What to feed on road trips?

by admin on March 26, 2014

The following question was posted on yet another discussion list that I formerly subscribed to.  My answer was rejected without an explanation and I was promptly banned from the list.  In protest, and so that I can delude myself into thinking that my time wasn’t wasted and that someone actually might read it and benefit from it, I’m posting it here.  If anyone had shared this information with me when I was learning how to properly feed my dog, I’d have done back flips to show my appreciation.  Yet apparently valuable information is not a desirable commodity to some people.  Amazingly, this list is entirely populated by people who raw feed their animals.  Btw I have not recommended this feeding model in the past precisely because, true to nature as it is, it nevertheless seems to strike a negative emotional chord with dog owners.  People love to *think* they are feeding their animals according to natural laws, but emotional feeding (including resistance to fasting as a regular part of the dog’s life) is NOT natural.

Question: I am planning a road trip and am wondering about keeping my dogs on a raw diet while away from home for about 10 days. What can the people on this list recommend?

Answer:  Road trips are a great opportunity to fast dogs that don’t normally get enough digestive rest.  Mogens Eliasen’s book, which attempts to apply what has been learned from wolf field observations to the feeding of domestic dogs, states that dogs are so well adapted to the feast and fast cycle that this is what they require to be ultimately healthy.  The folded surface of the canine stomach has glands which produce and secrete digestive fluids.  When the stomach is fully stretched out after a large feeding, all of these glands are activated and digestion is optimized.  If the stomach is not fully expanded, digestion can be compromised..

The catch is that you can only do the feast part if you’re willing to do other side of the equation as well.  Most dog owners feed too much and fast too little, which is very harmful.  The stomach needs to fold up, lie dormant and rest for awhile after processing a large meal.  Wolves don’t eat everyday, even when they have the option.  After they have eaten to satiety, they typically go a minimum of two full days or more before eating again.
My dog died at age 19 two years ago and for the last 6-7 years of his life I was following this gorge and fast model.  He did very well and did not visit the vet once in 11 years.  (Btw before I was able to do that I had to cut way back on his fat consumption to keep him from overproducing bile.  Bile vomiting is a common problem that should be addressed at its cause, not managed with frequent feeding or by never fasting the dog.)  I always found this strategy particularly easy when doing a road trip because I could buy food as needed, allow my dog to eat a good large meal then not have to worry about it again for a couple days.  Since you’re driving or otherwise busy (presumably), you’ll be out of your routine anyway and also you won’t be susceptible to the normal behaviors dogs are inadvertently taught that get them fed (begging, hanging around the kitchen, bowl licking, etc.).  Because your dogs are already raw, they will not be experiencing the unpleasantness of withdrawal that kibble fed dogs can experience during a fast.

How to feed raw affordably

by admin on January 10, 2014

Hi Nora,
We have limited financial resources, don’t feed supplements, feed kibble with an occasional egg, drizzle of olive oil, or leftovers from the stock pot or juicer, or kefir from raw milk.   I see your point that combining those foods intentionally won’t improve their digestibility.   I’m considering purchasing chicken backs by the 40 pound case as a meat/bone resource, but they will be from conventionally raised chicken… and I’m sure that means GMO corn and antibiotics.  I can’t picture myself buying grassfed meats for my animals in addition to my human kids – just not enough money for everyone to eat well. We adopted a puppy that we thought was Lab/Coon Hound  and then discovered later that there was another breed – American Bulldog.  She’s huge.  Well over 100#, much larger than our other Black Lab/ Coon Hound female.   I’m hoping to learn more about how to feed both of them an affordable, healthy diet in place of, or to supplement their commercial kibble.  Thank you for your help.
Dear Diane,
Thanks for visiting my site.
Feeding big dogs is a challenge financially, but if you want to do it properly, the methods explained in my booklet offer the least expensive options.  I’m not aware of anyone else in the raw feeding world who is offering owners effective ways to manage the cost of feeding their dogs properly.  All of the ‘experts’ advise things like feeding expensive meats, oils and supplements, and they are mostly ignorant about certain characteristics of dogs that give us opportunities to cut costs in ways that will only help them stay healthier.
If I were going to eat meat myself, I’d buy grass fed.  Trying to feed large dogs grass fed meats is another matter, and it’s entirely unnecessary.  We can accomplish much more just by buying cheap conventional meats that can be trimmed, like poultry.  Fat is the problem, because that is where the toxins that were fed to the animal are stored primarily.  Unfortunately that means backs and necks are out, because a great deal of the fat on them is not trimmable.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t options that are almost as cheap.  For big dogs, one great food is turkey legs.  They can be very large so often some of the muscle has to be trimmed off to make them balanced.  But they have hard bone, very little fat, require practically no preparation and can be had as cheaply as $1.30/lb. if you buy in bulk.
The most beneficial cost-saving feeding practice of all is something that I’ve never even heard mentioned by anyone else, and holds by far the most potential return in the area of improved health:  ‘UNDERfeeding’.  This can take many forms including smaller daily feedings or feeding only on alternating days.  Yes, that means feeding your dog only every other day.  Owners that use this strategy find that their dogs get much more energetic and healthy, almost regardless of what they feed.  Even vets know that dogs who are kept very lean do not get sick.  I’m not talking about skinny senior dogs in the wasting stages of disease.  I’m talking about dogs who are kept lean their entire lives.  They not only live longer, they enjoy a higher level of health and much less sickness at all stages of life.  Some dogs are genetically lean, so leanness isn’t the only indicator that a dog is healthy.  We can be assured that if a dog is NOT lean, disease is being formed in the body even if it’s not showing yet.
Alternate-day feeding or similar practices combined with aspects of my mono-rotational program can make raw feeding affordable for anyone who can afford to feed a pet at all.  Take away disease-causing and useless regular vaccination and having a pet becomes even more affordable.  And we haven’t even gotten to all the vet visits you won’t be paying for.  Even overfed or mis-fed raw dogs make regular trips to the vet, so just raw feeding doesn’t prevent all problems.  It has to be done properly, and that is not complicated or difficult.  In fact, feeding in the best possible way is actually CHEAPER and MUCH EASIER than almost everyone who raw feeds or advocates raw feeding makes it.
I hope this is helpful.  Thanks again for emailing and best of luck as you try to do right by your dogs.

More on the grape/raisin toxicity myth

January 7, 2014

I received yet another testimonial from a dog owner whose dog ate what should have been a fatal quantity of raisins and did not die or even get seriously ill.  If you have a similar story to tell, please email me and I will add it.  I think it would be helpful to others who find themselves in like circumstances.  When [...]

Read the full article →

The Cure for ‘Pickiness’

August 6, 2013

I am having some trouble with my greyhound. He is currently raw but is developing into a picky eater and there is more raw stuff now that he won’t eat than what he will. I am seriously considering putting him on kibble, as I am really tired of him not eating his food, since I [...]

Read the full article →


May 24, 2013

In honor of the beginning of “flea season”, I thought I’d post the following question I received in my email: Dear Nora, Thanks for providing such great information in relation with natural hygiene and all. A main question I have for you pertains to fleas. My dog has been attracting fleas continuously for the past [...]

Read the full article →

Urinary Crystals in Cats

January 7, 2013

Nora, I was given your name by a friend who has utmost respect for all that you do. My 13 year-old male cat is experiencing crystals in his urine which was shown to me by a vet, and, obviously I am thinking, in his urinary tract. The vet suggested canned S/D Science Diet, which he will [...]

Read the full article →

No Middle Ground on Vaccination

November 13, 2012

Recently I participated in a discussion on a cat forum about the pros and cons of micro-chipping.  One of the “cons” was that chipping is thought by some to cause or contribute to cancer.  Personally, I’ve been sitting the fence on micro-chipping, but not because I think it causes cancer.  It doesn’t.  Cancer is a progressive, [...]

Read the full article →

Cat ‘Acne’

August 29, 2012

“Our cat Oscar, who we rescued nearly 4 years ago, has developed a bad acne problem…At first we had no idea it was even acne…We saw things on his hin, and assumed he had gotten into a cat fight..But no; its acne..We have popped several of the zits: and wash his chin with soap….We also [...]

Read the full article →

Double Standards

August 16, 2012

From time to time I get inquiries from pet owners who are experiencing a crisis with their animals and are seeking other information besides what they get from their vets.  I’m always amazed at how these individuals sometimes set the bar very high for *new*/alternative information compared to the very low standards of credibility and discernment they use [...]

Read the full article →

How much to feed?

August 1, 2012

Hi All, I got the following questions from a client I’ve been working with whose dog was suffering from frequent hot spots.  I hear these questions all the time so I thought it might be helpful to post them and my response here. Hi Nora, I thought I’d give you an update.  Barkley has been [...]

Read the full article →