People food and dog food are all food

Dog food is people food is food

 

Stopped by Giant in Ashburn, VA because they were having sale on chicken.  Ok, I  lie, I went in there to buy some “Skinny POP” but then saw that the chicken was on sale.  Two large broilers for less than $15!  What a steal.

We have 3 dogs and we feed them raw but on occasions, we try to vary their food so that they don’t get bored.  The photo above was breakfast this morning and below you will find the recipe.

Recipe for Chicken Soup with carrots and alfalfa meal for dogs

Chicken — 2 Whole chicken, cage free, no antibiotics.  Cost less than $15 for both in Giant, Ashburn, VA (Junction Plaza location)

Boil both chicken in a large pot that fits both of them with enough space around for water.  Once it starts boiling, put on very low heat for up to 4 hours.  This allows all the nutrients to seep into the soup.  Please do not put any seasoning.

I usually wait until the next day to feed the chicken because it gives it time to cool down.  1 cup of the chicken meat + 1 cup of the soup then I added the following:

  • chopped carrots (its actually better if you can run this through a food processor because dogs have very short digestive tracts and have a hard time digesting veggies.  But my dogs have been eating carrots, even whole carrots as snacks forever so they are use to it and when I look at their poop (sign of a true Jedi Master), the carrot parts are mostly digested but will sometimes have bite size pieces.
  • Sprouted Alfalfa sprouts  (lots of protein and is consider a super green food)
  • Since this meal does not contain all the minerals and nutrients our dogs need, I will also add

Adding the additional vitamins and nutrients isn’t essential (as long as you are feeding them complete diets in other meals) but varying your pets diet from dry food and adding “human” food is essential… if you want them to live a long and happy life.  Its also important to note this fact:  “human” food and “dog” food was all a marketing ploy to get you to buy dry kibble.  All food is food and the fresher it is, the better for all living species.   Let me end this by inserting this study:

In 2005 a study was performed by Purdue University (not the chicken company) on Scottish Terriers.  By adding fresh vegetables to their dry commercial diets slowed down and prevented transitional cell carcinoma (also known as bladder cancer).   They found that dogs that ate green leafy vegetables had a reduced risk of cancer by 90% and dogs who consumed yellow and orange vegetables reduced the risk by 70%.

We hope this was helpful to you and your pets, for any questions / clarifications, please don’t hesitate to ask.  We are always here for our community.

References:

  1. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/why-adding-human-food-to-your-dogs-diet-is-so-important/
  2. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2009/10/10/can-human-food-be-beneficial-for-your-pet.aspx
  3. https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-feeding-tips/dogs-table-food/

All Natural Flea and Tick Repellant

Keep these monsters away, naturally
Keep these monsters away, naturally

I use to be one of those super paranoid Pet Parents and I use to put the pharmaceutical anti-flea and tick medication like clockwork, every month on the dot.  I never missed a date.   We use to use  Nextguard and Sentinel and like a regular consumer, I never really thought about how it worked, I just knew that it did. It was when my foster pup couldn’t tolerate the medication because of his liver disease that’s when I started thinking more about it.

Why are pharmaceutical anti-flea and anti-tick medications so dangerous?

According to Dr. Cathy Allinovi, DVM, “…the safety testing procedures for these products were not were not sufficient for these chemicals.”  She also mentioned that the active ingredients of the newer insecticides are whats known as Isoxazoline, therefore a flea/ tick must bite your pet before it contacts the chemical.  If the flea does not bite, it does not die.  She goes on to mention the following side effects of more common chemical insecticides…

  • Trifexis side effects include: vomiting, kidney renal failure, death
  • Nexguard side effects include: vomiting, diarrhea, itching, seizures
  • Bravecto side effects include: untreatable seizures that lead to death
  • Simparica side effects include: seizures (one dog during the study had to be euthanized)

Information from: Are combination chewable heartworm/flea/tick medication safe for my dog?

According to Dr. Deva Khalsa VMD, CVA, FBIH, “…evidence now shows both the active and some inactive ingredients in spot-on preparations have been linked to serious health effects both in laboratory animals and pets.” She further states that Dr. Dobozy of the EPA’s Pesticide Division has found fipronil (active ingredient of Frontline)  remain in the pets system and had the potential to disrupt the nervous system and thyroid.   Furthermore, test on laboratory animals resulted in the following:  thyroid cancer, liver toxicity, kidney toxicity and convulsion.

This information is from,  The dangers of flea and tick products  — also discusses more chemicals used as active ingredients such as Imidocloprid and Pyrethroids (permethrin)

Imidocloprid side effects include: thyroid lesions, liver toxicity, damage to liver, heart, lungs and spleen.

Pyrethroids side effects include: brain damage, heart attacks and seizures. Permethrin is also carcinogenic causing lung cancer and liver tumors.

Dr. Khalsa also mentions that the best alternatives to chemical pesticides is prevention.  “Healthy dogs and cats are not good hosts to parasites”

Safe Alternatives to prevent fleas, ticks and mosquito bites

Here are what we use for our pack.  We have 3 dogs and 4 cats and this is the treatment option that we have decided to move forward with.  

  1. Daily supplement of Garlic and Brewers Yeast:  Garlic is great at keeping away ticks and fleas but please note too much garlic is toxic to both dogs and cats.  Garlic, when taken orally, repels ticks and fleas because of the pungent smell that pets excrete when they’ve been taken for atleast 2 weeks.   More information on garlic, read this: Garlic for Dogs and this: The Shocking truth about garlic.  Brewers yeast is rich in Antioxidants, B vitamins an Omega fatty acids.  More information on Brewers yeast here:  Benefits of Brewers Yeast.  We buy a supplement from Amazon called Petguard, Yeast & Garlic wafers and give them to our dogs daily. Petguard has both garlic and brewers yeast. 
  2. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):  Aside from helping repel fleas and ticks, there are so many uses of ACV, more information here:  ACV, A Holistic Remedy for dogs. We put ACV in our dogs water bowls and spray it directly on their fur on days where they are outside for extended periods. It lists the following as advantages of Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Relieves arthritis  
    • Improves digestion
    • Helps UTI
    • Improves fur
    • Clears skin of bacterial infections
    • Makes dogs less attractive to biting insects
    • Helps prevent food poisoning
    • Natural anti-biotic 
    • Helps muscle fatigue
    • Helps itching
  3. Combination of Diatomaceous Earth (food grade), Neem Powder and Yarrow powder, in equal parts.  We read about this from Dogs Naturally and simply love that its non-toxic and will repel fleas and ticks on contact.  This will also repel flies and mosquitoes.    Mix the ingredients equally into a mason jar.  Make sure its mixed really well.  To apply, expose your dogs skin by combing it back and the spreading the power evenly, everywhere.  For a medium sized dog, you only need to use a teaspoon so this should last you for a long time.  You are not only saving money but you are probably saving your dog from chronic conditions that are caused by toxic and chemical based flea and tick repellants.  Apply powder monthly to keep the fleas, ticks, flies and mosquitoes at bay.

I want to repeat what Dr. Khalsa mentioned, “Healthy dogs and cats are not good hosts to parasites.” So please keep your dog healthy in terms of exercise and nutrition.  Feed them quality proteins instead of commercial dog food and make sure you walk them daily.

Dogma’s Revenue Streams

Dogma's Revenue Streams
Dogma’s Revenue Streams

Everytime we went on pet shows we had this huge banner, “Free Pet Sitting” and quite a number of folks would come over to say hello and ask us how it works.  Before they leave, the more curious ones will ask, “so how do you guys make money?”

Revenue Streams

Commission from Pet Sitting Services

Yes, Dogma.me is a free pet sitting service.  Users can exchange pet sitting services with other Users who live within their neighborhood.  Its really that simple but if you can’t find someone in your neighborhood, we also have professional pet sitters you can hire.  Photo below is a screenshot of the User Interface of Dogma.  The red circle represents the area for professional pet sitters.  Dogma is also a great place for new pet sitters who are just starting out and don’t have a lot of clients yet.  When I started pet sitting for other folks for free, they would often come back to me and ask me to pet sit for them again but they would always insist on paying.

Free Pet Sitting or Professional Pet Sitting, the choice is yours!
Free Pet Sitting or Professional Pet Sitting, the choice is yours!

Advertising

We didn’t really think about this revenue stream, it presented itself to us.  We received a phone call from a User in Dogma and she asked us how much to advertise and right there and then we created that revenue stream.  Since all our members are pet owners we will only be accepting advertising from pet-related companies.  We will also only accept advertising of products and services we wholeheartedly believe in and would use.

Affiliate Program with Amazon.com

More recently we started to write content on our website about practical pet care.   We started doing it because Dogma is a Community that is about Practical Pet Care and we want to approach that in a wholistic way.  Yes we introduce like-minded members who want to pet sit for each other but we wanted to take it a step further in providing practical pet care solutions to everyone who cares about their pets well-being:  what they eat, their overall health, etc.  With this in mind, we signed up for Amazon’s Affliate program and you can start buying products that we use and recommend.

Supplements for Senior Dogs

Supplements for Older Dogs
Supplements for Older Dogs

As your dogs age, you will notice so many things change.   My dog Junior went from a happy go-lucky pup to an old scrooge within the the span of 12 months and he didn’t seem like the same dog.  He stopped wanting to go for long walks.  He stopped wanting to run up and down the stairs.  Little did I know that all the dry dog food I was feeding him was causing his body chronic inflammation, yeast infections, chronic pain and last but not least, he had cancer.  I didn’t know it then and shrugged it off to him getting older.  Then finally I was worried enough to take him to the vet and discovered that my young 6-years-old pup had a luxating patella and cancer.  Talk about bad news.  This happened 4 years ago.  He is now free of both his luxating patella and cancer diagnosis and we did it all through changing his diet from dry food to raw food and adding supplements to his daily regimen.

Basic Supplements for senior dogs

Here is list of basic supplements that we provide for our senior dogs

  • Probiotics — giving your dogs probiotics  (billions of beneficial bacteria) helps keep their biggest immune organ healthy.   This organ is his gut and its your dogs first line of defense against bacterial and viral infections. Giving them probiotics as often as possible helps retain the balance of the good bacteria over the bad.  Probiotics are highly recommended for all stages in life both for dogs and cats.  Make sure the probiotics have prebiotics as well since they are symbiotic.
  • Omega 3 Fatty acids — There are so many reasons your dogs benefits from Omega 3 supplements including helping prevent and alleviate arthritis, improving health of skin and coat, better allergy reactions, helps prevent heart problems, helps maintain blood pressure and so much more!
  • Digestive Enzymes —  If you feed your dogs dry food, the earlier you start supplementing with digestive enzymes, the earlier they will be able to absorb and process nutrients from their food.  Since commercial dry food is mainly made of starches and grain, dogs do not have the enzymes to break down these food groups.  Adding Digestive Enzymes to their diet will alleviate this problem but will not solve it.
  • Multivitamins — Dogs need vitamins is the same reason we need vitamins and as our dogs age the more targeted these needs are and thats why we recommend adding “Senior Support”
  • Senior Support — this supplement is to strengthen functions in the digestive, circulatory, immune and nervous systems of senior pets

If you have any questions / clarifications, please contact us.  We are always happy to share our experiences with pet food, supplements and toys.

Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Dresser Cat is back
Dresser Cat is back

Tabitha (Tabby) was our foster cat. She was adopted four months ago. Recently, the adoptive Mom called up the Rescue that we volunteer for and asked if they could “take the cat back because she was peeing everywhere.”

We called Tabitha, ‘Dresser Cat’ because when we first got her she was so scared of everything and would hide under the dresser every time we came into her room. She stayed under the dresser for a good couple of months when we first got her. Fast forward to eight months later, she was already comfortable in her foster home. We thought for sure that she was a forever foster until we got a call that she had an adoption application pending. We were happy because she deserved her own home, a quiet home. Our house has 4 dogs, 3 cats and a couple of goats so it wasn’t really conducive for a shy cat who had previously lived alone with her human.

Causes of Hyperthyrodism in Cats

When I went to pick up Tabby after agreeing to foster her again, there were some signs that her health wasn’t optimized. Bear in mind that she wasn’t being treated badly or physically abused. Tabitha, our 15-years-old cat was a victim of the lack of knowledge in nutritional health. Here are the signs of poor nutritional knowledge:

  1. The poop in the cat litter was mush. Cats poop should be solid not mush. I am a poop detective and proud of it and all my furry kids have good poop, its how I know that they are well.
  2. In the house, strewn around was the cat treat, Temptations. There were maybe 4 bags, all opened. Not the small bags mind you, the large ones. There was even a large plastic container and that was half way empty. I give my cats the same treat but you should really read the label in terms of how much to give your cat daily, its 15 treats daily per every 10 lbs of weight. We are guilty of giving this to our cats and have a large bag of temptations at home, its half gone but we’ve had it for over a month and we have 3 cats! By the looks of it this 15-years-old cat cat was probably getting fed cat temptations instead of proper food. Try eating McDonalds daily and see what happens to you. Here are other people’s experience with Temptations. Also if you read the ingredient list of Temptations, the top ones are Chicken Byproduct Meal and GMO Corn, Rice. The chicken byproduct has no nutrients. Corn and Rice are both starches, a food group that cats cannot even digest.
  3. I also asked about her food, and she said she was feeding her dry and wet food. She showed me a can of Friskies and a pouch, whose main content was fish and byproducts. I specifically remember telling her to feed Tabby only quality wet food so that she will thrive. I guess quality for her meant Friskies, a Purina Company. Here are other peoples experience with Purina, Cat Food and dog food. Kidney failure, Liver failure… to name a few. Imagine eating this crap for 4 months, I am beyond devastated for Tabby, my 15 year old foster who didn’t deserve this.

When I started this journey, I didn’t know anything about kidney or liver disease or any of the diseases caused by cat food. I know most people know nothing about nutrition so here are Articles on the Causes of Hyperthyroidism in Cats:

  • Flame Retardant (PBDE) linked to Feline Hyperthyroidism — Japanese scientists found the link between PBDE and marine organisms. Its not so much eating of the fish per se but the quality of the fish. It is important to note that Whales and Gulls started developing Thyroid issues about the same time that Cat Hyperthyroidism was reported. It was in the 1970’s and thats also the time when Industrial pollution was at its highest. Since we haven’t totally gotten rid of pollution in our oceans, the fish that the cat food is made from seem to be the likely culprit of the PBDE’s found in their system. Its important to note that the chemical PBDE also comes from other household products and not just fish from canned food. But Friskies and the overall brand of Purina is not famous for their quality food. If they are using byproducts of fish in their canned food, I’m pretty sure the accumulation of the months she ate it, for a 15 year old cat, could have caused this issue.
  • The truth about Commercial Cat Food — Personally, I would never feed my pets commercial cat food, all the common diseases of house cats can be traced to feeding them commercial cat food. These diseases are: diabetes, UTI, Chronic kidney disease, cardiomyopathy, hyperthyroidism, cancer, fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis). Yes thats right commercial cat food can cause hyperthyroidism because they contain too much carbohydrates and the iodine content may be too high as its not regulated. (Disclaimer on link provided, I loved this Vets advise on commercial cat good but I would recommend a more comprehensive diet for cats and not just plain human food, they need digestive enzymes and a few more minerals that human food does not contain as we are not carnivores and do not eat bone meals)
  • Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder of cats — in this post the Endocrinologist states, “…despite the fact that nutritional factors and cat food likely has a role in the etiopathogenesis of the disease…” meaning that commercial pet food could be and is likely the culprit of hyperthyroidism. In this article the Vet also states that he suggests feeding cats a high quality protein to improve muscle mass, strength and agility.

Food for Hyperthyroid Cats

When we first fostered Tabby in March of 2015. She came to us with medication for anxiety. She was taking Prozac. We slowly weened her out of that. Over the course of a month we gave her less and less of the prozac all the while feeding her high quality canned cat food. Initially she didn’t want to eat wet, canned cat food. She was use to eating dry food. So we mixed in a little wet food at a time. We eventually converted her eating wet food only. When she had made the switch, we saw no obvious signs of anxiety in her, in fact she started getting more comfortable with the other dogs and cats in the house.

Eating overly-processed food, junk food, food with no nutritional value such as fast food, will not allow your body to heal itself naturally as nature intended. Without proper nutrition your body will slowly succumb to disease. In that same line of thought, Food is medicine. You won’t be sickly if you eat a proper diet, same thing with pets.

Here is a list of food that we feed our cats. We hope it is helpful.  We use them for our own pets and we see the huge difference with them vs. a few years ago when we didn’t know anything about nutrition. Without further adieu, here are our favorite cat food that we use for our cats for optimal health benefits:

  • Weruva Chicken: We love it because it is grain-free no GMOs, has no antibiotics and no added hormones. It also has no Careegenan, which is a major plus. Weruva also doens’t put kelp in their food so less iodine content, which is great for cats with hyperthyroidism.
  • Blue Wilderness Chicken & Trout: Made from real chicken and trout. Free from by-products. No artificial preservatives!
  • Stella & Chewy’s Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner: We love it because its got nutrient rich bone and organ meat! Rich in taurine and probiotics! All the good stuff basically.
  • Darwin’s Raw Cat food:  All the benefits of raw food in this diet will definitely help your cats heal chronic malnutrition

Supplement for a Hyperthydroid Cat

Mercola’s Liver and Kidney Support: If you click the link you will see a video of Dr. Karen Becker who will better explain how this supplement can assist your cat who has hyperthyroidism.

Basic Supplements for your Cat

The food that we give our pets are never enough because lets face it, its not fresh. Any food thats been prepared will lose essential nutrients and whats why we need to supplement. Here are our all the supplements we give our cats:

  • Wild Salmon Oil: We love it because we know it keeps their joints, immune system, coats, heart, muscles, etc healthy. Fish oil is amazing stuff, you should probably be taking it as well. Get the wild and not farmed variety because the nutrients will be stronger.  Also low quality fish oil will do more harm than good so please make sure you use quality supplements at all times.
  • Digestive Enzyme: Better absorption of food when using a digestive enzyme
  • Probiotics:  We added probiotics to help her further strengthen her immune system
  • Vitamins:  If you take vitamins, its the same reason you should give your pets vitamins
  • Senior Support:  I personally love this supplement because it helps provide support for liver, kidneys, heart and immune system.  It keeps them healthy even when they are much older.

Using the diet above, Tabitha’s poop is now solid only after a week and she has stopped peeing multiple times a day. She now only pees twice daily, which is what my other cats do.

I wish we could afford to just feed our cats with Stella & Chewy’s but because we take in fosters, its a bit too much for our budget so we spread it. We buy what we can with the budget that we have. We make sure that the food they are eating will not cause them to get sick and thats essentially our main concern. Food is suppose to heal and thats the kind of food that we buy for our pets.

Where to buy: Buying from Amazon is cheaper than buying from Petco or PetSmart. In Amazon a can of Blue Wilderness is about $1.15 and in PetCo (Warrenton, VA) the same can goes for $1.79 — thats savings of $0.64 per can.  You can also buy Weruva products from a nearby neighborhood pet food store.

If budget is an issue, buy high quality, grain-free dry food and give them canned food or even better, raw food every other meal. Remember even if its called, “grain-free” it still has carbohydrates almost 30-40% of dry food is all starch. Canned food only has 10% carbs. Carbohydrates is a food group that cats do not need and cannot process. Another important aspect of wet food is the moisture content. Dry food only has 10% water whereas the natural diet of cats normally contain up to 70% moisture. Also, the high heat used in processing the dry food kills all the nutrients in the food.

More information here about why cats need more than dry kibble.

Good food and regular exercise equates to less Vet visits

Tabby was returned to us with medicine tablets called Tapazole. Prescription is half tablet twice a day. We noticed though that she would stop eating with the meds so I have lessened the meds to just 1/4th tablet per day and will increase the dose as we go along. I will also get another blood test reading sometime soon so we can get a grip on this. Because of the upheaval, she’s in a strange place again so I took the liberty of putting Feliway in her room. Its helped calm her down and she’s slowly remembering.

dresser-cat-hyperthyroidism
Dresser Cat is now Drawer Cat and thriving!

When she first came to us, I thought for sure that we would have a foster who needed to go to the vet often since she was on Prozac. I’m glad the high-quality food was able to reverse the damage done in her previous life. We only went to the vet once in the 8 months that we had her.

I will update this article once she’s all better. Being 15 years old, I am hoping the damage is reversible and thats she’s able to get better from having hyperthyroidism.

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, I am a web developer, SEO professional and free pet-sitting Startup founder. I am a cat owner, well they would argue that they own me. I have had cats forever. SEO is essentially about research: findings and testing. I have applied my professional experience to my personal one and have done fervent research to support any of my material claims. Nevertheless, please note that everything you read here is subjective, it is my experience and you should find a holistic vet to verify treatment plans for your pet. Please note that I mentioned holistic vet because they will try to find the cause of the issue and address it, wholistically instead of prescribe an antibiotic. Vets are only starting to understand nutrition now but even so still lack the focus that food is medicine.

Probiotics for Optimum Health

Probiotics enhance your dogs health
Probiotics enhance your dogs health

Probiotics are supplements that people take to help boost their immune system.  Like people, dogs need help boosting their immune systems as well.  If you feed your dog dry food, its even more important to give them probiotics because dry food doesn’t provide the nutrients, vitamins and minerals your dogs need.

Reasons why your dogs need probiotics

  1. The gut is the largest immune organ in the body, probiotics help keep this immune organ healthy
  2. Probiotics helps remove toxins, enhance digestion and out-grow disease causing microorganisms
  3. Probiotics help with allergies
  4. Probiotics are your dogs best defense against disease
  5. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that ward off bad bacteria from overtaking their gastro-intestinal tracts
  6. Probiotics help with pet vitality
  7. After giving your dogs antibiotics, giving them probiotics will help heal the good bacteria that the antibiotics killed
  8. When you dog drinks water from dirty sources, probiotics help regulate the bad and good bacteria
  9. Anytime your dog is stressed ie. travel, change in routine, probiotics will help regulate the balance of good and bad bacteria in pets digestive system
  10. Probiotics help with chronic diarrhea
  11. Probiotics help recovery after surgery much faster
  12. Probiotics prevent leaky gut

…and many more reasons.

In the 3 years we have been giving our dogs probiotics, we have noticed that they don’t get sick, vomit or have diarrhea anymore.  Its pretty amazing.

Things to know when buying Probiotics

  • There are a lot of cheap probiotics that will not do much and contain very little CFU’s (Colony Forming Units), less than a million when you need between 1 – 4 Billion CFU’s for general health maintenance
  • The viability of the probiotic — remember to look for an expiration date
  • Look for beneficial strains such as Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, L Rhamnosus, L fermentum, L Salivarious and L Reuteri

Give your dogs (and cats) daily probiotics and watch them bloom and become healthy day in and day out.  If you feed your dogs a healthy complete diet and use probiotics and Omega-3’s via wild Salmon oil then you are on the right track!

Dog Food and Supplements for Liver Health

Cooper the 6-year-old that was dying of Liver Disease
Cooper, my foster pup who was dying of Liver Disease

When I agreed to foster a dog who was only 6 years old and was dying of liver disease, it was a hard to decision to make.  I had never fostered a dog that was dying and in my heart I knew it was going to be very hard to deal with emotionally because it was going to break my heart.  Thankfully after daily vet visits, a few blood tests and the standard biopsy, it didn’t turn out to be cancer and was inconclusive.  The Vet didn’t know what was causing his liver values to escalate almost 1000% times more than normal values.  Thankfully, the group that I foster for, Paws for Seniors, trusted my decisions moving forward.

Homemade Meals

I didn’t know a dog that didn’t want to eat raw food, which is what i feed my pack.  But for some reason, in the first two weeks, Cooper, my foster dog, couldn’t eat raw.  So I cooked him homemade meals.  I bought whole, organic chicken from Costco and boiled it down.  I put a cup of turmeric, a cup of ginger and two cans of organic pumpkin. Please make sure you use a big pot when you follow this recipe.

This recipe will last a 10 lbs dog more than two weeks.  Its important to feed your dog frequent small meals so initially, for the first 4 days, I would feed Cooper atleast 5 times per day.  Small portions (like 3 tablespoons full).  After 5 days, feeding was decreased to 3 times per day (morning, noon and night).  I also started him on VetriScience Liver Supplement on that first week.

List of Ingredients

  • Organic Chicken, boiled whole for 4 hours — main food to feed them until they start eating  (2 weeks)
  • Fresh Ginger — add to chicken when cooking, 1 cup for 1 whole chicken
  • Fresh Tumeric — add to chicken when cooking, 1 cup for 1 whole chicken
  • Organic Pumpkin — add to chicken when cooking, 2 cans for a whole chicken

Boil the ingredients in a large pot for about 4 hours until the meat is falling off the chicken bone.   Turn off and then let it cool.  Carefully remove all the bones from the chicken and store properly.  Since this food lasts for over 2 weeks for a small dog, I had to freeze about half of the chicken food and simply thawed the containers before feeding.

Complete list of Food and Ingredients

The list provides complete dog food and supplements for liver health!  All food and supplements mentioned above provide the values to give to your dog depending on their weight. Please read the recommended daily allowance when feeding / supplementing.

Liver Values before and after this diet

Before I changed Cooper’s diet, his liver values was through the roof. Here is a screenshot of this liver values. Note his AST, ALT and Alk Phosphatase values are all in the red and exceeded normal values.

Liver Values were dangerously high
Liver Values were dangerously high

This blood test was done on Feb 29, 2016 and on June of the same year, we took his blood test again and here are the results.  You can see for yourself that his liver had healed on its own.  No pharmaceutical medication was prescribed and this was achieved through a healthy diet and supplements that helped heal his liver.

After 4 months his Liver values were back to normal
After 4 months his Liver values were back to normal

Kidney Health

On the values above you can also note that his Kidney levels were high, his BUN/Creatinine Ratio was high but it decreased values from 90 to 60 after 4 months on a pure meat diet.  Its interesting to note this because Vets will tell you not to feed too much protein to your dogs with high kidney values.  What Vets misunderstand is that commercial dry dog food is made of mostly plant protein because its cheaper.  Thats how the pass the AAFCO requirements for protein in dog food.  The AAFCO also doesn’t verify what kind of protein is in dog food.  Plant protein is hard to digest for dogs because they lack the enzymes to digest plants.  Real meat protein is not hard to digest and helps them build muscle mass. Plus an important piece of information here is that dogs naturally eat meat so how can their natural, specie appropriate diet be bad for them?  Its not.  Whats bad for them is the cheap protein made from plants that commercial food manufacturers choose to use because its means more profit for them.   To me, the most ironic discovery throughout this journey is this:  Commercial Pet Food Manufacturers make food not for the health and well being of your dogs, they do it because its a very profitable business.

If your dog is on a raw diet and has elevated kidney values, Vets will naturally try to restrict the high protein diet.  But, that shouldn’t be the case because dogs need protein to build muscle.  The reason they try to restrict it is because of the high phosphorus levels that produce nitrogen.  Nitrogen will exacerbate the liver and kidneys.  Holistic Vet, Dr. Don Hamilton states that reducing protein may actually reduce the effectivity of the kidney because reducing protein in turn reduces the filtering properties of the kidneys and leads to higher toxicity levels because the kidneys are not doing their intended jobs properly. Read more here.

To remove the phosphorus from a raw diet, feed the dog with dark green veggies (spinach, kale, dandelion leaves, alfalfa) that are high in calcium so that the phosphorus binds to it and goes out in the poop instead of through the kidneys. This will keep the BUN levels down.  Don’t forget to add prebiotics and probiotics to help remove the phosphorus via the poop instead of the bloodstream.

Daily Exercise for Liver Health

Aside from all the healthy food and supplements please make sure they get daily exercise.  I noticed with Cooper that whenever I missed a day, he would seem weaker so I started walking him daily.  At least a mile.  He is a small dog and only weighs 10 lbs so exercise will depend on their size and weight.  Please also remember to build up to it.  Week 1 should include 10 to 15 mins of walking, Week 2 should be 20 – 30 mins, Week 3 should be 30 mins and so on until the dog builds their strength.  Please do not tire them out and know what their limits are.  Please also have fresh, clean water always available.

Remove all Toxins

Aside from drastically changing your pets diet, it is best to remove all household toxins that could exacerbate his liver values.  These are household toxins include removing all cleaning agents you use in your house, all pesticides you use in your yard, anything you use to bathe your dogs should be natural and most importantly:  stop using anti-flea and tick medication.  That will kill his liver values even more.  Use natural ways to remove ticks and fleas instead.

In our home, we use white vinegar as our cleaning agent on floors and everything else.  We do not use anything harsh.  When you use a toxic floor cleaner, the dogs walk on it and lick their paws and that poison gets into their bloodstream and their bodies need to filter it out using kidneys or liver further deteriorating the health of their organs.

For monthly flea and tick, suggest to use an all natural flea and tick repellent.

Instructions for Bathing

Even dog shampoo has toxic chemicals on it but the one that we use is Dr. Bronners Castille Soap which is pure soap and non-toxic.  After bathing, we spray diluted, raw apple cider vinegar (diluted in 50% filtered water)  to help with any itching, ticks or fleas.  When the dog has dried up a little more we lather with a thin coats of Virgin Coconut Oil to help with moisturizing.

Healing Food for Liver Disease

After 2 weeks, Cooper started getting interested in raw food, which is what my dogs ate.  I started giving him a spoonful of raw food daily with increasing quantities and within 7 days, he had already converted completed to raw.  He was on raw food for the rest of his stay with me (3.5 months).   K9-Kraving is the Raw Food that we use for our pack.

Cooper in his furever home
Cooper in his furever home

Cooper Today

Again, big thanks for our Rescue group, Paws for Seniors, without their support and belief in me, healing Cooper naturally would not have been possible.  They also found a wonderful forever home for Cooper and here is now, all healthy and loving as ever.

Disclaimer

My name is Fevi Yu, I’m not a Vet.  I am an SEO professional and my job requires me to do a lot of research and prove theories using trial and error methods.  With that in mind, please note that this article should not replace the guidance of a Holistic Veterinarian.  In the process of healing Cooper, I’ve also signed up to take a course in Animal Nutrition and Health.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me using our contact form.  I am always happy to share my experience as a foster parent and as a lover of animals.

All the supplements you find on this page has been tried, tested and used by me and Cooper.   We can personally attest that it helped him heal his liver and keep him healthy.

FYI  Regarding: Amazon.com,  we earn a very small commission whenever you purchase anything from them using our links.  You pay the same price with or without our affiliate links.  Please support us so we can continue to write these articles that will help educate our readers about pet health and healing food!  Some links do not go to Amazon and instead go directly to food manufacturers, in those instances, we do not have an affiliate program set up with them but we still believe in the quality of their food / product.  We will support pet food businesses that have quality products regardless of whether or not they are part of the Amazon.com affiliate network.

References: Most of my online research were from the following sources.  Without these online resources, Cooper would not be alive today so big thank you to the following:

Healthy treats for Cats

Healthy Cat Treats
Healthy Cat Treats

We have a foster cat who is 15 years old.  She was adopted out but was returned after 4 months because she had developed hyperthyroidism.  When I went to pick her up, I saw 4 large plastic containers of Temptations cat treats, definitely not healthy treats for cats.  We call it “kitty crack” because cats can’t seem to have enough of it.  In hindsight, I know why she was overfeeding the cat with temptations — because she wanted the cat to come near her.  The 15-year-old cat was not affectionate so she would bribe her with treats.  Four containers later, hyperthyroidism has set it.  The constant treating of low quality cat treats as well as the low quality dry food and low quality canned food has unfortunately taken a toll on her health and she developed hyperthyroidism.

Below are the top five ingredients of popular cat treat, Temptations, from their website:

  • Chicken by-product meal – cheap protein makes lots of money for the company but provides no nutritional value to your pets
  • Ground corn – your cat can’t even digest corn
  • Animal fat –  an inferior preservative ingredient that contains a phenobarbital and possibly remains of euthanized animals
  • Mixed tocopherols – a safer preservative
  • Rice – rice or any kind or any type of grain has no nutritional value but rice is more dangerous because it decreases taurine in whole blood and plasma in cats

Pet food manufacturers list down the ingredients in decreasing quantities, so from this list we know that the main ingredient is chicken by-product meal.  The top 5 main ingredients provide no nutritional value to your cats so feeding them in large quantities will definitely have a negative effect.

Instead of feeding your cats temptations, we’ve come up with healthier alternatives.

Healthy Cat Treats

  1. Real Chicken Breast Cat Treats  by Whole Life – the link will take you to their Amazon page.  If you look at the ingredient list there is only one ingredient and that is chicken.  This treat has been freeze dried so it has retained all the nutrients of raw chicken so its a great treat for your cat.
  2. Freeze dried whole chicken hearts by Cosmo – the link will take you to their Amazon page. Freeze drying the hearts enable it to retain its nutrients such as folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and copper. Great quality treats that keep your cats healthy!
  3. Dried Chicken Pet Treat by Catmandoo – the link will open on a new page and take you to their Amazon page.  It only has one ingredient and its freeze-dried chicken!

The more you stick to food that looks natural, the better quality and the healthier your cats will be.  If you want to save a lot of money on pet treats, try making some of the treats yourself.  Its not easy but it will be worth it when you see your pets healthier and living longer.

 

References

  1. The truth about Animal by-products  from DogFoodAdvisor.com
  2.  Pet Food Ingredients  from The Truth about Pet Food
  3.  Rice isn’t nice by Feline Nutrition

The best raw cat food my cats love

Darwin's Raw Cat Food
Darwin’s Raw Cat Food

We have been searching for raw food for our cats for about 2 years now.  We’ve tried so many other raw cat food but they never took to it, even when we starved them.  Cats are picky eaters and some of them are heavily addicted to commercial dry food.   As soon as I put a spoonful of raw cat food from Darwin’s Natural Pet Food, one of my cats tried it and kept eating.  I was pretty excited!  I also love that Darwin’s came with a free trial.  All you have to do it pay for shipping, only $14.95 for 10 lbs of raw goodness.

Why raw food for Cats?

There is a big difference when feeding dogs and feeding cats.  Cats like fresh food.  They do not have the capability to digest older food and then get rid of toxic by-products.  The food can be previously frozen and defrosted prior to giving to the cat.  Another important information to know is that cats cannot product taurine by themselves like dogs do, they get it through their food and raw meat, naturally, has taurine.  When you feed cats a raw diet you are giving them the best bioavailable from of taurine from its food.  Aside from taurine, here are the other benefits of feeding your cats raw:

  • Improved digestion — since cats are obligate carnivores, they can digest raw meat very quickly (12 hours) vs. plant-protein and carbohydrates which they have no capacity to breakdown
  •  Reduced smell and volume of cat stool — since you are feeding them their correct diet, their bodies are able to use up all that food and turn it into nutrients that the body needs to heal.  Thus the decreased volume of their stool.
  • Increased energy — as soon as we switch our cats from their canned food diet to raw, we saw the increase of their energy levels.

Disclaimer:  We do not get any kind of commission from Darwin’s Pet Food.

Best Cat Litter Option

Cat Litter is such an Important aspect of Cat Health
Cat Litter is such an Important aspect of Cat Health

Have you ever wondered what the best cat litter is?  I remember coming home with a kitten 10 years ago and rushing to the supermarket to buy cat litter and a cat litter box. I picked up the most expensive cat litter I could find but didn’t really know anything.  One of the things that I learnt since was the importance of cat litter for cat health.  Here is a list of why knowing which cat litter to use is so important:

  1. If you don’t choose the right litter, your cat may develop litter issues and start peeing everywhere else except the litter box, this will be an issue until they reach adulthood
  2. There are about 86 Million cats in the US.  Buying cat litter thats environment friendly will not only be good for your cat but good for the planet
  3. Clumping clay cat litter can have disastrous effects on your cat when swallowed, especially for kittens who have smaller intestines.  (Hint, don’t buy clay clumping cat litter for your kittens)
  4. Clay cat litters create dust and can cause severe respiratory issues for your cat, specially the sensitives one.  (Hint, don’t buy clay cat litter!  This type of cat litter is the cheapest and most abundant. But its really bad for your cats and the environment because it is strip mined and  made from sodium bentonite, which is carcinogenic and does not biodegrade in landfills)
  5. Cat will always have a preference for cat litter that smells good and doesn’t hurt their paws.

Cat Litter that we Recommend

Through the years of trial and error, we finally found a cat litter that we love and that our cats love as well.  Its called World’s Best Cat Litter.  We recommend it for the following reasons:

  1. Natural, flushable Cat Litter
    Natural, flushable Cat Litter

    Our cats love it and use it without accidents

  2. You can flush it down the toilet because its made of corn husks but only do this if you use city sewage that treats and filters water before returning it back to the oceans
  3. Its made of corn so its environmentally safe for you and your cats, no matter how much of that dust gets around your house, it wont cause cancer

Where to buy?

If you buy this 28 lbs Worlds Best Cat Litter in the nearest PetSmart, it costs $33 ++ but if you buy using Amazon and the link we provided, it only costs $23.99  — thats savings of $10  per bag.  We buy one 28 lb bag every 3 weeks for our 4 cats.  So if you only had 1 cat this bag would last much longer.

Make Cat Litter even better

Add Lavender essential oil to cat litter
Add Lavender essential oil to cat litter

Because this cat litter is all natural, it doesn’t mask the smell of cat feces as well as clay cat litter.  What we do instead is mix Lavender Essential Oil to Baking Soda.  We use around 5 drops for every 1 pound of baking soda, we allow it to absorb overnight in a closed container and then after 24 hours the baking soda smells like lavender.  Sprinkle it evenly on top of the cat litter.  It makes the smell so much better and because we use high-grade essential oil, it also calms the cat when they use the cat litter box.

Information:  We have not been paid by Worlds Best Cat Litter, Doterra Essential Oil and Arm and Hammer Baking soda to run this article.  These are the real products that we currently use after going through a whole plethora of products.  Dogma is about practical pet care and we will be sharing all our experiences of owning cats and dogs to better help you decide and know about alternatives.

Disclaimer:  The links on this page go to Amazon and we have signed up for their affiliate program.  When you purchase a product in Amazon through our link you don’t pay more for the product, you pay the same price with or without the affiliate link.  We receive a small commission from their affiliate program (less than $1) and it helps us continue our mission in providing free pet sitting and practical pet care solutions.

Best Veggies to feed your dogs

Pumpkin helps in regular digestion, diarrhea and UTI
Pumpkin helps in regular digestion, diarrhea and UTI

Supplementing dog food with raw, fresh veggies / fruits is a great idea so that they become healthier. The minute food is cooked, it loses vital nutrients so dog food manufacturers have to add synthetic supplements to dog food to meet the AAFCO standard. (Association of American Feed Control Officials) Because these supplements are not organic, it gets processed via kidneys or liver. The constant processing of food and the addition of synthetic supplements is one of the reasons why a lot of dogs get kidney or liver diseases when they are older. If dogs were fed a natural and organic diet, their kidneys and livers would be less stressed.

Supplementing with raw, fresh, organic veggies will not stop your dog from getting liver or kidney disease because will need to stop feeding them processed dry dog food for that. But, feeding them with veggies will help get vital nutrients into their system, without stressing their organs further.

Here are the best, nutrient-packed, veggies to feed your dogs:

  1. Dandelion Leaves — rich in vitamin A, C, K, D and B complex as well as iron, manganese, phosphorus and other trace minerals. Easily absorbable and can be fed to dogs daily. Great supplement for digestive issues, arthritis, kidney stones, congestive heart failure, gallbladder disease and liver disease. Eating raw dandelion leaves daily will definitely help your pet become healthier.
  2. Blueberries — rich in Vitamin C, fiber, phytochemical and antioxidants that fight cancer and help repair molecular damage in cells.
  3. Carrots — low in calorie and high in fiber, vitamin A, beta carotene for eyesight. To properly absorb carrots, blending them is a good option but remember not to give too much as carrots are high on sugar content as well.
  4. Pumpkin — rich in soluble fiber, beta-arotene, electrolytes potassium. Great for treating diarrhea, UTI and helps in regular digestion. Best to buy canned and feed your dogs a tablespoon daily.
  5. Grass — (technically not a veggie but its something that dogs eat) rich in fiber, chlorophyll and antioxidants! Grass is good to balance the acidity of meat / fats and dogs intuitively understand this. Please make sure you don’t spray chemicals onto your grass otherwise it becomes poisonous.
  6. Kelp — rich in minerals and vitamin A, B, E, D and K. Has algin, which removes heavy metals from dogs system. Great for promoting thyroid function, hypothyroidism, balancing glandular functioning, keeps coats shiny and healthy. Also helps in dry skin conditions, allergies and hair loss.

Resources:

  1. Peter Tobias: What veggies are good for dogs
  2. Dogs Naturally Magazine: Dandelion for dogs
  3. Mercola: The perfect bowel-soothing food for GI upsets

November Pet News Brief

Pet News for the week, November 6, 2016

Pet News Brief

 

More pets getting high as pot gets legalized in more States — Veterinarians see a sharp increase of pets accidentally getting high

Americans spending more on health care for their pets — An aspect of life that we share with our pets are the rising of healt-care costs!

National Bureau of Economic Research on American Pet Health being inefficient — Documentation of similarities between human and pet health care costs

Grocery bill tracks unlicensed pets — In Seattle, a mailing company sends direct mailers based on a grocery-club card to track pet owners who might not be licensing their pets.

A writer from NYMag.com writes an Op-Ed about Pets not being children and to stop calling them that —  while we don’t have to agree with everyones opinions, its important to listen to all opinions

Diabetes in Pets — written by Dr. Elisabeth Giedt, DVM  for Veterinary Viewpoint

Benefits of Wild Salmon Oil for Dogs

Wild Fish Oil has many benefits for your pets
Wild Salmon Oil has many benefits for your pets

We started using Wild Salmon Oil for ours dogs when one of them came back positive for cancer about 3 years ago.  He has had surgery since and aside from feeding him a more natural diet, we also supplement with Wild Salmon Oil.  His cancer hasn’t come back yet even though the vet had informed me it would come back within 6 months.  I didn’t know about the benefits of Salmon Oil before my dog got sick and if I had just started supplementing him at an earlier age, perhaps he wouldn’t have had cancer in the first place.  It cost $4,000 for his surgery and treatment.  Thats money we could’ve saved had we just been informed.

Here are just a few amazing benefits of wild Salmon oil for dogs / pets.  (Side note: Bear in mind that if you use farmed salmon oil or fish oil that is low quality, you will be doing more harm than good)

  1. Wild salmon oil can prevent cancer —  Most commercial dog food contributes to dog cancer via an excess of Omega 6 Fatty Acids.  This type of food fat is found in abundance in corn products, vegetable oil, lard and other meat products.   This fat excess is what stimulates cancer cell growth.    When you feed your dog wild salmon oil (Omega 3s), this decreases the harmful effects of Omega 6 fatty acids.  Obviously you can prevent by feeding your pets high quality protein instead of commercial dog food.
  2. Wild Salmon Oil helps treat Arthritis in dogs — If I had to recommend only one supplement for dogs, it would be Wild Salmon oil for all the benefits it has. One of this is its ability to prevent and decrease arthritis in dogs.  At least 20% of dogs are affected with arthritis. Wild Salmon oil’s Omega 3 Fatty acids helps reduce inflammation and there have been scientific studies that prove this. Please see sources below for more information.
  3. Wild Salmon oil supports Kidney disease — dry food or kibble is filled with preservatives, artificial colors and other synthetic additives — all of which needs to be excreted via the kidneys.  If you dog has kidney disease, one of the best things you can do is to get them off kibble (dry food) and onto raw/natural food.  Wild Salmon oil has been shown to slow the progression of kidney disease.
  4. Wild Salmon oil helps prevent Skin Allergies and helps makes coats shinier and healthy-looking — the first thing you will notice about our dogs are cats are that their coats are shiny.  Its easy to spot the healthy looking dogs/cats vs. the unhealthy ones that eat nothing but kibble. The shiny coats are just the bonus, under the coat is healthy skin free from allergies.
  5.  Wild Salmon oil helps improve brain development in young dogs and supports cognitive function in older dogs — Salmon oil is high in DHA and a study from the American Veterinary Medical Association showed the pets fed a diet high in DHA improved brain, memory, mental ability, immunity, and retinal functions in dogs.

There are so many more benefits of Wild Salmon Oil including…prevention of heart disease, promotes weight loss in overweight dogs and helps regulate the immune system in pets.   For more information check out additional sources below.  We hope this blog has helped you understand the many benefits of wild salmon oil for your pets!

Sources:

  1. Dr. Dressler , DVM Dog Food and Cancer 
  2. Dr. Nancy Kay, Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Fish Oil, proven treatment for canine arthritis 
  3. Monica Segal, Certified Animal Health Care through University of Guelph Kidney Failure
  4. Dr. Karen Becker, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Ignore the bad rap

Free Pet Sitting equates to more Paying Clients

Find Paid Pet Sitters too
Find Paid Pet Sitters too

Free Pet Sitting is the fastest way to get new clients

People love the concept of paying-it-forward, I think in some of us, it’s a natural desire.  If you pet sit for Members of your Community for free and they like your service, the chances of them coming back to you when they need your services again are 100% and next time around, they will want to pay you.  This was my experience in Dogma.me and that’s how we discovered our revenue stream.

If you are a professional / paid pet sitter and want more clients, we encourage to join Dogma.me, Free Neighborhood Pet Sitting.  You will meet your neighbors and the rest of your community.  You will fall in love with some of them and at the end of the day we promise, you will get more clients, meet more people in your community, and make friends with your neighbors.  The good news is that Dogma.me only charges 5% service fees compared to 15-20% service fees of our competitors.

Click here to join Free Neighborhood pet sitting

Click here to Sign up as a Paid Pet Sitter 

Meet Other Pet Sitters in your Area

In the old way of doing business, other pet sitters were your competitors but in todays economy, we strongly believe that yes there is competition but more than that, there is camaraderie.  As a pet sitter you also have your own pets and you will at one point or another need pet sitting services as well.  In Dogma, because we believe in paying-it-forward, you can find other pet sitters to exchange pet sitting services with.  Its a great community!  We can’t wait to have you 🙂

Background of Dogma’s Revenue Stream

Dogma is so different today than when we started building it a year ago.  Our revenue stream, when we first started this, was subscription based.  Members were required to pay a monthly subscription to be part of the pay-it-forward community.  In hindsight, it seemed logical at the time and I’ve seen quite a few similar Startups with the same Rev stream.  When we launched the website, it was surprising, to say the least, that no-one was subscribing.  Then you realize pet sitting is not a daily need,  nor is it a monthly need.  It is a need that arises perhaps twice a year for most people, if that.  Five or  six times even at the most but never monthly.   So why would anyone, in their right mind, pay a monthly subscription for a service that they only need twice a year?   We realized this after a BETA run and quickly pivoted.

Pivoting when Plan A Bombs

As soon as it hit us that subscription wasn’t going to cut it, we removed that block function for users.  We had a block function so that Users couldn’t request for pet sitting or accept for pet sitting more than once without payment.  We removed it but then we didn’t really know what to replace it with so we just left it for a while and still kept pet sitting for other Members.  I think we just wanted to go with the flow and figure things out as we moved along.

After about a month the same people who requested for free pet sitting were contacting me again and asking me to pet sit but wanted to pay for my services.  I was humbled and happy and then it hit me:  Free pet sitting is a gateway to paid pet sitting.

The True Adventures of a Free Pet Sitter

dogma-members
Dogma’s Furry Members

We started Dogma, Free neighborhood pet sitting, because we realized we needed something just like it, yet the typical pet care market lacked such a service.  We make a middle class income and yet when it came to pet sitting and holidays, we always had issues finding a pet sitter and / or money to pay for a vacation and to pay for pet sitting as well.   We started Dogma because we wanted to find people, like us, who wanted to exchange pet sitting.  We built the website, invited users and everything is going great, except… nothing is the same anymore.

When we started Dogma, I thought to myself that we could find other people to exchange pet sitting services with and that would be that.  It was a selfish motivation.  I wanted to get free pet sitting.  I never thought I’d experience anything more.

In the last 6 months I have met  and gotten to know some amazing people who have helped me see and understand things I never cared about before.  Here are three stories that have made my free pet sitting experience a true adventure and emotional roller-coaster ride!

Part One: The Teacher

A lady put a request on Dogma for free pet sitting.  I accepted and met up with her and found out that she had been unemployed for over a year and that she was going out of town for a job interview.  She had a few dogs and a couple of cats that needed looking after and she told me that if it wasn’t for Dogma she wouldn’t have accepted the job interview.  It hit me like a ton of bricks when she said that.  I mean… here was a woman who wouldn’t leave her pets to go on a job interview in a different state.

I have a lot of friends in pet rescue and on Facebook they sometimes post Craigslist ads of people leaving their dogs behind when they move to a new place.  I had this preconceived notion that not a lot of folks love their pets as much as I do, but when you meet someone face to face who has battled the odds and is still fighting to keep their pets despite all the challenges of life, it opens the mind to the different circumstances and hard choices we all must make. I remember on that day that I had met this lovely lady, I had run so many errands and I was physically exhausted, but driving home that night, my heart was full.

Part Two: The Giver

At the very beginning of Dogma, I was promoting it in dog parks in DC and met quite a lot of interesting folks.  One thing I realized early on in this Startup journey was that Users wont sign up until they need the service.  The folks who sign up immediately are what I call, “The Givers” because whenever they sign up they reply to our welcome message with, “I am here to help” and truly they are.

One of the earliest members of Dogma had a dog that I pet sat for.  They were a great couple and a wonderful family.  Recently another member had requested for pet sitting in their area so I sent them an email with the usual formalities asking how they were and if they were available to pet sit.  They sent me back a reply to let me know that their dog has passed away from cancer a week prior but that they would be happy to accept the pet sitting request.

How can you be in mourning and still want to help out a perfect stranger?   I don’t know, but I am so thankful.  I also try hard everyday to be more of a giver.

Part Three:  The Retiree

One of our Members is retired and is over 70 years old. She pet sits for free because she loves cats and she has nothing else she would rather be doing. We met up recently and she told me she had made some money off of me.  It was very cute.  She said she got paid to pet sit for a member in Dogma and she was happy about it.  She’s a retiree and has been receiving her retirement check in the mail and had no plans of getting a new job or wanting to get paid, but she was thrilled that a lady she pat sat for free recently contacted her again and asked her to pet sit, but this time wanted to pay her for it.  She still pet sits for free and loves to do it, but its nice when other members show their appreciation.

It’s worth noting that this member recently had her cat euthanized.  She’s been sad about that, but will not get another cat because she said, “I don’t know when the good Lord will come for me.”   I realized that she doesn’t want the cat to be homeless when she passes.  It’s the most beautiful and the saddest truth I’ve ever heard.

There are many more stories, experiences and adventures in being a free pet sitter and whether you are a teacher, a giver, a retiree or your own category, you should join. Join, if only, to meet your neighbors and get to know another side of life, love and loyalty and I promise you, when you meet someone who believes in paying-it-forward, it will touch you and change your life.

1000 Free Pet Sitting Requests for NoVA and DC

Teaching pets how to "Sit"
Teaching pets how to “Sit”

The Co-Founder and Chief Pet Sitter of Dogma.me, Ms. Fevi Yu has accepted the challenge of Pet Sitting for FREE to anyone who needs a pet sitter in the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC areas.  Ms. Yu has been a pet owner for over 15 years and she is an insured pet sitter with Pet Sitters Associates.  She has been pet sitting for the Dogma Community for the past 6 months while developing a prototype in BETA.  The Dogma Team has adjusted a few online services because of her personal experiences with pets and their owners.  Its been a great learning experience and now that the Team is slowly inching their way out of beta, they are currently promoting the site and Ms. Yu has taken on the challenge of pet sitting for 1,000 times for FREE for Dogma Members.  All you need to do is Register, post your pet sitting request and wait. She will accept your request within 48 hours and if she doesn’t its only because she’s already booked for those dates so hurry, book her now and then book your well-deserved vacation and you won’t have to worry about your pets. Whether you have 1 or 5, Ms. Yu  has 7 of her own pets so she knows how to care for your pets in the best possible way. You wont have to worry about them while you are away as Ms. Yu will send you a daily photo and updates.  She might even teach them new tricks!  Here is more information about her service:

Free boarding!
Free boarding!

Free Boarding — Ms. Yu lives in Fauquier County and will use the 4 empty rooms in her house to board your pets.  Photo is one of the empty rooms she will be using to board your pets for free.  More information about FREE Pet Boarding.  Please use our contact form to contact Ms. Yu directly for any questions or clarifications.

Free House Sitting — As long as you have WiFi, Ms. Yu is open to staying in your house to pet sit for your pack.  She is the owner of a web development business so she can essentially work from anywhere as long as there is WiFi.

Free House Visits — Ms. Yu can make sure your pets are doing well while you are gone by visiting them daily in your homes.  Please make sure you provide detailed information of all your pets so she understands their needs.

Since Ms. Yu is an insured Pet Sitter, you can rest assure that she’s serious about caring for your furry babies in the same way that she does hers.   Here is more information about Ms. Fevi Yu and if you want to book her, please Register for Dogma.

 

 

 

Digestive Enzymes for Optimum Dog Health

Charlie 11, Junior 9, Penny 10, Happy 4
Charlie 11, Junior 9, Penny 10, Happy 4

If you have ever wondered what supplements your dog needs to live an optimized life here is one of them, Digestive Enzymes are so important because your pets cannot absorb the nutrients from the food they eat. There is a long list of benefits for giving your dogs digestive enzymes, here are the best reasons:

  • Reduction of bloating, gas, heartburn and constipation
  • Promotes healthy teeth and gums
  • Helps absorb vitamins and minerals from food
  • Reduction of food sensitivities
  • Supports joint health
  • Optimum energy due to proper absorption
  • Promotes cell growth
  • Removes toxins

And these are just a few benefits of giving your dogs digestive enzymes. Its important to give it to them as well because regular dog food does not contain the digestive enzymes your pet needs in order to properly digest their food properly. In the wild they eat innards of animals that content the vital enzymes such as protease, amylase, lipase and cellulase.

I have done the online research for you and here are my favorite sources, please note there are more and you can easily do your own research by searching on Google for: “digestive enzymes for dogs”

 

What happens to your Dog if they don’t get these enzymes?

For food to maintain its natural enzymes it must be uncooked, unpasteurized and in its natural form but as we all know, Dog food is dry kibble so they’ve lost every nutrient available for our dogs. Thats why dogs often get sick. Just like diets in humans, a bad diet will make you sick all the time and a good diet will keep you healthy. Dogs that don’t get the proper nutrition will age rapidly. Here are a few other things that negatively impact your dogs health without this very important immunal support:

  • Fast degeneration of tissue and cellular structure
  • Your pets will look older than their age
  • Less than optimal metabolic
  • Loss of bone health
  • Thyroid function is severely affected
  • Personality and behavioral changes

So if you want your pet to live a long, healthy and optimized life, get them on digestive enzymes pronto.

Disclaimer: The links provided go to Amazon as we are part of the Affiliate program, we receive a very minor commission (less than a dollar) for every sale but you still get charged the same prices. We hope you buy through our links so we can keep educating our readers about pet health and pet nutrition.

Join Dogma, Win an iFetch!


We are loving this toy and are going to give one away to a lucky Member of Dogma.  It is great for pets that are left home alone as it gives them something to do.  In Dogma we strongly believe in ensuring that our pets are never bored and thats why we recommend this product.  Here is the Amazon link if you want to buy an iFetch now.  If want to win one, there are only two (2) things you need to do:

Register & Share

  1. Register at www.dogma.me, its free and no purchase necessary
  2. Share our Facebook Ad with your friends, pls make the ad public so we can see it
dogma is giving away an iFetch
Dogma is giving away an iFetch

When you have done both, we will add your name to a ballot box.

We will be drawing a name from the ballot box on February 19, 2016. You will need to register now through midnight of February 18, 2016.  We will record the drawing of the ballot box on February 19, 2016.  We will then confirm that the winner has registered on Dogma and shared the ad on Facebook as well as confirm that they are indeed a resident of the US.

More chances of Winning

Get more chances of winning when you invite your friends to register for Dogma. We will put your name in the ballot box for each User that registers.  For example, if you invite 5 people and all 5 people register, we will add your name 5 times into the ballot box.  Please make sure you use the “Send Invite” function within your Dogma profile so we can credit the invited friends to your name. The more you invite the more chances of winning.  Here are the Contest Rules.

After we announce the winner, we will be contacting them.  The winner will need to advise us what size dogs they have so that we can order the correct size of the iFetch for their pets.

Facebook Registration

Dogma now has Facebook Integration
Dogma now has Facebook Integration

We are super excited to announce that Users can now register through Facebook.   Our Facebook integration is seamless but you will still need to provide a username, email and your zip code for BETA testing purposes.

Why did we need to integrate with Facebook?  The main reason was convenient for Users: since Facebook has already verified emails, we can then skip that step.  It skips quite a few steps in the registration process all the while still keeping things secure for our members.  We look forward to seeing more members signing up using Facebook.

Whats the difference between signing up using our regular email Vs. Facebook?  When you use your regular email, you will need to verify it.  We do this by sending you an email and you have to click on the link we provided.  With Facebook you can skip that verification process as they have already done it for us.

Register using Facebook today!  

 

 

On our Mission of Free Pet Sitting

Since we started free pet sitting,  its been such a whirlwind of activity.  Its has also been great getting to know other peoples pets.  I love how they each have such different personalities or should I say, dog-alities and cat-alities.

I’ve been at this now for a couple of months and I have to say that every time I go to someone’s house to pet sit for them, I feel such a bond with their pets.  I usually stay 30 mins when I’m not feeding and up to an hour when  I am feeding just to make sure they eat it all.  I am at my happiest when I am pet sitting.  I mean, who wouldn’t be happy when you are greeted with wags and licks and so much gratitude (after the initial barking).

Pet Sitting via Home Visits

When we started Dogma.me we had more services for members including: boarding, playdates and home-visits.  We figured those were the 3 services that our neighborhoods would need the most.  Since we are in BETA, I wanted to see how realistic it was to do this and for a few pet requests I went with other members to do boarding, playdates, etc.  One person that I met was not use to other dogs and that night her dog got into an altercation with the neighbors dog.   Please note that both dogs are fine and they did not bite each other.  It was a simple show of dominance but when someone does boarding and is not prepared for the different dogalities, we would be setting them up to fail.  We didn’t want to do that.  So for safety reasons both for members and pets we decided to provide the least possible way anyone could get hurt and that is in-home pet sitting via home visits.

It is also important to note that house visits are perfect for neighborhood community in so many ways…

  1. Payment is Kindness — I’ve been doing this for a few months now and I have to tell you that when I am in public and I bump into the folks who I have pet sat for, they smile and light up and try to give me things like eggs, dog food, dog chews, anything, even beer.  I accepted the beer! I feel so ingrained into my neighborhood and I feel so responsible for it.  Its amazing what kindness can do.
  2. Loving other pets — So I already have 4 dogs of my own and even if I want more, we personally don’t have the time to invest.  Pet sitting for other peoples pets give you that additional pet to love and you feel a bond with them.   I know that if any of the pets that I’ve pet sat for ever lost their home, I would be stepping up.  (knocking on wood that no one ever loses their homes!)
  3. Its not asking too much of you — pet sitting via home visits is not asking too much from you.  It will take probably 30 to 60 mins per visit, twice per day, including travel time.  So its not like you are giving up too much of your time.  You aren’t but in the hour or so you give up, you will gain something else back.  I personally can’t explain, I’m not as good with words but you will feel happier.
  4. Pets are less stressed in their home environments — Studies have shown that pets get stressed every time you change their routine.  They thrive on routine.  They know what time it is without having clocks!  When its time to eat, when it times to walk, time to sleep, etc.  So having someone come to your home when its feeding time is working with their biological requirement.  It helps pets when you leave them in a familiar environment vs. leaving them somewhere where everything is new — new sounds, new smells, it would stress them out if they are not use to it.

Professional Pet Sitting

I admire professional pet sitters.    I think its a noble calling.    If you are a professional pet sitter, please note that we need you to join our community! Dogma only does pet sitting via home visits and we need pet sitter who board, house-sit, etc.  Aside from pet sitting we also need groomers, trainers and pretty much anyone involved in the pet industry.  Dogma now has over 500 Registered users in the Metro DC area.  We provide competitive Ad rates at only $10 /month for a minimum of 12 months.  Super cheap and you are reaching your exact target market because all members have pets.  Also I would love to be a pet sitters, pet sitter.  I hope you give us a chance.  I have no doubt in my mind that joining a neighborhood of pet sitters will increase your client-base.

Onwards with our Mission of Free Pet Sitting

I use to be a web developer making a solid middle class income.  I loved my job.  But in my heart of hearts I know that being part of Dogma.me and creating this kind of community movement is my calling and purpose in life.  I have yet to make a single cent and have spent a considerable amount of money on it and yet I am happiest when I am pet sitting for my neighborhood.  We hope you join us in creating pet sitting communities across the US.

Request to Pet Sit Bo & Sunny Obama

August 26, 2015

Dear Mr. President,

On your birthday I heard your speech at Demo Day at the White House. You mentioned that less than 3% of VC’s backed Female-Founded Companies. You also mentioned that your Administration was going to do its part in helping increase the dismal figures of diversity in Tech.

I am Female,  an Immigrant, an Asian and grew up in Zambia, Africa. I am bisexual and married to a woman. I am the prime example of diversity in the USA today. The only thing greater than my diversity is my love for animals. I have also been a Business Owner of a Web development Company for the last 7 years. Tech is a passion.

My Startup is called Dogma.me — pay-it-forward pet sitting. We are reinventing pet care and making it more accessible to everyone who has a pet. Our goal is to increase the adoption of animals from shelters by making it easier to be a pet owner with the increase of community support. Our fundamental concept is, “I will pet sit for you if you, in turn, pet sit for someone else in the community.”  There is a marked difference between finding someone who wants to pet sit for you vs. paying someone to pet sit for you. It’s about making life-long connections.  If no one in the community is available, you can also hire professional pet sitters.

The PR from this activity would go a long way for a bootstrapping Startup Founder who is a Woman, an Immigrant and a LGBT Member. Dogma is a fusion of my two loves: Pets + Tech.

My name is not Stephanie or Esteban. It’s Fevi. And and I would like to wish you a Belated Happy Birthday, Sir.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely Yours,

Fevi Yu
Founder & Chief Pet Sitter
www.dogma.me

Dogma.me adds Northern Virginia to its Pilot Program

Map of Northern VA
Map of Northern VA

What is Dogma?

Dogma is FREE community pet sitting.  Once you register for Dogma.me  — you can post pet sitting requests on your public wall and neighbors within a six mile radius will be able to see your request and can choose to accept it.   The currency in Dogma.me is time so you do not need to pay with money for pet sitting.  All we require is for you to pay-it-forward by pet sitting for someone else in your neighborhood.  If this is something that resonates with you, please sign up!

Free Pet Sitting

Happy & Fevi
Happy & Fevi

Our Founder and Chief Pet Sitter, Fevi Yu, will personally be accepting pet sitting requests.  Please make sure you let her know of your request by sending her an email.  You should see her email address after you sign up.  Please note that all pet sitting requests on Dogma.me are in-house pet sitting services.

Dogma is now in Northern Virginia

We have added Northern Virginia to our Pilot Program.  This includes the following Counties:

  • Arlington
  • Rappahannock
  • Fauquier
  • Stafford
  • Spotsylvania
  • Caroline
  • Prince William
  • Fairfax
  • Loudoun
  • Culpeper

All cities, principal municipalities and towns within those counties are included in our pilot program.  Essentially that means all pet owners within those areas will be able to create profiles and exchange services with other members.

For more information please check out the Membership page. To join, please Register.

Dogma updates User Interface

Updated User Interface for Dogma Members
Updated User Interface for Dogma Members

We have finally updated our User Interface and we are loving the way it gives more importance to the three things highlighted here:

  1. Point System – in the old interface, the points system was lost in all the text and it wasn’t given the attention that it deserved.  In Dogma, everything you do is tied to points that determine how you contribute to your pet sitting community.  With the new interface, as soon as the Member page starts loading you will automatically see the Member’s points. How many have they requested, how many have they given back and the total number.  We hope you love this point system interface as much as we do.
  2. Wall Clarity – we have evolved so much from when we started.  We initially had so many things you could request on the wall including boarding, playdates, etc.  Looking back, we tried to fulfill every service that the pet owner needed but didn’t have that focus for pet sitting.  Now we only do one thing: pet sitting.
  3. Helpful Ads – we want to support all the pet related businesses and are providing helpful ads at only $10 / month.  We know this will be a great place for people and products to meet and we hope that the nominal cost of our Ads will help small businesses build a solid audience.

Photo Contest

What sort of images capture interest of Users? Apparently, sweet photos of a smiling guy with a cat on his shoulder can increase the number of impressions three-fold.  We had no idea that this photo alone would be responsible for over half the activity in a week, but we are certainly thrilled! Here is the Ad we posted on with the tagline:  A Community of Pet Guardians who support each other by boarding, playdates and errands.

photo contest

We’ve been inspired by the positive response to the above image, especially with the lack of diversity representation in stock media images and so we’re on the lookout for some awesome photos by all of you. Hello to the first ever Dogma Photo Contest!  We want more photos featuring a smiling pet guardian or group of people with their pet(s).  If we decide to use your photo in our Social Media and / or Advertising campaign or as a website banner we will contact you and award you US$ 100.00. Please note that the photo must have been taken by you and that you will be asked to release your rights to your entry.  This contest is open to absolutely everyone: professionals, hobbyists and newbies, so get in touch with your inner photographer. We want to see genuine love and respect between pet and person, it must evoke a sentiment that is similar to this photo of a regular guy with his cat.  Please submit all entries to us via Social Media and check out our Facebook page to see if your photo is chosen, we will be in touch!

DC Cat Sitter

fevi+george
Fevi and her cat, George

If you are looking for an awesome cat sitter in the DC area, you may just have found her.  My name is Fevi Yu and I am the Founder and Chief Pet Sitter of Dogma.me — a pay-it-forward pet sitting service. Sign up now if you want me to pet sit your cat.  I will personally be pet sitting for the community for the months of June and July as part of our Beta Launch in Washington, D.C. The best part is you don’t have to pay me.  All you have to do is pay-it-forward.

Cat Sitting with a Mission

I created Dogma.me because I know quite a few folks who leave for a few days and leave their cats with a mountain of dry cat food… are you smiling?  If you are one of them, I don’t blame you.  I make a solid middle-class income and Im still scratching my head when it comes to the cost of pet care.  At the same time, its so hard to find someone you can trust to come into your home and care for your pets.

With Dogma.me you pay less than $5 a month (after a free lengthy trial period) and every time you need a someone to watch your cat, you simply post a request on your wall.  Only folks who live within a 6 mile radius will see your post. Most people will accept requests if you live within the same zip code making them your neighbor. It is easier to trust someone who you know lives across the way and you can even visit their home. Please note that pet sitting via house calls has a limit of 5 days.  Here is a video that shows just how simple it is to post a request on the wall.  If you are a true animal lover, I know this will resonate with you.  Here is more information about Membership.

Your personal Cat Sitter for June and July

As part of our beta launch in DC, I am personally going to be accepting pet sitting requests on the public wall.  Below is a recommendation from the Founder of PawsforSeniors.org

Dogma Pet Sitting

I am excited to make new friends in the DC area but more than that, I am excited and hopeful that together, as a community, we can work together to help support each other as pet parents.  With this kind of community support, maybe more families will think of adopting more pets from the shelter system.  That’s our goal anyway.   If all this resonates with you, please register.   I am excited to meet you but let me be honest and say that I am more excited to meet your cats!

Mobile site

We have been in the process of creating a mobile site and not a native app and we are very close to completing the mobile site.  We only have QA left to do!  We chose to create a mobile site instead of a native app because it just makes sense for us at this point, we don’t have a lot of users to merit a native app yet but when the time comes, I’m certain we will also go there.

Main landing page of Mobile site
Main landing page of Mobile site

Here is a screen shot of what our mobile site looks like.  It functions exactly like our website.  While testing it today, it made me realize how much more cohesive the mobile site is compared to the website.  The mobile site is more straight forward and I think easier to navigate than the website.  Or maybe its because I’m biased!

Anyway, this is just an update.  For folks who are on the go and need to crowdsource their pet needs, the mobile site of Dogma is a great alternative!

 

 

 
 

 
 

 

Welcome Home Charlie B!

We adopted our 4th pup, who is not really a pup anymore. He is a senior dog believed to be around 8 to 10 years old. It was easy to fall in love with Charlie. I mean look at his kennel photo…

charlie-in-jail

It took another 2 months for him to get to us as he needed to be treated and recover from heartworms before flying to us from Kentucky. The wait, however, was definitely worth it!

As I type this, Charlie is sitting by my feet and he is such a gentle soul.  Despite some of the bad habits of his new siblings (like stealing food out of his bowl) Charlie has not shown a bit of aggression. It is so easy to love this old soul and up to now, I can’t believe he never had a human love him.

The Importance of Adoption

One of our advocacies is senior pet adoption. The rationale is that if you are going to adopt, its easier to adopt an older dog because the chances of them being house trained is high and they won’t chew up all your furniture contrary to typical puppy behavior.  Charlie is such a wonderful example of senior dog adoption just as Georgie is the perfect example of senior cat adoption (or perhaps in his case middle-aged cat adoption).

Some of the best decisions we have ever made was in adopting both Georgie and Charlie. Every animal given a home is one less unloved or euthanized animal. According to the Humane Society of the United States, between 3 to 4 million adoptable pets are euthanized yearly.

Thank you Hancock County Animal Shelter

Big thanks to the people at Hancock County Animal Shelter, especially Sage, for approving the cross-state adoption. For some reason, just seeing Charlie’s photo being shared on Facebook made me aware that he was supposed to be my dog and the folks at Hancock County were so easy and so awesome to work with.

10325569_1495918890637971_8240350412443435642_n
Charlies arrives in Manassas!

Thank you Pilots and Paws

This transfer would not have been as easy without the help of the Pilots and Paws program and two of   their volunteer pilots, Jeff and Steve, who brought Charlie from Hancock County, Kentucky to Northern  Virginia.

Thank you Galena

Last, but certainly not least, you fostered little Charlie for several months as he was healing and  gaining his strength back. Thank you for your  hilarious updates as we looked forward to hearing  about him and thank you for your generous heart  and love for these homeless creatures.

It takes a team of individuals and organizations to  make awesome things happen. Never underestimate  the power of sharing on Facebook, social media, and  communication. Never doubt that every person counts; because thanks to so many folks, little Charlie, found wandering in the snow as a stray is now warm, and safe, at my feet.

 

Issues with new Banners

Dogma-banner-3

We have finally put in new banners on the homepage and we hope you like them.  It was a struggle looking for stock photos.  Eventually we want to do our own photo shoot, but right now these will have to do.  We want to apologize as well for the lack of diversity.  We could not find multicultural families that could be used for our banner images.  In fact, we were so frustrated we called them out on Twitter. One company decides to tweet back and send us 13 images featuring multicultural families with pets, but, sadly, none of them suited our banner size and background.

Our goal is that when we have set things up properly, we will have our own photos done with an abundance of multicultural families and their pets!

Free Pet Sitting for Residents of DC and NOVA

Fevi & Happy
Free Pet Sitting

My name is Fevi Yu and I am the Founder and Chief Pet Sitter of Dogma.me — a pay-it-forward pet sitting community. I will personally be pet sitting for Residents of DC and NOVA in the next coming months.

Founder Background

I currently have 4 dogs and 2 cats of my own. I also have a foster cat and my foster dog recently got adopted! My Mom can tell you that I have been bringing home homeless cats and stray dogs since I started going to school. When I started working, my entire paycheck would go to the care of pets that I adopted from shelters. My entire life has been about pet care. My professional background has always been about technology. In fact, I currently own a Web Development and Internet Marketing Company. Dogma is the marriage of my two life-passions, pets + tech.

Below is a recommendation from the awesome Organization, Paws for Seniors.

“We know Fevi in many ways, as an adopting parent, foster parent, and best friend. In each capacity her love and care for animals, and people, her years of experience taking care of dogs and cats allows her to go above and beyond. We recommend her as a pet sitter because she can be trusted to care for your pets at the highest standards.” — Brenda Scamordella, Co-Founder, Paws for Seniors www.pawsforseniors.org

How to request for Free Pet Sitting

Simply register at www.dogma.me, create your personal profile, create your pet profile and then post a request on the public wall. Here is a video showing how Dogma works. After posting, you simply wait until I accept your request.  If more than 24 hours has passed, please send me an email.  My email address is visible in the email you will receive after you sign up.   Please make sure you read the limitations below.

Pet Sitting for New Users

To celebrate the launch of Dogma.me, I am going to pet sit for the community. For Users who are not familiar with Dogma; it’s pay-it-forward pet care. Essentially, “I will pet sit for you if you pet sit for me.” You don’t have to pay me for pet sitting, you simply have to pay it forward. Please note that pet sitting is via house visits. The goal of Dogma is to enable the community around you to help and support your furry family so that you will consider adopting and fostering more pets from the shelters and finally ending the over 2.5 Million senseless deaths of adoptable pets yearly.

The only way the community can support you is through house visits as it is built around a busy, working lifestyle. A user is required to do house visits at least twice per day. Each visit requires the following: 1) Feed the pets 2) Fill up water bowls 3) Make sure the pets go potty! Here is a more comprehensive pet sitting guide.

Limitations of Free Pet Sitting

In as much as we wish we could do everything for your pets, and we will provide full service memberships in the near future, right now the only thing that community members can do is house visits for up to 5 days. We have limited the software to only request for pet sitting for this time frame and we will abide by these rules. Because we are a new business model, this is all we can accommodate at this time, but services will expand in the future. For now, if you need anymore than 5 days, we recommend that you hire a pet sitter for the remaining time frame. By using Dogma you will still be saving money by shaving off 5 days from the hired rates. If your dogs need additional walking, please hire a dog-walker. If your pets are taking medication, please hire a professional pet sitter.

Join our growing Pet Sitting Community

I created Dogma because I had issues finding pet care. I had interviewed 4 pet sitters and then when I was telling my neighbor my problem he offered to care for my pets and that was the birth of the Dogma idea. I figured, if I made a middle-class income and can barely afford pet care, how is everyone else doing it? And at that time I only had 1 dog and 1 cat! More importantly, it’s not only about the costs of pet care, but finding someone you trust with your loved ones. Dogma is for everyone who loves animals and want to give them more; a community that will love and care for them when you are out making a living. If that resonates with you, please join us. Let me paraphrase Best Friends Animal Society’s slogan here and say, “Together, we can help to save them all”.

Register Here

Community Pet Sitting, Registration will be closed

happy's message to Dogma's members
Happy, the dog, has a message!

We are removing boarding and playdates as options on the services provided and strictly only providing pet sitting services called “House calls” — here are a few reasons why:

  1. We want to make sure our Members are certain in their ability to deliver pet care services.  So we want to see how well our Pet Guardian community does with pet sitting before we add on any other services.
  2. A house call service is convenient to everyone involved including the pets.  All it entails is a neighbor visiting your house when you are away on vacation or on an emergency and making sure your pets are fine and have adequate food and water supplies.  A house call is done twice a day unless otherwise requested.
  3. Pet sitting will save you a lot of money without the headaches of worrying about your pet since they are in their familiar environment.

Because of the changes about our website will have quite a few errors in the next couple of days!  Good thing we are in BETA. We are also not going to accept new registrations in the coming week (May 18 to 21) to ensure that we have done our QA (quality assurance).  Thank you for understanding!  We know you will love the simplicity of our Pet Sitting service when we launch at the end of the week!

Even before Dogma

Gordo the Gordo
Gordo the Gordo

Even before we started Dogma we were already practicing what it was in essence. Taking care of my in-laws’ cat. This chubby guy is called Gordo and he is from B’more!

Exchange of Services

When Gordo got sick a few months back, my mother and father-in-law could not take care of him because they were both working full time and were gone at least 12 hours in a day so we volunteered to care for him.  Since I work from home, it was easy enough to make sure he was eating and peeing accordingly.  After about a month he could go home as he seemed to be fine already.

Over the Christmas holidays, there was no one to take care of our pets and my in-laws graciously agreed to come once a week (all the way from Baltimore to Northern Virginia) to watch our furry babies.

We were practicing the concept of Dogma even before we created it and now that it is almost ready to launch, we are so very excited!

Essentially Dogma is like having an extended family available for you when you need them.  If used properly and without bad intentions, I strongly believe together we can make our lives and our pets lives a lot easier.

 

Make Dogma part of your Community

susanawithgeorge
Susana with her cat, George

I’m not a particularly neighborly person. The idea of going around with baked goods and light-hearted chitchat always sounds appealing, but I just seem to expect everyone else to do it while I limit my extroversion to writing blogs about being anti-social. Nothing against my neighbors, in any of the places I’ve lived (well, most of the neighbors); I’m just not social that way. Unless you’re a fellow animal lover. There’s no easier way to get me to talk to you than having a happy pup or cat to pave the way. I must thank my pets for saving me from complete isolation. Indeed many of us find ourselves connecting with others over our pets, cooing and doting over each other’s animals like other parents do with their human children. There’s a kinship in this; in knowing we are not the only ones who obsess over the details those non-animal folk don’t usually understand.

So what about taking this loose network of mutual gushing a step further? What about caring for one another’s animals literally as opposed to just superficially? About opening up our homes and not just passing each other in the streets. What about solidifying those connections and forming a community of pet guardians? This is where Dogma comes in.  This is where seeking a cat-sitter doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor because its about neighbors and community and mutual animal love. In knowing our neighbors we build trust and finding a sitter is as easy as checking in with who’s available in your area and feeling good about it because you know they’re responsible with their “kids” too. Or maybe you have a teen neighbor who’s always wanted a cat, but her parents prefer not to bless their home with some feline love so she is eager to learn about cat care and shower your kitty with attention. Most importantly, you can easily get to know her because she’s right there. Getting to know your neighbors can be productive and mutually beneficial and not just about passing conversation.

In today’s hectic lifestyle we’ve come to ignore one another save for those fleeting interludes. despite our often close quarters, sharing of alleys and fences and condo living, we spend our barely their home time in front of the TV or computer and never mind the people right outside our door. Dogma wants to be a part of community building. Why board your cat in a kennel when you head out of town when you know they hate it? Why not utilize those neighbor connections? Let’s help one another out and do it knowing you’re doing what’s best for your fur babies. Join Dogma today!

A Community of Pet Guardians

dogmalogo

We changed our logo’s call to action today.  It use to be Boarding, Playdates, Errands.  We figured that was a way of attracting more members who needed those services.  In retrospect, we aren’t trying to build the largest online community of pet lovers, what we are trying to do is build the largest online community of *responsible* pet lovers making us pet guardians.

Free Pet Food Delivery for Members

free pet food
Screen Shot of Pet Food Delivery on Dogma.me

We are so excited to announce the Free Pet Food Delivery for Members of Dogma.me — the system is a work around and is not directly tied into the general database as of yet. We are still in BETA and would like to test this function before we integrate it properly. We are hoping that our Members see the value of becoming a Member of the largest Pet Guardian Community in the United States.

We are actively looking for suppliers at this point to fulfill the orders. Our Members can rest assure that they will get their pet food around 5 to 10% lesser than what they would normally buy it for from Pet Food Stores. The reason is because we don’t have a physical location (No rent, No labor to pay for). Also because of internal arrangements from direct suppliers, we can negotiate better deals because unlike the end user, we will not just be buying one product. We will be buying it in bulk therefore lowering the cost per unit. It is important to note that our focus is on Membership value. For less than $5/month you can get a verified pet sitter and free pet food delivery. Are you ready to get started? Register (its free!)

Cat Vs. Dog People

Jack
Jack prefers quiet atmospheres and minimal social interaction

I think I’m a cat person. Without reading any studies or taking any Facebook quizzes I say this because I prefer a quiet atmosphere late in the evening and minimal social interaction. I also say this the same moment our cat Jack demands my attention by rubbing himself back and forth against my legs; when particularly insistent he head-buts my shin or lifts his paw to my knee. It’s late now, nearly midnight, and the dogs have gone to sleep. It’s these late night or (on occasion if I manage to get up early enough) early morning moments that Jack “deigns” to shower me with his affection. Any other hour of the day he remains withdrawn, even aloof, and apparently irritated by the presence of all our other furbabies. I like to think we understand each other in these somewhat hazy hours; where the only noise is the sound of our beagle snoring. Jack came into my life by way of my partner, who claims to be a dog person. Yet she had Jack since he was a feral kitten and I had Penny, my “cat-like” dog since she was a anxious pup. There are certainly studies pointing to actual personality differences in cat and dog people.  One study is even looking at using their research to assist in pet therapy programs, thereby improving pet/people match-ups. These studies tell us dog people are more extroverted, agreeable, and conscientious. Yet cat people are more open and neurotic (this is not necessarily a bad thing!).  Dog people may be more dominant (i.e. assertive, confident) than the more timid, unaggressive cat folk. Interestingly, despite our shy, withdrawn tendencies cat people are more trusting.

The blogger and her dog, Penny
The blogger and her dog, Penny

I’m not sure how that works, but let’s go with it. So far, this seems fairly accurate for my partner and I.  So perhaps in this case the labeling of dog or cat person is fair and makes sense. Yet, as I type I hear George, our other cat, meowing down the hall. It’s now after midnight and the noise is startling.  There are two possible reasons for his noise at this hour. 1) He wants me to open the door to pester our foster kitty who prefers her own room for now or 2) He wants me to go with him downstairs while he eats.  Not to feed him, no, he just wants someone to be near him while he eats.  George likes his company, cozying up with the dogs, and would live a happy life if I had him attached to my lap the entire day every day.  Our vet assured us he is actually a cat, though she did seem to struggle with that conclusion.  So my cat self and my dog partner care for our odd couple of cats; throw in the 4 dogs, 2 goats, and some fosters and we are simply animal people. Or perhaps as Jackson Galaxy host of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell, says “We have to stop this ridiculousness of classifying ourselves. I’m a cat guy, I’m a dog guy. I’m ‘bi-petual.’”

Between Jack and I though, we know cat people are more intelligent just don’t tell the dog people that. They’re aggressive you know.

Strict Verification Process

Verification Page
Verification Page Screenshot

 

In keeping with the safety and trust of our members, we have just completed our verification process which includes a police clearance, house visits, veterinarian reference and 2 recommendation letters. Once a user has passed all requirements they will become a verified member of Dogma and will have the paw symbol on their profiles. Its a rigorous process as it involves getting a police clearance a few house visits from other members. All members will have the ability to get verified and its free with membership.

If you haven’t heard of Dogma yet, here is a brief summary:  Dogma is pay-it-forward pet sitting so instead of paying someone in cash, you are paying them in kind.  Its away of making the community you live in safer and stronger in ensuring the quality of pets lives.  The community support also helps in increasing the number of adoptions from shelters, which is one of our main goals.

Public Wall Functionality

We started with the most simple concept:  Board my dog and I will board your dog for free.  We took it a little further and included playdates and errands. We are now realizing that the easier the concept the harder it is to replicate, technology-wise.  There are so many nuances of the human language and of human real-time communication its almost impossible to create functionality that mimics it.  But we are trying… we are loving the challenge, nevertheless.

photo
Screen shot of mobile site

One of the functions that we created is the ability to post on a public wall that is visible to all users in a given location.  I love this function best of all because it allows users who don’t previously know each other an open line of communication.  We just tested the mobile function today and although there was an irritating bug that we still need to resolve, it looked great otherwise.

I love that this project is coming into fruition right before our very eyes.  We are also learning to understand how users act and interact with each other and even more importantly, how we can use this application in our daily lives.  Stay tuned!

Pet Sitting Rates Washington, D.C.

Table 1 shows the cost of pet sitting one pet in Washington, D.C. for 2 days in mid-July, 2015. The same parameters were used in the search fields of each given website and the most affordable rates were chosen. Some individual pet sitting rates were as high as $99/day so for two days that would be a total of $198. There is no clear distinction as to why there are low rates, from $10/night, to high daily rates such as $99/night. Each pet sitter has great reviews so there isn’t any other way of comparing pet-sitter quality. It is important to note that the focus is on pet sitting and not boarding services. The results below are when you submit the form with your DC zip code and use mid-July dates. The biggest contrast when looking for cat sitting vs. dog sitting rates is this: It’s not easy to find cat sitting rates. You can’t do it from the homepage search box. You have to look at individual profiles to find rates and it is a bit more tedious when you are asked to choose using dog sitting information. This is what makes Dogma very different because in searching for services, we treat cats and dogs equally.

 

Pet Sitting Rates for 2 days for 1 pet

Service DogVacay Rover Dogma Care
Cat Sitting (1 cat, 2 days) N/A* $40** $0 $40***
Dog Sitting (1 Dog, 2 days) $50 $20 $0 $40***

Table 1

Guide
* No searchable, visible cat sitters
** Total of 4 pet visits at $10 per visit
*** Rates are hourly so this was a total of 4 visits at $10 / visit

 

Pet Sitting Rates for 2 days and 2 pets

Table 2 shows pet sitting rates for 2 days for 2 pets. We also included a third row, which lists 2 pets, 1 being a cat and 1 being a dog because so many households have 1 dog and 1 cat. We could not find rates for that category accordingly. You would need to contact each individual sitter to obtain their rates. In comparison, with Dogma, you can choose “all” pets or individual pets for whatever service needed. Regardless of service or number of pets involved, whether its “all” or just one, you still only pay $5 per month.

Service DogVacay Rover Dogma Care
Cat Sitting (2 cat, 2 days) N/A* $40** $0 $40***
Dog Sitting (2 dog, 2 days) $80 $80 $0 $40***
Pet Sitting (1 cat, 1 dog, 2 days) N/A* N/A* $0 N/A*

Table 2

Guide
* No searchable, visible cat and dog sitter that you can book simultaneously
** Rate based per visit, unknown if they charge extra for additional pets
*** Care only provides hourly rates so this is 4 visits at 1 hour each visit, unknown if they charge extra per pet or if 1 hour is sufficient per visit

It is important to note that we made a few assumptions on the comparison table. For example, Care.com’s rates for Pet sitting is that the Pet Sitter would only charge $10 / visit.  However, we are not certain about this and they could charge more or even less than the published fee, it’s not clear.  It is also important to point out that software has limitations.  Therefore, it’s smart for companies like Dogvacay and Rover to generalize that most people looking for pet care are dog owners; perhaps because there is a larger market for it.  Whatever the case, the point of this comparison rate is, if a User searched for Pet Sitting rates for cats or dogs or multiple pets then this would be a fair representation of what is available in the Washington, DC market.  Dogma, being a newcomer, is a service that is needed because there are over 95 Million Cats in over 45 Million American homes.  Cat owners deserve some love too!  This is not to say that we are exclusively a cat sitting community, but, simply, that we believe in pet equality.

If you’ve liked what you read, please register for Dogma. It’s free to join and free to use for life.

This research was done on April 6, 2015.  If you read this article and find that cat sitting rates are easily available on the homepage search and result fields of the other comparison websites… you are welcome!

Toys for dogs who are left home alone

Toys for dogs who left hom alone

Now that Easter is almost here, I’m sure there are a lot of folks who are traveling out of town. Who is going to care for your pets? Are you taking them with you? Great! And if not, have you prepared your pets for your absence?

We have 4 dogs and making sure that they have had enough exercise not to be disruptive and destructive are a priority. When we are home, we love being outside and naturally our dogs love it too, but when we are away, if we don’t ensure that our dogs are active we will usually come home to something broken. Yes. Even things we thought were indestructible, like the staircases and window ledges, have had large chunks of wood bitten off. So if you have active dogs who need a little more stimulation here are our best recommendations to keep them busy and mentally challenged.

1.) Beef Knee Caps — we buy our pet food from a small shopkeeper who is passionate about having all natural / organic everything for pets. He is also up to date whenever large companies purchase smaller companies and when recipes get switched out for cheaper alternatives.  We love this guy and the fact that his wife is a holistic vet just adds so much credibility to his passion for pet food and pet products. We first learned about the knee caps from him and that not only would they keep our crazy pups occupied, but also would clean their teeth. He forgot to also mention that dogs love them!

The teeth cleaning effects of beef knee caps are really something worth mentioning. I wish I had taken before and after photos, but we didn’t initially buy the knee caps for their teeth cleaning abilities. We bought them to keep our dogs occupied. But then I noticed Penny, our 9+ year old, with whiter, cleaner teeth and her breath smelling so much nicer, it hit me that knee caps are also effective in scrubbing teeth. It’s amazing stuff! Expensive (around $2+ per knee cap) but definitely worth it especially if it saves you a trip to the dentist for teeth cleaning (ave cost $ 400+).

Why should you buy organic? Same reason you should buy organic meats for your own consumption. The antibiotics that they pump into the cows are a huge cause of concern and could be the reason for the high levels of antibiotic resistance. Again, you might be spending more money upfront to buy organic, but you will be saving more money in the long run because you and your dog will be healthier.

2.) Kong Extreme — we have to buy the “extreme” version as our dogs, as mentioned above, are destructive and will destroy pretty much anything and everything when not given proper care. This doesn’t make them “bad dogs” it just involves an appreciation for who your dog is and what her needs are.  There are actually several dog breeds, mixes and personalities that just need more activity, stimulation, and guidance. So now when we have to leave them alone for a few hours alone or a few days with a pet sitter, we are more than prepared. The Kong Extreme is a simple chew toy with space inside to put in creative treats. It takes hours for them to lick off the frozen treats and by the end they are so tired that they just fall asleep. It’s great!

What’s awesome about the Kong? Well, in our case, we can keep reusing them until… well forever, hopefully!

So here are our two favorite toys for our dogs when we have to leave them for lengthy periods, please let us know what yours are!

House Call Services

house-call-services
House call services are perfect for Cats and Multiple Pet Households

If you own a cat, you will be able to relate to this. One of the things I use to dread when we went on vacation was leaving our cats in boarding. It would stress me out just by thinking of putting them in boarding because I knew just how miserable, anxious and stressed they were.

I think we’ve found a solution to that. House Call services are perfect for cats because they don’t need to leave their house. A member of Dogma, who lives in the same neighborhood, can simply drop in, make sure the cats are alright, feed them, play with them and then leave with the service request having been done.

House call services are also fantastic for multiple pet households because it will save Pet owners money from the cost of boarding multiple pets.

Just like regular services, please make sure you meet up with your friendly neighborhood pet sitter beforehand so you can exchange information and get to know the pets. What makes Dogma different is that its truly about the community and neighbors that are willing to help each other out.

An Important Objective

logo_60th-humane-societyHumane Society of the United States estimate that every year 6 to 8 million animals are returned to the shelters. 2.7 Million Adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized. Those are real stats and we hope to have a big impact by reducing those numbers to zero.

So many stories of so many animals who need homes move us so its important for us to note that the main objective of Dogma are:

To lessen the return of dogs/cats/other pets to shelters because of the lack of resources to care for them

To increase the adoption from Shelters because of the increase of assistance from community members

To create the most powerful online and offline pet community that truly cares for pets and each other

We need your help if we are going to reduce these numbers. Please adopt a pet today!

Welcome Georgie the Dog, I mean Cat!

New Cat in the House!
New Cat in the House!

We recently adopted a new dog, that is, I keep thinking he is a dog because he seems to have a thing for sniffing, following the dogs around, and sleeping with them, but he purrs and looks like a cat, so he must be a cat! Meet Georgie! He was in a foster home for 2 years. Two looong years. Can you imagine? He was overlooked by every single person looking for a new pet and all the better for us to be blessed with this little guy! Yet, it makes us wonder…if this amazing cat with this beautiful personality can be overlooked, how many other wonderful kitties out there are being passed over?  We know we can’t save them all, but with the community of Dogma, we intend to help as many as possible. Please adopt a pet today!

Pet-sitting Exchange!

My partner and I created Dogma so that we didn’t have to feel like we had no choice, but to stay home every time there was an opportunity for a weekend getaway.  We love to travel but we were often faced with the dilemma of who to find to care for our furry children and how much to pay (or in the case of family, how much to beg) them. But with 3 dogs and a very bossy cat, our options are: 1) never to leave the house for more than 8 hours at a time or 2) come back to a big mess. We prefer the former. Nevermind long trips, as the pet care costs can quickly become a second house payment.

Happy, en route to our home when we adopted her
Happy, en route to our home when we adopted her

We don’t like to spend money when we are busy trying to save money for a rainy day and we are guessing we are not the only ones who would rather hold on to a few bucks.  Hence, Dogma was born. It’s great that other websites enable folks to make money, work from home and provide a service to animals, but what about folks who can’t afford to pay for daily dog boarding services? What about the single parent coming home from work exhausted and still having to take the dog for a walk? The kids love the dog, the dog needs a home, but she chews the house apart if she doesn’t get her exercise so how can we make it work? What about the animals that get left in their homes for more than 24 hours because their owners felt that they had no choice, but to leave them? Dogma is the solution. An online community that helps you connect with other members of your community who will board your dog if you board theirs, walk your dog if you can pick up their dog food, and visit the kitty if you feed their bird. Check out our website here:  Dogma Check out our Facebook page here: Facebook.com/dogma.me Aside from the financial savings of joining Dogma, don’t forget it’s also a great way to socialize your dog and/or cat, meet members of your community and make new friends.  We sincerely hope you  fall in love with our online community and stay awhile, after all, it’s the connections we make in life that carry us through.

Proximity Distance Function

Proximity distance
Proximity distance

We are very exited to announce that we have added a proximity distance function on the public wall.  The system will take the center of the zip code as the distance peg for the entire zip code. In other words, if your zip code is the same as another member, you will see the distance as 0 miles.  This tells you that you live in the same neighborhood without actually revealing where the other person is exactly located.

Public Requests

Please note that you will be able to see requests within a 5.9 mile radius based on the zip code you have provided.  It is up to you to decide how far you are willing to travel by accepting whichever requests suits your abilities.  There is no requirement on distance, just do what works for you! Dogma is about keeping pet care fun. We are here to make life easier for you.

Washington, D.C. Practical Pet Care Services

pet care services washington, d.c.
Washington, D.C.

If you are a resident of Washington, D.C. and are looking for a modern practical pet care solution, you have just found it! Quid Pro Quo + Sharing Economy = Dogma.

Dogma kicks off its Beta Testing round in the Nation’s capital.  If you have pets, a full time job, a family and kids… well, we know how you feel.  We created this service to help Pet Parents meet other responsible Pet Parents and support each other in making ends meet.

If you want to know more about it, here are some pages, blogs & articles that we hope proves useful…

1) How it Works (with video)

2) Check out the blog

3) An Important Objective

4) Even before Dogma 

And if you have any questions / reactions, please reach out to us on Facebook.com/Dogma or twitter @Dogma  — you can also use the Contact page and send us a message.

Social Media for Dogma

So we have set up two Social Media Accounts for Dogma.  We hope to set up more in the following days to come.  In the mean time, here is the difference between Facebook and Twitter; follow or like, whatever rocks your boat!

Facebook-Logo-300x168Facebook is the mother of Social Media, so it is only right that Dogma is also on Facebook (just realized our initials are also FB!). We have been hearing that less and less users are joining, which is a shame in my opinion.  Facebook is great for keeping in touch with everyone.  On our FB page we are going to be posting photos, message, and reposting issues that matter to pets / animals in general.  We will also be updating it with the latest and greatest that is happening within our website.  Please like if  you are a FB person.

 

twitter-logoTwitter is a fantastic micro blogging site and if there were no other Social Media sites out there, we would be happy with just twitter alone, alas… Please follow us if you like micro blogging as we are going to be updating our twitterfeed with lots of updates from our members.  We would also like to use our twitter account as our customer service account, but please note, that is not set in stone.  Thanks for following us on Twitter!