more canned food than dry food and still loose weight because the moisture in the canned food takes up volume that won’t contribute to weight gain. 

Canned food is great for elderly dogs or dogs with dental issues. Chewing dry kibble can be very painful and difficult for these dogs which may cause them to eat less which will contribute to poor health overall. You may have heard that dry kibble can be good for your dog’s teeth, but many believe that this is an old rumor.  

Advantages and Disadvantages To Both

DogFoodAdvisor.com broke it down nicely for us to compare the advantages and disadvantages to both dry and canned dog foods:

Glancing at this comparison, you can quickly see that dry kibble is more convenient for the humans because of its lower cost, and it does’t take up room in the refrigerator. If canned food is believed to be better for your dog’s overall health, I know the convenience factor becomes an afterthought, because our dogs deserve the best!

Dogs can’t tell us what they want or need, as much as I wish they could, but our dogs make it as obvious as they possibly can that they prefer canned food. It’s impossible for us to ignore their not so subtle hints… so canned food it is! 

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When Is Kibble The Better Choice?

When it comes to convenience and cost, nothing beats kibble. So if you’re on a tight budget (and who isn’t these days?!) then a quality kibble is the way to go, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

You can leave kibble in your dog’s bowl for an extended period of time. If your dog is used to grazing rather than eating full meals in one sitting, then you need to stick with the kibble. Because she’s a puppy, Laci eats multiple times throughout the day, so for these reasons dry kibble is the best option for her at this stage.

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You should never leave canned food in your dog’s bowl for longer than an hour or two at the most. When wet food is exposed to the environment it easily grows bacteria and quickly becomes contaminated. Dogs with a predisposition to dental problems like excessive plaque and bacteria may need more dental attention when eating a wet food than a dry kibble. 

Kibble can be stored for much longer periods of time. Once you open that bag of kibble, you know it will last until your dog eats the last bit. Unlike kibble, canned food has a short shelf life once it is opened. It must be placed in the refrigerator right after it is opened, and should not be stored opened for longer than two to three days before its time to discard it. 

We Love Kibble and Canned Food!

I don’t want you to think we’re pro-canned and anti-kibble, because we are a huge fan of both. We believe in “listening” to our dogs and watching their behavior closely to determine what each individual pup specifically needs because no two dogs are alike. Like I said, we determined canned food was the best option for Zoey, Laci does great on dry puppy kibble, and our indestructible, healthy Jem still has a perfect bill of health eating mainly kibble with a spoonful of canned to satisfy her flavor cravings. 

Whatever type of food you believe is best for your dog’s health and lifestyle is the right choice for your family. If your budget can’t find room for canned dog food and it’s too much hassle for your lifestyle, the “Jem Method” works great – just add a little bit of canned food to the kibble to have the best of both worlds! PetMd explains that either canned or kibble will satisfy your dog’s nutritional needs as long as the food is well-balanced and you make sure it is made with quality ingredients. And always remember what foods are healthy, and what foods are toxic to your dogs!

Laci loves any kind of food!

Disturbing Lab Results Prove Top Dog and Cat Food Brands Are Unsafe

Our family is extremely concerned with the quality and safety of our food as well as our dogs’ food. We recently started making our own organic treats at home and posting our recipes to the blog for you to enjoy. The next step in our plan is to make our own homemade dog food, and after reading these lab results we aren’t going to wait any longer to get started! 

I can always count on TheILoveTheDogsSite.com for great content about pets, and this morning I was so happy to come across their article about unsafe pet foods. Pet food consumers just like you and I donated funds to The Association for Truth in Pet Food (ATPF) to test pet foods sold in North America. This test and it’s results are monumental because this is the first and only time a test of this size has been funded and controlled by concerned consumers themselves instead of a regulatory agency that is in charge of governing and selling pet food. Consumers of these pet food brands are left to wonder if these agencies that have conducted tests in the past were too close to the product and the profit to release accurate and honest results. 

Susan Thixton, Pet Food Safety Advocate at ATPF and author of “Buyer Beware” and co-author of “Dinner PAWSible”, was in charge of leading the test along with industry experts such as Dr. Tsengeg Purejav of INTI Service Corporation who lab tested the foods.

Susan explained that “this is history making. No one has ever taken such an up-close and thorough examination of pet food like this before – and most importantly, this was done by pet food consumers!” Thixton said the pet food testing results are “shocking and little did we know we’d find serious risks to ourselves and our human families too.”

The six top dog food brands tested include:

The six top cat food brands tested include:

 

Did you see any brands you’ve fed your dog before? Because I see two that I’ve fed to Zoey and one that I’ve fed to Jem before! Zoey has been eating Hill’s C/D Urinary Tract Health canned dog food for about a year after she had three consecutive UTI’s. Her veterinarian at Banfield at PetSmart recommended Hill’s brand and explained to me that it is one of the top two brands she would recommend because “they’re the only ones that actually lab test their dog food for health standards.” That feels like a very misleading and untrue statement now that these test results have come out and I see that it’s one of the most UNSAFE brands of food! I can’t believe I’ve been feeding her this food for so long. Jem was eating Blue for the first year of her life until we switched her because of her very stinky farts. Now I’m glad we switched her when we did! 

 

Test Results:

The tests conducted on the most popular dog food brands mentioned before indicate that many of these foods contain high levels of dangerous mycotoxins, nutrient concerns, bacterial contamination, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria that the FDA calls “Qualifying Pathogens.” None of these dog foods have ingredients from China, but they do have ingredients from other countries outside of North America. 

The Hill’s Prescription C/D Urinary Tract health canned dog food that my vet suggested was the safest, laboratory tested dog food option for Zoey tested to contain 7.72% calcium which is almost three times the legal limit of calcium allowed in adult dog food (AAFCO maximum is 2.5%). The Mycotoxin Risk Equivalent Rating was 16 (20 being High Risk), and it contained several bacteria including two bacteria that the FDA calls “Qualifying Pathogens” that pose a “serious threat to public health.” 

Now What Do We Do?

Thixton believes that consumers’ trust in pet food and the regulatory agencies responsible for “testing” these foods is rapidly declining and I believe she is right. I know my trust in them is completely gone after seeing these results. She explains that “it is truly sad that consumers found the many risks in pet food they did. Now we can hope – with this scientific evidence – that authorities will finally listen to the many complaints of consumers and make pet food safe. Not only for the pets, but for the pet people too.”

1. Find A Food That Is Lab Tested and Proven Safe:

Thixton created a list of the safe pet foods from her studies and lab tests that can be purchased for a small donation. What’s crazy and surprising about this list is that there are only 20 dog foods that make the “healthy” list, and NONE of them can be purchased in big box pet stores. They are only available at independent pet food stores, online pet food stores, or purchased directly from the manufacturer. That really makes you think about the integrity of the big box stores and makes me wonder why they are only making unsafe dog foods available for us to purchase and none of the healthy options are on the shelves!

We love to support small businesses any chance that we can since we are a small business ourselves, and this was the third strike for the big box pet stores like PetSmart where I have been buying Zoey’s C/D Urinary Tract food. I will definitely not be buying any more food or other items from big box pet stores after learning that they don’t sell any healthy of the healthy pet food brands. I’m happy to support the small businesses who are morally selling nutritious food.  

2. Feed Your Pet A Homemade Diet Using Balanced Recipes:

The other thing included in Thixton’s list that really excites me is the two homemade dog and cat food recipes! I’m so thrilled to use these recipes and rest assured that I’m providing Zoey and Jem a healthy, organic, homemade diet.

3. Speak Up To Make A Change:

Thixton also encourages us to make a change by sending letters to our representatives in Washington D.C. She only asks that we don’t send petitions – only letters: “No petitions (please) – representatives in government need to receive hundreds of thousands of personal messages directly from pet food consumers demanding change,” she explains. You can simply go to your state government website for the information on how to contact your representatives. She even created a sample letter for you to send without having to do any of the work! 

Sample Letter to Send to Representatives:

Consumers recently raised the funds to test 12 of the most widely-purchased brands of pet foods sold in the U.S. and Canada. What was found in this consumer funded testing were violations of pet food regulations (nutrient imbalances), dangerously high levels of mold (mycotoxins), and very concerning bacterial contamination (bacteria determined by the FDA and CDC to be antibiotic-resistant).

Consumers pay an estimated $1 billion dollars a year to states in sales tax revenue (for pet food purchases alone). Please explain to me what consumers are getting in return for that revenue?

Pet food consumers have been complaining about the condition of pet food since the 2007 pet food recall, complaints have fallen on deaf ears. For more than seven years consumers have waited on FDA to find the lethal contaminant of Chinese jerky treats – FDA has provided us nothing. In 2007 Congress told FDA to establish pet food ingredient standards and definitions, processing standards of pet food and provide updated standards for the labeling of pet food. This work was required – by Congress – to be completed by September 2009. More than five years after the deadline – consumers still wait for the FDA. I ask you, how much longer should consumers wait for safe pet food?

Testing of pet food that should have been performed by tax dollar supported regulatory authorities was done by consumers. Now, consumers – myself – are asking you Why? How? could pet food pose such a serious risk to the pets that consume it and the humans that handle it?

Please read every page of our Pet Food Test Report – you can do that here: http://associationfortruthinpetfood.com/the-pet-food-test-results/

I await your response on this very concerning issue.

Sincerely,

[your name]

 

Thank You For Listening

I hope this post helped open your eyes to how misleading dog food companies and big box retailers are when they claim their food is wholesome and healthy for our pets. We really can’t trust their marketing terms like “natural, no preservatives, non GMO, etc.” because they negate the tried and true results from the tests in the lab. Food is what fuels our bodies and our pets’ little bodies, and it’s so important that we are knowledgeable about what we are feeding them because they depend on us whole heartedly. For the full report and findings from these lab tests click here.

 

99% of all Puppies Sold Online and in Pet Stores are from Puppy Mills


Many of us want to experience the amazing companionship that comes with having a dog of our very own. But millions of people have been naturally conditioned to think “I want to go to the pet store and buy a puppy!” or “let’s look online for breeders!” rather than their instinct being to visit their local animal shelter.

The assumption that so many of us have been accustomed to believing is that we have to find a breeder to get a purebred dog. That is so far from true! The ASPCA says, “purebred dogs end up in shelters just like mixed breeds. Breed rescue groups exist for just about every breed possible. If you have your heart set on a purebred, please be sure to visit your local shelter or find a breed rescue group before searching for a breeder. If you can’t find what you want through a shelter or breed rescue group, please learn how to recognize a responsible breeder.

The harsh reality that most people aren’t aware of is that 99% of all dogs sold in pet stores and online are from a PUPPY MILL, and almost 100% of these puppies are infested with parasites when you purchase them. The ASPCA defines a puppy mill as “a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation that places profit over the well-being of its dogs—who are often severely neglected—and acts without regard to responsible breeding practices. Unlike responsible breeders, who place the utmost importance on producing the healthiest puppies possible, breeding at puppy mills is performed without consideration of genetic quality. This results in generations of dogs with unchecked hereditary defects. Some puppy mill puppies are sold to pet shops—usually through a broker, or middleman—and marketed as young as eight weeks of age. The lineage records of puppy mill dogs are often falsified. Other puppy mill puppies are sold directly to the public, including over the Internet, through newspaper ads, and at swap meets and flea markets.”

Dogs used for breeding are usually kept in cages with wire floors which injure their paws and legs. Cages are sometimes stacked on top of each other and lined up in columns, so waste falls on the dogs in the cages below them. Poor health, matting, sores, mange, severe dental disease and abscesses are usually widespread with puppy mill dogs. Many sick puppies manage to end up at pet stores and the new puppy owner unknowingly purchases the sick dog.

According to the ASPCA “No Pet Store Puppies” Website:

There are roughly 10,000 puppy mills in the US with Missouri and Oklahoma producing HALF of all the puppies sold in pet stores alone. Some puppy mills can have up to 1,000 adult dogs breeding at once and up to 400 puppies born every year – more than one born per day. Every year there are approximately 4 MILLION puppies born in puppy mills but only about 2,000,000 are sold online and in pet stores because many are born with or develop physical problems that make them unwanted and either end up abandoned or left to die.

Madonna of the Mills, a courageous woman who dedicates her life to saving dogs trapped and tortured in puppy mills, explains that “almost every puppy sold in a pet store has a mother who will spend her entire life in a tiny cage, never being petted, never being walked, never being treated like a dog.” Breeding dogs usually spend their entire lives outdoors and the females usually have little or no recovery time between litters. When the females can no longer reproduce after a few years, the dogs are usually abandoned, shot, or starved until they eventually die.

If you still think that your breeder or pet store is telling the truth about their ethical breeding practices because they are “USDA licensed,” here’s what ASPCA has to say about that:

Below is the trailer for Dog by Dog, a documentary “that aims to wake up the American public to the horrible realities of puppy mills by following the money trail across the United States and confronting those that have maintained this corrupt and irresponsible system.”

There was also a special episode on the Oprah show dedicated to exposing puppy mills after she saw a billboard just off the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago that said “Oprah: Do a show on puppy mills. The dogs need you” created by Bill Smith, the founder of Main Line Animal Rescue.

There are people out there like the ones you see in the videos that have the resources  and the means to expose the torturous conditions the dogs are living in. But without your help to spread their messages and get the word out to the masses, these dogs will continue to suffer.

Just to give you an idea of how little attention this horrible epidemic receives: The Madonna of the Mills trailer was posted on YouTube 3 years ago has only been viewed 2,007 times as of today. The Oprah episode is the only copy of the show on YouTube and has been viewed 464 times. The dog by dog documentary trailer was posted nearly a year ago and has only received 5,834 views.

People are constantly sharing “viral videos” on social media and talking about them with their friends, so why aren’t videos and documentaries as important as these being shared or viewed just as much if not more?

You are probably feeling just as as troubled, devastated, sick, hurt, and helpless as I am after learning about puppy mills. But you CAN do something to help! It is as easy as SHARING the knowledge and taking a stand against purchasing puppies from pet stores and online! The more people that learn what is going on, take a stand against puppy mills, and stop buying from pet stores that sell puppies, the less puppy mills there will be until they become extinct all together. If no one is buying the puppies, the money-hungry puppy mill owners will have no choice but to stop the cruelty.

There are so many shocking facts and lessons to be learned about puppy mills that cannot possibly be explained in one blog post, so please do more research for yourself and read the ASPCA FAQ’s about puppy mills.