Lizzy Meyer lives and works on Mariposa Ranch in the greater Houston, Texas area. She is absolutely passionate about animals and has found her calling in teaching holistic pet ownership.
This includes feeding our horses, dogs, and cats a species-appropriate, unprocessed diet, and how to connect with them in an energetic way, resulting in a stronger human-animal bond.
Veterinary Technician and Holistic Animal Care Educator
Whole Horse Consulting, LLC.
Lizzy's Dog Tristan With His Whole Food Treats
I spoke with Lizzy a few weeks ago and asked her several questions about the way she feeds her three dogs Finn, Loma, and Tristan. I’m stoked that she took some time out of her busy day-to-day life on her ranch to answer them, and of course I’m excited to share her wisdom with you today.
Lizzy's 3 dogs Loma, Finn, & Tristan
Lizzy describes herself as follows:
I am *not* a normal raw feeder! I don’t subscribe to any real model other than balance over time and variety.
The biggest reason is for environmental sustainability and the idea of feeding several pounds of animal protein/day to my pack is absolutely NOT sustainable for the planet or myself.
I am a flexible fresh food feeder who does not use any processed food.
Now without further ado, please enjoy the interview with Lizzy:
1) How Many Dogs Currently Live With You And Are They All Raw Fed?
My three dogs have been raw fed for many years. Finn is my Entlebucher Mountain Dog and I raised him from about 8 weeks old on home-cooked meals, then we went to raw. He gets a mixture of both now, depending on the season and what I am doing for the other dogs.
Loma is my Good Shepherd who I got as an adult dog from a shelter. She started with home cooked (she has so much dampness). She’s eaten raw but prefers lightly cooked.
Tristan is my Angel Lab who definitely has a long history of eating grocery store kibble for his whole life. I adopted him as a ten year old dog two years ago. He started on raw but had a hard time keeping his weight up. So I began lightly cooking for him and he’s done fabulously well.
The reason I lightly cook their food (no bones of course) is for specific food energetic reasons. Two of my dogs have too much dampness which is made much worse by raw feeding. To make it easier, if I cook lightly for those two, the third also gets the same food. All do great with this! I think the objective is FRESH food moreso than raw.
2) Was There A Particular Incident In Your Dogs’ Lives Such As A Health Issue That Prompted You To Change Their Diet?
Yes, Finn broke his leg as a young pup and he healed in record time with home cooked food. His seizures (correlating to the time he was given heart worm preventative) stopped.
Loma had chronic urinary tract infections on dry food (from the shelter) and those reversed with fresh food.
Tristan had severe yeast infections, ear infections, skin infections, severe heart worms, and arthritis prior to him being given to me.
3) Where/Who Do You Source Your Ingredients From?
I have found a grass-fed beef rancher who gives me organ meat and sells his beef to me. I actually raised 50 of my own broiler chickens and butchered them for my dogs. THAT was hard emotionally and I had never done it before. I am not certain I could do it again, but I felt worse buying factory farmed meat.
I also get free-range goats from locals by purchasing the live goats and having them delivered to the abattoir. I have ordered a variety of organ meats from Raw Feeding Miami and other online sources in the past.
Above all else, I source based on ethics. I want LOW STRESS animals to be fed to my animals whose history is known, whose lives and deaths have been handled in a respectful manner.
4) Some People Think That Feeding A More Species-Appropriate Diet Is Outrageously Expensive. Do You Have Any Tips To Keep Raw Feeding Affordable?
Yes, source locally from non-factory farmed animals who live outside, being the animals they were intended to be. I don’t get too caught up on the rest of it.
Of course, the cleanest meat is great but I want my dog’s meat to come from happy, healthy animals above ALL else.
I save all of my dog-safe veggie scraps from food I am eating myself and keep that in a bowl in the fridge. After a couple of days I either puree or crock-pot this mixture. No additional cost and no waste!
I am a BIG fan of seasonal, fresh veggies for dogs. I do not feed nightshades at all, nor do I use potatoes or yams. I have a local co-op that I can get slightly wilted veggies at a discount, which helps.
On RMB (Raw Meaty Bones), buying in cases in bulk is the best option. Finding someone who is processing poultry locally is great for getting organ meats and RMBs, but I make sure I know how they were raised.
I DO feed about 25% cooked or pureed veggies. I also use a porridge which is a complete protein combination of quinoa and amaranth cooked in a crockpot overnight.
These are seeds, not grains, and they do not make inflammation worse in my dogs. They digest them perfectly. Even my yeasty dog can have a bit of this. I don’t feed that every day but it helps in a huge way when I do!
I also over-cook lentils, mung beans, and other legumes to supplement the meat as my dogs get meat about 4-5 days a week.
They fast one day with just bone broth per week. One dog does not fast more than twelve hours. I feed canned sardines, lots of chicken or duck eggs, and I do use cottage cheese/kefir/yogurt in the place of meat once a week.
My dogs thrive on variety and they eat much of what I eat which makes grocery shopping a breeze.
A typical dog meal in Lizzy's pack (Finn's bowl)
5) What Is Your Take On Raw Meaty Bones? Do You Feed Them To Your Dogs Or Do You Prefer Ground Bones?
I trust my dogs with chicken bones like necks, backs and quarters. They do great with duck necks as well.
Turkey necks are too bony for them to eat more than once a week and I think they are tough on their teeth with that much bone. If I feed one, I make sure to use extra veggies as fiber to buffer all that bone.
I do not feed pork bones, beef bones (other than recreational knuckles or shanks), and definitely no heads (other than chicken/duck/rabbit). My dogs do not get a RMB daily. I use other sources of calcium and lots of bone broth.
6) Do You Have A Background In Dog Nutrition?
YES! I hold an Associates degree in Veterinary Technology and I have studied canine nutrition my whole life.
I actually was calling dog food companies at the age of about 12 years old with questions about ingredients. Our family dog, a black lab named Boo, died of liver cancer at the age of 7 years old. She ate a “super premium diet” including ethoxyquin….which I believe contributed to her condition.
After that, i started reading Natural Care for Dogs and Cats by Dr. Richard Pitcairn and started home cooking for our other dog and making our own dog treats.
I have also worked in veterinary clinics since 1990 and have independently studied whole food nutrition for humans, horses, dogs, and cats. I apply everything I learn and see what works.
This is a huge passion of mine! I often provide resources for people learning their fresh feeding options for their dogs through my business, Whole Horse Consulting, LLC (www.wholehorseconsulting.com).
7) Are There Any Books You Would Recommend For Those Interested In Making The Switch To A More Species-Appropriate Diet?
- Four Paws Five Directions by Dr. Cheryl Schwartz to understand food energetics.
- Natural Care for Dogs and Cats by Dr. Richard Pitcairn.
- Give your Dog a Bone by Dr. Ian Billinghurst.
- The Complete Herbal Handbook for Dogs by Juliette de Bairacli Levy.
- Woof by Rick Woodford.
Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford, not dog related but amazing for food energetics and that sort of education.
8) Which, If Any, Prominent Benefits Of Feeding A Raw/Lightly Cooked Diet Have You Been Able To Notice In Your Dogs?
Finn’s ear infections stopped, his leg healed in record time, he stopped seizing completely (these were multiple times per month for years).
Loma stopped getting urinary tract infections and lost weight.
Tristan’s ears are so much better, his coat has grown in beautifully, he has great energy, his arthritis is fractional for a dog of his age, and he’s fighting heart worms with herbs and homeopathy with success.
9) How Many (Raw) Meals Do You Feed Your Dogs Per Day?
One main meal in the morning and a bedtime snack. Tristan needs two large meals twice a day, the others do great with a main meal in the morning and something simple at night like one of the following: kefir, an egg, some greens, bone broth, etc.
I hope you enjoyed Lizzy’s insight on feeding her pups a healthy dog food mixture of lightly cooked/raw food which have helped them overcome a variety of common health issues.
I personally am intrigued by the topic of food energy Lizzy mentioned briefly in her answer to question #1. Pretty fascinating stuff, so I plan on becoming more knowledgeable in it! I’ll definitely share my findings with you on the blog:)
My brightest lightbulb moment was realizing that quinoa is considered a seed, and not a grain. For this very reason it never occurred to me to share any with my own pups although I cook it quite frequently for myself.
After all, Buzz does terrible on grains, while neither him nor Missy have any trouble properly digesting chia seeds (great source of Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids and antioxidants; they can help reduce inflammation/relieve joint pain and promote a shiny, soft coat and healthy skin.)
He’s been bothered by ear infections whenever he’s eaten both kibble made with grains AND also dehydrated raw food containing grains (he did poorly on The Honest Kitchen‘s Revel, which is their Chicken Recipe made with barley and oats).
Have your dogs been bothered by ear infections and/or itchy skin that traditional medicine couldn’t heal? Have you considered a more holistic approach? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!