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How To Talk To Your Anti Raw Vet About Raw Dog Food

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Anti raw vet visits with your dog(s) can be anything but fun!

From annoying to provoking, embarrassing and downright frustrating, I’ve personally experienced all of those feelings.

However, I’m happy to report that it doesn’t have to be that way!

Over the years, I found that anti raw vets are either:

  • Concerned that raw-fed dogs aren’t fed a balanced diet or
  • Don’t have the nutritional education that’s necessary to understand the concepts of raw feeding

Keep that background information in mind next time your vet tries to talk you out of raw feeding.

Now is the perfect time to reason with them from a position of knowledge.

Make them understand that you’re not just throwing your dog a raw steak and expect them to thrive.

Instead, tell them that you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into learning about raw dog food. Share your (re)sources with them! For instance:

  • Blogs about raw dog food hosted by experienced raw feeders – like mine!
  • YouTube channels and websites about dog health hosted by integrative and holistic veterinarians such as Dr. Karen Becker and Dr. Dee Blanco.

Also, let them know that you’re interested in a combination of conventional medicine and healthy raw dog food.

Because let’s face it, while raw dog food drastically improves your dog’s overall health, it won’t mend a broken bone caused by an accident. It also won’t treat a poisonous snake bite or a bite wound caused by a dog fight.

So with that in mind, read on for more detailed points to convince your anti raw vet that you’ve done your homework and have your dog’s best interest at heart!

How To Talk To Your Anti Raw Vet About Feeding Raw Dog Food

K9sOverCoffee.com | How to talk to your anti raw vet about feeding raw dog food

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

Point out the positive side effects that raw dog food has on your dog:

  • Cleaner teeth & ears
  • Shinier coat
  • Less/no more itching
  • Control over ingredients
  • Smaller poop
  • Less dog smell

If your dog used to be bothered by itchy skin, a dull and greasy coat, yeasty ears and dirty teeth, explain that you found a solution in raw dog food.

It’s hard for vets to deny that what you’re feeding works once they see the great condition your dog is in. That’s particularly true if they saw your dog’s condition pre-raw feeding!

I remember hearing my anti raw vets say “oh wow, Wally’s coat looks and feels great and his ears are so clean – so what do you feed him?”

K9sOverCoffee | Wally has clean teeth thanks to eating
Wally’s raw dog food diet includes raw meaty bones which keep his teeth clean! No brushing required!

Emphasize to your anti raw vet what you don’t like about dry (kibble) and wet (canned) dog food

Let your anti raw vet know the specific reasons you’re not a fan of kibble and/or wet dog food. For example, you could point out the following:

  • Highly processed dog food is cooked at very high temperatures that cause nutrient loss. These lost nutrients are added back into the food as synthetic nutrients. However, they can’t be absorbed as well as intact nutrients from real foods.
  • There aren’t enough proteins and too many carbohydrates/empty fillers from plant sources without nutritional value (namely peas, potatoes and corn).
  • There are too many grains (namely wheat, rice, corn, rye, oats and barley). Those have little nutritional value and are high in Omega-6 fatty acids that cause inflammation within the body.
K9sOverCoffee | Kibble vs Raw - An Experiment
Kibble vs raw dog food

Mention to your anti raw vet that you feed pre-made raw dog food from a reputable brand such as:

If you feed pre-made raw dog food from a reputable brand, encourage your vet to check out the brand’s website!

They’ll find a lot of information on the benefits of a species-appropriate, raw diet along with info on where the ingredients are sourced.

The four brands listed above are my personal favorites and I’ve fed them to my own dogs for many years.

What's the cost of raw dog food? Darwin's raw lamb
Darwin’s raw lamb

Explain to your anti raw vet that you’re feeding homemade, balanced raw dog food that consists of:

  • Macronutrients: Protein, fat, carbs
  • Micronutrients: Vitamins, minerals, traceminerals

If you make your own raw dog food, explain that you understand what a balanced raw diet consists of.

Explain that raw feeders like yourself replicate what a prey animal in the wild would look like, and that’s why you feed (your adult dog) the following components:

  • Muscle meat, 70% (including 10% fish)
  • Secreting organs, 10%
  • Veggies/fruit, 10%
  • Raw meaty bones, 10%
K9sOverCoffee.com | Convince your anti raw vet with a balanced Raw dog food recipe
Convince your anti raw vet with a specific recipe you feed

Resources:

Tip: Use my Raw Feeding Miami referral link to get 10% off.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Raw dog food recipe to convince an anti raw vet featuring Dr. Harvey's Paradigm dog food, venison, lamb, beef, duck, and thread herring
Another raw dog food recipe example

Resources:

Tip: Use my Raw Feeding Miami referral link to get 10% off.

Let’s take a look at the topic of raw meaty bones!

That’s a topic that many anti raw vets like to use to scare raw feeders out of raw feeding. One of my vets has definitely used that card before, and from her perspective, she had a point.

She explained that she saw many doggie patients who got into the trash and ate chicken carcasses and other bones. Those ended up doing damage on the inside of the dog.

If you’re an experienced raw feeder, you know what the problem was. Of course there’s a huge difference between raw and cooked bones!!

Raw bones are soft and pliable. When bones are cooked, their density changes and they become brittle, can splinter and turn into very sharp objects.

So back then, I made sure to explain that difference to my vet. Along with the fact that a dog’s stomach environment is much more acidic than ours and can handle raw meat, including bones, no problem.

I also showed her a video of my dog eating a raw meaty bone. It features Wally eating a raw turkey neck, and it also shows me holding the turkey neck on one end while he’s eating the other end.

In the 6+ years that I’ve been feeding my pups a raw diet including raw meaty bones, they never choked on one or otherwise hurt themselves with it.

I’m not saying that technically, it couldn’t happen. A dog who gulps down a raw meaty bone can certainly choke on it.

But I attribute our great success with raw meaty bones to the fact that I always supervise(d) my guys at mealtime (RIP Missy girl). I do that although I know their chewing style, which is really great/non-gulping!

That’s why I always recommend that people hold the raw meaty bones for dogs who are new to raw feeding. It teaches them to eat without gulping along with polite manners towards humans who touch their (high value) food.

How To Talk To Your Anti-Raw Vet About Feeding Raw Dog Food: Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it’s your decision what you feed your dog(s).

The two vets I had raw dog food discussions with ended up accepting that they couldn’t change my decision. I guess it was more of an agree to disagree consensus, but they respected my choices and didn’t try to argue every time I came/come into their office.

However, if your anti raw vet keeps giving you a hard time even after you’ve:

  • laid out the reasons why raw dog food is important to your dog’s health
  • shared that you’ve done your research
  • explained that you’re ordering from a reputable raw dog food brand
  • are aware of what balanced, homemade raw dog food consists of

…then I suggest you find a new vet! You can find holistic, integrative vets here:

American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association

Related Reading:

Canine Cushing’s Disease: Can raw dog food help?

What does balanced raw dog food consist of?

What are the benefits of raw dog food?

Do Chicken Bones For Dogs Scare You?

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How do you feel about chicken bones for dogs?

Have you considered feeding them to your pups but were concerned that your dog might choke on them?

Did you love the price tag on a bag of discounted chicken leg quarters but passed them up because…they might cause internal bleeding?

K9sOverCoffee.com | 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters for $5.90

Were you afraid that the nails on chicken feet might puncture your dog’s intestines?

K9sOverCoffee.com | Chicken feet are sometimes labeled chicken paws (seen at Walmart)
Chicken feet in the grocery section of a Walmart

I can’t blame you.

While chicken bones are fabulously cheap, there’s a stigma attached to them. And it’s not completely unfounded.

As a matter of fact, there’s a lot that can go southside when you’re feeding chicken bones the wrong way!

That’s why in this blog post, I’m going to talk about the ONE CIRCUMSTANCE when it’s OK to feed your dog chicken bones.

Do Chicken Bones For Dogs Scare You?

K9sOverCoffee.com | Do Chicken Bones for Dogs Scare You?

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links from Raw Paws Pet Food and Raw Feeding Miami. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. FYI: I’ve ordered cuts of raw meat for my dogs’ raw meals from both brands since 2016.

Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Chicken Bones?

That ONE CIRCUMSTANCE is feeding the chicken bones raw.

That’s when it’s safe for dogs to eat chicken bones because they’re pliable and soft.

It’s the cooked chicken bones that are harmful.

Why?

Because cooking changes the density of the bone structure and turns it hard and brittle.

I can tell you that I’ve fed my fair share of raw chicken bones over the years!

If you’re new to the blog: Hi, I’m Barbara and I’ve been feeding my dogs raw dog food since 2015!

But again, it’s really important to note the word raw.

Raw Chicken Bones For Dogs That Are Safe To Feed

You can feed the following chicken bones to your dogs as long as they’re raw and not cooked:

  • Leg quarters
  • Necks
  • Wings
  • Feet
  • Heads
dog can eat raw chicken leg quarters no problem
Boxer mix Missy eating a raw chicken leg quarter
an example of edible chicken bones for dogs are raw chicken necks
Raw dog food with a raw chicken neck
a raw chicken foot is one of several edible raw chicken bones for dogs
Feist mix Wally about to eat a raw chicken foot

You can also feed chicken heads (including the beak), although you won’t find those at a local grocery store.

You can find them at Raw Feeding Miami (RFM):

Tip: Use my referral discount link to get 15% off your order at Raw Feeding Miami!

Can My Dog Eat Leftover Chicken Bones?

If we’re talking about cooked leftover chicken bones, the answer is NO.

Again, cooking makes the chicken bones brittle and sharp. That’s how they can easily splinter and hurt your dog’s insides.

The only cooked chicken bone “meal” that’s OK to feed your dog is chicken bone broth after you’ve discarded the bones.

Alternatives To Chicken Bones for Dogs

Some dogs don’t do well with chicken, regardless of the cut you’re feeding. Those are usually dogs who don’t tolerate grains well. And since most chickens are fed an abundance of grains, it’s going to trigger those dogs and make them itchy and scratchy.

So for those pups, you’re going to need to feed raw meaty bones from other animals, for instance:

  • Duck heads, feet, wings and necks
  • Turkey wings and necks
  • Rabbit heads

Tip: Save 15% on your Raw Paws Pet Food orders with my affiliate discount code K9SAVINGS.


Tip: Use my referral discount link to get 15% off your order at Raw Feeding Miami!

K9sOverCoffee | Wally eating a raw duck head
Duck heads from RFM are one of Wally’s favorites!

K9sOverCoffee | Putting My Dogs' Raw Meals Together - Part 2- Organs, Rabbit Heads
Rabbit heads from RFM as part of Missy’s and Buzz’s raw meals

Raw Meaty Bones In Raw Dog Food

OK, now that you know how to feed chicken (and duck, turkey and rabbit) bones the right way – RAW – let’s talk about how they fit into raw dog food.

In raw feeding, raw meaty bones like chicken bones make up 10% of the diet.

It’s important to rotate the raw meaty bones you feed your pups on a regular basis to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

I already mentioned several different choices such as heads, wings, leg quarters and feet.

Ideally, you’ll also want to switch it up between different animals, although that can be tricky with dogs who don’t do well with certain protein sources.

That’s actually the case with my pup Wally. He doesn’t do well with chicken, but he can have duck, rabbit, turkey and beef.

One word of caution regarding weight bearing bones from large animals like cows: don’t feed those!

They’re naturally a lot more dense than bones from smaller and much lighter animals like poultry and rabbits. It makes sense when you think about it since they don’t have to hold up 1000s of lbs of animal!

What Else Is In Raw Dog Food?

Besides raw meaty bones, you’ll also have to feed muscle meat and secreting organs.

Unless you’re feeding whole prey including the stomach content, you should feed a little plant matter as well. For example, puréed veggies and fruit.

This is the predominant raw feeding formula to follow in raw feeding: 70/10/10/10.

Here’s what it means:

  • 70% muscle meat (including 10% fish)
  • 10% raw meaty bones
  • 10% secreting organs (5% liver, 5% other secreting organs)
  • 10% veggies & fruit

70/10/10/10 applies to adult dogs. Puppies need slightly different amounts while they’re still growing. So do pregnant and nursing dogs.

Do Chicken Bones For Dogs Scare You? – Bottom Line

I hope that the idea of feeding chicken bones to your pups no longer scares you!

As long as you’re feeding the bones raw, they’re soft and pliable and can easily be digested by your dog’s acidic stomach environment.

Remember, it’s the cooking process that makes them brittle and sharp.

However, you should still always supervise your dog while they’re eating their chicken or other bones to ensure they don’t gulp them down.

One more thing: The size of the bone you’re offering your dog should always be a little larger than your dog’s mouth. That ensures that they’ll chew on them.

For example, it’s fine to offer your Jack Russel Terrier a chicken wing or a chicken neck. But it would be better to give your Labrador a chicken leg quarter or a turkey neck instead given their size.

For more information on raw meaty bones, please check out the blog posts mentioned below! Happy raw feeding 🙂

Related Reading:

Raw Meaty Bones: How to Feed & Where to Get Them

What’s In Raw Dog Food?

Canine Cushing’s Disease: Can Raw Dog Food Help?

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I recently spent some time researching Canine Cushing’s Disease in dogs.

Specifically to find out if a dog’s condition affected by the disease can improve with raw dog food.

Turns out it can!

However, there are several foods that should be avoided, regardless of the type of diet you feed your dog (raw, home cooked, kibble or canned dog food).

Additionally, integrative and holistic veterinarians recommend certain natural remedies for dogs with Cushing’s Disease that support the adrenal gland and lower stress levels.

That said, here’s what you’ll find in this blog post:

  • Definition of Canine Cushing’s Disease
  • Causes, symptoms and traditional treatment
  • Which types of food to feed and which to avoid
  • Herbal and natural supplements recommended by vets
  • A video from an integrative veterinarian

Canine Cushing’s Disease: Can Raw Dog Food Help?

K9sOverCoffee.com | Canine Cushing's Disease Can Raw Dog Food Help?

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

What Is Canine Cushing’s Disease?

Let’s start with the basics!

On average, 100k dogs in the US are diagnosed with Canine Cushing’s disease per year.

Canine Cushing’s Disease is also known as hyperadrenocorticism.

It’s an endocrine disorder that mostly affects middle-aged and older dogs.

Endocrine implies an imbalance in hormones.

In Cushing’s Disease, it means that the dog’s adrenal glands overproduce the stress hormone cortisol.

That said, it can cause kidney damage, diabetes, blood clots and high blood pressure.

Unfortunately, the disease can’t be cured.

However, it can be managed if it’s caught early.

That’s a really good reason to have your dog’s bloodwork done every year!

Causes of Canine Cushing’s Disease

Typically, it’s caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland which is located at the base of the dog’s brain.

But it can also be caused by a tumor near the kidneys which is known as adrenal Cushing’s Disease. However, this form is more rare.

Another cause can be excessive steroid treatment. For example for skin allergies and arthritis. This type is known as iatrogenic Cushing’s disease.

Definitely a good reason NOT to treat your dog’s food related allergies with steroids! Instead, try an elimination diet. The way it works is you slowly eliminate/add different foods from/to your dog’s meals to find out which ones they do or don’t do well with.

Symptoms of Canine Cushing’s Disease

Typical behavioral changes include the following:

  • Increased appetite
  • Excessive thirst and increased urination
  • Lethargy
  • Panting
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rashes
  • Dark skin patches
  • Poor wound healing
  • Muscle weakness – reduced activity
  • Enlarged abdomen

The increased cortisol levels also increase the dog’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In other words, the dog’s fat cushions.

Conventional Treatments for Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

For dogs with a pituitary tumor, the most common treatment is radiation to reduce the size of the tumor.

For dogs with an adrenal tumor, the typical treatment is abdominal surgery. However, it’s very risky and only an option if the tumor hasn’t spread yet.

Other approaches are medications like trilostane and mitotane.

Nonetheless, they’re expensive and can have severe side effects. For example, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, weakness and low blood sugar.

Food Diet as Managing Approach for Dogs with Cushing’s Disease

It’s important to feed a diet rich in moisture, such as a raw dog food diet.

If you can’t or don’t want to feed raw meals, you can also cook your dog’s food instead.

Other options are canned meals (e.g. Ziwi Peak ) or a kibble diet (e.g. Solid Gold), although kibble definitely has the least moisture content.

Most importantly though, you’ll want to eliminate carbs! That’s regardless of which type of food you feed.

The reason for this is because they cause insulin to be released, which in turn causes even more cortisol to be released than it already is.

(Raw) foods to feed should be:

  • High in protein
  • Low in fat
  • Low in fiber

Examples of meats you can feed are lean beef, turkey, rabbit and chicken without the skin.

K9sOverCoffee.com | All natural, lean turkey for dogs
All natural, lean turkey for dogs

Veggies you can feed are puréed carrots, broccoli, shitakii mushrooms, zucchini, brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

K9sOverCoffee | Pureeing low carb veggies in my food processor for Missy's dog cancer die
Puréeing veggies in a food processor (shitakii mushrooms, broccoli and Brussels sprouts)

Dogs with Cushing’s Disease should also eat flax hulls because they’re rich in lignans. They help lower cortisol hormones and reduce blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels.

Foods to avoid:

There are several types of food that shouldn’t be fed to dogs suffering from Canine Cushing’s Disease.

Most importantly, avoid the ones that are high in fat and low in proteins, for instance:

  • Fatty cuts of beef, chicken skin, lamb and pork
  • Sardines
  • Potatoes, peas, wheat, corn and rice

Herbal/natural supplements to support the immune system and decrease stress levels

According to holistic veterinarian Dr. Deva Khalsa, these Chinese herbs are beneficial for dogs with Cushing’s Disease:

Western herbs that offer support are:

Both have these benefits:

  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • Helps normal hair growth
  • Supports normal thirst and urination
  • Supports healthy weight, normal appetite and proper muscle tone

Adrenal Harmony Gold ingredients:

  • Fresh Ashwagandha root (Withania somniferum)
  • Holy Basil leaf (Ocimum sanctum)
  • Fresh Turmeric rhizome (Curcuma longa)
  • Bacopa herb (Bacopa monnieri)
  • Sarsaparilla root (Smilax officinalis)
  • Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus)
  • Milk Thistle seed (Silybum marianum)
  • Blessed Thistle flower (Cnicus benedictus)
  • Chaste Tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus)
  • Prickly Ash bark (Zanthoxylum americanum)
  • Inactive ingredients: Deionized Water, Natural Bacon Flavor, Vegetable Glycerin

Adrenal Support ingredients:

  • Astragalus (root)
  • Turmeric (root)
  • Dandelion (root)
  • Horsetail (herb)
  • Cleavers (root)
  • Burdock (root)
  • Panax Ginseng (root)
  • Ashwagandha (root)
  • Inactive ingredients: Purified Water, USP Vegetable Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid

Herbs to avoid are licorice and borage leaf because they increase adrenal activity.

Consult Your Holistic, Homeopathic or Integrative Vet

As with every disease, it’s important to involve a vet.

That’s especially true as you notice symptoms that might be an indicator for Canine Cushing’s disease.

In my opinion, it’s ideal to consult an integrative vet such as Dr. Karen Becker.

These types of vets are open to combining traditional treatments with natural remedies.

I recommend you watch her video on Cushing’s Disease below. It’s very informative and presented in an understandable way for us non-vets!

Can Dogs With Canine Cushing’s Disease Eat Raw Dog Food? Bottom Line

While Canine Cushing’s Disease can’t be cured, its early stages are quite manageable with the right type of food as well as herbal and natural supplements.

As with many things in life, prevention is key, and that includes a healthy lifestyle, yearly wellness exams and bloodwork at your (integrative) vet’s.

It’s also important to provide adequate amounts of physical exercise to lower your dog’s stress levels and help provide muscle strength.

So go ahead and take your pup on those daily walks and weekend hikes!

Related Reading:

Raw Feeding Dalmatians: Can They Eat Raw Dog Food?

How To Talk To Your Anti Raw Vet About Raw Dog Food

Add This to Your Homemade Pumpkin Puree for Dogs To Make It Even Better!

If you’re looking to add a little oomph to your homemade pumpkin puree for dogs, you’ve come to the right place!

I recently made a fresh batch of pumpkin puree for my raw-fed pup Wally when he had a stomach bug. He must have picked up something that didn’t agree with him on one of our walks.

So after an afternoon and night of throwing up, I took him to the vet the next morning. She gave him subcutaneous and oral meds and told me to feed him a bland diet for the next couple days. Since Wally doesn’t do well with chicken, rice or potatoes, she suggested boiled sweet potatoes or pumpkin puree.

I decided to go with the latter, especially because it’s pumpkin season as I type this! But also because I had just cooked up a batch of yummy goodness I was going to add.

Curious to know what I added? You’re about to find out!

Add This to Your Homemade Pumpkin Puree for Dogs to Make It Even Better

K9sOverCoffee.com | Add this to your homemade pumpkin puree for dogs to make it even better

This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

The Secret Sauce in My Pumpkin Puree

Ok, I’ll let you in on the secret sauce, which it quite literally is!

I’m talking about bone broth.

The particular kind I used for this type of pumpkin puree is my own homemade goat bone broth.

I made it with goat ribs, filtered water and organic ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar).

But you can make it with any other bones as well! For example:

  • Turkey and duck necks
  • Chicken and duck feet or wings
  • Beef soup bones, etc.

I just happened to have goat ribs handy in Wally’s raw dog food freezer, so I went with those.

The Benefits of Bone Broth for Dogs

For those of you who aren’t familiar with bone broth, here’s a quick summary of why it’s so awesome!

So just like its name suggests, bone broth is made from bones and the cartilage that cushions the bones.

That means that all the goodness that’s found in both slowly seeps into the broth. For instance minerals, chondroitin and glucosamine.

That makes it an excellent immune system booster that’s also great for achy joints!

Additionally, it’s really gentle on the digestive system and helps with upset doggie stomachs.

It also detoxifies the liver and you can even use it as a meal topper to get picky eaters to eat.

And that’s why I strongly recommend you use bone broth in your pumpkin puree!

The Benefits of Pumpkin Puree for Dogs

Pumpkin puree itself is a low fat, low calorie food that’s naturally rich in fiber.

That’s why it’s SO good to feed to your pup when they have an upset stomach and/or diarrhea, as my vet suggested.

It also makes a great filler to replace part of your pup’s food with if they have to loose some weight. That’s because it makes them feel fuller longer.

Besides that, it’s also rich in minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium) and vitamins (A, B, C, E and K).

What You’ll Need for Your Homemade Pumpkin Puree For Dogs

All in all you’re looking at about an hour and a half to 2 hours of your time, including prep work and clean up.

However, it doesn’t include making your own bone broth! That takes up to several hours to a full day, depending on how long you decide to let it cook.

It’s best to make it in a crock pot because you can really let it simmer in there for 24 hours without having to pay any attention to it.

Alternatively, you can also make it in a pot and let it simmer in there for a few hours at a time. I just wouldn’t let the pot sit out on the stove top unsupervised.

Now, besides your time, this is what you’ll need:

Here’s a tip: Try to find smaller pumpkins to make your puree with as opposed to the super large Jack ‘O Lantern ones. They’re usually labeled sugar pumpkin or baking pumpkin. They’ll have a lot more flavor and taste way better!

How to Make Your Pumpkin Puree

Cut the stems off your pumpkins first.

Next, cut the pumpkins in half and scoop out the seeds.

Place the pumpkin halves onto a cookie sheet and roast them at 350 F (180 C) in your oven for 45-60 minutes.

Technically, you can also steam them, but roasting them brings out a lot more of their flavor.

Let them cool until they’re no longer hot to the touch, then peel the skin off.

Cut them into smaller pieces and put them into your food processor or blender. Instead of adding water, add the bone broth.

How much exactly depends on the amount of pumpkin flesh you’re looking to puree. Just add enough to create a smooth concoction!

K9sOverCoffee.com | Making homemade pumpkin puree for dogs with a little extra add on

Add This to Your Homemade Pumpkin Puree for Dogs to Make It Even Better: Bottom Line

As expected, Wally did great with the homemade pumpkin puree!

I gave him 3 smaller meals of just the puree before I added his raw dog food back into his daily routine.

By the way, you can totally have some of the pumpkin puree as well.

That’s if your pup won’t mind, ha!

But all kidding aside, it’s made of human-grade ingredients so go ahead, take a bite.

It’s really good, especially as part of a home cooked meal on those cooler fall and cold winter days.

Of course it would also make a great side dish for any Thanksgiving dinners.

One more thing – I also suggest to make a few extra batches before pumpkin season is over.

That way, you’ll be able to stock up and have some on hand when your pup’s feeling off outside of pumpkin season.

If you have enough freezer space, you can keep your extras in there up to a year.

Obviously, you could also pick up some plain pumpkin puree at the grocery store, but it’s just not the same.

The homemade version is always going to be a lot fresher and tastier!

Related Reading

How To Make Pumpkin Puree For Dogs and Pumpkin Pancakes For Yourself

Bone Broth for Dogs: Recipe and How to Feed

I Use This Easy Hack To Store My Secreting Organ Mixes

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Secreting organ mixes are a small but essential component in raw feeding for dogs.

But you already know that if you’ve been reading my blog for a while!

In case you’re new to the blog, here’s a quick recap. For more in-depth information on secreting organs, please check out my Related Reading section at the end of this blog post.

Raw dog food recap – Raw meals for dogs consist of roughly:

  • Muscle meat, 70% (including fish)
  • Plant matter, 10%
  • Raw meaty bones, 10%
  • Secreting organs (5% liver, 5% other secreting organs)

If you’re more interested in feeding a PMR (Prey Model Raw) diet without veggies and fruit, i.e. plant matter, increase the muscle meat amount to 80%.

One very convenient secreting organ mix you can buy pre-made is Raw Feeding Miami’s Monster Mash Organ Grind. It’s a secreting organ mix that consists of 50% beef liver and 50% other secreting organs (beef kidney, beef spleen, beef pancreas or beef thymus).

K9sOverCoffee | Putting My Dogs' Raw Meals Together - Part 2: Organs, Monstermash
Monster Mash Organ Grind from Raw Feeding Miami

If you have the time and aren’t easily grossed out, you can also create your very own secreting organ mix. That’s also going to be necessary if your pup doesn’t do well with beef.

For example, you could use lamb liver and beef spleen. That’s what I recently mixed up in my food processor.

Of course you can and should mix and match other secreting organs with liver as much as possible, but that’s what made it into my food processor this time around.

I Use This Hack To Store My Secreting Organ Mixes

I use this easy hack to store my secreting organs

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

When I’m not adding pieces of secreting organs directly in with Wally’s raw meals at prep time, I grind them up and store them in the freezer.

To be more specific, I use food-safe silicone ice cube trays!

I found these particular ones on Amazon and absolutely love the fact that they:

  • Come in a pack of 2
  • Have lids
  • Hold 37 whatever-you-fill-them-with per tray
  • Are dishwasher-safe to make clean up a breeze
K9sOverCoffee.com | I use this hack to store my secreting organ mixes
Ice cube trays work so great to store secreting organ mixes!

These particular medium size trays work great for Wally’s secreting organ allowance. He weighs around 35lbs and currently eats 16oz of meat per day. That translates into roughly 1.6oz of secreting organs per day.

If you have a smaller pup, check out these mini ice cube trays!

Likewise, if your pup is large to extra large, you may want to go with a larger ice cube tray such as this one.

Where to find secreting organs

If you’re looking into making your pup’s very own secreting organ mix, you’ll need to go secreting organ shopping.

Your local grocery store/Walmart

It’s very easy to find beef, calf and chicken liver at your local grocery store or retail giant like Walmart.

A local farm

You may also have a local farm that sells liver from their animals.

Putting My Dogs' Raw Meals Together - Part 2- Organs, Chicken liver from a local farm
Chicken liver and other cuts of chicken meat from a local farm

Asian Supermarkets/Raw Feeding Miami

For those other, more odd, cuts of meat like kidney, pancreas, spleen, thymus, brains and reproductive organs, you can try your luck at Ethnic/Asian super markets.

Alternatively, I recommend ordering from online raw dog food retailers such as Raw Feeding Miami. Their particular selection is amazing as far as secreting organs go – they even carry cuts like eyeballs, brains and ovaries!

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally eating a beef eyeball from Raw Feeding Miami
Wally eating a beef eyeball from Raw Feeding Miami
Cutting up lamb brains for raw dog food
Cutting up lamb brains from Raw Feeding Miami

I Use This Hack To Store My Secreting Organ Mixes: Bottom Line

Hack to store secreting organs for raw dog food

I’ve learned so much since I started my raw dog food journey in 2015, and this hack is one of my favorites.

It’s an easy and convenient way to access your pup’s secreting organ mixes, and – most importantly – it’s really affordable.

I mean, the cost of a 2 pack of the silicone ice cube trays I mention in this blog post is less than $10! So even if you have several pups and want a few of these secreting organ storage solutions, they won’t break the bank.

Happy raw feeding!

Content Related to Secreting Organ Mixes:

Raw Liver for Dogs: All Your Questions Answered

What Does Balanced Raw Dog Food Consist Of?

Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe For My Food-Sensitive Dog

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Today I’m sharing an easy raw dog food recipe with you that recently made it into Wally’s breakfast bowl.

For those of you who don’t know Wally yet – he’s my 35 lb Feist mix. I switched him from kibble to raw when I adopted him in early 2019.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Working on Wally's polite leash walking skills
Wally & I working on polite leash walking skills

Since he has several food intolerances that cause him to be real itchy, I’m a bit limited as far as what I feed him. That said, he still gets to eat different foods which is important for his nutrient variety.

The main food culprits he can’t have at all are chicken, quail, salmon, sardines, green lipped mussels and grains. Those are absolute no-gos because like I said before, they make him itchy and scratchy like all hell.

He does best with beef, rabbit, duck, ostrich, camel, kangaroo, herring and mackerel.

Raw Feeding Miami Review - Wally eating a whole thread herring from RFM
Wally eating a thread herring

While those are the main protein sources that make it into his bowl, Wally can have other proteins in smaller quantities without getting itchy. For example turkey, lamb, pork and trout.

With all that in mind, here’s a raw dog food recipe that Wally recently had for breakfast!

Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe For My Food-Sensitive Dog

K9sOverCoffee.com | Easy raw dog food recipe for my food sensitive dog

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

Raw-fed dogs eat anywhere between 2-4% of their ideal/target body weight in raw dog food per day.

For detailed information on how to do the math on that, please check out my Related Reading section at the end of this blog post.

That said, Wally eats 3% of his target body weight these days, which translates into around 16 oz of raw dog food per day, split up into 2 meals.

With that in mind, his raw dog food breakfast consisted of the following:

  • 1 Duck neck
  • 2 Whole herrings
  • 2 frozen secreting organ cubes (1.5 oz of liver, kidney and spleen)
  • 3 oz ground rabbit
  • 2 oz ground beef
  • 1 minced garlic clove
K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally's raw dog food breakfast
Wally’s raw dog food breakfast

Duck neck

Duck necks fall into the category of so-called RMBs (Raw Meaty Bones). Dogs get 10% of RMBs per day. They consist of raw, pliable bone that’s covered with meat. Bone is rich in calcium and phosphorus which is important for dental and bone/muscle health.

Duck necks also feature a good amount of glucosamine and chondroitin which is why they’re great for joint health too.

They consist of roughly 50% bone and 50% duck meat.

Where to source:

Whole herrings

Herrings are an oily fish, and oily fish should definitely make it onto your pup’s meal plan, ideally whole. That’s because it’s naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and comes with brains and eyeballs. Those fall into the secreting organ category.

Fish should make up about 10% of your pup’s daily raw dog food allowance. Since I don’t always feed whole fish, I count it towards Wally’s muscle meat allowance.

Where to source:

Raw Feeding Miami

Frozen secreting organ cubes

These cubes consist of a mix of beef liver, kidney and spleen. Secreting organs make up 10% of your pup’s daily raw dog food allowance. More specifically, 5% liver and 5% other secreting organs. For example, kidney, spleen, brains, eyeballs, reproductive organs, pancreas and thymus.

This particular mix is a pre-ground mix of secreting organs that I got from a local raw dog food supplier here in Germany. It’s similar to Raw Feeding Miami’s Monstermash, but you can also source the ingredients individually and grind them up yourself.

FYI: We moved to Germany a few months ago and wrote all about it here on the blog.

For convenience sake, I went ahead and filled the secreting organ mix into a silicone ice cube tray, which I then froze. Wally gets 2 cubes per day, so it’s super easy to just pop 2 out when I make his meals. This particular ice cube tray comes as a set of 2 and includes lids.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Portioning out Wally's secreting organs in a silicone icecube tray
Wally’s secreting organs in a silicone ice cube tray

Ground rabbit & ground beef

This is ground up muscle meat from both rabbits and beef. Dogs need 70-80% of muscle meat in their daily raw dog food allowance. If you include veggies and fruit, you’ll want to feed 70% muscle meat and 10% veggies/fruit. If you don’t feed any plant matter, feed 80% muscle meat.

I usually add 10% of plant matter but ran out, which is why Wally got a pure meat meal this time around.

When I add veggies and fruit, I either purée my own or I use a pre-mix from a brand like Dr. Harvey’s. For example, their Paradigm or Veg-to-Bowl.

K9sOverCoffee.com | I use Dr. Harvey's Green Superfood Pre-Mix Paradigm for my raw dog food
Dr. Harvey’s Dehydrated Paradigm Green Superfood
K9sOverCoffee.com | Dr. Harvey's Veg-to-Bowl and Health & Shine Fish Oil Capsules
Dr. Harvey’s grain-free dehydrated Veg-to-Bowl

Examples of veggies I feed are broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and shiitake mushrooms. For fruit, I give Wally banana, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.

Where to source ground rabbit:

Raw Feeding Miami or a local rabbit farm

Where to source ground beef:

Raw Feeding Miami or your local grocery store

Garlic clove

Contrary to popular belief, garlic in small quantities is extremely beneficial for dogs, especially when it’s offered freshly crushed or minced. That’s because it has anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer benefits.

It also helps prevent flea infestations.

For more information on garlic including how much is safe to feed, check out the blog post I’m linking to in the Related Reading section at the end of this blog post.

Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe For My Food-Sensitive Dog: Bottom Line

I hope you enjoyed peeking into Wally’s raw breakfast bowl!

For more recipes, please feel free to browse the blog or check out my recipe e-books.

You can also sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on new blog posts such as this one.

When you do, you get instant access to another raw dog food recipe, excerpted from one of my e-books!

Related Reading

What does balanced raw dog food consist of?

How to figure out how much raw dog food to feed

How to feed raw dog food for joint health

Garlic is good for dogs after all: How much to feed & more

Croatia With Dogs: Our Summer Road Trip With Wally

If you’re looking for some first hand tips and travel experience for getting around Croatia with dogs, you came to the right place!

I can also hook you up with some awesome picture and video footage of our Croatia adventure, so either way you’ll get something out of this blog post, ha!

So we recently took off to Croatia on a much needed two week summer vacation, and our pup Wally came along for the ride. He’s a 35 lb Feist mix and celebrated his 4th birthday during our trip. Fun fact: Him and I actually share the same birthday!

We started at our current home near Stuttgart, Germany and made the 12 hour trip via Austria and Slovenia. On our way back home, we spent one night in Salzburg, Austria, at about the half way mark.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Mapping out the road trip from Germany to Croatia
Mapping out our road trip from Germany to Croatia

Keep in mind that your pup will need to do fine in the car. Otherwise, it’ll be a miserable long ride for you and them!

Thankfully, Wally loves car rides, so we didn’t have any issues there.

How We Experienced Croatia With Dogs: Our Summer Road Trip With Wally

K9sOverCoffee.com | Croatia with dogs - Our summer road trip with Wally

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

General Croatia Know How

Just as a general FYI: Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, so typically there are no border controls. You just drive into the country as if you were driving from one US state into another. That applies as long as you’re driving within the European Union.

However, traffic was only inching forward as we approached the border area because of 3 things:

  • The summer travel rush. Most roads were packed because people were so happy to finally be able to go on vacation again! (Future reader: The Corona pandemic didn’t make this possible for quite some time).
  • The toll booths right before the border. Yep, expect to pay to use the roads. They take both cash and cards.
  • Occasional checks for Corona related paperwork (negative tests, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery). We were both vaccinated twice but didn’t get pulled over. I think they checked every 50th car or so. It would have been an absolute congestion nightmare had they checked every single car!

Although Croatia did join the EU, they haven’t joined the Euro zone yet. That’s because their economy is not strong enough to do so yet, but it’s expected to happen by January 1, 2023.

In the meantime, their currency remains the Croatian Kuna (kn). €1 = $1.17 = kn7.50.

If you want to exchange any Euros or Dollars for Croatian Kunas, I suggest you do so at a local post office in Croatia (Pošta). You’ll get a lot more bang for your buck there than you would at an Exchange Office.

Paperwork Needed To Travel Into Croatia With Dogs

You’ll need two things to get your pup into Croatia.

That’s an internationally readable, 15 digit microchip that complies with the ISO (International Standards Organization) and proof of a current rabies vaccination.

At least in theory.

I say that because no one asked to see this paperwork at the border, or anywhere else for that matter! Honestly, I was kinda bummed about it. That’s because I took the time to get Wally his very own European Doggie Passport with all of his information prior to embarking on our summer trip.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Croatia with dogs - Wally and his pet passport

Here in Germany, any vet can issue those as long as you have a current German address. The vet I took Wally to scanned him for his microchip to double check that the information I gave her was correct. Then she noted it in his passport.

I also decided to have her give him his rabies booster a little earlier than necessary. Otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to jot it down in the passport. I figured it’d be more convenient than having to bring all of the paperwork along that Wally used to travel from the US to Germany earlier this year.

Oh well, now that he has it, it will definitely come along on our next trip with him. I’ll report back on whether or not we’ll need it then, ha!

But back to our Croatia trip.

Our Car Set Up For Wally

During this road trip, Wally traveled in a car crate on our long trip there and back. For our day trips in Croatia, we secured Wally with his harness and our headrest seat belt.

The crate is a crash-tested, German car crate called 4pets Transportbox EcoLine three, medium size. We bought it for a little over €300 at a local pet retail store in Germany.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally in his crash tested car crate
Wally in his crash tested car crate
K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally's taking a water break in his car crate
Wally drinking out of the Mighty Paw Collapsible Dog Bowl on a break during our road trip

We decided to leave it in the car for the long drive there and back, and to keep it in the apartment during our stay in Croatia. It’s stupid heavy, and we stayed on the top floor, so there was no way we were going to carry it up and down 6 flights of stairs every day.

While writing this blog post, I tried to find that particular model on the US market, but couldn’t find it.

However, I found these two similar items in the States:

The harness we used on our day trips in Croatia is the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0 and their headrest seat belt. Both are a great alternative for a car crate, especially if you have less room to work with.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Securing Wally in the car with the Mighty Paw headrest seat belt
Securing Wally with the Mighty Paw headrest seat belt in the car

Our Dog-Friendly Vacation Rental in Crikvenica, Croatia

For this particular trip, we decided against staying at a hotel.

Instead, we opted for a vacation rental with a kitchenette. It was one of 6 apartments in a villa with a pool and a small balcony overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Wally felt very much at home there!!

K9sOverCoffee.com | Croatia with dogs - Wally's enjoying the view over the Adriatic Sea
Wally taking in the view of the Adriatic Sea

The beauty about Croatia is that these types of accommodations are pretty affordable at around €300 per person/week. At the current exchange rate, that’s about $350 US Dollars.

Most places allow dogs, and while some don’t charge extra, ours did. However, at €8/day, it was also quite affordable and ended up costing us €112 = $131 US.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Crotia with dogs - Wally approved of our dog-friendly rental apartment in Crikceniva, Croatia
Wally snoozing on the couch

By the way, our villa was fully booked and most guests also had dogs. Our landlady also had a pup, so while there was some occasional barking, everyone followed the rules to a T. Those rules were pretty straight forward – leash and pick up after your pup, and no dogs in the pool.

So all in all, our 13 night stay was a lot less inexpensive than we would have paid for a stay by the Mediterranean in France or Italy.

If you can make it to Croatia with your pup, I highly recommend you do!

Shoot me a message at Barbara AT K9sOverCoffee DOT com if you want the name and address of the place where we stayed.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Croatia with dogs - Wally in front of our vacation rental
Wally in front of our vacation rental

To help Wally keep his nightly routine, we set up the car crate I mentioned earlier in our rental. Just like at home, it stayed open throughout the day so he could walk in and out as he pleased.

He slept in it with the crate door closed, also just like he does at home.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally in the car crate we carried up into our vacation rental
Wally’s getting ready for a filled KONG snack in his crate

What I Fed Wally During Our 2 Week Vacation

As many of you know, Wally is raw-fed.

I usually try to keep his raw dog food routine as much as possible when we’re going away on trips, but this time around, I admit that I didn’t.

The car was already full enough as it was, and I would have needed 2 large coolers to bring 2 weeks worth of raw dog food along. Since we didn’t stay at a hotel, there also wouldn’t have been any ice machines. And keep in mind that ice machines are not as common elsewhere in the world as they are in the States.

For this reason, I also decided against ordering 2 weeks worth of raw and shipping it to our vacation rental. That would have been an option as well.

Since I also didn’t find any freeze-dried raw dog food here in Germany, I opted for canned dog food. I had noticed it in the travel product section of one of my current raw dog food providers in Germany, Barfers Wellfood.

The ingredients were actually not bad at all:

  • Turkey 62% (heart, meat, liver, necks)
  • Broth 28.5%
  • Cranberries 4%
  • Sweet potatoes 2%
  • Minerals 1%
  • Safflower oil 0.3%
  • Yucca extract 0.1%
  • Wild herbs 0.1% (basil, camomile, dandelion, parsley, rosemary)

Although I would have liked to see one more secreting organ besides liver, this food was a solid option for our 2 week getaway.

Thankfully Wally’s not overly picky when it comes to his food, and he devoured these meals as happily as he does his raw meals!

I will say that I noticed one thing though: his poops were definitely much larger than they are on raw.

To be on the safe side, I ordered enough canned dog food for 3 weeks. That way, I was able to slowly transition him from raw to canned before we left on our vacation. I also still had one can left for when we returned home. That way, I didn’t have to worry about thawing any raw meals right away.

The protein options I chose for Wally were beef, turkey and horse. Yep, the latter is big on this side of the pond…I’ll dedicate a blog post to that protein soon! Spoiler alert: It’s a great option for dogs with lots of food sensitivities like Wally.

I’d say that it’s similar in quality to Ziwipeak’s canned dog food. I used to feed Ziwipeak for a little while before I switched my two Boxer mixes Missy & Buzz to fresh raw dog food.

These are Ziwipeak’s beef canned dog food ingredients:

  • Beef
  • Water
  • Beef Lung/Kidney/Tripe/Liver/Bone
  • Chickpeas
  • New Zealand Green Mussel
  • Dried Kelp
  • Sea Salt
  • Minerals (Zinc/Copper/Manganese Amino Acid Complex)
  • Vitamins (Vitamin E/B1/B5/D3 Supplement, Folic Acid)

Enjoying Restaurants & Coffee Shops in Croatia With Dogs

Much like Germany, Croatia is a very dog-friendly country. As a matter of fact, dogs are welcome in most restaurants and coffee shops.

It’s still a good idea to ask the staff if it’s OK to bring your pup before you walk into any restaurant or coffee shop. But it’s really more of a rhetorical, polite question to ask!

Most places we went to with Wally immediately brought him water in a dog bowl. I only had to specifically ask for water for him a few times!

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally at a dog-friendly coffee shop in Punat on Krk Island, Croatia
Wally at a dog-friendly coffee shop in Punat on Krk Island, Croatia

At this point, Wally’s used to coming along to eat in restaurants and coffee shops. It took all of us a few times to get used to this new concept, but it didn’t take us long to develop a routine.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally hanging out with us at a dog-friendly restaurant in Senj, Croatia
Wally at a dog-friendly restaurant right on the water in Senj, Croatia

Obviously we kept him leashed, and then we tied his leash to our table. That was usually the most solid structure. While we grabbed a drink and decided on food, Wally was allowed to stand next to me or his Daddy and get some TLC.

Once the food came out, we asked him to lie down and stay there. That worked very well for all of us because it’s exactly what we ask him to do at home as well. At the end of our meal, we rewarded him with a few tasty treats, and sometimes also with a little taste of what we had. #SpoiledPup

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally in a polite down-stay at a dog-friendly restaurant in Croatia
Wally at a dog-friendly restaurant in Malinska-Dubašnica on Krk Island, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park With Dogs

If you want to experience the most amazingly colored, clear water ever AND visit a UNESCO World Heritage site, you have to come here!

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

The park is located in the back country, really close to the Bosnia and Herzegovina border.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Mapping out our drive from Crikvenica to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
Mapping out our drive from Crikvenica to the Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

It was about a 2 hour drive up and down the mountainous countryside from our place in Crikvenica, but one well worth it. If you decide to visit during peak travel time like we did, you better make it out there early or the place will be packed af. As in, arrive no later than 9 am. 8 am is better!

Dogs are allowed at Plitvice Lakes National Park and don’t cost extra.

However, they do have to be leashed the entire time and aren’t allowed to swim in the lakes.

Humans aren’t either, and it definitely makes sense. Because if we were all allowed to swim in them (think sweat and sunscreen), they’d probably look a lot less serene and clean than they currently are. … and clean they ARE!!

Since it was a hot summer day when we went, we let Wally stand in the lakes every now and then to cool off, and that seemed to be perfectly fine.

We also brought bottled water along and bought another bottle at one of the concession stands along the way. We used our collapsible silicone bowls from Mighty Paw to water Wally along the way.

Obviously, you also have to pick up after your dog, but that should be a no brainer. Keep in mind that while there are trash cans, there are no poop bag stations. So make sure to bring your own!

There are a few factors that might be challenging for some pups, so here’s what to expect:

  • Lots of gappy boardwalks, as I called them
  • Shuttle boats and busses if you’re opting for the 2 or 4 hour hike instead of the 6-8 hour hike
  • Lots of people during peak visiting times in the summer like ours
  • A decent amount of other dogs

Wally did really great walking the boardwalks, and he doesn’t mind being surrounded by people either. On the contrary, he’s a little social butterfly and will get all the pets he can get!

He also did fine on the boat and in the bus. We sat in the far back on both with Wally between us, and both rides were only about 10 minutes long.

However, he’s one of those pups who does best with a decent amount of space between him and other dogs. Unfortunately, that’s one thing that’s hard to come by on more than half of the hike at Plitvice Lakes.

Thankfully, we walked Wally on his dual handle bungee leash that has a built-in traffic handle right next to his head. So whenever there’s oncoming doggie traffic, we’d grab that handle and kept him right next to us.

In combination with his slip dog collar, it made the doggie encounters very doable and much less stressful than they would have been on a flat collar and a standard leash.

Krk Island With Dogs

We discovered a really nice, quiet little bay in the Omišalj area on Krk Island and spent many afternoons there.

It was only about a 30 minute drive from our rental location in Crikvenica, and a lot less busy than the local beaches in the Crikvenica area.

My favorite accessories for our beach bay excursions on Krk island were Wally’s Sport Harness 2.0, his 30′ check cord and my Vibram water shoes!

That’s because it was SO easy to lift Wally in and out of the water using the handle on the back of the harness! And the check cord gave him plenty of controlled freedom when we were in the water, and it also kept him safe while he was swimming.

Granted, he only swam very short distances, essentially just long enough to cool himself off. I really wasn’t expecting any currents that close to shore, but you never know, and I definitely wasn’t going to take any chances. Plus it was perfect to keep him from adventuring elsewhere on his own!

Most beaches in Croatia are rocky beaches rather than sandy ones, so I was super glad I read up on Croatia beforehand and brought my Vibrams. They were truly life savers for my feet, ha! I bought them back in 2012 and they’re still in really good shape.

K9sOverCoffee.com | I'm glad I brought my Vibrams to use on Crotia's rocky beaches
I was very thankful for my Vibrams

Mainland Cities Crikvenica & Novi Vinodolski With Dogs

We spent most of our time between Krk Island and the two mainland cities of Crikvenica and Novi Vinodolski on this trip.

Crikvenica has a charming downtown area nestled right around its harbor. There’s tons of little coffee shops and restaurants, bakeries and gelato shops.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally in downtown Crikvenica, Croatia
Wally in downtown Crikvenica, Croatia

Crikvenica also has a dedicated off-leash dog beach! You’ll see signs for it all over town, but we decided to skip it since Wally’s not too crazy about other dogs.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Sign for a dog beach in Crikvenica, Croatia
Sign for a dog beach in Crikvenica, Croatia

Whenever dogs aren’t allowed on a beach, there’s a big sign with a crossed out dog – unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of those signs – my apologies!

Novi Vinodolski is about 20 minutes South of Crikvenica and has a lovely harbor/beach walk. It’s particularly pretty at night with all of its lights, sights and the cooling breeze.

One issue that’s true for both cities is that parking is hard to come by during summer vacation time. That’s why my advice is to drive into town super early (absolutely no later than 9:30 am, that’s already pushing it) or prepare to circle around for a while.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Looking at one of the major parking lots in the Crikvenica harbor area
One of the main parking lots in downtown Crikvenica, Croatia

Bottom Line: How We Experienced Croatia With Dogs

It was an unforgettable summer trip with so many new impressions and memories!

I’m so glad that Wally was able to come along and join us on our many adventures.

Besides several firsts, this was one heck of a socialization experience for him. So many people everywhere, lots of other dogs and tons of restaurant and coffee shop trips.

His main few firsts on this trip were:

  • His first road trip in Europe! Wally has now been to Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.
  • His first swim! At least while he’s been with us.
  • His first boat ride at Plitvice Lakes National Park.

On our way home, we spent one night in Salzburg, Austria. We checked into the hotel around 3 in the afternoon and then walked into the historical downtown area.

It was only a 20 minute walk that was followed by exploring the city, grabbing some coffee and watching Wally react to horse drawn carriages…he was not sure at all what to make of that and barked at every single one he saw. And there’s lots of them!!

All in all, we loved this experience and will definitely come back. Maybe not necessarily to the same area, but probably more South.

There’s still lots to see and explore in Croatia!

Related Reading

How To Move Overseas With Your Raw-Fed Dog

Mighty Paw vs Ruffwear Harness: Which Is Better?

I’ve been using my Ruffwear Harness and my Mighty Paw Harness for many years now, so today it’s finally time for a comparison blog post.

Although both brands carry several different harnesses, today I’ll be focusing on the Ruffwear Front Range Harness and the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0.

Just a heads up: I’ve mainly used these harnesses to:

  • Carry items like collapsible bowls and poop bag holders
  • Secure my pups on car rides
  • Have something extra to hold on to when their prey drive takes over

Yep, the love-hate relationship with squirrels, cats and rabbits are a common denominator in Missy, Buzz and Wally!

One more thing up front: I personally prefer to walk my pups on leashes rather than harnesses to have more control when they do act up, but both harnesses also have leash attachment points.

Mighty Paw vs Ruffwear Harness: Which Is Better?

K9sOverCoffee.com | Mighty Paw vs Ruffwear Harness - Which is Better?

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. Neither Ruffwear nor Mighty Paw are responsible for the content of this blog post as it reflects only my personal opinion.

I need to preface this by saying that although both harnesses are great, I do have a favorite. But before I dive too deeply into the topic, I’d like to point out my history with both brands.

My History with Ruffwear

I first learned about Ruffwear in early 2012.

That’s when my then puppies Missy & Buzz were about 6 months old and needed some new doggie gear. I clearly remember the huge Ruffwear section in this pet retail store in Northern Virginia where I lived at the time.

30 minutes later, I came out with collars, leashes and harnesses for the pups, and the rest is history! When the pups grew a little older, I also got them Ruffwear backpacks to intensify our walks and hikes from a mental and physical perspective.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Missy & Buzz in the car with their Ruffwear Front Range Harness
Missy & Buzz with their respective Ruffwear Front Range Harness

My History with Mighty Paw

First off, I’ll be completely transparent and say that I started working for Mighty Paw in late 2020!

However, I didn’t learn about the brand until 2017 when a fellow blogger, Lindsay from ThatMutt.com, introduced me to them.

The very first Mighty Paw product I used was their treat pouch, and I remember calling it the Ferrari of dog treat pouches, lol. Compared to the flimsy treat bags I had used until then, it felt super strong and durable – and it still is.

K9sOverCoffee | Mighty Paw's Dog Treat Pouch vs Generic Dog Treat Pouch
Mighty Paw’s treat pouch next to a generic one

I slowly progressed to using their dual handle leashes as well as their poop bag holder and poop bags in 2018, followed by their harnesses, collars and sling leashes in 2019.

Back then, I was still running my own dog walking and pet sitting business and really began to appreciate the Mighty Paw dual handle leashes whenever I walked client dogs.

They make it super easy to handle large dogs who pull and lunge, as well as those with a strong prey drive!

K9sOverCoffee | Mighty Paw's Poop Bag Holder Can Be Attached To A Leash Using Its 2 Velcro Straps
Walking a client dog on Mighty Paw’s dual padded handle dog leash & poop bag holder

Now without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the two harnesses. We’ll start with the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0!

Mighty Paw’s Sport Harness 2.0: Features & Benefits

Mighty Paw's Sport Harness 2.0 and Sport Collar 2.0
My pup Wally with Mighty Paw’s Sport Harness 2.0 & Sport Collar 2.0
  • Made with weatherproof polyester
  • Features metal hardware
  • Padded with soft neoprene lining
  • 4 adjustment points around the neck and chest
  • 2 leash attachment points on the chest and back
  • Quick release buckles
  • Padded handle on the back
  • Includes a neck buckle
  • Reflective stitching
  • Available in 2 colors & 4 sizes
  • Retails for affordable $22.99
  • Made in China

Mighty Paw designed this harness specifically for dogs who don’t love having gear pulled over their heads. Thanks to the neck buckle, the harness goes on around the dog’s neck instead of over their head.

What a game changer!

The Sport Harness 2.0 is a wonderful everyday harness that can be used in all climates. It did great in humid NC and does just as well in temperate Germany where we currently live.

Since Wally wears it on at least 3 walks a day, I appreciate that the harness is neoprene padded. That way I don’t have to worry about any chafing.

Just FYI: Wally typically wears a doggie backpack on his morning walk to get rid of his energy, and then he wears his harness on the rest of his walks throughout the day.

It’s super easy to put on and take back off, and the handle on the back is fantastic when I need to stop him in his tracks come squirrel time!

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally's sporting the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0 on a transit bus at Washington Dulles airport
Wally’s sporting the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0 on a transit bus at Washington Dulles airport
K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally with the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0 on an adventure in Germany
Exploring downtown Stuttgart, Germany with the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0
K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally with the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0 on a walk in the fields in rural Germany
Wally with the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0 on a walk in the fields in rural Germany
K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally wearing the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0 in historic Miltenberg, Germany
Checking out historic Miltenberg, Germany in the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0

Pros

  • All metal hardware, including the front leash attachment point
  • Can go over the head OR around the neck
  • Padded handle on the back

Cons

  • Only available in 2 colors

Ultimate verdict: Great everyday harness

OK, now let’s look at Ruffwear’s Front Range harness next!

Ruffwear’s Front Range Harness: Features & Benefits

Missy In Front Of Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC
My pup Missy at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC with Ruffwear’s Front Range Harness
  • Made with polyester webbing
  • Features aluminum hardware
  • Foam padded
  • 4 adjustment points
  • 2 leash attachment points
  • Quick release buckles
  • ID pocket for ID tags
  • Reflective trim
  • Available in 8 colors & 5 sizes
  • Retails for $39.95
  • Made in Vietnam

Ruffwear designed this harness for everyday walks. It’s foam padded for a comfortable wear and features an ID pocket that offers a convenient way of storing your pup’s ID tags.

That’s a pretty unique feature!

Additionally, the Front Range Harness is easy to clean and always did great on our beach walks back on the East Coast.

Pros

  • Available in many colors
  • ID pocket for ID tags

Cons

  • Goes over the head only
  • Front leash attachment point is made of nylon webbing, not metal hardware
  • No handle on the back
K9sOverCoffee.com | Buzz sporting the Ruffwear Front Range Harness on a hike
My pup Buzz on a hike with the Ruffwear Front Range Harness
K9sOverCoffee | Missy Enjoying A Walk At The Beach in NC
Missy oceanside in NC with her Ruffwear Front Range Harness

Ultimate verdict: Good everyday harness

How To Put On The Ruffwear Harness & The Mighty Paw Harness

One thing I always want to know when it comes to new doggie gear is how do you put it on, and is it easy to do so?

Well, since it’s a lot easier to understand how to put the harnesses on in a video instead of reading instructions, I recorded a video with Wally who was a patient, good sport, so thanks, buddy!

Ruffwear Harness vs Mighty Paw Harness: Bottom Line

Both come with reflective elements for low light visibility. I REALLY appreciate this feature because we do walk at all times of the day and in all seasons.

That includes morning walks at dawn during the hot summer months, and dark evening walks in winter!

That said, I’ve used both harnesses for several years on many walks and hikes. They’ve been rained on, got saltwater, fresh water and mud on them and were fairly easy to clean. Obviously they no longer look brand new, but they’re still in really good shape for how much I’ve used them.

Both can double as a car harness although I have to point out that both brands carry specific harnesses for car rides as well.

Overall Verdict: The Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0 Is More Versatile

Overall, the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0 is more versatile to me than the Ruffwear Front Range Harness.

I say that not because I work for the brand, but because it combines different features like the handle on the back, the all metal leash attachment points and the neck buckle opening that are missing on the Ruffwear Harness.

If you’ve followed my blogging journey over the years, you’ll know that I’m always very blunt about the dog products we’ve been using.

To be fair, I have to point out that Ruffwear carries other harnesses that combine most of the features just mentioned, but they’re considerably more expensive than their Front Range Harness. I’m also not aware of any Ruffwear harness that features a METAL front leash attachment point as opposed to webbing ones.

Ultimately, I’d say it comes down to personal preference and favorite ways to use harnesses.

If you’re someone who wants to help decrease mild to moderate pulling on walks and appreciates a handle to hold on to, I’d go with the Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0. After all, the front leash attachment point on the chest area is made of solid metal instead of less sturdy webbing.

However, if you’re looking for ways to store your pup’s ID tags while out on walks and don’t need a handle, the Ruffwear Front Range Harness may work better for you!

Related Reading:

Ruffwear Front Range vs Load Up Harness: Which Is Better?

Exercising With The Ruffwear Commuter Pack

Enjoying The Outdoors With Mighty Paw’s Durable Dog Gear

The Best Treat Bag: Mighty Paw’s Dog Treat Pouch