San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW)

"Big or small, we feed them all!"

On Feeding Marrow (and other “recreational”) Bones vs. Raw MEATY Bones

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One of the risks associated with feeding marrow bones.

Yes, we do sell marrow bones and other recreational bones, but when we do, the sale *always* comes with a heavy dose of education and a gentle warning that these bones are, indeed, the most dangerous ones that we sell and should only be fed to dogs for which you are fully confident can enjoy them safely.

What does “enjoy them safely” mean?  It means your dog will not bite down hard on them or chew vigorously on them. The right candidate for enjoying these bones is one that will carry the bone around for days (or weeks) and lick it gently. Be sure to select a bone that has been cut to a safe size for your dog’s mouth (not too small to become a swallow risk, and not a risk for getting caught on their jaw, as pictured here).

Weight bearing bones from large animals (like cattle) are very dense. They can fracture your dog’s teeth and will break up into sharp shards when broken/cracked, which is a safety issue. Marrow bones are usually cleanly stripped and well-trimmed of attached meat, then cut down to size, during the butchering process. The modern “fit for human consumption” butchering process removes the important, nutritious and useful meat, connective tissue, and hide attached to this bone (as nature provides) to safely and properly cushion the ingested bone fragments during digestion.

These bones can also get caught in your dog’s mouth or jaw – and if swallowed, they can do some serious damage.

Marrow, gelatinous and knuckle bones are all considered recreational bones — which are also referred to as WRECkreational bones because of the problems they may cause. We strongly recommend & promote the feeding of raw MEATY bones – which are different than the recreational bones.  Below you can find our feeding suggestions for raw bones. If your dog can safely manage marrow bones, that’s great, and we have them here for you — but please make sure that you are aware of the risks associated with these particular types of bones before offering them to your dog.

Here’s a good article that reviews the issues with marrow bones.

Other places to learn more about this issue can be found here and here and here.

The below list of raw bone suggestions was originally written & complied in 2005. Note: We no longer sell Niman Ranch brand products (we are lucky enough to get BN Ranch turkey & beef from Bill Niman’s current operation now!) and we have a lot of new products and producers available these days, but this gives you a good idea of things to try with your dogs & cats. The TIPS listed at the top are relevant & important to review.

Raw Bone Suggestions from SFRAW
TIP #1
The larger and meatier the bone, the safer it is to feed. Look for bones that are the size of your animal’s head (they will not be able to swallow the bone whole or without chewing first). Bones that are cut into small pieces are more of a risk to feed as they can be swallowed whole without being chewed. Feeding bones/parts the very same size of your animal’s throat are the most dangerous as they can get lodged in the esophagus; animals can misjudge their ability to get the piece down their throat safely.
TIP #2
If a bone is not super meaty ‘as is’, feed it as a topper or dessert to a portion of muscle meat (ground, stew or trim), organs/offal, soaked/cooked or sprouted grains, or pulped veggie/veggie-fruit mix. Feeding boney bones alone without enough non-bone material (meat, organs, or other bulk) may cause constipation or an impaction.
TIP #3
Do not feed long or weight bearing bones unless you have an animal that carefully chews the meat off the bone or licks the marrow out of the bone only. Do not feed these bones if your animal is apt to bite down hard, chip off pieces and/or crack them open. Long and/or weight bearing bones are most prone to splitting or cracking into sharp shards. These are the types of bones that are more likely to cause obstructions, intestinal perforations, get lodged in the roof of the mouth, and cracked teeth when chomped on.
Weaning / Very young puppies or kittens(will gnaw on these bones while learning to eat them safely)
Chicken necks
Chicken backs
Chicken wings
Duck necks
Rabbit, cut
Oxtails, cut in half
Pork necks (they will chew, but not consume)
Pig feet / trotters
Bison tails
Turkey necks
Cornish Game Birds, whole or cut into big pieces
Quail, whole or cut in half
Goat bones
Lamb necks
Lamb breast
Tiny-Small Dogs + Adult Cats(some dogs may be smaller than adult cats and need bones cut down to size)
Chicken necks
Chicken backs, cut in half
Chicken wings
Duck necks, cut in half and lengthwise
Duck, whole cut into pieces
Rabbit, cut
Pork necks, cut (just recreational for some)
Beef necks, cut
Oxtails, cut in half and lengthwise
Bison tails, cut in half and lengthwise
Turkey necks, cut in half and lengthwise
Turkey tails, cut in half
Cornish Game Birds, whole or cut into big pieces
Quail, whole or cut in half
Goat bones, cut
Lamb necks, cut
Lamb breast, cut
Lamb flaps, cut
Medium-Large Sized Dogs
Chicken necks
Chicken breast
Chicken backs
Chicken wings
Chicken feet
Chicken carcass
Chickens, split or quartered
Duck necks
Duck carcass
Duck feet
Duck, whole
Rabbit, whole or cut in half
Pork necks
Pork tails (high fat content, feed sparingly)
Pork butt, bone-in
Pig feet / trotters
Beef necks
Beef rib plates, whole or cut
Oxtails, cut in half and lengthwise
Bison necks
Bison tails
Turkey necks
Turkey carcass bones
Turkey tails
Turkey, split or quartered
Cornish Game Birds, whole
Quail, whole
Goat bones
Lamb deckle
Lamb shoulder
Lamb necks, cut
Lamb breast, cut
Lamb flaps
Whole ewe or whole lamb, cut
Giant Dogs
Chicken necks
Chicken breast
Chicken backs
Chicken wings
Chicken feet
Chicken carcass
Chickens, whole, split or quartered
Duck necks
Duck carcass
Duck feet
Duck, whole
Rabbit, whole
Pork necks
Pork tails (high fat content, feed sparingly)
Pork butt, bone-in
Pig feet / trotters
Beef rib plates, whole
Oxtails, whole
Bison tails
Turkey necks
Turkey carcass bones
Turkey tails
Turkey, split
Cornish Game Birds, whole
Quail, whole
Goat bones (cut 6-way or 6-8″ pieces)
Lamb deckle
Lamb shoulder
Lamb necks, whole
Lamb flaps
Bones Suitable for Animals Prone to Pancreatitis(all bone is high in fat; you will need find lean cuts from lean animals)
Cornish game birds
Chicken (remove skin and fat)
Turkey (remove skin and fat; tails not suitable)
Bison tails
Recreational Bones for Small-Med-Large Sized Dogs with Very Soft Mouths(if they never bite down hard; will chew meat off bone without cracking open)
Beef ribs
Beef necks
Beef shanks
Beef knuckle bones
Beef marrow/soup bones
Bison necks
Bison soup bones
Bison shanks
Bison ribs
Pork ribs
Pork shanks
Pork soup/knuckle bones
Pork marrow bones
Lamb shanks
Lamb marrow bones
Goat shanks
Super Meaty Bones(these products are reliably very meaty)
Duck, whole
Rabbit, whole or pieces
Niman pork necks (fairly meaty)
Niman pork butt, bone-in
Niman or Prather pig head
Niman picnic, bone in, smoker trim
Niman pork hindshanks
Niman pork leg, bone-in
Niman spareribs
Niman pork bone-in shortloin
Niman loin, bone-in
Niman back ribs
Niman beef shanks, whole hindshanks
Niman beef lion tails
Niman beef short ribs, “English Style”, whole
MSF beef rib plates, whole
MSF beef shanks, whole or cross-cut (super duper meaty)
Chicken, whole, split or quartered
Chicken whole legs
Chicken thighs
Chicken breast
Turkey, whole or split
Turkey breast
Turkey thighs
Turkey tails
C&M goat bones (super duper meaty)
Niman lamb shoulder
Niman lamb leg
Niman foreshank (fairly meaty)
Niman hindshanks (fairly meaty)
Niman breast
Niman whole carcass
Niman lamb necks, whole
James Ranch Whole Ewe (fairly meaty)

Written by sfraw

December 19, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Quick Update: Dry & Open!

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IMAG4143Update: Last night we battened down the hatches, and the 7am scene was a little nutty here with some dramatic parking lot water works, but everything settled down very quickly & we’re still holding dry.

This means that we’re here & OPEN to serve you, intrepid delivery drivers are delivering to us over our sandbag barricade & everything is A-OK!

Our place is a bit wonky with everything up on the tables in preparation for potential flooding – so, please excuse our disorder.

Now, even though we’re open – we’re asking for you to *PLEASE* stay home and come visit us when it’s less stormy, unless you really really need to get something. Many local roads in this area are flooded & all SF Bay Area roads are congested and kooky right now – we want you to stay off the roads & stay safe today, if you can.

So far, so good — hope all is well with each of you and yours. 


San Francisco scene on a rainy night.




Written by sfraw

December 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

In Preparation for the Upcoming Storm

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Screenshot 2014-12-09 10.31.13After last week’s flood crisis, we have been paying VERY close attention to the weather outlook, by the hour, every single day.  Yes, I’ve been a little obsessive about it.

Many of you now know that there’s a predication from weather forecasters that an enormous storm (biggest since 2008 — bigger than last week’s storm) is expected to hit the area this week – as early as tomorrow.  We first learned about this next storm on Sunday, and we have been working hard to get ready for it ever since.


Just to keep you all updated, here are the things we have been doing to prepare for the next weather event and to prevent flood damages:

Multiple calls to DPW/PUC via (generating least four confirmation numbers from us alone — other businesses have also called) for requests to clean the drain & surrounding area on DPW lot behind our property (which was the cause of the flooding here). One of these calls this am was to request to get a pallet of sandbags be delivered to Napoleon Street so that business owners can protect their property and to have sandbags piled along the property line to protect us from the flooding in the DPW lot behind us.  We all have some sandbags installed in front of our units since last week (we went and got them until they closed and ran out of bags Friday night). SFRAW shared with others here, and we don’t have enough for our unit to be 100% protected (we thought we could run back to get more, but when we did, they were closed & when we called, they said they were out of them).We have been putting the sandbags we do have & tarps down every night since we got the unit cleaned up last Thursday. We tried to get more yesterday and they were out; this am they were out and we called to learn they may have some by 1pm today. We will be there to get what we can at 1pm.

20141204_082422Multiple calls to our business location’s local supervisor, Malia Cohen’s office to ask that they put pressure on the PUC & DPW to adequately clean the area that flooded last week and put sandbags in place around the drain so that it won’t clog again, stack sandbags along the property line so that flood waters/debris do not flow into our property from the DPW lot, and provide us (and other businesses in this location) with more sandbags for our individual businesses:

Supervisor Malia Cohen
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 244
San Francisco, Ca 94102-4689
(415) 554-7670

They have made calls to DPW and PUC but the work that was done to clear the drain and surrounding area to prevent flooding was totally inadequate. They have come twice now and have scraped off the top of the drain grate only, leaving significant amounts of mud, debris, trash (including tires and pieces of wood) within just feet of the drain — this debris will immediately clog the drain with this next storm and we WILL experience another flood if this is not cleared and fortified properly.

2014-12-09 09.41.09

The most frustrating thing about this is we know the storm is on it’s way (and it is expected to be big — of course, it might be nothing when it comes down to it – you never know with weather, but you have to prepare to prevent disasters whenever you have the opportunity to do so!), they have the means to clean their own lot (DPW employees park here every day!) and can take the necessary steps prevent this location from flooding — yet they have not done what they need to do to prevent this.  The city will be liable for the damages we incurred last week (we are filing a claim against the city) and they will be responsible for any additional devastating damages to all of these small businesses located on this property from more flooding like this. They can prevent this from happening by fixing this issue, but they have not so far.

So — sandbags and tarps are installed but we need more of them. We have a sump pump & hoses ready to pump out the floor drains should we flood from the inside (which may happen; we need to be ready for this).

Yes, we also worked with our insurance broker to purchase flood coverage (rare for this area), but it will not go into effect for another 30 days.

Working with two members that are lawyers and someone experienced with insurance claims to work with our insurance agency/claims adjuster to see what we may find for coverage of our losses from last week.

Submitting a claim against the city of San Francisco.

20141208_124509Cleaned the drain located in our own parking lot of all debris (thank you, Alan & Miguel for doing this, by hand — it was totally gross and they found a piece of cement blocking the drain in there, too — so good thing we cleaned it out) and made sure it is not clogged going into this next storm; will place sandbags around the drain to prevent it from flooding, if we get the sandbags we ne.

UPDATE 11:30am: Spoke with Jared (manager at DPW) and he reserved an entire pallet of sandbags for our use to fortify our businesses and property – we borrowed a truck and rushed over to get them. When we arrived, we found a long line around the block of cars & trucks waiting IMAG4088to get sandbags; they were turning people away as they had run out already. We were lucky enough to get though to get the “Kasie Maxwell” pallet for the Napoleon Street businesses. When I returned from getting the sandbags, my landlord was here and he’s meeting a plumber to make sure the drain in our lot is clear for the storm (he said he’ll be charging us for this and it will be over $700). Then we saw a car and someone working on the drain in the lot behind us. It was Jared himself putting sandbags down around the drain. I know this is not the job he’s expected to do, but he took this on to do what he could to help.  I appreciate his efforts, however, the area is still full of debris and he admitted they are not going to be able to fortify the boundary between the two properties to protect the water flow that will collect there from entering this property. He also noted the high water line on the building and seems genuinely concerned about how high the water got last time and the risk we are exposed to under these conditions. We will use this pallet of sandbags to do what we can here to protect us from flooding.

IMAG4089 Hoping the storm is not as bad as expected and we’ll be just fine — maybe even that all this effort will equate a 100% flood-free experience in the next few days <fingers & toed crossed>.  Hope the roof is in good shape to withstand the winds & we don’t have any leaks; hope the electricity holds and we don’t lose power (for the sake of our frozen/fresh foods).

Hope you and yours will weather the storms easily and that we can all enjoy some indoor, warm, snuggly time with our beloved family members/animals along with a good book or movie. Storms are great for this. Be safe &  have fun walking your dogs out there!

IMAG4074Lastly, we hope to be here and open just fine this week (if all goes well & we stay dry & safe). Please make the trip over to come by to visit us. We plan to be OPEN as usual on Thursday 9am-7pm; Friday 9am-7pm; Sat 9am-5pm & Sunday 12-5pm.  On this week’s receiving agenda: we’re getting a nice big pallet of GreenTripe on Thursday and expect to have lots of good things for you this week including a special delivery from Pastoral Plate of their killer smoked pork chops; BACON & 1/2 a share of their incredible lamb – in stock now, as of last night — this lamb is FRESH & absolutely out of this world delicious!  Enjoy!










Written by sfraw

December 9, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Abundance of GOOD news! OPEN Tomorrow & Sunday!!

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The most amazing things happened yesterday & today. Thanks to this incredible community, a huge/tremendous effort of labor and hard work from a few very key wonderful people, and thanks to all the donations we received, we are BACK IN BUSINESS!  Thanks to you, we are now:

* 100% cleaned-up and decontaminated

IMPORTANT NOTE: With the exception of a few cases of products (which we brought to the dump along with 1,000 lbs of destroyed goods/equipment), our food products were NOT impacted by the flood waters!  Thankfully, everything was up high enough on shelves that it was well away from the flood waters. The very first thing we did was move everything over to a cold stage facility nearby, so we could shut down the freezers and power wash/decontaminate every inch of the freezer/cooler, all shelving, tables, mats, walls, chairs, and floors of the entire warehouse. Deliveries of fresh inventory were all re-routed to this facility for the past few days while we got everything cleaned-up in here and back in good working order. Our freezers/coolers have not looked this clean in a few years – it’s sparkling clean in the walk-ins! You should come check it out :)

* We got all of our inventory returned to us on pallets, and then loaded back into the freezer & cooler at 4pm today.

* We were able to purchase and set-up new hardware/software (thanks to your donations!!) and our back-up drive was recovered by 6pm tonight – not next week as originally speculated. (We literally jumped up and down in a group hug over this news!)

As of this minute — we’re 100% back in operation!  We’re right this minute grinding fresh chicken formula, chicken grind, lamb formula & lamb grind that will be FRESH & ready for you all tomorrow! We also have FRESH veggies for sale.  Broth should be ready by Sunday — we’ll get that going in the am, first thing.

We only have a minor hassle issue with printing sales receipts to the small printer at the POS register (the AC adapter for the printer is unusual and needs to be ordered online — was damaged in the flood), but we can print to regular printer and regular paper OK.

We’ll be OPEN to serve you tomorrow and Sunday – please come and celebrate this tremendous effort and achievement with us! If I can get it together, I’ll try to have vegan coconut milk hot cocoa or spiced cider available to you by tomorrow afternoon. We want you to know how much we appreciate what you helped us to achieve by supporting us through this most serious crisis, and helping us get back on our feet so that we can operate again, in a **matter of days** — absolutely incredible!

You guys did it– we really really did it together!  We made it through something that had the very real possibility of taking us out for good and we pulled through it — and fast.

I’m so overwhelmed with how everything happened so fast and came together so incredibly — this is such an amazing group. We are SO lucky to have one another —  I am in total awe of the power and spirit of our special community.

Thank You!!!  Thank You!!! Thank You!!!


Nik power washing the freezer.

Nik power washing the freezer.

Cooler emptied & sprayed with cleaning solution, but not yet power washed.

Cooler emptied & sprayed with cleaning solution, but not yet power washed.


Mid-cleaning snapshot from yesterday…


Everything pulled out of the warehouse & ready to clean/power wash. Photo taken after the dump run.


Office mid-cleaning, taken yesterday.


Tonight — moving products in, and starting production of our grinds.


Inventory moved back into the cleaned walk-in cooler tonight.


Product replaced in the cooler.


YAY! Fresh lamb necks, lamb breasts, FRESH chicken, FRESH MSF ground PORK (Shari – this is for you!:), BN Ranch beef goodies & Liberty Duck. We’re back in business starting tomorrow!! :) Amazing!!!

Written by sfraw

December 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

SFRAW CLOSED DUE TO FLOODING: Party & Mentoring Cancelled This Weekend

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SFRAW (and the other businesses located on the surrounding property) were devastated by an incredible flood from last night/this morning’s storm. Unbelievably, 13″ of muddy/filthy waters made their way into our entire unit including (incredibly) into the walk-in freezer & cooler; the office was totally submerged – every inch of the unit was flooded. Everything at or near ground level is covered in filthy water and destroyed – the computers, electronics, paint on the walls, book & book shelves, office files/member records, office supplies, packaging, floor mats & area rug, supplies such as paper supplies and office supplies — all ruined and needs to go to the dump. The clean-up is overwhelming as we face the risk of mold damage if we don’t do a proper job with clean-up.

Sadly, our extensive insurance won’t cover this loss — only if there was a fire as a result of the flood, would this have been covered. The issue was a huge drainage basin located on an empty lot that is city property behind the property at Napoleon Street became blocked and turned into a raging river/tidal wave of debris that swept into our units and even flooded the cars in the parking lot – everything was moved by the waters. It is like nothing I have ever seen in person — just on TV. It is overwhelming.

We were able to save all of the inventory/products and move them over to a cold storage facility while we clean and decontaminate the unit and walk-ins – which we will continue to do tomorrow. I couldn’t write this message today since we have no connectivity at the warehouse now — AT&T said they can come tomorrow to replace the damaged equipment.

We will be closed tomorrow. I don’t know yet about Friday — it depends on how much we can get done tomorrow for clean-up. If you would like to come to help — we can use your support/labor and willingness to help clean. It will take several passes with the power washer and then the dry time before we can move back our inventory and be open for business and back to manufacturing. Our POS will not be operational until next week. Even if we’re open, we will have to use Square or take cash & checks and do our best to guesstimate for pricing.

We will not have our holiday event on Saturday; I won’t be able to make broth and tallow, as promised.

For those that had pre-orders for Marin delivery on Saturday — we actually will be able to still get 99% of these orders filled and Jeff will be able to deliver Sat morning as planned.

This is very hard. If we survive this or not will depend entirely on you, our members and customers. If you care about SFRAW, please come help to clean tomorrow, or come and buy things when we have things available for sale again (and, if you can, pay a little extra to help us with this enormous financial hit). Help us with a fundraising (Kickstarter?) campaign, which we will need to launch to get through this.

Someone helping today (just happened to drive up and offered to help all day — thank you, Nik!!) made reference to the Six Million Dollar Man (Bionic Man/Woman/Dog shows) — that if we can make it through this, SFRAW will become “better…stronger…faster.” Maybe if we can do a fundraiser and people chip in to help…this will be true?

Please stay tuned for more details. I’m so sorry we’re closed right now. We’ll do our very best to be back for you ASAP — with your help.

My biggest question right now is: will our community support us during this time of need?

Your Weary Leader,


PS – If you want to make a donation before I get the Kickstarter up (this will take a bit to do and I could use help with it!) you can send a donation in any amount via PayPal to: or just stop by and donate what you can. Even small amounts will help; even reassuring us that you will buy from us when we get things back together for sale will help. Tomorrow, labor for cleaning will be the biggest help. Thank you.



Victoria’s ingenious method of drying (and saving!) your membership records!! Best use of the dehydrators yet :)


Notice the water line on the dog bowl. About 12″ high here.

IMG_0426 IMG_0417 IMG_0415 IMG_0411 IMAG4039 IMAG4040 IMG_0409

Written by sfraw

December 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

On Heartworm…

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I wanted to re-post Dr. Siri Dayton’s truly excellent emails on the subject of heartworm that she wrote for the SFRAW Yahoo Group in 2009. I concur with her suggestions wholeheartedly.


I have had dogs my entire life and have never once given any of them heartworm medication in any form; and I’ve never had a pet test positive. While San Francisco and the Bay Area are not areas with a lot of heartworm disease, whenever I visited heartworm endemic areas with my dogs (camping in the Sierra foothills or Russian River area, for example), I’d test them when I returned and then again 6 months later. The plan was if they tested positive at an early stage, we would then dose them with Ivermectin at that time only. I never had to do that because they were always negative.


I would personally never use Heartguard as recommended conventionally. But I wouldn’t use Black Walnut preventatively either. However, this herb might be the better option for someone living in a heartworm endemic region, if their dogs live outdoors and get bitten by mosquitoes frequently.


Whenever I went to areas with a lot of mosquitoes (even in San Francisco) I’d spray myself and the dogs with my Tick Spritz and that worked well to deter the bugs enough to not get eaten/bitten. While Tick Spritz was part of my heartworm prevention program, I didn’t live somewhere where mosquitoes were everywhere all the time — just bad in certain parks, at certain times of year and times of day. That made use of such a topical pretty easy. I know this is not true for people living in areas with a lot more bugs.


Hope this helps!




Heartworm Prevention (PART I)

Originally posted to SFRAW Yahoo Group December 2009


This is a topic of great concern to dog owners so I thought I would

chime in here and clarify a few conventional basics about Heartworm

disease, prevention, and treatment.


Heartworms are transmitted to dogs through infected mosquitos who

carry heartworm larvae. If an infected mosquito bites your dog, it can

pass the larvae to your dog.


For those of you who choose to treat their dogs:

  1. Heartgard is the most commonly used product on the market for the

prevention of heartworm disease. The drug in it is ivermectin. As one

other person mentioned, ivermectin is a common cattle dewormer and, if

your vet is able and willing, you can get it very cheaply this way.

Ivermectin is toxic to sight hounds. Though some veterinarians purport

that the extremely low dose of ivermectin can be given safely to sight

hounds, I would avoid that drug altogether (why push your luck?) and

use an alternative product called Interceptor (milbemycin) for sight



  1. The package instructions for Heartgard suggest giving the product

once a month. However, studies clearly show that the drug is close to

100% effective for longer than that. It can safely be given every 6

weeks IF you can keep to that schedule. In careful studies, dogs who

become infected with Heartworm disease while on Heartgard have

invariable received their dose late or have missed doses (or have

vomited it up).


  1. In our area of California, mosquitos are out and around all year

long. It has to be consistently lower than thirty something degrees

before mosquitos die, so it is unwise to skip the winter months here

in the bay area.


Diagnosis and Treatment:

  1. It is recommended that dogs who are not on heartworm prevention be

tested for heartworm disease once a year. I recommend this even to my

homeopathic clients (though I confess I have not tested my own dog in

over 3 years). If a dog does become infected with heartworms, the

sooner you know about it, the less damage they will do and the easier

and more successful the treatment will be. For those dogs who are on a

preventative product, a conservative recommendation is to test every

other year. Dogs who take Heartgard religiously have essentially no

chance of contracting the disease. Vets recommend every other year

testing because we pick up positive dogs – again, this happens when

doses are missed. If you are VERY certain that you have given the

doses every 6 weeks religiously, you should not need to test.


  1. Treatment with conventional drugs is not nice. As someone else

commented, the drugs themselves are very toxic. And, depending on how

many worms a dog has, when the worms themselves die, there can be

serious complications. I treated several dogs in my conventional

practice. Thankfully, all survived but it is not a nice or easy path

for anyone involved.


That is what I was taught in vet school and what is (or should be)

recommended by conventional vets out there. I no longer practice

conventional medicine, so this is no longer what I recommend for my



Heartworm Prevention: A Holistic Approach (PART II)


Having put my white doctor’s coat on for you all briefly the other day

to clarify the conventional aspects of heartworm disease in dogs, I

gladly shed that old starched coat and tell you what I now recommend

to my clients from the perspective of a homeopathic veterinarian.


First, one correction to my previous email. A member pointed out that

ivermectin (the drug in Heartgard) is toxic to Collies. I had this

wrong. Sight hounds have no increased sensitivity, it’s just Collies.

Sorry about that, and thanks to the person who pointed that out!


Now, on to a more natural approach to heartworm prevention. It will

help to understand first how heartworm disease functions in the

natural world. To see this, we look to wolves, dogs wild equivalents.

In the wolf population, heartworms exist at a low level (7% of wolves

according to a good study). Importantly, of those wolves who were

affected, none of them showed signs of health problems from the



In our domesticated, “well cared for” dogs, heartworm infection does

exist and in higher percentages than in wolves. Why is this? Dogs and

wolves are essentially the same genetically, so species difference

does not account for the increased susceptibility in our dogs. What we

know about parasites (intestinal worms, fleas, heartworms, etc.) is

that inhabit weak animals, animals with compromised immune systems.

The immune system is an incredibly powerful, effective tool our bodies

have to fight disease. But it is also very fragile and requires

nurturing and respect to keep it functioning properly. The simple,

highly effective strategy is to do everything we can to strengthen our

pets’ immune systems, and to avoid as much as possible those things

that weaken the immune system.


Here is a shot at a list of things you can all do to improve your

animals’ lives immensely.


  1. Diet: Feed fresh, whole food diets!!!! Do everything you can to

come as close to a 100% fresh diet of natural or organic high quality

foods. Kasie is nothing less than a guardian angel for all of our

animals in making this truly possible between her incredible knowledge

of nutrition and the work she does to make such a wide variety of

meats and other whole foods available to all of us.


  1. Vaccinations: In my opinion, the widespread over-vaccination of our

domesticated animals has led to a serious decline in health. This is a

whole lecture in itself, but the assault on an animal’s immune system

can be very damaging, creating a weakened animal whose susceptibility

to immune diseases increases significantly. So, vaccinate wisely.

Avoid vaccines for diseases that are not life threatening, avoid

vaccinating for diseases that are not prevalent in your area, and stop

the madness of repeating distemper/parvo vaccinations year after year.

Educate yourselves and don’t just follow the advice of veterinarians

who still recommend yearly distemper boosters. Even the strictest

conventional research out there shows that this is unnecessary and

potentially damaging to your pet’s health.


  1. Lifestyle: The way most of us keep our pets (myself included) is

highly unnatural and stressful for them. Do everything you can to

provide lots of exercise, fresh air and mental stimulation. Poor

“husbandry” should not be underestimated as a source of illness. I

suggest that all of you read Temple Grandin’s latest book, Animals

Make Us Human for an important and illuminating understanding of



  1. Toxins: Our world is full of them. Animals (and especially cats)

are very sensitive to chemicals. Practical things you can do include.

  1. Provide fresh filtered water (if you can afford it, get a

filtration system that removes fluoride along with other bad things).

  1. Use mild, natural cleaners in your house. It is disheartening to

walk down the cleaning isle in the grocery store and see the shelves

of extremely toxic substances when vinegar, baking soda and a few

other innocent things are equally effective.

  1. Stop using pesticides to control fleas and ticks as much as

possible. Pesticides are poisons. Instead, do what you can to improve

the health of your pet and the fleas will leave them alone!

  1. Drugs themselves can be very toxic to your animal. We are a drug

crazed society (though France is worse, I recently read), thinking we

need to treat every little ailment with strong drugs. Seek milder

treatment alternatives when possible.

  1. Consider consulting with a Classical Homeopath or someone trained

in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help you get chronic problems under

control, and to help you find your way through these very confusing



  1. Support the immune system with all the measures above, and also

with a product like Transfer Factor Plus, Canine or Feline Complete

Formula. What we understand about transfer factors is that they are

able to balance or modulate the immune system. So, if the immune

system is compromised, it increases the ability of the immune system

to respond (this is KEY in fighting off foreign invaders such as fleas

and heartworms!). If it is over reacting (as in allergies, auto-immune

diseases, etc), transfer factors slows it down.


Finally, it may help if you understand that most of conventional

medicine feeds off of our FEAR. Vets and doctors scare you silly about

the dangers of heartworm disease, driving the point home by showing

you a heart filled with worms in a formalin jar before selling you a

package of expensive drugs to prevent this happening to your little

dog. I know. I used to be one of those vets.


In that past years, my understanding of health and sickness has

shifted dramatically. I have learned to trust the immune system. It is

an excellent system, far better than any drug or treatment that

exists. I do not recommend heartworm preventative for the vast

majority of my clients. There. I said it. I stand behind my word too.

Of course, I cannot offer a money back guarantee that your animal is

not going to contract heartworm disease, but I have colleagues who

practice using these methods in states like Texas and Florida where

heart worm disease is rampant in the dog population, but who have not

seen a positive case in their patients under homeopathic care for over

20 years. Those are better results than I saw in over 10 years of

conventional practice, and should be very compelling to you.


So, the best advice I can give you is to stop acting from fear, and

start taking substantial steps to improving your dogs health.



I wish you all healthy and happy holidays,


Siri Dayton, DVM


Written by sfraw

November 12, 2014 at 7:13 pm

New SFRAW Masters: Mentoring & Apprenticeship Program

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The SFRAW Masters Mentoring & Apprenticeship Program promotes and develops two fundamental goals of the SFRAW Mission:

    To cultivate a compassionate and informed community

that educate, inspire, and support one another;

    To mentor through education about feeding whole fresh food

diets to pets and Natural Rearing principles.


SFRAW Master Mentors are select members that have been involved with SFRAW for many years, and have been following a well-respected published diet program or Kasie/SFRAW’s guidelines for meals/diet program for at least 5-years, or have proven equivalent education, knowledge, and experience that puts them into this exclusive position for providing mentoring and guidance to other SFRAW members with less experience/knowledge.

Apprentices are fellow SFRAW members that are new to raw feeding and have an interest in learning more about how to make food for their animals at home, and are willing and able to assist the Mentors in preparing and packaging Mentor’s diets at SFRAW.

Our Masters Mentoring program has been established to achieve the following objectives:

1) to provide Masters free use of the SFRAW warehouse facility to prepare & package their own animal’s meals

2) to provide Masters with assistance in the form of labor Apprentices.

3) to provide an educational experience for Apprentices, so that they can confidently prepare foods for their animals at home by applying what they learned while working alongside Mentors;

4) to have fun while cultivating a community that educate, inspire, and support one another!

This is a FREE program, but it is not a formal class or workshop, nor does your time spent with your Mentor count towards your volunteer hours with SFRAW.

Mentors will provide and purchase all their own ingredients from SFRAW and packaging, as needed/necessary. Apprentices will not be making/preparing food for their own animals during these sessions, but are there to provide labor assistance to the Mentor in exchange for learning from them.

Mentors will schedule time when they are planning to make food and will announce this schedule to the membership list where members can reply directly to the Mentor to be considered as an Apprentice. Dates & times for these sessions will take place when SFRAW is closed for regular business (not during regular business hours).

SFRAW Masters Credentials and Bios

Cooking up something delicious in her “I <3 SFRAW” apron, designed & handmade by member Victoria Vargas.

Jovie on her 10th birthday!

Jovie on her 10th birthday!

Cabernet Lazarus-Gavin (member since 2006) feeds her three healthy rescue dogs Blueberry (6yo/6lb/chi mix), Skeeter (4yo/60lb/GodKnowsWhat) & Jovie (10(!!!!)yo/40lb/lab/bc/pointer) a home-prepared raw diet by diligently following the SFRAW/Kasie’s diet program. She knows how to prepare appropriate raw meals & make safe bone selections for large, tiny and senior dogs.  She has been an active volunteer for many years, frequently taking on a lead position when working with groups of volunteers at SFRAW. She has mad skills when it comes to food making – especially in terms of efficiency and precision.  She’s an excellent cook, and has a deep appreciation and has developed a rather refined palate for healthy, whole foods & drink. She follows not only the SFRAW dietary principles and program, but also follows Natural Rearing protocols for her dogs. Cabernet is a native San Franciscan that works with her healing hands as a massage therapist. She spends a lot of time frolicking at the beach with the dogs, and knitting amazing things. In a past life she was a ballroom dancer, saddle-seat equestrian, and is a trained singer who can belt out tunes like a professional on Broadway (really, it’s aaamazing!) She has solid skills & knowledge regarding dog behavior and training, too.  Cabernet is funny, witty, sassy and of course, very smart. She’s all around awesome and anyone that mentors under her will walk away with a song and a smile in their heart, and new set of skills and confidence in their food making abilities.

Blueberry loves his raw hoof.

Blueberry loves his raw hoof.

Skeeter, the athlete, stops for a treat & photo at the beach!

Skeeter, the athlete, stops for a treat & photo at the beach!













Giants fan


Laura Goldin (member since 2007) has been involved with Belgian Tervuren/Shepherds since 1986. Laura partners with her mom, Martha Goldin. They currently makes food for Laura’s 8 year old, 45 lb Tervuren Chyna and Martha’s 7 year old, 60 lb Groendahl, Calypso. Over the years, Laura and Martha have, between them, parented 6 other Belgians. Before Belgians there were other breeds! They feed a home-prepared raw diet by following a modified version of the SFRAW/Kasie’s diet program, which has been reviewed by Kasie for balance and safety. When needed, they treat their animals’ imbalances using classical homeopathy, herbs, dietary supplements and TCM. Laura Goldin is a mediator and lawyer with a practice in San Francisco, California with over 35 years’ experience in mediation. Laura is a fair, kindhearted, compassionate and principled professional who seeks to maintain very high standards while discovering resolution and equitable compromise in everything she does. She has graciously counseled SFRAW on legal matters over the years, and clocked-in more than her fair share of volunteering at the warehouse. Martha, well over 80 years “old” and still keeping up with Calypso, is a retired Judge. Both make regular visits to family in France; it only makes sense that they are refined gastronomes and connoisseurs of exceptional food & drink. In the kitchen, if Laura’s not preparing meals for lucky dogs, she enjoys skillfully roasting her own organic coffee beans, and fermenting veggies for krauts – essentially, making everything from scratch using real, whole foods. Martha puts many far younger cooks to shame with her culinary skills. Both are wicked knitters. Laura is a committed Giants fan (Martha thinks she should be committed for this obsession). Both are serious about politics/how policy can affect meaningful change in the world. Both have a love for all dogs (of any breed) and are very dedicated to their wellness, health and good care.


Chyna <3 yarn day!


Chyna as a youngster in 2008.


Foraging berries in San Francisc








ELIGIBILITY:  Any SFRAW member that is new to feeding raw may request to be involved as Apprentice!  Please contact us at: or call us at: 415-225-0589.

We will put you in touch with either Cabernet or Laura. They will coordinate with you to see if their schedule works for you and if it’s a good fit for you to work together.

Cabernet will be making food Sunday mornings every three weeks or so; Laura’s schedule is currently pending until after the World Series :)

Written by sfraw

October 20, 2014 at 12:00 am


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