San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW)

"Big or small, we feed them all!"

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Last Call: SFRAW Member exclusive! Discounted enrollment on DNM University’s Raw Dog Food Nutrition Specialist Certification Course!

leave a comment »


Become A Certified Raw Dog Food Nutrition Specialist with Dogs Naturally University & SFRAW! (and, as a SFRAW member, get an exclusive discount – see below…)

Become the best by learning from the best! Learn all about this new program here.

And, if you are already a current, dues-paying, participating SFRAW Member, we have a special deal exclusively for our current membership – but you have to sign-up now!


Dogs Naturally put together SPECIAL pricing, exclusively for SFRAW members!

If you enroll now, as a current SFRAW member, you’ll get certified for only: $147!  

WOW! That’s a HUGE savings over the $395 standard tuition for personal enrollment.

Important details on this great discount: If you are a current, dues paying SFRAW member, we will gladly organize your enrollment with this pricing, but only if you are already an active participating SFRAW member.

Can I just join SFRAW now to get the discount? No, sorry – we are not offering this discount to non-members. We intend for this program to be a very special offer and exclusive benefit to our current, active, and established membership only.

Timing is Everything! We are now finalizing the group purchase for the discounted registration — but you can still register this week!

The cut-off for SFRAW registration is Sunday, JUNE 18TH. If you’re interested in joining the SFRAW team to get certified, please email or call 415-225-0589.  

Please submit (either in-person, via phone or email) the following personal details to register and pay:

  • Your First and Last Name
  • Email address
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number
  • Payment details (payment accepted via phone or in-person)

SPECIAL BONUS: SFRAW will be hosting a private after-event/study group for members for continued discussion on the topics covered in the program. We will review how DNM University’s recommended nutritional goals and needs can be achieved with the products we offer through SFRAW and/or through the educated, thoughtful procurement of certain foods. This private platform will allow Kasie to provide insights on the various topics covered, which will allow for an even greater depth of understanding and knowledge to SFRAW members becoming certified.

Please, join us!  Get certified and enjoy a higher level of confidence in preparing nutritious, safe and healthy meals for your dogs.




Written by sfraw

June 14, 2017 at 11:55 am

Making & Using Raw Goat Milk Slurry for Naturally Reared Puppies/Young Dogs

leave a comment »


Here’s a nice supplement for nursing young puppies and older puppies that would benefit from an extra boost in nutrition and healthy immune function. We recommend feeding raw, locally pastured goat milk products as a meal or supplement daily for at least up to 4-6 months of age; and to continue feeding raw goat milk, yogurt/kefir and pastured eggs for life – seasonally, when available.

Raw goat milk is particularly nourishing for puppies during the nursing stage and into weaning to solid foods (starting around 5 weeks of age).

Truly pastured raw milk is a key component; if you cannot find goat milk, use locally pastured raw sheep, camel or cow milk, as a safer alternative to pasteurized milk. Pasteurized dairy products are problematic for digestion and immune function, and will not provide the same benefits as raw dairy; they should not be used as a substitution.


  • 1 quart RAW goat milk from pastured goats
  • 2 raw egg yolks from pastured chickens (alternatives: 1 raw egg yolk from pastured duck eggs or 4 organic quail eggs)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. organic blackstrap molasses (alternative: 1 tsp. of raw, organic, truly pastured liver)
  • 1 pinch Himalayan sea salt


  • 1 tsp. melted or liquid beneficial fat: raw pastured butter, SFRAW RED GOLD, or algae-derived DHA (pierce/empty 2 caps)
  • 4 Tbsp. truly pastured, organic raw milk colostrum, yogurt or kefir (read labels! Must be additive free; simply cultured dairy with beneficial probiotics)
  • 1 teaspoon or 2 caps (open and empty) of one of the following high quality probiotics:
    • MegaSporeBiotic
    • PrescriptAssist
    • D-Lactate Free Probiotic Blend from Custom Probiotics
    • Garden of Life Primal Defense




Combine 1 TBS of each herb together in a coffee grinder or mortar/pestle:

  • organic fossil-shell powder (food-grade diatomaceous earth)
  • organic raw carob powder
  • organic slippery elm bark or marshmallow root powder
  • organic dill
  • organic fennel or anise seed
  • organic chamomile flowers or catnip
  • organic & tested for radiation/heavy metals Norwegian or Icelandic kelp granules or powder
  • organic dulse granules or spirulina powder

Prepare this batch, store in a glass jar with a lid in a cool, dark, dry location.

  • Use 1/8 tsp. of the combined ingredients in each fresh/daily batch of your Goat Milk Slurry. Alternately, you can use our Healthy Powder & Starter/Detox Herb Blends in place — they are wonderful for this use!

13450236_10153587201136669_240795006787547641_nOPTIONAL PUPPY IMMUNITY HERBS (ONLY AFTER 12 WKS OF AGE):

These herbs are to be used only between the ages of 4-12 months of age, and used on a rotating schedule of 3 weeks on/2 weeks off.

Choose 2-4 herbs and combine 1-2 TBS of each herb together in a coffee grinder or mortar/pestle:

  • organic elderflower/elderberry powder
  • organic echinacea powder
  • organic astragalus powder
  • organic ginger root powder
  • organic turmeric powder combined with organic black pepper, freshly ground

Prepare this batch, store in a glass jar with a lid in a cool, dark, dry location.  Use 1/8 tsp., as needed, of these combined herbs in each fresh batch of your Goat Milk Slurry.


  • Measuring spoons
  • Mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder
  • Blender or food processor
  • Candy or meat thermometer
  • Heavy bottom sauce pan or pan/bowl combination (double-broiler)
  • Hand-held wire whisk or fork


In a blender or food processor, blend together the egg yolks, molasses/liver, yogurt/kefir, probiotic, and your chosen herbs until well combined.

Gently warm the goat milk in a double broiler (warm to approx. 100-110 degrees). Remove from heat, add the melted butter/RED GOLD or DHA. Stir to combine. Add the blended ingredients to this, and whisk everything together to combine.

DO not overheat the goat milk, yogurt or DHA; yet it is important to serve warm to your puppy, but heat will damage/denature or degrade the nutrients in the milk and supplements.

High speed mechanical blending of the goat milk can alter the beneficial nutritional qualities, so it is best to combine the final ingredients with the low-tech method of a hand-held wire whisk or fork.


Must be served warm (approx. 80-100 degrees; test with thermometer) but DO NOT OVERHEAT.  To warm, use a double-broiler or water bath method (best), place in a warm oven in a ceramic/heat proof bowl, or warm on the stove in a heavy bottomed saucepan on very low heat/warm. Please do not use a microwave.

Ideally, make up a fresh batch daily and keep in the refrigerator between warming/feedings, which works well for large litters. However, with a single puppy, either prepare smaller daily batches or prepare a batch fresh and use within 2-days (stored in the refrigerator). Extra can be portioned out into smaller sized containers for daily feeding and frozen (day one) to reheat in a water bath for future feedings, or simply given to your adult dogs.

Serve on a small platter, plate or bowl or pour over their meal. May be used as an entire meal for up to one meal/day; ideally, the morning or mid-day meal.


<10 lb. 1 fluid oz.

10-20 lb. 2 fluid oz.

20-40 lb. 4 fluid oz.

40-60 lb. 6 fluid oz.

60-80 lb. 8 fluid oz.

80-100 lb. 10 fluid oz.

>100 lb. 24 fluid oz.


Give your puppy this added food to boost their immunity and maintain proper weight — but please don’t let your puppy get heavy or chunky! In doing so, you will be risking their health quite seriously by allowing them to be heavy during the development period and putting them at risk for diseases such as enostosis (eosinophilic panosteitis).

To learn more about Natural Rearing your puppy, please visit these sites:

Natural Rearing (the original resource)


Natural Rearing Dog Breeders Association

Natural Rearing Breeders Association

The Whole Dog


Written by sfraw

May 10, 2017 at 3:30 pm

How to Make & Use Eggshell Powder as a Calcium Source

leave a comment »

About Eggshell Powder (ESP)

You can find commercially produced eggshell powder (ESP).  Some pet food companies (even raw pet food companies) use ESP as a calcium source in their foods.  However, there are several problems with commercially produced (not home-made) eggshell powder:

  • it comes from chickens that were raised in a factory farmed setting and subjected to unhealthy, cruel and inhumane conditions;
  • because of the way the birds are fed and kept, the eggshells may not be nutritionally equivalent to eggs that come from chickens raised on pasture or as pets in one’s backyard;
  • the shells are most likely irradiated, which denatures the product. “Irradiation damages food by breaking up molecules and creating free radicals. The free radicals kill some bacteria, but they also bounce around in the food, damage vitamins and enzymes, and combine with existing chemicals (like pesticides) in the food to form new chemicals, called unique radiolytic products (URPs)”. Besides freezing, we are very concerned by the use of any modern food additives or “kill-step” process that alter the natural nutritional and beneficial qualities inherent in food. We find these techniques (HPP and irradiation are the most widely used) high-risk/dangerous and potentially damaging to health;
  • they may be contaminated with arsenic and other heavy metals, or other potentially dangerous contaminants;
  • they usually come from Chinese sources. Unfortunately, this presents a problem with knowing what might be in them and what to test for to ensure safety and purity, even when lab testing is done by the US re-seller/manufacturer.

Thankfully, making your own eggshell powder is really simple.  Here’s how…

Start with Eggs: Pasture-Raised, Home-grown/Backyard or Certified Organic

Purchase eggs from chickens that were raised properly: either on pasture or from backyard, free-range chickens.  If your eggs are unwashed (BEST!), you will want to gently rinse the eggs (before cracking them) with a soft brush using produce wash or castile soap. Rinse well to make sure they do not have fecal matter, dirt or feathers on them.  You will want to collect at least a dozen eggs worth of shells before getting started.  Store the shells in the freezer until you have enough of them to make powder.

Make Eggshell Powder (three easy steps!)

RINSE: Rinse the eggs well, but gently – rinse them three times with fresh water or run water over a pile of the shells in a colander.  Do not remove the membrane; it is a healthy addition to the diet and is a powerful joint supplement.

If you are concerned about salmonella, you can also chose the additional step of boiling the eggshells in water for 10 minutes. This will eliminate the risk associated with bacterial contamination (please, keep in mind, this risk is mostly an issue for people and rarely a health risk to dogs/cats).

DRY: Next, dry the eggshells out completely.  You will want to dry the eggshells out in an oven or on a sunny windowsill really well for a few reasons.  The drier they are, the easier they are to grind and the safer they are to be stored on the shelf – moisture can lead to mold growth, which may be toxic or dangerous.  The shells should be completely dry to the touch, brittle and quick to crumble.

  1. Bake in the oven at 250-350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Place eggshells in an open, shallow dish in any south-facing full sun window. Leave for a week or more until totally dry.
  3. Place eggshells in a dehydrator and dehydrate until achieving a desired “bone dry” consistency

GRIND:  Crumble the shells down a bit and then grind them in small batches in a coffee grinder, mortar & pestle, or food processor.  You may need to run and pulse the grinder or food processor back and forth to get them ground up completely.  An ideal consistency is that of baking powder, but if it’s a little bit coarser than this, that’s okay.  You want them to be fully ground into a gritty powder at a minimum because the finer the grind, the better the calcium can be absorbed by the body.  When done grinding, be sure to keep the lid on the grinder to allow the powder to settle first or you will open up a cloud of powder.  If stored in a cool, dark, dry place, ESP will last for a year on the shelf.

Using Eggshell Powder

Eggshell powder is an excellent source of calcium for those that do not feed consumable whole or ground bones as a part of the daily diet or use a product that already includes enough calcium to balance the phosphorus in the meat, organs, produce and grains you are feeding.  Note: Feeding dairy as part of the diet does not provide adequate dietary calcium for dogs or cats to balance their diet!!!


General Feeding Guidelines:

1 teaspoon of eggshell powder contains an average of 1800 mg of elemental calcium carbonate. 

The consistency of your grind will slightly alter how much calcium is in a teaspoon (range is 1800-2200 mg/teaspoon). It is best to err on the side of a little extra calcium than to underfeed this essential and vital nutrient for dogs and cats.

We have some general feeding guidelines for the use of eggshell powder below.  Different cuts of meat and different proteins will each have unique phosphorus levels, but this is a good general guideline that will provide your pet with an adequate amount of calcium in their diet.

Note: If you really want to get specific with your calculations, I LOVE the very awesome El-Sham’s online calculator tool to calculate perfect ca:ph in your pet’s food — it has been around for over a decade and it’s an oldie but goodie (highly recommended!!)  

Weight of Meat | Ground Eggshell

¼ pound               |     1/8 tsp

½ pound               |     1/4 tsp

1 pound                |     1/2 tsp 


Links to Learn More

Catcentric (for felines)

Dogaware (for canines)

Eggshell Powder for Human Consumption – YES!

Here’s a site that shows you how to prepare calcium for people consumption from eggshell powder.  Check out this blog post to learn about using eggshells as a calcium source, but also about other great uses around the home!  

Originally written by Kasie Maxwell for SFRAW 2006; revised/updated 2017.

New Study: Raw Meat Diets Best for Dogs + 2003 Study: Fresh Food Diets Increase Longevity in Dogs by (almost) Three Years!

leave a comment »

I wanted to share the encouraging results of a study published recently that shows a raw, meat based diet provided a number of important health benefits for dogs.  The researchers concluded, “we can improve the well-being of our canine companions by serving up a high meat diet rather than the “human-like” fare favored by many”.

Essentially, this study shows that the best nutrition for dogs is a carnivorous raw meat based diet. Unfortunately, we started to feed dogs and cats processed foods that worked best for the food industry, not what works best for dogs and cats as species.

rawvsdryThe creation and development of kibbled foods for pets originally had absolutely nothing to do with what equates the ideal or even best/most nutritious foods for dogs/cats. The template for formulating “pet foods” (which became mainstream in the 1940-50s — not that long ago) had everything to do with how to make money on various by-products from the industrialized grain industry; how to feed pets as inexpensively as possible, using less high quality/more expensive meat proteins (not ideally, from a nutritional standpoint). Pet food was an idea hatched as a new revenue stream for large corporate interests, not to create the ideal food that is best for dogs and cats.

Unfortunately for our animals, since we started to manufacturer proceed kibbled pet foods, the template used for manufacturing pet food has remained firmly in place even now. The only difference has been more clever marketing and some modifications that really do not make a meaningful difference in the quality of the foods or how they are digested/tolerated by our carnivores.

The truth is, in every bag of “grain-free” or fancy kibble, is the same high carbohydrate, highly processed, supplemented (not a good thing IMO!), unhealthy foods that source meats from some of the most inhumanely handled animals within the food system. Our companion animals have been suffering the consequences of eating foods they are not biologically designed to digest and thrive on ever since kibble hit the market.

The study is small and took place over a short period of time (food trials done by the pet food industry share these conditions). I wish the study involved a larger sample size and that a longer period of time was allocated for collecting data, but this study remains worth considering since it is a rare study that looks at the difference between dogs eating a raw meat based diet vs. those eating kibble with impressive results.

One of the most interesting aspects is their collection and analysis of data associated with the microbiome of these dogs. As you may already be aware, microbiome analysis and research is revealing a lot about health and is certainly a hot topic these days.  The information this study provides us with reveals that dogs truly are designed to eat raw meat, and that a raw meat based diet is what their bodies truly do best on.  Read on for more from various news reports about the study…

New Zealand dog diet study a wake-up call for dog nutrition. The study found that:

  • High meat diets are more digestible for dogs
  • More nutrients from a high meat diet are able to be absorbed
  • Dogs on a high meat diet had higher levels of the bacteria associated with protein and fat digestion
  • Dogs on a high meat diet had smaller poo and better fecal health

Study co-lead Associate Professor David Thomas of Massey University said finding high levels of the bacteria associated with protein and fat digestion was particularly exciting as it demonstrated that a dog’s gut is biologically designed to digest high meat diets.

“We already know dogs have no nutritional need for carbohydrates in their diet, so this study looked at the role different bacteria play in a dog’s digestion system – to help us work toward a clearer picture of what the optimum diet is for dogs,” says study co-lead Dr Emma Bermingham of AgResearch. More Here… ”

“The independent New Zealand study – only the second of its kind in the world – found the high meat diet is easier for dogs to digest, means more nutrients are able to be absorbed, and resulted in higher levels of bacteria associated with protein and fat digestion. Read More… 

Study Shows Raw Diet Promotes Healthier Digestive System in Dogs

“A study published online last month (in February 2017) investigated the differences in a dog’s fecal microbiome when fed a raw food diet in comparison with an extruded food. The abstract states, “Dietary intervention studies are required to deeper understand the variability of guy microbial ecosystem in healthy dogs under different feeding conditions. Read More...”

While on the topic, it may be worth mentioning an additional study published in 2003 that supports the health benefits of feeding “fresh foods” (aka real, whole foods compared to processed commercial diets) to dogs. This study looked at an impressive sample size of 552 dogs over a 5-year period.  Even if the results or conclusions are imperfect, this study shows an incredible difference between dogs fed commercial processed diets vs dogs fed table scraps or fresh foods of living longer by nearly 3 years.

17621677_10154329241386669_1536510725155126675_oCan you imagine making a change to your daily diet that would allow you or someone you love to live an additional 18 good and healthy years!!??? For humans, with a current average lifespan of 79 years, our improved average lifespan would be 97 years old!

For dogs, the current average lifespan is 11.5 years — according to the research from this study, feeding fresh foods provided dogs 23% more of their total lifespan; nearly three more years of life. The new average lifespan for dogs would be over 14 years. To me, that is HUGE and something we should certainly think more about and look at more closely.

If you want to read more, I highly suggest checking out this article by Dogs Naturally Kibble: Why It’s Not A Good Option For Your Dog or or several pages/articles on this site here, and this blog post here.

whynotkibbleStudy Shows a Dramatic Improvement in Longevity by Feeding Fresh Foods

In 2003, Dr. Gerard Lippert and Bruno Sapy published a 5-year study of 552 dogs in Belgium that looked several key factors influencing the relationship between the domestic dogs’ well-being and life expectancy on a statistical basis. Characteristics that were analyzed included breed, type, size, weight, sterilization status, nutrition/diet, living conditions/housing, and family environment. ,

canstockphoto28571574The conclusions were that two intrinsic factors (a dog’s breed and size) had a major influence on the dog’s life expectancy, while two external factors (housing and family configuration) had no significant impact. The two most influential external/acquired characteristics that had dramatic impacts on a dog’s life expectancy were sterilization, and the type of food they were fed during their lifetime. According to this study, sterilization raises the average middle age of the dogs in the study by 21 months (1 year and 9 months).  However, diet showed to have the most profound and dramatic determination in life expectancy.

The study showed that dogs fed a diet exclusively of home-prepared meals (eating a similar diet as the human family) lived an average of 32 months – close to 3 years! –  longer compared to dogs fed a commercial canned food diet. Dogs fed canned foods with the addition of real foods (essentially, fed table scraps) lived, on average, 1 year longer than dogs eating exclusively a commercial canned food.

The summary conclusion of the study states that, “giving dogs home-made food is a guarantee for better protection, well-being and longer life expectancy” and “it is clear from our analysis that the implication of the proprietor of the dog in the selection of food served to the animal is of the greatest importance and that the life expectancy for his dog is directly related with the quality of the food.”

Of course, we agree that feeding fresh foods is ALWAYS, always your very best choice — we also think the quality of every fresh food ingredient being fed really does matter, and will make a significant impact on your animal’s health (yours, too!)  We also know, looking at a dog’s undeniable carnivorous physiology, that they are meant to eat a meat based diet. Along this topic, check out Dogs: The Omnivore-Carnivore Question by Dr. Jeannie Thomason & Dr. Kim Bloomer.


It is nice to see two studies that support what we have witnessed and experienced anecdotally for decades and historically before the invention of kibble and canned processed/commercial pet foods. It would be wonderful to see even more research done so we can make the best choices for our best friends and provide them with the longest and healthiest lives possible.




Written by sfraw

April 8, 2017 at 11:32 am

The Real “Foods that are dangerous to pets” List (for Raw Feeders)

leave a comment »

If you’re like most people, you’ve read and seen a great number of articles online proclaiming “foods to avoid”, “common foods that are dangerous to pets” and “foods that are toxic to pets”.

Unfortunately,  many of these lists are confusing to lots of experienced dog/cat people because they can range from being wildly inaccurate (or perhaps just hyperbolic) for some items on the list, and spot-on for other things. So, unless you’ve done the research and really know which foods present a serious/life-threatening risk to your animal, it’s hard to know what’s really OK to feed (especially in reasonable/moderate or small amounts) vs. what’s going to actually/ quite possibly kill them.

As a raw feeder, these lists and articles are particularly perplexing/frustrating because they perpetuate common myths about foods we provide, safely and with great benefit, to our dogs/cats daily as part of their regular diet. Raw Feeders know that many things that end up being it on those lists are NOT at all toxic, dangerous, or foods we need to avoid: raw meat, raw bones, animal fat, avocado flesh, and garlic, for example.

So, from a fresh (cooked, home-prepared/raw) food feeder’s perspective – here’s your edited down “foods that are ACTUALLY dangerous to pets” list. We hope this provides some clarity to the confused – or frustrated and/or perplexed among us – while making sure that you provide safe meals and snacks to your animals!

Please refrain from incorporating the following foods that are toxic or dangerous to dogs/cats:


Onions – (all types of onions, leeks, scallions, chives and shallots) when fed in large quantities, or frequently in small amounts over time, can cause a specific form of anemia called Heinz-body anemia. It is, thankfully, a largely reversible, treatable, and rarely fatal condition – but most veterinarians, even those that promote raw feeding, concur that including onion in the diet is simply not worth the risk.  Note: cats are more susceptible to onion toxicity than dogs.

  • In severe cases, the anemia may lead to internal organ damage, organ failure or even death. Symptoms of toxicity include: lethargy, weakness, ataxia (lack of muscle coordination), pale gums, red or brown discolored urine, hyper-salivation, occasional vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • Look for onion as an ingredient in seasonings, sauces, and broths. Avoid feeding your dogs or cats onion in any form (raw, cooked, dehydrated, powdered, etc.)

Garlic, while it has some of the same chemical compounds as onions, is actually beneficial to dogs and cats in small/moderate amounts, and when used intermittently instead of consistently over the long-term. Garlic is a wonderful, health-promoting addition to the natural diet, when used responsibly. Onion is, however, remains problematic..


Xylitol – this natural “low glycemic” birch sweetener is in a lot of foods these days. It is found in most sugar-free gums, toothpastes, mouthwashes/dental products, and sugar-free, natural/health food store/bakery candies or baked goods. Unfortunately, it causes a dramatic increase in insulin in dogs which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar); a potentially fatal drop in blood sugar. This reaction can occur anywhere between 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion. Symptoms that your dog may have swallowed a product containing xylitol include:

  • sudden lack of coordination
  • vomiting
  • bleeding disorders
  • seizures
  • coma

Ultimately, for a dog that eats xylitol, even without experiencing hypoglycemia, liver failure may still occur (12 to 48 hours after consumption), resulting in death. Do not let your dog eat anything with this ingredient, even in small amounts, it is quite dangerous.

Death will occur if xylitol poisoning is left untreated, so early treatment is key. Your veterinarian will induce vomiting and then follow up with supportive care to treat hypoglycemia and any signs of liver failure.


Dark Chocolate is considered toxic for both dogs and cats, and should be avoided. That being said, the type of chocolate (how dark it is/what it is blended with) and your animal’s weight, plus their unique metabolism, all determine the level of toxicity. This is why some dogs/cats can ingest small amounts of milk or diluted/blended with other ingredient forms of chocolate, even on a regular basis, and do not suffer any serious consequences. Check out this awesome chocolate meter which can help you determine if your pet has ingested a toxic amount of chocolate! It is a great tool that we recommend consulting/using any time your pet has consumed any amount of chocolate. Symptoms of concern in dogs/cats that have eaten chocolate can include:

  • vomiting/diarrhea
  • increased body temperature/reflex responses
  • muscle rigidity
  • rapid breathing
  • increased heart rate
  • low blood pressure
  • seizures

Advanced signs of toxicity could include cardiac failure, weakness, and coma.

What about cocoa bark mulch used in gardens? Read more about this risk here. We suggest avoiding using this in your home garden and to be mindful of this risk when your mouthy dog decides to chomp on mulch while out and about in local parks or neighbor’s yards.


Macadamia nuts (and many other foods) are very rich in fat, which may cause a flare of pancreatitis in dogs that already have this susceptibility. However, because individual tolerances for fatty foods can vary significantly and healthy, working dogs (and cats) do exceptionally well with very high (up to 50% or more) fat diets, we won’t consider fat content a toxic or “to avoid” risk; fat content is not the big concern with these nuts.

The primary issue of concern is that macadamia nuts have been shown to cause a very painful toxicity due to an unknown toxin that may result in quite serious neurological symptoms in dogs. Only 2 to 3 nuts eaten by a 10-pound dog can cause severe pain in muscles, joints, and tummy areas anywhere from 2 to 12 hours after eating. Although this poisoning does not result in death in general, it causes extreme discomfort and several alarming symptoms including muscle tremors, paralysis, staggering, and high fevers.


Walnuts, pecans and hickory nuts may be risky to feed; not *usually* the ones you buy that are beautifully fresh, clean, and healthy from most retail outlets (particularly organic, clean, yummy and fresh ones), but there is a high risk for nuts found on the ground in orchards or perhaps sold at a roadside produce stand, or nuts that are of lesser quality, have been on the shelf for a long time, or from unknown origins.

Walnuts, in particular, can be tainted by a toxic mold called ‘Penitrim A’, which is produced by Penicillium mould that contains tremorgenic mycotoxins; toxins can cause potentially leathal seizures or neurological symptoms in dogs and cats. A large amount of this ingested mold may cause seizures, increased body temperature, liver damage, and possibly death.

Because of these issues, in our opinion, macadamias and walnuts are two nuts that are best to avoid entirely. With pecans and hickory nuts, simply limit consumption to a few here and there; and be absolutely certain they are fresh, clean and never suspicious (as far as handling or quality) or moldy.

Safe nuts and seeds: your pet can enjoy small amounts of many other nuts and seeds (no shells, of course!) including unsweetened, organic, unsalted:

  • natural sunflower seed butter (the BEST alternative to peanut butter!)
  • sesame/tahini (an excellent choice! This is a seed that we highly recommend including as part of a healthy diet!)
  • cooked/roasted cashews (not raw)
  • hazelnuts
  • chestnuts
  • almonds
  • flax seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • chia seeds
  • pumpkin seed/butter and pumpkin seed oil (pumpkin seed is super beneficial – so outstanding that we include organic raw ground pumpkin seeds in our Vitality Blend!)
  • coconut meat or oil
  • pistachios

Special Note About Peanuts: While peanuts are not immediately “deadly” to dogs or cats, peanuts and peanut butter are something we suggest avoiding completely due to the high risk for contamination with aflatoxins (linked to liver cancer in humans and dogs/cats) and the very serious health concerns associated with the ingestion of peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut butter containing/flavored foods.

You can read more herehere, here, and here.

  • Symptoms of aflatoxicosis (which can occur from eating ANY food containing this toxic mold – not just peanuts, but other grains and cereals, including kibbled foods and many pet treats) in animals include: severe, persistent vomiting; bloody diarrhea; lack of appetite; fever; sluggishness; discolored urine; and jaundice, especially around the whites of the eyes, gums and belly.

Some sources will include figs, almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, and pistachios as being at risk for aflatoxin contamination, too. However, in our experience, these are generally very safe organic foods, when purchased fresh from a reputable source, of high quality; fed in small amounts, on occasion; and are not anywhere nearly as high risk as peanuts when it comes to this specific toxic mold.

Go easy on Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts may cause problems, but ONLY if they are fed in large quantities/fed frequently. The occasional brazil nut is perfectly fine for most pets, and will do no harm. The issue is the brazil nut’s high selenium content. Over time, when fed regularly, “hyper-vitaminosis” levels of selenium can lead to injury to the nervous system, liver, lungs and spleen.

sultaninen_artikelRaisins and Grapes (dogs) – more here . Grape/raisin/currant toxicity has been documented only in dogs, although there have been anecdotal reports of a similar problem in cats and ferrets. It is potentially fatal. This issue is perplexinig to those of us that used raisins as training treats without any issues years ago. Knowing there is something causing a serious toxicity in dogs these days, we now suggest avoiding raisins and grapes.

atlantic-salmon-portionsRaw salmon or trout (dogs) involves the serious risk of Salmon Poisioning Disease. Unless salmon and all types of anadromous fish have been cooked or deep-frozen for at least 7 days, this is risk. Read more on our past blog post here. Avoid feeding raw, unless properly frozen, or cooked.

porkWild Game & Pork: Raccoon, fox and bear meat/organs/bones should be avoided entirely. Raw pork and wild game (fit for human consumption and USDA inspected) can be safe to feed, but only after it has been frozen for at least three weeks. Wild game purchased from your local human-food outlet/butcher including venison, duck, rabbit, elk, and moose are safe to feed your dogs and cats.

Wild game sourced in our area/region (San Francisco Bay Area/Northern CA) present a variety of parasite risks that are eliminated entirely when the meats have been either properly cooked or pre-frozen for three weeks prior to feeding to your pets.  It is important to properly freeze all wild game and meats for a minimum of three weeks in your deep freezer to eliminate the possibility of any health risks for you or your animals from parasites.

Fresh, raw USDA inspected pork carries the low, but possible risk for certain parasites including trichinella larva, Toxoplasma gondii, and a swine disease known as Aujeszky’s Disease (or “pseudorabies”).

The risk for these parasites is low with “fit for human consumption” retail-ready, USDA licensed and inspected meats (the only meats SFRAW uses and sells). The incredibly rare possibility may still exist though, so we continue to recommend properly freezing prior to feeding these meats raw to your animals.

Aujeszky’s Disease is incurable and fatal to dogs and cats – so it is not worth risking the feeding of FRESH raw pork (just one of several possible routes of exposure to infection); best to freeze raw pork before offering it to your dog/cat! When a pet has become infected, the outcome is fatal within 48 hours after onset of the clinical signs. Clinical symptoms may include acute encephalitis, with excitation and hypersalivation; anorexia, intense pruritus (which leads to lesions due to scratching and self-mutilation). The disease progresses to symptoms that mimic rabies, with frothing at the mouth, loss of muscular control and erratic behavior.

Trichinosis can be a significant disease in people, but presents far less of a problem in dogs/cats. This parasite often goes undiagnosed in cats and dogs since they frequently do not present with clinical symptoms. In rare instances, severe symptoms may develop. Signs to watch for include: weakness, lethargy, inflamed or painful muscles, fever, diarrhea (which may or may not contain blood), hypersalivation (excessive drooling) disorientation, and behavioral changes.

Thankfully, these parasitic organisms are all highly susceptible to freezing and cooking – so you can certainly feed raw (previously/properly frozen) or cooked pork to your dogs and cats without any concern.

Pork is one of our favorite meats for dogs/cats and there is no reason to avoid feeding it (unless you have your own ethical or personal reservations about feeding/eating pork, which we respect).

Any USDA inspected/approved raw pork or pork bones that have been frozen for three weeks at a suitably low temperature will be safe for your dogs (and cats) to eat! We rely on pork necks, ears, snouts, trotters/feet, tails, pork leg meat, and various excellent pork offal cuts (heart, liver, tongue, kidney) as major players in our animal’s diets and have done so for decades without any issues. Two of my own Great Danes enjoyed a diet of 30% raw pork for their entire lifetime, it was a wonderful food for them – they lived to be 12 years of age and we had no pork related problems at all!

Pork is a wonderful choice! Just be sure you adequately pre-freeze (or cook) this meat prior to feeding. Properly freezing is easy to do, and worth the great benefits of this cooling, novel, nutritious, and tasty protein that we source from excellent pastured, heritage local sources. We think pork is a great addition to the diet when handled properly!


How to make Pizza Dough Process Shot. A121217 Fast: Southern Italy, Gastronaut: Pizza April 2013Active yeast (raw dough) raw dough, when ingested, causes some rather serious and painful symptoms in pets; best to avoid and keep this way from your animals entirely.

Spent Hops and Alcohol – hops used in home-brewing has been liked to death in some dogsAfter consuming spent hops, clinical signs of toxicity can include agitation, panting, excitement, flatulence, rapid heart rate followed by life-threatening elevations in body temperature. Death has been reported in as little as 6 hours without appropriate treatment. Prognosis for survival is generally guarded after symptoms are present. Any breed of dog (or, rarely, cats) may be affected, but breeds that are predisposed to malignant hyperthermia (extreme elevation of body temperature for an unknown reason) tend to be more susceptible.  These breeds include Greyhounds, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernard, Pointers, Dobermans, Border Collies, English Springer Spaniels, and northern breeds.

If you suspect your dog or cat has consumed spent hops, seek veterinary care immediately! This is not something that should be managed at home. Quickly take a rectal temperature, and if it is found to be greater than 105 F, begin active cooling measures—such as dousing your pets body with cool water and wrapping icepacks in towels and placing them over its body—in addition to running the air conditioning in car while on your way to your veterinarian or local emergency clinic. This measure could help save your pets life and give him or her the best chance for survival.

Most people know not to give alcoholic drinks to their pets, yet many are not aware of just how toxic alcohol consumption can be to dogs and cats. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include:

  • Drooling
  • Retching
  • Vomiting or attempting to vomit
  • Distended stomach/bloat
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Coma
  • Hypothermia
  • Death

Ingestion of enough alcohol can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience metabolic acidosis, seizures, and respiratory failure. At this point, without treatment, death soon follows usually due to cardiac arrest. Even if a dog or cat doesn’t die from the acute effects of alcohol poisoning, the toxin can still harm the healthy functioning of their kidneys and liver, reducing quality of life over time.

Of course, due to the varied alcohol content (%) found in different drinks, some alcohol will be more dangerous to dogs and cats than others. In addition, your animal’s body weight and unique metabolism is a determining factor in their ability to “handle” the toxicity of different types and amounts of alcohol.

Beer contains the lowest concentration of alcohol, usually around 4%. Wine averages 10% alcohol by volume, but some hard liquor can be as high as 90% alcohol. Unfortunately, even small amounts of hard liquor can potentially kill a small dog or cat.

Remember, too, that alcohol can be found in foods and other consumables (not strictly in adult beverages) including: fruit cake, wine/liqueur-based sauces, and may be problematic if your pet consumes large quantities of fermented foods, etc. To be safe, we recommend that all alcoholic beverages and foods remain off-limit to pets regardless of their size and a drink’s alcohol concentration.

Corn Cobs, Seeds, Pits & Large Pieces of Raw Tubers/Roots/Vegetables are completely indigestible to dogs and cats, and can cause a fatal intestinal blockage with serious damage done to the GI tract.

Dogs and cats simply cannot digest/break down plant matter, especially these hard fibrous parts – leading to a life-threatening obstruction that may require emergency surgery that is not always successful and can involve deadly complications.  It is best to avoid these all together.

Corn cobs, in particular, are incredibly deadly and should be very carefully avoided. Be sure your pet does not get into the trash, or is handed a corn cob by a well-meaning house guest/visitor – this mistake could be potentially fatal!

If you suspect that your dog (or cat) has ingested a corn bob, pit/large seed (avocado, mango, cherry, peach, nectarine, plum and apricot pits) or any larger pieces of raw tubers or other whole, hard pieces of a solid vegetable – here are some good suggestions on what to do.

Sugar and Salt when sharing foods, or preparing meals, be very mindful of the food’s sugar or sodium/salt content. Never use ingredients that contain added sodium (enhanced meats, for example), sugar or salt to your animal’s meals, and refrain from seasoning their meals with added sugar or salt during preparation.

Enhanced or Preserved Meat & Poultry: AVOID! AVOID! When shopping for fresh, raw meat and poultry for your pet, it is critical to read the fine print on the labels at your local butcher/grocery/natural food store – and to avoid enhanced or preserved (even “naturally”) products.

Yes, even “natural” “hormone-free” and “antibiotic-free” meats/poultry can be enhanced and you simply must avoid these foods when shopping for your dogs or cat. Here’s a useful page that reviews statements to look for and how to identify enhanced meats. Statements that you may see on the product label (often in a very small print) include:

  • ‘‘ready-to-cook product to which solutions are added’’
  • “contains up to (added %) _______” – this indicates that the meat has been enhanced and pumped with a sodium containing solution.



A lot of fresh, raw meat is “enhanced”. It can also be “naturally preserved” (see above for an example of a product to avoid, with rosemary extract as a preservative). Preservatives, even natural ones like rosemary extract, present a possible – yet not very well documented/understood – issue for animals sensitive to these ingredients/additives. For example, rosemary extract has been suspected to be a trigger for seizures with some animals.

About 30 percent of all poultry, 15 percent of beef, and 90 percent of pork sold in the United States are injected with some kind of liquid solution before sale, USDA says, and it’s usually something high in sodium. These solutions pump up the meat’s volume and 6816299can “replace the flavor and moisture loss that results from raising leaner animals or from potential overcooking,” says the American Meat Institute. 

New labeling laws went into effect in 2015, but enhanced meats remain a concern for raw feeders; reading the labels carefully is vitally important when shopping for meats that won’t make your pet ill. 


If it’s not easy to find the “enhanced” statement on the packaging – and this may be very hard to read or find  – simply look at the nutritional analysis label to check the sodium content. Anything you purchase must contain under 100 mg sodium per serving. More than this means the poultry or meat has been enhanced in some way. Enhanced meats/poultry can cause vomiting and illness in your pet. Meat and poultry that you buy for your animals should not be enhanced, seasoned, or smoked in any way.


The above list includes FOODS that you need to avoid when preparing a fresh foods diet for your pets and sharing meals or snacks with them. Remember that any chemical-laden, processed, or non-wholesome foods and meals WILL have safety concerns and be damaging to your animal’s health.   

While on the topic, a few non-food/ common household, very high risk toxic items to know about include:

essential oils and medical flowers herbs

Essential Oils (cats) please avoid the use of essential oils on/around felines, period. While there are products sold for dogs/cats that are made with EOs – we think this is unsafe for cats and we do not recommend taking this risk. Hydrosols are a safer option for use around felines, should you want to incorporate aromatherapy in your home around your cats, choose to use hydrosols instead. If you use or diffuse EOs in your home, please be sure your cats are in a different room and be sure fresh air is available during and after use. Never put EOs on surfaces where your cat walks/steps, sleeps, or may be able to directly/indirectly ingest the EOs. Read more about this topic here.

Lilies and the pollen from these plants (cats) or, “When I order flowers for anyone with a feline household member, I ALWAYS ensure the bouquet will not include any lilies!”

It takes SO little exposure – just a bit of lily pollen blown into your yard is all it takes – and the consequences can be deadly! Members of the Lilium and Hermerocallis genera are highly toxic to cats. This includes: Easter lilies, day lilies, Tiger lilies, Japanese Show, rubrum, red, Western, wood lilies, and Stargazer lilies. Other plants with ‘lily’ in the name, such as peace lily (Spathiphyllum) or lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria), do not cause the kidney injury associated with members of Lilium and Hemerocallis. However, while Lily of the valley does not cause kidney failure, this common plant may cause life-threatening heart arrhythmia and death when ingested by dogs or cats.

Even the ingestion of small amounts (such as single bite of petals or leaves); exposure to the pollen (if they get it on their coat, for example) or taking a few sips from water from the vase of these flowers – can result in severe, acute kidney failure.  Download a flyer from UC Davis here.

If your cat is seen consuming any part of a lily or if your cat comes inside with pollen on her/his coat, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently the lily poisoning can be treated. Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving binders like activated charcoal) are imperative in the early toxic stage, while aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care can greatly improve the prognosis. Intravenous fluids must be started within an 18 hour window for the best outcome.

The death cap, Amanita phalloides, from button stage to full sizDeadly Wild Mushrooms (wild, found locally) – the Death Cap mushroom, a Category A toxic mushroom, is the most poisonous mushroom in the world and it grows right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Every year dogs die in our region from ingesting a deadly mushroom species appropriately named the Death Cap mushroom.  In the greater Bay Area, the Death Cap can be found at all times of the year, but most abundantly during fall and early winter rainy season. Be aware of mushrooms growing in your yard or places your pet visits. Death Caps can commonly be found growing around oak trees and cork oak, especially from late September through late October.

Besides Death Caps, two other types of poisonous mushrooms can be found in California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area region: the Destroying Angel and the Deadly Galerina, which is a distinctive orange. Be aware of this risk when out and about with your animals.


When ingested, even from just a single nibble/bite, the Death Cap mushroom causes acute liver failure and death. Clinical signs may occur as early as 6-8 hours or as long as 24 hours following ingestion. The initial gastroenteritis phase (which lasts about 24 hours) is generally characterized by profuse bloody diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, fever, tachycardia (irregular heartbeat), and hyperglycemia. The final—and often terminal, hepatorenal phase involves renal/kidney involvement with dreaded complications of end-stage liver disease that begins up to three to four days after ingestion. In addition, neurological dysfunction including hepatic encephalopathy and coma can occur. Typically, the animal dies three to seven days after ingestion.

However, some dogs show no real symptoms and quickly end up in a coma/death.  Some may just seem perhaps a little quieter, and not have an interest in food. These dogs can go from just being a “little off” to being in a coma and death within 24-36 hours. Sadly, there is no antidote for Death Cap mushroom poisoning; treatment is merely supportive.

Because the risk is fatal and there is no curative treatment, it is best to prevent exposure as much as possible, so walk your garden/yard regularly – without your animals – to inspect for mushrooms (collect and remove with gloves, then dispose of safely in a sealed plastic bag in the trash). When out and about with your animals, pay close attention to what your dog (or cat) might be nibbling on in the park or nature.

Death Cap mushrooms are unfortunately, good tasting and have a pleasant scent (like roses) — so they are appealing to many dogs and some cats. If you suspect your pet has eaten a wild mushroom, call your veterinarian immediately, induce vomiting (if easy and fast for you to do) and go straight to the veterinary ER. Bring a sample of the suspected mushroom for identification. For the sample, do not place the mushroom in a plastic bag, instead wrap in a moist paper towel, wax paper, or paper bag, if possible.

You may choose to induce vomiting right away by one of these methods – doing so immediately after they have eaten the mushroom may save your animal’s life:

  • Syrup of ipecac (1 teaspoonful per 10 pounds body weight)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide 3% (1-3 teaspoonfuls every 10 minutes, repeat 3 times)
  • One half to 1 teaspoonful of salt, placed at the back of the tongue

nwy-02070-2I would personally induce vomiting and then follow-up with a dose of a homeopathic remedy prescribed by my veterinary homeopath (more here) and activated charcoal. Giving activated charcoal pills, which are easy to administer on your way to the ER (dose is 5 ml/kg; a 50-lb dog would get 100-150 mg of activated charcoal — but the truth is, you can give more than this dose and not experience any adverse effects, so more would be OK) may help to reduce the damage done/inhibit absorption on the toxins within the GI tract. Repeated doses of activated charcoal by your veterinarian may be administered every four to six hours in an attempt to reduce the secretions from the liver to the intestines/blood of the mushroom’s amatoxins and may be of value up to 48 hours after ingestion.

If your animal actually survives an episode of ingesting one of these toxic mushrooms, I would suggest supportive care include starting them on therapeutic doses of Milk Thistle Seed powder/capsules — while there is no studies that prove this is helpful, I do not see how this could be harmful and it may be very beneficial.  Perhaps your veterinarian would even be willing to administer intravenous silymarin [milk thistle extract] in an ER setting – you will have to see what they are willing and able to do. Milk Thistle Seed may provide some hope in a rather hopeless situation, so it is worth considering.


Pet Treats and Pet Foods Found in Many Pet Stores: For decades now, I have personally completely avoided almost anything sold in pet stores for my dogs and cats; and have recommended the same to my friends and clients. Frankly, this is because it’s so much healthier, safer, less costly, and better to buy REAL, FRESH, WHOLE foods and ingredients sold in your local health foods store, high-quality local butcher, natural grocery/cooperative, or local food CSA program and to make your own treats & foods at home than to purchase overpriced/expensive and less healthy (and downright deadly!) options at most pet stores.

To put things into perspective, to date, it appears that even more dogs and cats have actually died and fallen ill from commercially sold pet foods and treats than all of the other foods that I have listed above, combined. This doesn’t include dogs and cats that suffer, and sometimes die, from chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, processed food/mold/mite and other pet food allergies, stubborn skin and gastrointestinal problems, obesity related illnesses (including arthritis and diabetes), and cancers associated from the daily consumption of commercially sold pet treats and pet foods.

Not all pet stores are made equal! Local, independent stores that are managed by knowledgeable owners/staff, with a dogged commitment to sourcing safer, healthier options for their customers DO exist (hey, just look at SFRAW/us, for example).

The reason why I started SFRAW in the first place was to source exceptional ingredients for people like me who were seeking out humane, ethically raised, sustainable, wholesome, fresh food ingredients from outstanding producers that we could trust when preparing our own foods at home. It’s generally less expensive and healthier for your animals to buy fresh, high quality “for human consumption” ingredients, and make your own treats & foods when you are able. Some of my dearest friends have owned/currently own independent local pet stores with outstanding care given to safe sourcing. For those of us that make our own food and treats, these exceptional local stores will remain your best choice for purchasing all your animal’s supplies: high quality litter, crates, gear/training equipment, beds, leashes/collars, toys, and sometimes even supplements or remedies to manage common health imbalances/concerns.






Written by sfraw

March 28, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Nutrition, Raw Food: Getting Started

Tagged with

Delicious, Healthy Spring Recipes for You to share with your Dogs or Cats!

leave a comment »

Happy Spring!!!  Today is the first day of spring and it’s a great opportunity to try a fresh, delicious, detoxifying spring treat you can share with your dogs and cats!

Fresh Herbs: MY FAVORITE!

If you haven’t tried incorporating fresh herbs yet in your pets’ meals yet, spring is a wonderful time of year to try adding some fresh herbs in their diet!

Did you know herbs are not only tasty, and enjoyed by most dogs and cats, but also some of the most nutrient dense foods you can offer your companions (and enjoy yourself)?

One the the easiest and tastiest ways to add a bit of fresh herbs to your dog/cat’s diet is to make a home-made pesto that you can drizzle over meals — yours and theirs!

If you are unsure if your animal will enjoy the strong flavor of fresh pesto, it may be a good idea to try offering it alone first before adding to their meals, or mix some of the pesto into something they really love. For dogs, this may be fish/seafood or Green Tripe. For cats, they may enjoy their pesto is teeny amounts; added to a dab of butter or lard/duck fat with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast or drop of two of tamari. YUM!

Pet-Friendly Fresh Pesto

  • 1 cup organic parsley or cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup organic basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon organic mint leaves (cats may prefer fresh catnip leaves  – yes, you and your dogs can eat this, too!)
  • 1 tablespoon organic oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons organic raw tahini (you can use different seeds or nuts for this, but we think tahini adds the best flavor – avoid using macadamias or walnuts, which are both toxic to pets!)
  • 1 tablespoon organic lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 clove organic fresh garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon/pinch of Himalayan pink salt
  • Freshly ground organic black pepper, to taste

    My favorite tahini! Yes, you can get this at SFRAW!

Get creative and try other herbs, if you’d like – for example, dill is another nice herb most pets enjoy. Do not use onions, chives, leeks — these are all toxic to dogs and cats.
  1. Wash and trim all ingredients, as needed. Add all ingredients to a food processor, use the chop function at first, then scrape down sides once and process until it is blended together.  Adjust seasonings to your preference.
  2. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight glass or ceramic jar; use within 10 days.
Your dog/cat will let you know if they want more or less. Trust their judgement — animals are amazing herbalists!

Your pet can have a little bit of this tasty treat every day; you can enjoy as much as you like, too!


Serving Suggestion: Use a little pesto or plain tahini and a bit of pesto in a Nori sheet — just remember that cucumbers, carrots and other veggies need to be cooked/steamed or very thinly grated for safe feeding to your dog/cat — they can’t easily digest vegetables. I don’t recommend using peppers or tomato. Celery, avocado, cucumber, carrot, cauliflower, cabbage are all OK. Sprouts are an awesome addition! Or try mint with a bit of mango (peeled, ripe/mashed), teeny bit of sliced dates or dried figs, and avocado — delicious!

Additional Serving Suggestions:  If you have organic avocados and organic pastured eggs, you can also use this pesto to top a delicious dish off with (see below for the recipe) – it’s another great meal that you can share with your animals as a treat.

Of, if you have picked up some delicious organic quail eggs and some nice, lean pastured red meat (beef, elk, venison) from SFRAW, you can make some steak tartare to share and this pesto would make a nice accompaniment.



Easy Baked Avocado Stuffed With Egg

  • 1 organic avocado, halved and pitted; peeled (do not feed the pit or peel to your pet — these are the dangerous bits of an avocado — otherwise, they are perfectly safe and healthy to feed dogs & cats — just not OK for birds!)
  • 1 tsp organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 organic pastured eggs
  • 1 small handful of chopped organic fresh parsley or dill, chopped
  • A shake of organic ground sweet paprika, turmeric or cumin powder (yes, dogs and cats can have this, too!)
  • Himalayan pink salt and organic freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Brush or drizzle the avocado halves in olive oil and crack the eggs into each hole.
  • Place the egg-filled avocado halves onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the avocado halves for about 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked.
  • Take out the avocado halves and sprinkle with freshly chopped herbs, spices, salt and pepper.
  • Allow to cool first before serving to your pet. Alternatively, your pet can eat this raw and not baked — if they prefer it this way! Just be sure to remove the peel — the peel is not safe for your dog or cat to eat!
  • How much can they have? one 50-lb dog can eat 1/4 of one avocado with egg (1/2 of one half); an averaged sized adult cat can eat 1/8 (1/4 of one half) of the avocado/egg.

Tartare with Quail Eggs

10 ounces high quality, truly pastured red meat; very lean (beef, elk, venison – elk or venison must be frozen before eating raw), hand cut into ¹/8-inch dice

3-4 organic quail eggs, beaten (quail eggs are safe to eat raw — they are traditionally used in tartare because they do not present the risk for salmonella!)

1 organic anchovy fillet, chopped

1 tsp organic capers or 1 gherkin, rinsed and chopped finely

Himalayan pink salt and black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon fresh organic lemon juice

½ tsp organic wheat-free tamari sauce (optional)


4 additional quail eggs, sliced open with quail egg scissors (yes, we sell these at SFRAW!)

Microgreens for side garnish (optional)

Organic extra virgin olive oil (drizzle over, at serving)

Fresh pesto — on the side, for dipping (see above)



  1. Defrost and hand-chop the meat. Trim off any fat, then thinly slice the meat first. Cut each slice into matchsticks, then cut across into small cubes.
  2. Crack 3-4 quail eggs (discard of shells or give to your pet to eat), whip with the chopped anchovy, gherkin/capers, lemon juice, tamari, salt and pepper until well mixed. Delicately add chopped meat and mix very lightly; just enough to combine and coat the meat with these blended ingredients. DO NOT OVERMIX. Refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Shape the meat into two round patties, using a chef’s ring if you have one, and place on serving plates. Top with a quail egg, sea salt and pepper. Snip off one tablespoon of microcress/rinsed & dried sprouts and scatter around, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve with a side of the pesto and sliced cucumbers, turnips, raw seeded crackers (make sure they are grain and onion-free) or baked or dehydrated, thinly sliced, organic peeled potato (Japanese Sweet Potato works nicely for this).
  • How much can they have? one 50-lb dog can eat up to 8-10 oz; an averaged sized adult cat can eat 2 TBS.

We give a resounding YES to “Tablescraps!”

So long as your pet is healthy, they can share healthy food with you. Fast foods, fried foods, junk, packaged and processed foods are not good for you or your animals – please do not eat them or share these with your animals. 

However, wholesome, fresh, whole foods that are organic, healthy, not too high in fat (be careful of overdoing it with rich foods), low in sodium, and include 100% pet safe ingredients are not only A-OK to share with your furry family members, but this is precisely how we ALL prepared meals for our companion animals for — well, since forever! – well before there was ever a pet food industry telling us not to!

Sharing food with your beloved animal family members is a wonderful way to bond with them and to make meals times more fun and enjoyable — the love that goes into making yummy treats for them is good for their overall health and wellness.  These foods and sharing meals is also good for you! 🙂

When sharing meals, just be sure you know which foods are safe for dogs & cats to eat (my next blog post will review this topic for raw feeders/fresh food feeders — many lists that you find online are inaccurate, at best!)

Also, please understand that the above recipes I’ve shared here are in no way “complete and balanced” for everyday feeding.  That being said, you can certainly add a bit of the above pesto to their daily meals without concern for harming your pet. You can share these snacks with your dogs or cats a few times a week. Also, these treats do “count” as “food” nutritionally — so, if they get a significant amount and not just a bite or two, these treats/meals should be fed in place of their usual meals (and can be done without concern over creating a serious imbalance in their diet, on occasion).


Written by sfraw

March 20, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Posted in Nutrition

Seasonal Nutritive Herbs: Seasonal Herbs used in our SFRAW Formulas, Vitality Blend & sold seperately

leave a comment »

SFRAW’s Seasonal Nutritive Herb Blends are balancing nutritional food supplements – for everyday use! We add our seasonal herb blends into our SFRAW Formulas, Vitality Blend, and we sell them seperately so you can add them to your own foods/meals at home. Complements any commercially-bought or home-prepared diet.

Our Seasonal Blends were developed for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall – a different blend for each season, helps to keep your dog or cat’s body in harmony with nature’s seasonal changes. The herbs used in our seasonal blends have exceptional balancing and nutritive qualities. Beneficial seasonal herbs are blended with wholesome food herbs, and the result is a healthy, balanced, systemically strengthening whole food supplement.

We use clean, fresh, 100% certified organic, properly harvested, nutritious leaves, grasses, seeds, roots, flowers, and berries that animals have foraged in the wild for centuries. These balancing and nutritious plant foods are not readily available to most domesticated pets. Try our seasonal herbs for a month; you’ll soon notice the difference in your pet’s overall health!

After incorporating the use of nutritve herbs as part of a natural raw foods diet since 1989, our founder, Kasie devleoped our Seasonal Nutritive Blends in 2002. SFRAW has been offering these 100% organic/wild-crafted seasonal herb blends for over a decade with great success. The following blends are available seasonally:

Available December-February
Winter: Alfalfa, Red Raspberry Leaves, Chamomile, Mullein, Burdock Root, Rosehips.

Available March-May
Spring: Nettle Leaf, Dandelion Root, Dandelion Leaves, Milk Thistle Seed, Oregano, Rosemary, Vervain.

Available June-August
Summer: Alfalfa, Oatstraw, Fennel Seed, Hawthorn Berry, Barley Grass.

Available September-November
Fall: Nettle Leaf, Irish Moss, Thyme, Parsley Leaves & Root, Coriander Seed, Marshmallow Root.

Fall Blend is a combination of the following 100% certified organic ingredients:

Organic Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica)  Nutritive food herb (abundant in vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, silicon and sulphur), alkalizing, rich source of minerals, antihistamine, good for allergies and skin conditions, blood cleanser, nourishes and strengthens the kidneys, aids with diarrhea and dysentery, digestive aid and cleanser, relieves fatigue.
irish_moss_21831-product_1x-1429306846-1Organic Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus)  Nutritive seaweed (contains protein, polysaccharides, carrageenans, beta carotene, iodine, bromine, iron, minerals, vitamin A and B1), traditionally employed as an excellent restorative herb to speed recovery from debilitating illnesses, anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant (used for stomach ulcers), anti-viral, demulcent, expectorant, excellent for restoring proper lung function, soothes the digestive system, stomach and urinary tract, tones and strengthens glands, has been used as a food for diabetes patients.
coriander_seed_powder-product_1x-1403631121Organic Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum)  Nutritive food herb (contains linalool, geranial, vitamin C and potassium), reduces flatulence, digestive aid, stimulates appetite. Traditionally used for all gastric and digestive issues including hernia, nausea, diarrhea, and bowel spasms. It has been used to treat measles, hemorrhoids, toothaches, worms, and joint pain, as well as infections caused by bacteria and fungus.

Organic Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)  Expels worms (especially hookworms) and gas, excellent for digestive and respiratory tracts, fights gingivitis, helpful for asthma. Traditionally used for a variety of ailments including bronchitis, whooping cough, sore throat, colic, arthritis, upset stomach, stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bedwetting, parasitic worm infections, and some skin disorders.
marshmallow_root_powder_m11144-product_1x-1423001701Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis)  Nutritive food herb (high in calcium and vitamin A), soothes, lubricates and protects internal tissues and mucous membranes, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, soothes urinary and gastrointestinal inflammation, aids in removing toxins from the body, lowers blood sugar, stimulates the immune system. Marshmallow can be used for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract; for dry coughs, inflammation of the lining of the stomach, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, constipation, urinary tract inflammation, and urinary stones.


Parsley Leaves and Root (Petroselinum crispum)  Nutritive herb (rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin K, A and C, as well as calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, boron, fluorine, niacin, zinc, potassium, copper, manganese and iron), high chlorophyll content acts as a natural breath freshener, this cleansing herb has a carminative, tonic and laxative action, but is primarily used for its diuretic properties, used traditionally as a liver tonic and as a means of breaking up kidney stones, alleviatives hives and other allergy symptoms, the roots carminative action can relieve flatulence and colic. The Vitamin K in parsley promotes bone strength, but it also has a role in the treatment and possible prevention of Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neuronal damage in the brain. Parsley helps to relieve conditions such as colic, indigestion, and intestinal gas; as well as helping to purify the blood and fight cancer, and detoxify the system of harmful compounds like mercury.


Please use each Seasonal Blend during the specified season, as rotating herbs is essential to their conscientious use, nutritional balance, synergistic healing and strengthening effects. We do not recommend feeding a single seasonal blend for more than 4 months.

For best results, we suggest combining with SFRAW HEALTHY POWDER  (or Standard Process Whole Body Support) + SFRAW RED GOLD, SFRAW Seafood Grinds, or fozen fish, mussels, clams or oysters, as the perfect whole food supplement protocol.

HANDLING: Store in a cool, dry place.

FEEDING: 1 Tbs. per pound of food. Use directly from the bag (dry, mixed in or sprinkled onto food) or steep 2 tsp. in 8 oz. of hot water for 15-20 minutes or until room temperature, then strain and add suggested amount to the food as a tea/infusion. Store unused tea in the refigerator and use within 2-3 days. Most dogs love the flavor of the seasonal herbs – consider them to be a tasty, healthful seasoning.

Rotating herbs is essential to their conscientious use, nutritional balance, synergistic healing, and strengthening effects. We do not recommend feeding a single seasonal blend for more than 4 months. We strongly recommend a fresh, whole foods diet for optimal health – feeding raw or home-cooked meals are best. Feed herbs 4-6 days a week or cycle the feeding of herbs for 3 weeks on/1 week off to achieve best results.


One of Kasie’s favorite books from a true wise woman, hero, and visonary – originally published in 1955.

Not recommended for pregnant animals, or for puppies or kittens under the age of 12 weeks. Please use as directed unless advised otherwise by a licensed veterinary health care provider. Individuals may experience negative or allergic reactions to any product. Should this happen, discontinue use.
Rara Avis products and information have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA or any other governmental agency. Our products are not meant to diagnose disease or replace licensed veterinary care. Our products are not pharmaceuticals or drugs intended to treat, prevent, mitigate or cure disease.


Written by sfraw

October 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm

%d bloggers like this: