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Written by
Ed Frawley

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01/ How To Housebreak A Puppy or Older Dog

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05/ Introducing a New Dog into a Home with Other Dogs

Q&A on Honest Kitchen

The following are some common questions about the Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food that we sell. Check out some of the various foods that we offer and the prices.


Question:

How long does a 10 lb box of food last an average dog, and how much does it cost to feed?

Answer:

One bag will last a 30 lb dog about 6 weeks. This equates to a feeding cost of about $1.65 per day.


Question:

Why do Honest Kitchen diets cost a little more than regular pet food?

Answer:

Honest Kitchen foods are made with 100% human edible ingredients, and produced in a human food factory. Human edible ingredients are superior quality than animal / feed grade ingredients, and cost more. Dehydration is a more expensive process than canning or extrusion.


Question:

How can I make the food more economical to feed?

Answer:

If you are on a budget, you can feed our food as a complement to a raw diet. This helps stretch the food over a longer period of time.


QUESTION:

I am interested in Honest Kitchen for my 16 lb Poodle rescue. He is constantly itching even though I feed raw.(beef, chicken and soon deer) I add fish oil and Vitamin C to his diet as well. Which product do you recommend? Also, do I need to add bones to this or is it sufficient without them in nutrition?

Thank you so much for your help.

Lorelei

ANSWER:

I would recommend Force or Embark, they are grain free and for dogs with itchy skin I feel grain free is the way to go.

You can add meat or meaty bones to the Honest Kitchen products or feed as a stand alone diet.

If you are adding fish oil I would make sure to also add vitamin E, 100 IU should be enough for a small dog. Be aware that something environmental may be causing his itching (pollen, chemicals in the lawn, laundry products, flea and tick topicals, etc….) it’s not always diet.


QUESTION:

Hello, my name is Rebekah and I have recently purchased Embark for my 5 month old Shih Tzu named Simon. He's about 15-17 lb. right now. I'm transitioning him slowly from Eukanuba dry food and he is doing very well, very little stomach upset, but I'm afraid I'm feeding him too much. Right now I'm giving him about 1/4 cup of Embark, 1/4 dry Eukanuba and some kind of meat (chicken wing, liver, or whatever) with it. Is this too much?

How can I start transitioning less dry food? Also, if I give him an egg, should meat be included also? I'll be boarding my dog in a couple of weeks and would like to make it as easy as possible on the lady watching the dog. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Rebekah

ANSWER:

If you want to get him off of the kibble, and he’s doing ok then I would just quit adding Eukanuba and go to straight HK and meat. For puppies, you feed according to body condition and with a full coated breed you need to feel the dog’s ribs every day. The amounts on the package are guidelines, I can’t tell you without seeing your dog how much is too much. You want to easily be able to feel the ribs. you can give him an egg plus meat if you wish….have you read our Q &A page on feeding a raw diet?

For boarding it may be easier to just have them feed Embark only, it’s completely balanced nutritionally by itself.


QUESTION:

I have just one other question regarding the raw diet.

As I mentioned in my other email to you, my 18 month old mainly likes seeing chicken in her bowl. Sometimes when I put red meat in the bowl she doesn't eat all that much of it whereas when its chicken she eats it all.

Because of this I thought I might try HK just to make sure she got all the important stuff to keep her healthy and add the chicken to the HK.

Am I right to think like this or is chicken every night of the week ok if that's what she likes.

In any case my HK along with the rest of my order arrived today and tonight she was given the new meal. She ate every last drop in the bowl and she can be a bit finicky so I was impressed. Must be good stuff :)

If keeping HK in the diet is recommended then I will certainly do as you suggested and switch between the 3 types.

Thanks again for your help and everything you do to help the rest of us get all this good information.

Sincerely,
Chris

ANSWER:

Glad to hear she likes the HK. Many dogs that are picky really love the stuff. J I feel that you should be feeding HK in conjunction with chicken. A chicken only raw diet it deficient of nutrients over the long haul.

I would still add other types of meat, even just a small amount. If chicken is her favorite that’s ok to feed it along with HK as the foundation of her meals but I would still suggest you add some red meat a few times a week also. Maybe small “meatballs” of hamburger plopped in the bowl? Have you ever given her sardines or ground pork? I would experiment a little bit and see if you can get her to eat a little “new” stuff..even if it’s only an ounce or two.


QUESTION:

I just got the tub of embark. I followed the instructions (or so I thought) and the ending mixture was soupy. Did I use too much water?

I was also hoping to get some of your ideas on recipes or ways of mixing embark with raw food

Thanks,
Tim

ANSWER:

If it’s too soupy for your liking then just add less water. I also add the water and let it soak all day, then feed our house dogs at our suppertime. I then mix up a bowl and let it sit overnight for the next morning feeding.

As far as recipes, I just add extra meat and RMBs. I add chicken necks/backs, leg quarters, ground beef, pork or turkey, canned mackerel, raw eggs, sardines, venison, etc. I don’t typically add any extra veggies, there are plenty of those in there. According to package directions, you can feed up to ½ and ½ Embark and raw.


QUESTION:

I am sorry to bother you, but I really enjoyed your articles on raw feeding on your web site and I was wondering if you would share some of your experiences with me. I am the proud owner of three Australian Shepherds that all are fed raw and have been since they came into my life. Recently I purchased the youngest of the three from a holistic breeder, who is very knowledgeable and ethical. The puppy was raised raw and of course is very healthy, but within the past week he has become a bit "wristy" and has lost some bone mass in his front. The breeder has recommended switching him to a holistic kibble until 4 to 6 months. She says that her mentor who has bred Aussies for thirty years and is a HOF kennel always feeds a fully kibble diet until 6 months because on the raw diet they always seem to have week pasterns. I would rather stick to the raw diet so I began doing more research which brought me to your web site I was wondering if you have noticed the same trend in your Malinois? My concern is that this is just a growth spurt and that there is no need to switch. I also think that possibly these breeders have always switched to kibble when they first see this problem arise in fear of loosing a great dog and just automatically switch without seeing it through. This puppy is now almost 10 weeks and had a fabulous front at 8 weeks. I am hoping for him to be a successful show dog as well as performance and possibly the beginnings of a very healthy and sound line of Aussies ,so I feel a lot rides on how I handle this issue. I would really appreciate your advice and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Christi

ANSWER:

The last thing I would do when faced with something like this is switch to kibble. I feel that it’s probably a growth spurt, since the pup was fine 2 weeks ago. Keep in mind that I haven’t had anything like this crop up in my Malinois before, but if it was MY pup I would stick with a species appropriate diet. I can’t see how switching to kibble will change the outcome for the better, if you know what I mean. It may make the pup grow differently but at what cost?

As long as you are feeding a species appropriate diet, with lots of raw meaty bones and a variety of proteins I think that’s the best you can do for your pup and your prospective breeding program.


QUESTION:

I have been purchasing the honest dog food, "Embark." My last order was 10lbs. My 5 mos. old puppy loves it but I have a concern which brings me to a question I hope you can help me with. Is it normal for the dog to have anywhere from 3-5 bowel movements a day? These are not small, but very healthy so I wonder if she is getting the nutrition from the food before she passes it. She has no gas or anything, just what I have mentioned. Sometimes I do add ground turkey as you mentioned previously. I also give her added bananas and cottage cheese but not all the time.

Thanks for your help,

Karen

ANSWER:

You might try re-hydrating the food for longer periods of time. For example, add water and let the food soak overnight for the morning feeding. I soak a bowl full of Honest Kitchen in the morning for the evening feedings here at Leerburg. Sometimes this helps the dogs digest a bit more of the food. I would not add more veggies or fruit, but meat protein whenever possible.


QUESTION:

I am new to the raw diet and I am planning on doing more research. Please could you let me know if it would me OK for me to mix The Honest Kitchen with his kibble and if so how long can I do this. We are also on a tight budget and not sure if we can afford to just feed raw.

ANSWER:

It shouldn’t hurt your dog to mix them together, especially when first introducing the HK food.

I would rather have you feed Honest Kitchen and add some raw beef, chicken or turkey to that for one meal. I think if you look for sale items in the meat department, you would be able to feed HK and stretch it for a longer period of time by adding inexpensive cuts of meat. It would certainly be a healthier alternative for your dog, if you can manage it. Sometimes if you talk to the manager at your local grocery meat department, they can tell you when they do mark downs on meat that is coming to the end of it’s “sell by” date. It’s perfectly ok to feed dogs meat that is a few days past it’s sellable date or you can freeze it for later use.

Adding HK to kibble is better than just feeding kibble though, but wouldn’t be my first choice in feeding.


QUESTION:

Just a quick question... please give me examples of what you add to the Honest Kitchen. I have 5 GSD's; am feeding Back To Basics to which I add some chicken at the evening meal, but am thinking of switching. Four of my dogs are adults & I have a puppy coming this month. Thanks.

Sincerely,
Elayne

ANSWER:

I add anything that I would feed my dogs as part of a raw diet.

Chicken leg quarters, necks, backs, venison, pork, beef, lamb, goat, rabbit, fish, turkey etc… I don’t add veggies or fruit, there is plenty in the Honest Kitchen already. I also add yogurt or cottage cheese once in a while.


QUESTION:

I know my inquiry is probably one of hundreds because of the recent scare. I had a friend who lost a dog just last week with terrible vomiting, lethargy (signs of kidney failure). I have two dogs, a Gordon Setter and a Chihuahua, both under 2 years of age. I either want to make their food until this mess is settled (if it ever is) or try a good organic food. Please tell me, is your food or any of it parts connected with Menu? If not, can you give me some of the particular on where it is produced. If I decide of this food, I can email you later to decide which one and things to add.

Thanking you in advance,
Jill

ANSWER:

Our food is not made with the unnecessary ingredients that processed commercial food is. It’s made of whole ingredients dehydrated. That’s it!

The food is made by Honest Kitchen. This food is made in a USDA human grade facility in California. If we had any doubts about the quality of this, we wouldn’t feed it to our own dogs OR sell it.


QUESTION:

I was very interested in the fact that you are offering dehydrated Chicken based food for dogs. I have been feeding raw for about 8 years and the only time it presents a problem for me is when we are camping so the idea of being able to purchase chicken dehydrated for camping sounds great but I have a question about it.

My understanding is that when dehydrating raw meats a large amount of bacteria is generated due to the low heat of the dehydrators and leaving the meat in the dehydrator for extended time does not generate enough heat to kill it off. Therefore I am very interested in any comments you may have on that and the process of dehydrating this product.

How long is expire date on the product?

Thanks for any info you may be able to provide.

Carol

ANSWER:

I don’t worry about bacteria, dogs eat all manner of bacteria infested things (road kill, deer poop, etc) they lick their own behinds too! If you already feed raw, I would think you wouldn’t have a bit of concern about the bacteria as a healthy dog will have no problems with it. I don’t know that I can answer the question about the bacteria load (if there is one) in the Honest Kitchen products as we don’t manufacture it here.

The shelf life of the HK products are 12 months (before re-hydration)


QUESTION:

I have a German Shepherd female 3 years old that some where around 2 years old developed food allergies. According to the lab work from Bio-Medical Labs she is allergic to:

Chicken
Beef
Peanut
Corn
Carrots
Oats
Beets
Rice
Border line on Pork

She is currently eating Royal Canine Duck & Potato dry food or can. I buy ground Turkey breast and barley cook it, also can salmon, and or course she is limited on most treats. Treats I give duck & potato, real meat venison, fish, and lamb.

In reading it looks like she could only try the Vegetables, fruit,& herbs. One of them was fine until it said carrots and according to her chart she is highly allergic to carrots. What is listed as the ingredients is it correct? No hidden ingredients not mentioned.

Would you have any more suggestions on food that I can feed and eliminate her symptoms. She has been on this now for 8 weeks but is still scratching, biting, ear infection after another about to drive me crazy especially when she starts scratching in the middle of the night.

She does have some tree, grass, insect, and is allergic to pyrethrums. All the grasses are in Florida & Mid West. Were in TN.

Thanks for any advice or help.

Janet

ANSWER:

My advice would be to get ALL grains out of your dogs diet. Even if the allergy testing only indicates a few grains, my experience is that NO dog needs grains in any form. This includes dog biscuits and treats. Read the article we have on feeding a raw diet.

If you would like to try the Honest Kitchen foods, I would recommend the Force or Embark Formulas. They are both grain free. There are no hidden ingredients in the Honest Kitchen products.

I would also recommend the book The Allergy Solution for Dogs. Do not vaccinate your dog any more, regardless of what your vet tells you. This will only cause more problems for your dog in the long run. Read the article we have on vaccinosis.


QUESTION:

I was just wanting to know on your web site it says for up to 70# 2 3/4 dry cups
the bag of embark says up to 4 1/2 cups we have a American bulldog that is 6 months old and weights 65# what do you suggest for the amount I now we will adjust we've been feeding the 4 1/2 cups his weight is fine it just seems like a lot?

Also we have a 10 year old English Bulldog he likes it much better with dry kibble mixed in is it ok to just keep mixing his food that way?

Thank You
John

ANSWER:

I feed my dogs according to how they look and act, not according to a label. I would use the label directions as a guideline and go from there. (It sounds like you are already doing that).

Personally, I would be using 50% HK Embark and 50% raw meat or meaty bones (like raw chicken leg quarters or thighs). It’s actually better for your dogs and will cut down the expense of the Embark.

I would do the same for your older dog, I would mix the Embark with meat instead of kibble. I don’t have a very high opinion of kibble.

You should read our article on feeding a raw diet.


QUESTION:

My 55 lb. (was 65 lbs. but shed 10 lbs in 2 months) Labrador Retriever on the Raw Meaty Bones diet since October and she loves it! I currently live in Southern California and will be relocating to Hutto, Texas in February 2007 to attend The Triple Crown Dog Academy. I will be driving there with my dog and staying for the 12-week program. I want to keep her on the raw diet but have no idea how I can bring 3 months worth of frozen raw meaty bones with me during the drive. I don't know if I can even find any chicken/turkey necks out there in Hutto, Texas. So that's why I'm considering feeding her Honest Kitchen.

Now that I'm feeding her raw meaty bones, I've been buying the Salmon Oil and Vitamin E capsules from Leerburg.com but if Honest Kitchen does not require supplementation, then I wouldn't have to stock up for Texas. What do you recommend for extras if needed? Can I feed only Honest Kitchen for the whole 3 months there? Or should I assume that the local markets there will carry raw meaty bones?

Thank you for your time.

Joan

ANSWER:

You can feed Honest Kitchen alone, but what I would do (especially for a big dog) is to add meat as about 50% of her diet. I wouldn’t worry about using necks/backs, you can use chicken leg quarters. You should be able to find those everywhere! On days you are traveling, feed the HK alone and you don’t need to worry about keeping things cold on the road.

I add Salmon Oil and Vitamin E to my dogs diets, no matter what I am feeding.


QUESTION:

I have recently began feeding raw. The forum on leerburg helped me get past a lot of my worries and helped me get started. I still wonder if I'm giving enough variety and if I'm balanced over time enough. I wanted to to this myself without the aid of a store bought food, but feel it would be best right now to do just that until I know more. I don't want to fail at this by giving store bought food, but I also don't want to malnourish my dog. Would you still consider Honest Kitchen to be good enough if used long term? I'll still be giving RMB's and additional meat everyday. Also, all the books I've gotten about raw don't talk much about extra muscle meat. I thought the RMB's were balanced in meat:bone, so how is the extra meat not throwing that off. I've re-read several times, but sometimes I'm slow and very possibly could have missed it every time. Thank you for yours and Ed's time and resources. Ya'll are a great help to everyone who chooses to do better for their dogs.

ANSWER:

The Honest Kitchen is certainly good enough to use long term. We use it almost every day here with our own dogs. I think that if you feed RMBs and meat AND HK you will cover all your bases. Rotate the types of meat.

RMBs vary so much in meat content, I don’t know that it’s possible to actually cover that in a book. A chicken back has almost no meat, a chicken leg quarter has lots of meat. We use chicken leg quarters a lot, but when we use necks and backs, we add extra meat. I don’t know that it’s possible to add too much meat, as long as you are feeding the RMBs regularly. If I feed my own dogs too much meat, their stools get a little bit too soft. After feeding like this for over a dozen years, I just throw things together most days with out a lot of forethought. You could try to think of it in terms of a prey animal (i.e. rabbit) there is much more meat than bone on a whole bunny or chicken. I am not big on percentages or ratios, I just use my common sense. (which may or may not be so good some days) LOL


Question:

Greetings,

I wrote to you a few days ago and I wanted to first say thanks for the quick reply. I have another question in regards to feeding a raw diet; I have been doing lots of research and discussing the information with my husband. He hates the idea of feeding the dog a raw diet, I have brought the subject up from the point of view as how the dog would eat that way if in the wild, be he keeps telling me that she is a dog and just feed her dry dog food. I also spoke with my vet (the only English speaking vet in the local area; I live in Germany) and he told me that the bacteria in raw food could kill my puppy and suggested that I stay away from raw food. I saw that your web site sell "Honest Kitchen" is this okay to feed her as is without adding other raw ingredients, I have convinced my husband to try it out but he has put his foot down on feeding her raw chicken, beef, liver or any other raw part of an animal.

Please let me know as I want what is best for my dog without causing too much turmoil in the home. I would appreciate any advise or suggestion you might have.

Kind Regards,
Kimberly

Answer:

You vet is completely wrong about the bacteria issue. If you read the info I sent you, you would find that comment as one of the most common scare tactics that new people are told. That is just ridiculous.

You can certainly feed Honest Kitchen without adding any extras, but it's much more nutritious and cost effective to add raw ingredients. I can help you with the diet part of this problem, but unless you can convince your husband otherwise it appears that Honest Kitchen is your solution.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Thanks so much for your great site... I was wondering if you know how much flax is in say one cup of force? 

Thanks,
Jan

Answer:

The mixture is about 9% flax.


Question:

Hello Cindy,

I just ordered several items from Leerburg and now I've decided to get your raw diet foods. My 4 yr. old German Shepherd just had a scary attack of bloat symptoms which stopped after I gave her Mylanta Gas and she ate a lot of grass. She is on "Life's Abundance" dry kibble-all my five dogs and 3 cats - can you add the food to my order? If you could guide me to get started (I read the site but not sure which to go with) I would give them raw meat and vegetables, yogurt like I do now in addition. Well, the raw meat I'm not sure of how much, what kind? I do cooked now. Any help would be appreciated. I have 2 Shepherds-70lbs. 1 yrs old, 4 yr. old, 3 little dogs under 10 lbs. - 3 cats 10 lbs. 

Thanks,
Annette

Answer:

I will have one of the office staff call to find out which formula you want to add to your order.

I would probably recommend Force or Embark as they are the grain free varieties.  I have had good results with both of those. 

If you use the dehydrated foods, you don’t need to add veggies, there are plenty of those in there already.

If you read the FAQ section on Honest Kitchen, and the web pages about feeding dogs on our site you will find the answers you are looking for.

Read this article on feeding a raw diet http://leerburg.com/feedingarawdiet.htm .  It’s a work in progress but there is a lot of good information there. 

I would also recommend these books, Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats and Raw Dog Food

You can also go to our Feeding Dogs Page for a list of articles and books that will be helpful to you.

I hope this helps!


Question:

Wish I had discovered this site long ago.

I've got a 10 year lab. Allergies galore. We've tried all kinds of diets. Lamb is very bad. Yep, I said lamb. We were using Wellness with whitefish--which seemed to help a lot. But Trixie developed bladder stones from it.

Now she is on a vegetarian diet which I supplement with ground beef and egg. I do cook the ground beef and egg though. Trixie seems happier. However, if I go away I'm not sure the kennel will be eager to do what I do. (I love my kennel. They've been really patient with Trixie)

Would Honest kitchen be a good choice to try for my Trixie?

Her allergies--official ones---lamb, grass, bee and spider bites (swells up), dirt (good thing we've got a huge deck).

Her skin itches so bad she's caused bald spots on her legs. We've spent hundreds of dollars on vet visits, steroids, sprays, foods and anything else that might comfort her.

My other dog a sheltie has absolutely no problems.

Linda

Answer:

I would recommend either the Force or Embark formulas of the Honest Kitchen.
Grains tend to be one of the main offenders in allergies, and both of these foods are grain free.

I hope this helps.


Question:

I am strongly considering switching my 4 dogs to this food (Thrive).  Right now I am feeding 3 different types from Science Diet( Growth, Light, and Senior).  I had previously fed Flint River but switched due to the cost.  I was looking at the options for my dogs and I think the Thrive would be the best bet.  I have a 3 yr GSD, 13 yr Golden, 19 yr Golden and 16 mo Golden.  I would love to have just one food to handle but want the correct food also for their needs.  My older golden has a history of skin allergies and my adult Golden has hip dysplasia and cataracts.  Please advise.  Based on the your feeding suggestions could you also tell me how long a 4lb bag would last?  Thanks so much for any help you can give me!

Starr
Weston, WV

Answer:

For any dogs with allergy histories, I recommend the 2 grain free formulas, Force or Embark.  If your dogs tolerate grain, then Thrive would be fine also.

http://www.leerburg.com/honestkitchen.htm#feeding  here is the feeding guideline, with a 4 pound bag making 16 to 17 cups of fresh food.  

A 4 pound bag isn’t going to last very long if you are feeding this exclusively to 4 big dogs.


Question:

I have a GSD that has dry itchy skin and is scratching a lot.  I used a special shampoo from the vet which others have asked you questions about and it did not help. Which kind of Honest Kitchen would you recommend?  I was looking at Thrive and did not know if that would help with the dry skin and scratching I described below in the email I sent you yesterday or if I should use a different one of the Honest Kitchen types of foods.  I was looking at the Red barn meat rolls product for using as treats would you recommend this with the raw diet.  I don’t want to start the raw diet and then feed the crappy commercial biscuits or other products for treats.  Also is there any other supplement that will need to be done with the diet if I use the Honest Kitchen food?

Thank you for all of your help,

Joe

Answer:

I would use one of the grain free formulas if your dog is scratching.  Embark or Force, either one.

I would also use Salmon Oil and Vitamin E, this will help with the dry skin and itching and we give both of these supplements daily to our dogs here.

We use the Red Barn rolls for treats and training, and we also really like these Soft Treats  Actually all the treats we sell are suitable for use with a quality diet, we won’t sell anything we don’t believe is the best!

I hope this helps.


Question:

Cindy,

I was wondering if you have heard of EVO from Innova it is grain free and how it compares to Honest Kitchen.  From there web site they don’t recommend feeding EVO to large breed dogs under 2 because it is low in carbs.  Is this true with honest kitchen?  I have a GSD that is 21 months old and I am looking for a grain free food. Have you ever had any problems with E coli from the raw diet, lately it seems that there has been a lot of e coli recalls? 

Thank you for your time,
Joe

Answer:

Hi Joe,

I have heard of EVO. As far as kibble goes, it’s ok. I just can’t recommend processed pellets for feeding any dog though. I don’t believe in it at all.

Honest Kitchen really can’t compare to kibble, because it’s dehydrated as opposed to being processed at high temperatures. Honest Kitchen is for all life stages, I would recommend Embark or Force if you want to go grain free.

No problems with bacteria. Think about the things dogs eat and lick! They have a much different digestive system than we do and can handle bacteria that would make us sick. If you want to know the truth though, most kibble is loaded with bacteria as well. It’s just not an issue for a healthy dog. If you read my Q and A on Feeding a Raw Diet, you will find a lot of useful information. 

I hope this helps


Question:

I have been reading profusely on your forums and books about feeding raw and or dog food that does not have grain. I have a GS that is 15 mo old and I have been feeding him the Royal Canine, GS formula. He looks okay , but has developed an itching problem, perhaps associated with allergies. I read that feeding raw helps with this as well as pano- which he had a bout with last summer.  The only place where I can find some of the natural kibble meat based dog foods in my area only carries, Innova & Natures Variety by Prairie.  So I spoke with the lady that owns the store and bred GS at one time. She recommended the Innova as  she felt the Natures Variety all meat diet was one that would create a problem with fast growth, resulting in future problems. So she recommends the Innova which has some grain- but is more natural and better quality. So now I'm confused. I looked at the ingredients of the Innova vs my Royal Canine - I cant make a judgment as I don't understand all this - but the Royal canine has the Omega -3 and a variety of things in it in addition that are things a dog should have as supplement to a diet of the Innova. The amounts of the ingredients vary too. Should I just do the raw feed diet you all have designed because I don't understand what is the best food. I would need a kibble for travel though. Help. And thank you.

Stephanie


Question:

Hi Cindy... I have a new 11 week old golden doodle that came from sixth day ranch (they recommend you on their web site) I would like to use the honest kitchen food but need some help on what kind and how much and can I mix it with the grain free evo kibble he is eating now???? Any advice would be great...

Thank-you,
Robin

Answer:

I would recommend the Embark Formula of Honest kitchen. 

Here are the feeding guidelines for the Honest Kitchen products. You can mix it with kibble, but I would probably feed it separately if I were going to continue feeding both types of food.


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Thank you for such an informative site. I have been feeding my GSD  about a pound of  natures variety raw diet for breakfast. I feed her  1 1/2 cups HK force for dinner along with some raw beef or chicken....sometimes about 3 hours after she eats her HK dinner she will start to whine and want outside where she quickly eats lots of grass. After about 20-30 minutes she is just fine and wants to play. She has been on this HK for about 6 months now  (the natures variety for 3 years) and didn't have a problem until recently.  She does like the HK and tends to eat it fast. Any ideas?

Thanks,
Jan

Answer:

I would try adding some yogurt or kefir to her food, and see if that helps.  You could also let the HK ‘soak’ for a longer period of time before feeding.


Question:

Hi Cindy,

My name is Chris & I would like to gradually switch our 8 & 1/2 year old dogs to this diet. Hobie is a male border collie/shepherd mix & Molly is an Australian Shepherd. Both dogs currently are eating Canidae chicken & rice ( canned) & Molly eats California Naturals lamb & rice kibble as well.

About a year ago we added Hill's RX Diet "WD" to Hobie's meals, as he seemed to have recurrent problems with diarrhea ( unless I added loads of rice to his food & I was afraid he wasn't getting the proper nutrients)

Do you have a suggestion on which of the Honest kitchen foods we should try for the dogs ( especially Hobie)? Also, would it hurt to add some rice or other grain to help prevent the bowel problems?

Thanks so much for your help!

Chris

PS I have found all the Leerburg videos, DVD's & products so helpful!! Also, the free articles & advice on your web site are GREAT! Please tell Mr. Frawley THANKS from us :)

Answer:

In my experience, the bowel upsets are sometimes caused because of grain intolerance.  Most grain is incredibly hard on a dogs digestive system and organs, especially processed grains like you find in kibble.

Honest Kitchen also has a fairly new formula called Thrive that has organic quinoa.  This is supposed to be easy on dogs with sensitive stomachs.

If you need to add something for fiber, I would recommend canned pumpkin (plain pure pumpkin, not the pie filling)  usually about ¼ cup or a tad more per meal.  I wouldn’t add rice.

For Hobie, I might also suggest a digestive enzyme to help him get more out of his food.  This may help with the diarrhea as well.  http://www.leerburg.com/55.htm  I would probably recommend this supplement for both dogs during the diet switch. 

Thanks for the kind words, I will pass them along to Ed. We appreciate your business.


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a 14 week old Black Russian Terrier.  I have her currently on Innova Large Breed Puppy food and would like to transition her to Honest Kitchen.  I have a couple of questions and concerns.  As an owner of a Giant breed I am obsessed with worrying about calcium rates, and calories and I don't understand it all that well.  With giant breeds and I am sure with your GSDs, these are concerns along with a multitude of other things like "no stairs, no over exercising and etc." I am considering Honest Kitchen because I would like to go grain free and was hoping that you could recommend one of them and if I should limit my BRTs RMBs because of excess calcium.  She was 33lbs at 13 weeks and will top out around 100lbs.  Also, what supplements would you recommend for this breed and does the supplementation change as the dog grows older.  Lastly - I know that probiotics are great for the transition, but should I stop them once she has adjusted?  I purchased and read the book you sell on your site about natural nutrition for dogs and cats, but still had these questions.

Thank you for your help,
Julie

Answer:

For a growing pup I would recommend Embark, and I also interchange with Force (which is also grain free)  I wouldn’t worry too much about cutting back  RMBs, as the calcium in ‘real’ food is easily handled by the body.  I have raised countless puppies on a raw diet, without issue.  You can make yourself crazy if you try to figure out calcium ratios and things like that.  

Balance over time is the key, and we feed a variety of foods to all our dogs here and have for many years.  Kibble companies and vets try to scare us into thinking we can’t feed our dogs unless some scientists give us the correctly balanced foods.  I would bet you have never given a thought to your own calcium/phosphorus ratios!  I know I haven’t!

I would also recommend the book Raw Dog Food, it’s really well done.

For a dog making a switch, I would recommend digestive enzymes (many people get these confused with probiotics.)  Probiotics are also good during a switch or any kind of stress or after a round of antibiotics.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I had a couple of questions in regards to The Honest Kitchen. I have two little maltipoos- 5 and 7 lbs. I recently started them on the Force diet and mix in a little kibble with it (they seem to like some crunch in there). I have noticed that they have far more frequent bowel movements since being on this food. 4-5 a day. Is this normal and what does this mean? Are they not absorbing the nutrients in the food? Will this go away? I was curious as to what you might recommend for this.

Also, because I work I soak their morning food overnight and their dinner during the morning before I go to work. Is it okay to serve it to them cold? They seem to still really like it that way as well.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Tiffany

Answer:

I am glad you are soaking the food overnight, I was going to suggest that. It should be fine to feed it cold, as long as they don’t mind. :-)

As for the frequent BMs, it may just be a matter of them adjusting to it completely. I might recommend adding a digestive enzyme to their meals for a short time (a few weeks) to see if that doesn’t help. You may also be overfeeding if the BMs are that frequent.

Here is a link to the enzyme I recommend http://www.leerburg.com/55.htm For dog that small you could divide one capsule between the two of them at each meal.

Cindy


Question:

Hi, I am using Preference for my 5 yr. old Dogo and my 8 yr. old Golden. I will be getting a Lab puppy about 8 weeks old. Should I use Preference and does it have the right ratio of calcium and phosphorus? Dogs can develop a bone disease when the calcium/ phosphorus ratio is disrupted. I always add beef meat and pork and sometimes chicken. I do cook the meat. Should I be adding calcium to the diet? I do give them yogurt add vitamin E and eggs a few times a week. They also get Acai & Goji juice. They also get Standard Process Dermeral supplement because of their allergies. The dogo  can't eat any feathered meat or white fish or peas or flax seed. The golden can't eat rice, eggs, white potatoes, milk  products. I have to cook two different kinds of meats because of the food allergies so it gets complicated. The breeder of course wants me to feed Canda, I think that is the wrong spelling. I just went through my two labs passing away last month. They were 13 & 12 but I think if they had been on a good diet earlier they may have not died of liver cancer. I am really trying to learn everything I can to be the best owner I  can try for. Everyday I learn more. Thank You, sorry this is so long!

Judy

Answer:

For a puppy I would use Embark, it already has the meat added and it’s formulated especially for growing puppies.   You won’t need to add anything or worry about the calc/phos ratio, it’s got the correct levels for a pup.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

Hello. I have been talking with Connie back & forth on the leerburg forums in regards to raw feeding. We are going to be switching from kibble to THK & get started on the raw. What should we introduce with the THK to our dogs? What THK should we purchase? Any ideas you can provide is greatly appreciated. Do you need the weight & ages of my dogs? I have been wanting to go raw for a few years now but I have been very intimidated on getting the raw feeding right for our pups. We also have 4 dogs so I am a bit intimidated on getting the menu correct & making sure I purchase the correct meats & etcetera & the correct amounts. Thank you.

Steffanie

Answer:

I would not introduce anything else with THK at first. Whenever you make a switch only change one thing at a time, that way you know which ingredient causes an issue (in case you have any problems).

We have a Q & A section about THK. You may find it helpful.

I personally prefer the grain free formulas for my own dogs, Embark and Force. Many of our customers rotate through all the varieties though, for nutritional balance.

Read this article on feeding a raw diet. It’s a work in progress but there is a lot of good information there.

I would also recommend these books, Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats and Raw Dog Food.

You can also go to our Feeding Dogs Page for a list of articles and books that will be helpful to you.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have 2 poodle mix dogs they are both 3 yrs old. I have been feeding them force for over a year now and they get along great with it. I put some high quality canned on top of it and some cooked meat. My question is about calories, I was considering switching to Verve, Is it less calories? Is it ok to switch back and forth between force and verve? They are fairly active but being small it is easy to put on weight. The canned food I use is Spot's Stew & Merrick. They also get a Merrick flossie (a beef tendon spiral chew) every night and raw bones about once a week. I need to place an order soon but I want to ask you this first. To my knowledge my dogs have no allergies they do not itch and they get salmon oil 3 times a week and dream coat by halo pet 4 times a week - it is oils also.

Thanks for your time!
Patti

Answer:

Here is the nutritional info on all the formulas of Honest Kitchen. The Verve does have fewer calories.  It is absolutely fine to switch back and forth between the formulas, and I actually recommend it to cover all the nutritional needs our dogs have.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have three Danes between the ages of 14-17 months that I’m feeding the Wellness Core (grain free) Ocean formula.  I am thinking about substituting the can mix in that I’m using in conjunction with their kibble with the Honest Kitchen, but wondering which one would be more favored for a picky/finicky eater. One of my Danes is petite and its hard to find something that she really is “crazy” about enough to keep eating and maintain her weight. Its amazing what 3-5 lbs can do on a large dog w/ a smaller build.  Also, now much would I mix in and how?

Thanks!!!
Amy

Answer:

I’d probably recommend replacing the kibble with the Honest Kitchen and adding additional meat or doing a separate small meal daily of Honest Kitchen.  Whenever I have a dog that needs to put a bit of weight on, I add an extra small meal or two to their feeding schedule.

Any of the grain free formulas would be fine, I think Force and Embark are our best sellers.  I’d be glad to send you some samples if you provide your mailing address.

Cindy

Another Question:

Its hard to add a feeding schedule when I work away from home.  Do you think adding it to kibble is a bad idea? I don’t have an reservations about feeding the Honest Kitchen with additional meat. However, what meats would you add that would be easy? Also, I have three Great Danes; wouldn’t it get quite costly to do the meat add ins?

Thanks,
Amy

Answer:

Personally, I feel that Honest Kitchen with raw meat added is a far superior diet to kibble with HK added.  Any meats will do.  I buy what’s on sale.  The staple of our dogs’ diets here are chicken leg quarters, cheap fatty burger, turkey, canned fish (mackerel or salmon) and venison (Ed hunts)

Cost is relative. I’d rather spend a bit more to feed my dogs appropriately and skip the vet bills then feed something cheaper (and not as healthy for my dogs) and deal with the repercussions later on.

I feel very strongly about the nutrition we choose for our dogs and it’s come from years of dealing with issues and finally figuring out that what we put in their bodies (medications, vaccines and food) can either enhance their lives or actually shorten it and reduce the quality of their years here.

We also have a great section on feeding dogs, I think you’ll find a lot of helpful information there.

Cindy

Another Question:

I guess I’ve always been a little overwhelmed by the raw.  How much raw would I add to the HK?

Amy

Answer:

If you go to the link I sent and spend some time reading you will find a lot of good information.

Here is a q&a section specific to Honest Kitchen.

I would also recommend going to the Honest Kitchen web page and reading all the information on how to feed it, adding raw extras is covered there.

Cindy

Thanks:

Thank you! I’m going to purchase the book that is recommended for beginners. 

Amy


Question:

Hello,

First I would like to say your site has helped me so much. Also your DVDs are great. I have my little 5 pound yorkie on Embark. She seems to be itching a bit less than she was on kibble. This and her general health was my reason for changing her diet. I feed her embark alone, no supplements. My main question is that she is having three BM's a day, She had less than that on kibble. I thought it would be less than on kibble. Is this normal or is this not the right Honest Kitchen diet for her. She is not a highly active dog. She is a hyper dog, but not highly active like a working dog. She gets a walk everyday and is an inside dog.

I did see the bit about letting it rehydrate longer, I will try that. You say you let yours soak overnight or all day. Do you put it in the fridge or leave it out to rehydrate? If I put it in the fridge to soak should I just give it to her cold or can I microwave it without harming the nutrients.

Thanks,
Heather

Answer:

I probably wouldn’t microwave the food. I leave mine out overnight, but if you are concerned about food safety you could refrigerate it and then add a bit of hot water in the morning to warm it up.

I might also recommend a digestive enzyme and probiotic. This will help her get more nutrients out of the food and will aid with digestion.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a ten month old cocker spaniel that I suspect has some allergies-not sure what specifically but I thought a grain free food would be a good place to start. I am presently feeding him Natural Balance fish and sweet potato dry kibble-it was suggested after I tried giving him Orijen for a couple of weeks -but he had bloody stools( to much protein maybe) but he seemed to like it-he does not seem to like the Natural Balance I am feeding him now. My question is-does Honest kitchen contain raw meats? I am confused as to whether the meats are raw or cooked? Or partially cooked? I tried introducing Natures Variety raw chicken nuggets to my dog and he refused to go near his bowl so I don't think raw meat is for him-I know you can add your own meat with Preference-any thoughts on what meat I should add? I have not determined if he has an allergy to a specific meat. I just want to find a nutritionally sound food for him that he enjoys more....HELP!!!...I don't want to keep switching his food - I am not sure if I am making him finicky at this point. I know I don't feel like he is getting everything he needs from a dry processed kibble.

Thanks for any advice you can give me-so again does Honest KItchen have raw meats-if so what meat can you suggest adding to preference that is the least allergenic?

Sincerely,
Terri

Answer:

There is a ton of information on the Honest Kitchen page, including an extensive q & a section. All of your questions about HK are addressed on these pages.

I will say that if you think your dog has sensitivity to a specific food source OR if you are trying to figure out if they are sensitive to a meat or other food, then I would not start the dog on Honest Kitchen. It has so many ingredients that it’s not a good starting place for a food sensitivity.  I would do an allergy elimination diet.  With this diet you feed only one or two ingredients to see how your dog responds.  I had to do this to one of my own dogs and I started with fresh rabbit, nothing else.  You want to choose a protein source that your dog has not eaten before.  Most dogs have eaten chicken, beef and lamb… You could try pork, rabbit, bison, etc…

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have.. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum.  There is a lot of information on our website about this, much more than I can ever type.

This type of issue takes time to work out, usually 2 to 3 months.  It’s not something you’ll solve in a week or two.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

I currently feed my 3 Weimaraners (2 - 60 pounds, 1 - 80 pounds) Honest Kitchen, Embark and Force, (sometimes Preference).

I am also feeding them raw in the morning, RMB's and meat, (alternate).

I tried asking the people on the H.K. forum this question but I don't think they are understanding me. I am reading your questions and answers maybe you can help me?  You mention something about giving 1/2 of H.K. to cut the cost down.

So, if I am reading this right, instead of giving my 80 pound dog 2 - 3/4 every day, can I give him the chicken backs or legs in the AM with maybe yogurt, and give him approx. a little over a cup of H.K. for dinner??

I just opened a box last friday, and between 3 dogs, I don't think that will last me a week!!!
I am so confused. Love giving them the Honest Kitchen but not sure if financially I would be able to.

Thank You,
Fran

Answer:

I just add HK to our dogs regular raw meals.  I don’t feed it as the sole stand alone diet.  If you wish to feed According to the HK website: We suggest about 1/2 cup of extra meat, raw meaty bones or other extras, for each dry-measured cup of food.

Feeding dogs isn’t set in stone; you can do what works for you and your budget.  Feed HK a few days a week and raw only the others or whatever works. Variety and balance over time is the key to having a healthy dog.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I wanted to thank you for all the help on starting with the new raw diet. Caddies itching has reduced by 60% (still some chewing and scratching but not like before) and this is just the first 3 weeks. She has gone from being lethargic to full of energy and personality. When I brought her home (she was a rescue) all she did was sleep and mope around, now it's like someone changed dogs on me and gave me this loving happy active dog. Oh how I love her even more now.

I have a question in regards to the balance and supplements. I am currently feeding 1/2 cup dry THK, variety of RMB (chicken, beef ribs, turkey, hens and organs), three pumps of salmon oil and 400 ui Vitamin E. Should I be adding more supplements to her diet or does THK take care of the requirements.

Thanks for all your help, The web site has been a life saver and a means for answering most of my question.

Thanks,
Kim

Answer:

The supplementation you are currently using is adequate. Salmon oil and vitamin e are the only things I would add to the diet you are feeding.

If the itching continues you may want to try a new supplement we have just started carrying Clear Allergies.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

I am a raw feeder for my dogs. I have recently took up raw eating for myself too and have learned if things are dehydrated at higher then 118 degree it begins to kill enzymes and is no longer considered raw. So I am wondering if your raw dehydrated dog food list what temperature it is dehydrated at as I would like to buy some if it is truly raw?

Thank you,
Robin

Answer:

This is from the Honest Kitchen (the food manufacturer)

Our fruits and vegetables are harvested at the peak of their ripeness, cleaned and trimmed, then gently dried below 104 degrees so they are still considered raw after dehydration is complete. Our meat and egg ingredients are dehydrated at a high enough temperature to kill any pathogenic bacteria that may be present, and the required temperature for this is above 120 degrees F. This makes them safe for human consumption-a requirement for entry into the human food facility where our products are made.

Cindy


Question:

I noticed that on your website it says that the Honest Kitchen brands verve, force and embark are not made with intense heat… does that not hold true for the keen brand that Honest Kitchen offers?

I’ve also been reading up on the harmful effects of vaccinations and I’m seeing it’s not good for my dog… but this is my problem…  When I take him to the kennel they require that he be up to date on all vaccinations.  I have not seen any kennel that does not require that, at least anywhere within 100 miles.  If I have to go out of town and have him boarded, he’ll have to have the vaccinations beforehand.  Is there any way around that? 

Thanks,
Danielle

Answer:

All of the Honest Kitchen foods are made at the same low temperature, the Keen is just a newer formula that didn’t exist when we made the webpage.

I won’t vaccinate my own dogs simply to board them, I find a dog sitter and either they stay in my home or I take my dogs to their place. 

I’d also direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website.  It will find posts, articles and Q & A’s that deal with your search terms. There is extensive info on vaccinations and Honest Kitchen on our website.


Question:

Hi Cindy,

A friend recently recommended the Leerburg website to me as a #1 resource for getting started on raw feeding.  I must say I have been more than impressed by the plethora of information available on your website. Thank you!

I switched both of my senior dogs (American Pointer & GSD) off of a prescription kibble diet to a raw diet supplemented with the Honest Kitchen Verve formula as recommended here.  They are both doing VERY WELL and LOVE the Verve formula as much as their raw meats and bones!  I am ready to buy a second box of the Honest Kitchen and for variety sake (and moving further away from grain) was considering trying a second formula, possibly the Keen.
Other formula suggestions are welcome. 

Questions:
How do the Verve and Keen formulas compare in terms of Nutritional Analysis? Do you think it is wise to vary the Honest Kitchen formula I serve to my dogs?

Also, after seeing my senior dogs respond so well to their raw/Honest Kitchen diet I decided to switch my adult cats off of their prescription kibble too.  They weren't sure about the Prowl at first, but I tried adding a little tuna water and now they love it with their chicken necks etc!

Thanks,
Stephanie

Answer:

I'd rotate the formulas for variety.  Keen is 21% protein, 14.5% fat, 4.5% fiber and 8.5% moisture.  Verve is the lowest fat product, but unless your dogs are on a restricted fat diet, it should not be an issue.

I'm glad your dogs and cats made the switch!


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Could you tell me how you wean pups to the Honest Kitchen product. I usually wean by using baby rice cereal and goats milk, gradually adding powdered kibble, then a little coarser until the pups are eating kibble mixed with warm water.

I have not weaned a litter to Honest Kitchen or a raw diet. Most of my buyers do not understand the raw concept so I have always gone to kibble.

Thanks for help,
Lewie

Answer:

You wean puppies to Honest Kitchen exactly the same way as you have done with kibble. I wouldn’t use baby cereal at all though, that cereal consists of grains that are not necessary in a puppy’s diet. 

We typically wean our puppies onto our goat milk formula first, the recipe is on the bottlefeeding page.  We then add ground meat, either beef or turkey. We don’t add HK to their diet until they are eating a raw diet well, because we only use is as a complement to the diet, not as the base.

You can certainly feed it as the base of a feeding program, we just choose to stick with the raw diet program that has worked well for us for the last 10 years or so.

We haven’t had any problems getting our puppy customers to understand how to feed the raw diet, I would recommend having these 2 books -- Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats. We give both of these books to our puppy customers and we almost never get questions on raw feeding.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have two small yorkshire terriers who have been eating Honest Kitchen for about 18 months. They are doing fantastic. I feed Preference and supplement with meat protein, fish, turkey, etc. The older one (12 years) had continuous tummy upsets (continuously soft stool) for the first 10 years of his life. Since eating Preference we have not had one instance of runny, soft stool. The younger one (2 years) was raised on it from the time he was 12 weeks old. Their coats are beautiful and their teeth or perfect. I love it. My question is: We are going on vacation for a week, next week. Cannot take them so they will be staying with my Mother and Dad and they will be spoiled rotten (rottener) :). I am worried about Mom getting their food fixed properly. Can I pre-mix with water, add meat protein, put in small zip lock containers and freeze their twice daily portions?  All she would have to do is thaw and feed.

I have attached a picture of my two boys, Gizmo and Barkley.  Thanks.

Belinda

Answer:

Sure, that should work out fine.  I’ve done that in the past with my own dogs.

Your Yorkies are adorable, thanks for the photo.  Cindy


Question:

If i'm switching my puppy from kibble to honest kitchen should I do it gradually or it won't make a difference. I plan to feed him honest kitchen with raw meat. When I do feed the honest kitchen with meat should I only feed meat that has no bones at first or start with chicken wings with little bones until they get used to eating raw? Thanks in advance.

Answer:

I would do it gradually.

I would start with boneless meat first, and if I wanted to feed meat with bones would use bone in chicken breast as the intro to bones. Chicken wings can be tough to digest for a dog new to raw.

We have a question & answer section on Honest Kitchen [this page].

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a 4 1/2 month doberman pup that I'm considering feeding Force.  The breeder feels strongly that the puppy should be feed adult food with a protein content less than 20% so that she does not grow too quickly. So I'm think of feeding her a little less of the Force than recommended but mixing in some fruits, vegetables, oils, yogurt, etc. (items that have low protein content). Could you please let me know what you think about this?

I'm also considering the Keen. Could you please let me know if you think Force or Keen would be better for my dog?

Thanks,
Blake

Answer:

When feeding raw or fresh foods it’s not as critical to be mindful of protein levels. I feed my dogs a raw diet and have no issues with growth in puppies. Your breeder may not have experience feeding anything other than commercial kibble in which case the old advice has always been to feed low protein.

I’d recommend Embark for your puppy or Force. I would not feed a formula that contains grains.

I also WOULD NOT add fruits or vegetables to any of the Honest Kitchen formulas, they have more than enough in them already.  If you want to add something beneficial, add raw animal protein like meat or eggs. With Force or Embark, it is not necessary to add anything though, it’s a stand alone diet.

We have a question & answer section on Honest Kitchen that may be interesting to you.

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes




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