I am excited to be a part of the first ever Raw/Fresh Feeding Open House! This event was created by Kimberly Gauthier of Keep the Tail Wagging, you can check out her blog here: https://keepthetailwagging.com/join-the-raw-feeding-open-house-bloghop-2/
Raw Feeding Open House Questions
Who are you and share a little about your blog and why you started it?
My name is Amanda Nelson and I have been involved with dogs and dog agility for over 30 years. My passion is agility, competing, training, and blogging about it! About 15-ish years ago my heart dog Chance (a Border Collie) was diagnosed with cancer, and I went on a mission to do everything I could to make her years with me last as long as I could, but most importantly, for her to be as happy and healthy as she could be. I did consults with various nutritionists for her diet and also ordered every book on canine nutrition that was available at the time. From there, my passion for canine nutrition and wellness grew. After multiple nutrition classes, courses, every book available, and mentoring under canine nutritionists, here I am today!
Blogging about dog food is very new to me, I have spoken about choosing commercial foods, homemade, or adding fresh at most all of my seminars and helping people when they ask for advice. But during the summer in 19’ I decided I really want to fully pursue my love for food and wellness and start a blog, and a video series. I want to help as many people as I can find the right food for their dog, and how they can make their food better by adding fresh! Even a little goes a long ways!
How many dogs and cats are you raising?
I currently have four dogs! Nargles, Allons-y, Trip, and Wall-E. They are all agility dogs, although Nargles retired from agility in Oct.
What do you feed your pet and why? Raw, homecooked…?
I rotate my dogs between all kinds of foods! I lean more towards home cooked as I have found that is what works best with all my dogs. Nargles and Wall-E have a sensitive stomach and cooked has worked the best for them, and Trip is not a huge fan of the texture of raw. I travel a lot for seminars and competitions, most of the time my dogs go with me, but they also stay home with friends or my boyfriend. So during those times I do use a commercial food with them, to make life easier. Their main “base” of food is dehydrated from Honest Kitchen, and I always add some sort of fresh to that. When I am home I will rotate almost every day what they get, so they may get a dehydrated with fresh additions in the morning, and then fully home cooked at night. I really like rotating between kinds of food and what kinds of fresh foods they get, my dogs like the variety and I love how they look and compete with this food plan.
What's something you learned or changed about your pet's diet this year?
That raw isn’t always best, feed the dog in front of you. Since Chance, I have always added some sort of fresh food to my dogs diet. And when adding meat of any kind, it was always raw. (I also add kefir, canned sardines, yogurt, etc) I have learned this year that while raw works great for many dogs, that doesn’t mean it works for my dogs. (or me for that matter!) I really do feel like changing most of my proteins to cooked (i do still feed some raw) has really improved my dogs health, and I also feel more comfortable with it.
What's an easy recipe you often feed to your pet?
I like to make a meatloaf recipe that I learned from Dr. Judy Morgan, my “easy” take on her recipe is:
6 cups of Honest Kitchen base mix
10 lbs of hamburger
6 pounds of ground turkey
2 pounds of chicken gizzards
2 pounds of chicken liver
1.5 cups of either brown rice or oats
1 dozen eggs (no shell)
I mix this all up and put in baking dishes and bake at 350* for about 45 mins. I will also rotate proteins used depending on what I can get. (I love to shop sales!)
I feed my dogs about 2.5% - 3% of their body weight when feeding this meatloaf recipe. I also make this without the Honest Kitchen base mix, and add in veggies like kale, spinach, squash, etc. (when not using HK, add in the eggshells ground up)
What's the hardest part of making food for your pet?
For me, it can be time and space. When I am traveling I am usually short on both. I don’t have a bunch of space in my RV for frozen dog food, which is why I lean on commercial for travel quite a bit. And sometimes I am just dang busy and trying to get the time in can be hard. I try hard to make things ahead (like the meatloaf) when I know I will be needing to get up early to teach, so its something easy to serve them and then get going!
The other hard thing is just doing it. There is so much information out there and trying to wade through it all can be overwhelming to the point of just wanting to quit. I love to learn and I love to challenge what I have learned, so I don't mind, most of the time.... But there are days where I just want to throw in the towel and be done with the whole dang thing. The biggest thing I have learned is to do the best you can. Do what works best for you, your dog, and your budget. Why bring budget into it? Because it matters! I need to be able to pay my bills so my dogs continue to have plushy beds out of the cold. So I do make a lot of choices for my dogs food based on budget and what I can afford. Some months I can afford quite a bit, and some months, things are a little tight.
What's the hardest part of content creation?
Trying to organize my thoughts! What ideas or topics I wanna publish, how I want to publish them. Blog? vlog? Both? And then trying to make sure I make sense! Trying to make what’s in my head make sense on paper seems to be my biggest obstacle!
What's your favorite “cooking” tool/appliance?
I LOVE my Wusthof knife! I have a few different ones and its a tie between my chefs knife, and my vegetable knife for my favorite! I use them every day and having a sharp knife that is balanced has made my life BEYOND easy! I never knew how much difference a good knife would made, now I am pretty sure I would marry them. 😁 In the future I would really like to get a meat grinder, being able to mix everything together would be fantastic and I could get some better meat prices if I could buy thighs, wings, etc and be able to grind them up for the meatloaf.
What's a movie or TV Series that you watch on repeat? What do you love about it?
I have a few different ones!
My favorite TV series are The Tudors and Doctor Who.
My favorite movies are Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Harry Potter.
And there are so many in-between, but those I could watch on repeat. In fact every year in December I watch all of the Doctor Who seasons, and then Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I save The Tudors for the summer. :-D
If I had to pick only one thing, it would be Doctor Who. Nothing inspires me more than Doctor Who, it is about hope. When all is lost, there is always hope. Always.
What pet or blogging related question/advice do you have for others?
Just start!!! I focused so much on trying to make everything “perfect”, make sure the blog looked right, that I had a concrete plan for the blog. So while I was busy doing all of that, my blog never started. Just start and make it “you” along the way.