Monday, September 8, 2014

Healthy Pets/ Sojo's Natural

Happy Monday!

Wasn't Danielle's posts last week really inspiring? She has told me about her philosophy a couple months ago because I have been struggling with feeling healthy. I was so blown away with her outlook on food and life that I thought she HAD to share it with everyone. I have been trying to focus on feeling well instead of feeling fit or skinny. I just want to be healthy and happy. 

Speaking of happy and healthy we decided this would be the perfect week to explore pet health. Danielle and I both have pets that play very important parts in our lives. I grew up with pets and we always just fed them the budget pet food from the store. We didn't think much about what we were feeding out animals because there wasn't an emphasis on what this could be doing to them internally. My parents had a lovely dog named Isabel. She was the queen of the house hold. She was bossy yet sweet and made us all extremely happy. When she started to get elderly she began to have a lot of health problems. She was a Boston Terrier and her smashed face always made it hard for her to breath properly but as she aged it continued to get worse. She started to have fits where she wasn't able to swallow her food and she started vomiting often. My mom took her to multiple vets including the vet hospital at the University of Minnesota. They couldn't really tell us anything that seemed to help.

My mom being my mom started to research on her own because she felt helpless and hated to watch her baby suffer. She stumbled upon an article that outlined the dangers of the ingredients found in certain pet foods. She was shocked to find out that most name pet food brands filled their pet foods full of harmful substances that not only shouldn't be consumed by pets but also in high doses could be toxic. She even found out that the meat often found in pet food comes from euthanized animals. Meaning that a lot of the foods we are feeding our pets contains the same substance that we may use to put them to sleep. She also found out that one of the leading causes of death in dogs in cancer and in cats diabetes. We are allowing our animals to take on the same chronic disease as we do by feeding them foods that can potentially lead to their demise.

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After all of her research she had heard about many different raw food and simplified diets she could put our dog on to help prolong her life and hopefully make her feel more comfortable. I can't imagine she felt healthy when she would wake up every morning and throw up. She had seen a lot of information on chicken and rice diets and as much as she wanted to she just didn't have the time to make chicken and rice every day for our dog. She wanted to find a raw food that could deliver the nutrition our dog needed but also the convenience of being able to make the food in advance so that we could just have it all ready for her. She finally stumbled upon this great raw pet food company called Sojos.

They take pride in providing a completely nutrition based pet food for both cats and dogs. The formula is based on the thought that dogs are omnivores and cats are carnivores. They specifically included plant proteins in their dog formula because just like us dogs need nutrients that come from plants. Cats on the other hand are supposed to be getting most of their nutrients from animal protein because they are carnivorous and shouldn't be filling their diets with gluten rich foods. They create the food so you can use their base which for dogs is made up most of whole grain oats and dehydrated vegetables and then add water and raw meat. The raw meat has complete proteins that are good for their digestion and provides them with all the nutrients that they need which they wouldn't be getting from a canned or dry dog food.

Instructions on how to make and freeze Sojos dog food

As I had said earlier my mom didn't want to have to make food from scratch daily because she is busy taking care of a whole house and owning her own business so her and my step dad make the food in advance. To make the food in advance they use cooked ground organic meat and add ground vegetables and pumpkin to add the necessary nutrition needed to make up for the fact that they are not using the raw meat.

They first start with a giant bowl ( they tend to make enough food for about 4 to 6 weeks so the bigger the bowl the better). They empty the large bag of Sojos mix into their large bowl and add hot water (instructions for this process can be found on the bag).

They then pick out a mix of frozen vegetables that they will grind through a meat grinder. The reason for this is because dogs often don't completely digest whole vegetables because they don't chew very well and when the whole vegetables come out in their stool they may try and eat it (yea... I know gross... but it is weirdly accurate). Grinding the vegetables allows them to digest more in their system and will keep them from wanting to ingest their own stools.

Once the vegetables are ground they will cook their ground meat. They have been using ground venison because the protein to fat level is a lot higher. They have a friend that hunts and sends them the ground meat once he is done butchering the animal. But other organic ground meats can work as well just make sure you are watching the fat to protein content. Isabel now passed and their new dog Francine are both Boston Terriers. They are a smaller breed and tend to need more protein over fat but some breeds will need a higher fat content because they may need more calories. Just pay attention to your dogs needs when choosing a protein for your mixture.

Once the meat is cooked they add the vegetables and pumpkin to the mix and cook for just a few minutes until the vegetables are heated and pumpkin is mixed in. The pumpkin is a prebiotic for dogs. It helps encourage good microbial growth and helps them digest their food. If your dog ever suffers from diarrhea or loose stools, add a little pumpkin to their food and it should help improve their gut health.

After the meat, vegetables and pumpkin are all mixed together, add this to the oat mixture. Then you will need to add the food to freezer safe containers. My mom uses the plastic cereal Tupperware. She can stack them more easily in the freezer and they typically hold enough food for her to get a weeks worth of food out for Francine. You can also use zip locks or mason jars- just remember to take your food out earlier enough for it to thaw when it is time to use it.

Although it did not save Isabel's life it did help calm her stomach and keep her more comfortable through the months leading up to her death. We have kept up on feeding our pets the natural Sojos food and hope that it can keep them healthy and strong for their lives. All Sojos products can be found on their website.

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