Life With a Dog

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In response to some of the questions I’ve been getting about how we do things around here with our dogs, I’ve decided to start documenting some of the simple “life hacks” I’ve learned along the way that have made raising and living with dogs easier. Maybe one day I’ll document having a kid or fixing up a house, but for now my life consists of dogs and being on the road. So that’s what I write about mostly. Pretty good gig if you ask me. Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Life hack # 1: Feed them the good stuff.

Side note, this post’s alternative title could be “Does your dog have vicious farts?”, but we’ll stick with the former for (Jack’s) integrity purposes.

When we first brought Jack home we were noobs when it came to raising a dog despite having both grown up with family dogs (him, a blubbery basset hound named Daisy and me, a viciously sweet doberman named Sugar). We had just graduated from college and moved from the quaint town of Raleigh, North Carolina to the big city of San Francisco, California and were overjoyed to have scored the coolest little spot above a bookstore in the trendy Mission district of the city. We were even more stoked when we found out our building allowed dogs. We hadn’t even finished moving in before we went to the local rescue and adopted Jack. And he was the cutest puppy. Eeek, my eyes cross just thinking about it. Squatty legs, soulful eyes, a dark brown pirate patch over one eye. He slept so much we thought our place had a carbon monoxide leak (turns out puppies just sleep a lot, go figure). The only concerning thing was….he had vicious farts. You read that right. FARTY, party of one. Little dude could smoke you out of the room after finishing a meal. We had been feeding him from a large bag of food that was sent home with us (likely a donation made to the shelter). We noticed right away that it seemed to upset his stomach. We thought maybe he was just adapting to his new environment and needed a few days to adjust. Then a few days later, after summoning the gods of google, we learned that all dog foods aren’t created equal. There was a reason Jack’s stomach was making an orchestral symphony of noises after he ate, and that reason was: we were feeding him the wrong ingredients. Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

When it comes to diet, dogs are a lot like us. Although their ancestors are mainly carnivores, the domesticated version of dogs we see today are actually meat-preferring omnivores. This means their bodies thrive on meat, but can also digest a variety of other foods including some vegetables and even grains. However, also like us, dogs need a balanced diet to properly nourish their bodies and fuel them for activities.
I won’t name names, but a lot of dog food companies out there disregard this need for a balanced diet in our dogs. Instead of offering protein-rich foods, they pack their kibble with inexpensive ingredients like corn and other grains. This is mostly because it’s more cost effective to produce, allowing them to sell large quantities of cheaply manufactured food at a lower cost to the consumer. These brands sneakily promote their foods using buzz words like “natural”, “premium”, or “gourmet” on their bags, even though their foods are far from that. 
We found that Jack’s stomach issues were a result of the unbalanced diet he was receiving from the generic dog food whose first ingredient was corn. We learned that when in doubt, flip the bag over and read the ingredients. Although it was more expensive, we made the switch to food thats first ingredient was meat (poultry) to calm his stomach and make sure he was receiving the proper nutrients he needed. Six years in and he hasn’t had any major issues since.

When we were asked by Merrick Pet Care to test out their new Backcountry Raw Infused recipe, we were really excited. Not only had we seen their products at our local pet store, but we knew they were a brand that promoted the all-natural lifestyle that we implement with our dogs. Their recipes provide active dogs with the nutritional benefits of a raw diet they would have discovered in the wild. They sent us their puppy and adult recipes and a variety of wet foods to try out. To say our dogs loved them would be a massive understatement. Keeper likes it so much she whimpers when she hears me preparing it in the dining room. The kibble is a protein-rich combination of easily recognizable meats and vegetables like turkey, sweet potatoes, peas, and chicken fat, and even has pieces of freeze-dried raw poultry mixed in throughout. The wet food comes in a variety of grain-free stews with meats like venison and salmon, mixed in with vegetables and gravy. Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

When it comes to feeding your pup, give them the good stuff. Making the switch years ago to a quality dog food with meat as the first ingredient not only silenced Jack’s stomach pains, it better equipped him (and Keeper now too) to get the nutrients they need to live a long and healthy life.

Not to mention it will make for some *really* happy dogs.

This post was sponsored by Merrick. We only promote brands we use ourselves. 
  • Anna Grace Martin

    wait. you’re from raleigh? i live in chapel hill! heyo!