FAQ

Using traditional farming and modern science to create simple solutions to complex problems

General Questions

There are 2 reasons for this - higher moisture and lower carbohydrates. Let us show you the math of your pet’s need for water when eating Solutions vs eating a popular kibble:

 

First up, an important fact - for every 1 gram of carbohydrates consumed, we all retain 3.5g of water.  This water is either provided by the food or pulled from another area of the body, such as the muscle tissues, thus causing dehydration.

 

Popular Kibble - Protein - 25%, Fat - 15%, Fiber - 3%, Carbohydrate - 47%, Moisture - 10%. This food is 4oz/cup

Solutions Pet Products - Protein - 16%, Fat - 16%, Fiber - 0.5%, Carbohydrate - 4%, Moisture - 63.5%. This food is 8oz/cup

 

In the popular kibble, the body would retain 188g of water per cup of food in order to prevent dehydration. 

(47% carbs / 3.5oz x 4oz/cup = 53.7g of carbs/cup x 3.5g of water retained per gram consumed = 188g of water needed to prevent dehydration).  

This food contributes 10% moisture, or 11.4g of water per cup. 

(4oz x 28.57g/oz = 114.28g/cup x 10% = 11.4g of water)

So for every one cup of this kibble that your pet consumes, they would have to drink 176.6g, or 6.18oz, of water. 

 

In Solutions, the body would retain 32g of water per cup of food. 

(4% carbs / 3.5oz x 8oz/cup = 9g of carbs/cup x 3.5g of water retained per gram consumed = 32g of water needed to prevent dehydration)

This food contributes 63.5% moisture, or 5.08oz of water per cup.

(8oz x 28.57g/oz = 228.56g/cup x 63.5% = 145.14g or 5.08oz of water)

So every one cup of this food contributes 4oz of water to your pet's body.  This food is hydrating and therefore your pet can drink less water without dehydrating.

Our formulations are a collaboration between Chelsea Kent and Roxanne Stone. 

Yes it is.  Our foods are recommended by:

Dr. Barbara Royal

Dr. Natasha Lilly

Dr. Erika Gibbs

Dr. Judy Morgan

Dr. Laurie Coger

Arnold Ehret once said "Disease is merely Nature's effort to start performing the process of healing - the elimination of wastes and disease matters that clog up your tissue system." When the body decreases its daily toxic burden (by bettering the diet and decreasing environmental toxins) it often provokes a deep cleaning to empty out anything that has been suppressed or otherwise "settled" in the body. This purge of toxins is an indication that the body is healthy enough to regain a balance; this is called a Healing Crisis or “detox.” The most common symptoms of a healing crisis include diarrhea, vomiting, nasal discharge, pneumonia, pustules or a rash, and excessive thirst and urination, hair loss, and more. For more information, see this article: Healing Crisis

In the case of grass fed beef, the allergenic proteins in grass would be broken down during the digestion process of the cattle eating the grass. These allergens would be broken down to their constituent vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, amino acids and would never make it into the beef itself. Therefore, it would not contribute to your pets' grass allergies.

AllerGEEZ - If you use this in tandem with Elemental Solutions Parasite Free you may want to reach out to talk to us about it

Chia Seeds - You can use this in tandem with any Elemental Solutions blend

Chill Out - You can use this in tandem with any other Elemental Solutions blend

Heavy Metal - You can use this in tandem with any other Elemental Solutions blend

I Heart You - If you use this in tandem with Elemental Solutions Turmeric/Ginger you may want to reach out to talk to us about it

Immune - You can use this in tandem with any other Elemental Solutions blend. However, if you are using this blend you shouldn't need to use Inflammax. 

Inflammax - You can use this in tandem with any other Elemental Solutions blend. If you feel you need Immune as well, you may want to reach out to ask us about dual use. 

Milk Thistle - You can use this in tandem with any other Elemental Solutions blend. However, if you are using Restore you shouldn't need this product because Restore contains Milk Thistle.

Parasite Free - If you are using Elemental Solutions AllerGEEZ you may want to reach out to us to talk about it

Potty Mouth - You can use this in tandem with any other Elemental Solutions blend.

Restore -  You can use this in tandem with any other Elemental Solutions brand. 

Turmeric/Ginger - You can use this in tandem with any other Elemental Solutions blend. However, if you are using I Heart You you may want to reach out to talk to us about it. 

Sourcing

Regenerative Agriculture is a holistic land management practice that produces healthy microbe-rich soil for healthy plants, animals, humans and the environment. Regenerative Farms work to be an active part of the solution through regenerative and sustainable practices based on science. They are soil doctors first and foundationally, potentiating everything above with more opportunity for health. Circumstantial evidence supports the hypothesis that with healthy soils comes phytochemical richness and this change to herbivore diets enhances biochemical richness of meat and dairy, which is linked with human and environmental health.

 

-Natasha Lilly, DVM, CVA – Co-owner of the Royal Animal Health University, the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies, and RISObiotics

There are several reasons to provide species appropriate diets to all animals.  Like our pets, agricultural animals are happier and healthier when provided with clean, natural, species appropriate foods. While Solutions is providing products that will be served to dogs and cats, the health and happiness of the “ingredient” animals and their produced foods that go into these products are as important to us as the health and happiness of the pets who are served. Just as our pets deserve the opportunity to access sunshine, experience the respect and support of human relationships, and clean and healthy food, so do cows, chickens, and pigs.

 

In addition to feeling good about contributing to the planet and its animals, these healthy animals also maintain greater nutrition within their tissues.  Science has shown that grass-fed, grass finished beef contains higher levels of B-Vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Conjugated Linoleic Acids (Omega 3 Fatty acids) and other antioxidants as compared to grain-fed beef.

According to the U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, for seafood to be considered sustainable by law in the U.S., the fishery management plan is supposed to: 

“Consider social and economic outcomes for fishing communities, prevent overfishing, rebuild depleted stocks, minimize by-catch and interactions with protected species, and identify and conserve essential fish habitat.” Solutions is committed to ensuring that our sources align with these sustainable considerations and limitations.

Even “organic” certifications can be misleading . Our products are made with the highest quality ingredients, from beginning to end, without cutting corners or compromising our values or our mission. We consider our meat sources to be “better than organic” but you don’t have to pay an extra 30% of the organic certification label that is lower than our standards.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic standards farms and ranches must follow the following guidelines. A third-party certifier inspects these farms and ranches annually to ensure the organic standards are met.

Here is a comparison of organic vs Solutions:

Organic Solutions
Must have outdoor access YES Beyond simple “access,” our animals are pastured and have “access” to indoors only if they want it.
Must be raised on organic land YES Organic land is simply not treated with certain chemicals. Solutions focuses on Regenerative Land that works to optimize, improve, contribute to, and nurture the land. It's not just about avoiding toxins - it's about supporting the natural symbiosis of life.
Must be fed Certified Organic Feed YES Organic “Feed” can contain any base ingredient that is not treated with certain chemicals. The base ingredients are not required to be species appropriate and there are exceptions to the organic requirement, such as synthetic, isolate minerals. Solutions focuses on allowing the diets that nature would provide, in the way nature would provide them. This means we try to avoid “feed” altogether. While we still support “feeding organically” that doesn't limit the animals to a man-made “feed” product.
No Antibiotics or added growth hormones* YES There is a list of only 80 drug residues that the USDA looks for when determining violation of this rule. Solutions focuses on avoiding all drugs, not just those that are on a list. Natural rearing supports immune health and helps to ensure the health of the animals without the use of drugs.
*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork and poultry.

Cardboard is one of the materials with the least environmental impact. It is 100% recyclable and biodegradable, and it retains its quality and durability. As it is basically cellulose, it degrades completely within a maximum period of one year.

 

Plastic, on the other hand, is still made primarily from crude oil and natural gas, which is not only bad for the environment, it accelerates the depletion of a non-renewable resource. 

 

We recognize that plastic is also recyclable but we also know that very little plastic actually gets recycled due to lack of effort, lack of access, lack of funding, etc.

Milk

There are times that it is, but not always.  Most importantly, pasteurization (heating) of milk results in an oxidation of the fats within it.  Studies on the use of oxidized fats in animals resulted in damage to brain cells, inflammation, and increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.(1) Oxidized fats have been linked to increased risk of pancreatitis and digestive upset.(2)

 

This is a primary reason why we don’t pasteurize our milk products. Fats are healthy, and necessary for optimal health, when they are raw.  Heating also degrades certain nutrients, making the product less nutritious. 

 

Last, Goat Milk molecules are 5x smaller than Cow Milk molecules, making them much more easily absorbable and less irritating to sensitive stomachs than Cow’s Milk. 

 

1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17854006/ 

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3769905/

Raw Milk contains an enzyme called lactase which digests lactose. When milk is pasteurized/heated it destroys the lactase enzyme but leaves the lactose behind. Without lactase, the body receives no assistance in digesting the lactose in the milk. 

 

Fortunately, the lactose enzyme is found in higher concentrations in raw goat’s milk, making it more digestible and significantly reduces the risks of causing gastrointestinal problems in dogs.

The short answer is that nature knows way more than humans do! We trust that nature knows what she’s doing and that when we mess with her too much, things degrade in health and value. 

 

Additionally, multiple large, well-controlled studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of both observational studies and randomized controlled trials have concluded that the consumption of full-fat dairy is linked to lowered rates of cardiovascular disease, type-II diabetes, and obesity.  A review from the Journal BMJ recently concluded that when health regulators encouraged low fat diets in the 1970’s there was actually no evidence available to support the suggestion. 

 

It’s not yet clear on why full-fat dairy benefits the body.  However, there are a couple of theories.  

  1. Full-Fat Dairy has more calories, resulting in a more satiating feeling which decreases the desire to overeat. 
  2. Full-Fat Dairy can help regulate insulin and glucose levels. 
  3. Full-Fat Dairy could be working on the cells directly - working on the liver and muscle to improve their ability to break down sugars from foods. 
  4. Microbes in fermented dairy products, such as cheese, could be helping to improve insulin response and lower diabetes risk. 

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31904812/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31518411/

According to the Raw Milk Institute, unpasteurized, raw milk can be a source of probiotics. Goat milk naturally contains oligosaccharides, a healthy prebiotic. Since our milks are raw they are an excellent source of naturally occuring beneficial bacteria.

Our foods come from regenerative pastures - green meadows dotted with wild flora and diverse animal life. As seasons and the natural surroundings change, so do the nutrients in the diets of the goats. As their diets change throughout the year, the ratios of fat to protein do too, resulting in a slightly different look to the milk. 

 

Our milk is also not homogenized. Homogenization gives you the impression that milk is always the same.  Nature rarely makes anything consistent and milk is no exception.  We want to share the experience of nature and that means there will sometimes be minor inconsistencies in the product.

Functional Treats

Yes! Dogs usually love cheese, such as Solutions DOGh, but not all cheese is healthy for them.

Raw Goat Milk, used in DOGh, has a plethora of health benefits. Raw Milk is easy to absorb. It contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, protein, and a variety of nutrients that support even the most immature and damaged digestive systems. Studies have shown that the consumption of cheese at the end of a meal can improve dental health, in part by reducing the levels of carcinogenic bacteria in the mouth. The high calcium:phosphorus ratio in cheese also appears to reduce enamel demineralization.. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1877906/

It’s a delicious healthy treat

DOGh is not a complete diet so it must be provided as a treat. A “bite” after each meal is ideal. A “bite” is a different size for different breeds.




Absolutely!

We recommend giving DOGh after each meal. Of course, it still makes a great treat at any time of the day.

While frozen, DOGh maintains a 2yr expiration date.

Once thawed and stored in the refrigerator DOGh is good for about 3 weeks. 

Once the package has been opened we recommend that you store DOGh in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator.

While cow milk is also highly nutritious and has the same benefits for dental health, goat cheese is easier to digest because the molecules are 5x smaller than in cow milk.




We don’t recommend heating DOGh. Heating DOGh can degrade some of its beneficial nutrients and oxidize its fats, potentially making it aggravating for the pancreas and/or digestive tract.

Not if its fed in appropriate quantities.

We wanted Solutions DOGh to stay soft, pliable and fresh. Plastic prevents air from flowing through the product and drying it out. Even after opening, the packaging allows you to use only what you need while keeping the rest soft and fresh. 




We source our milk from sustainable, regenerative farms in proximity to the packaging facility. Our herbs are organic and certified earth kosher, to prevent the destruction of the soil biome which helps sustain the earth.




Absolutely. Most cats love it as much as dogs and it provides the same benefits.




Food

Meat - 65%, Organ - 25%, Bone - 10%

 

We find that 80/10/10 is nutritionally inadequate for long term feeding. Organ contains far more minerals and amino acids than muscle meat or bone. So 10% organ fed long term can result in nutritional deficiencies in pets. If we wanted to do 80/10/10 we would have to “muck up” our natural blends with synthetic minerals.

There will be variance in the color and texture of our foods because:

a.    We are using rotating cuts of muscle meat, organs, and fatty tissue. Unlike other pet food companies, our commitment to sourcing the best possible meat is greater than our commitment to a homogenous product. This built-in rotation not only allows us to maintain our sourcing standards, but also provides your pet with nutritional diversity that a uniform product would not.

b.    We don’t use plastic. We are committed to sustainability and use paper packaging.  Paper is permeable and allows oxygen to pass through it to some degree.  Increased or decreased airflow can slightly alter the color of the product, while not damaging its integrity. 

Every animal on earth requires salt to survive.  Salt is found in sweat, tears, blood and every cell in the body.  Salt functions in tandem with other minerals (Potassium in particular) to maintain proper osmotic pressure.  Salt is only damaging when it is provided in excessively high amounts or in the presence of Potassium deficiency.  Solutions foods are formulated to be complete and balanced and contain the proper, necessary amount of Salt as well as the proper amounts of other nutrients including Potassium.

New research seems to be coming out every day about the health benefits of fat in the diet.  High Fat (Ketogenic) Diets have been scientifically researched and shown to help to prevent metabolic diseases including obesity, hyper/hypoglycemia, diabetes, most cancers, seizures and neurologic disorders.

In addition to its health benefits, high fat also equates to higher calorie. This means that when you are feeding correctly (based on daily caloric intake and not by percentage of body weight) this makes the food significantly less expensive than other brands. For example:

Feeding a 50lb dogs that needs 1,000kcals/day - assume both products are $7/lb
Product A - containing 40kcals/oz Product B - containing 70kcals/oz
1,000kcals = 25oz/day 1,000kcals = 14oz/day
= $10.94/day or $328.13/mo = $6.13/day or $183.75/mo
  While we’re at it, here is an example of why we don’t recommend feeding by percentage of body weight:

Feeding a 50lb dog at 2.5% of body weight per day
Product A = 250kcals per 8oz cup Product B = 560kcals/oz per 8oz cup
2.5% of body weight = 20oz/day 2.5% of body weight = 20oz/day
20oz/day = 625kcals/day 20oz = 1,400kcals/day
This is 37.5% UNDER avg caloric need = UNDERFEEDING This is 28.6% OVER avg caloric need = OVERFEEDING
Even “organic” certifications can be misleading . Our products are made with the highest quality ingredients, from beginning to end, without cutting corners or compromising our values or our mission. We consider our meat sources to be “better than organic” but you don’t have to pay an extra 30% for the organic certification label that is lower than our standards.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic standards farms and ranches must follow the following guidelines. A third-party certifier inspects these farms and ranches annually to ensure the organic standards are met.

Here is a comparison of organic vs Solutions:

Organic Solutions
Must have outdoor access YES Beyond simple “access,” our animals are pastured and have “access” to indoors only if they want it.
Must be raised on organic land YES Organic land is simply not treated with certain chemicals. Solutions focuses on Regenerative Land that works to optimize, improve, contribute to, and nurture the land. It's not just about avoiding toxins - it's about supporting the natural symbiosis of life.
Must be fed Certified Organic Feed YES Organic “Feed” can contain any base ingredient that is not treated with certain chemicals. The base ingredients are not required to be species appropriate and there are exceptions to the organic requirement, such as synthetic, isolate minerals. Solutions focuses on allowing the diets that nature would provide, in the way nature would provide them. This means we try to avoid “feed” altogether. While we still support “feeding organically” that doesn't limit the animals to a man-made “feed” product.
No Antibiotics or added growth hormones* YES There is a list of only 80 drug residues that the USDA looks for when determining violation of this rule. Solutions focuses on avoiding all drugs, not just those that are on a list. Natural rearing supports immune health and helps to ensure the health of the animals without the use of drugs.
*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork and poultry.

After many, many hours of extensive research we chose not to HPP (High-Pressure Pasteurize) our products. There are many reasons why. Here are a few of them:

  1. HPP has the ability to push microplastics into the meat.  These microplastics have the potential to disrupt your dog's endocrine system. 
  2. HPP degrades certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids.  We don’t want to sterilize nutrients out of our product just so we can add dangerous synthetics(1) back into it. 
  3. HPP sterilization is typically done because substandard meat (aka “pink slime” or “mechanically denatured meat”(2) ) which already contains pathogens are used. These meats obviously require sterilization in order to safely use them. 
  4. To our knowledge (and we have tracked closely through FDA.gov and FOIA documents) the FDA has yet to adhere to Federal Adulteration Laws(3) before suggesting a raw pet food recall.  What this means, in short, is that they are required to quantify the amount of a bacteria in a food product in order to validate risk - an action that they have expressed to us that they don’t have the capability to do. Additionally, they must serotype the bacteria to prove that it’s a pathogen - also not typically something they do. Serotyping is identifying a specific strain of bacteria.  There are over 5,000 serovars of Salmonella and according to the CDC, less than 10 of them are significant enough to track. The majority of them have never been linked to illness in humans or animals. (4) 
  5. CDC data shows that kibble is the only type of pet food product that has ever resulted in humans getting sick from touching the products.  Diamond Pet Foods in 2007 and 2012, and Mars Pet Foods in 2008.(5) Raw pet food has never been validated to cause illness in pets or humans.  On the rare occasion that raw pet food MAY have caused illness it could not be validated because the meat in the pet food product was sourced from the same place that the grocery store meats for humans came from.  Therefore, the same meat was provided as a meal to the family as well.(6)

We take pathogens very seriously.  We are well researched on which bacteria are pathogenic, how to avoid pathogens and how to maintain a clean facility. We study regulation and adhere closely to Federal Law and State Laws. We meticulously maintain food safety plans that are compliant with the newest FSMA requirements. And most of all, we do absolutely everything in our power to ensure that the products we provide to you and your family are safe and clean. 

https://herospets.com/blogs/news/scientific-evidence-of-effects-of-hpp-on-meat-products 

  1. https://associatedfeed-msds-bucket.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/safety_data_sheet/safety_data_sheet/530/Fost-3048-Broiler-Fin-Vit-Premix 
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanically_separated_meat 
  3. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/342
  4. https://herospets.com/blogs/news/fda-recommendations-conflict-with-their-own-data?_pos=1&_sid=8962602bb&_ss=r 
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/outbreaks-2009-06.html, https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/outbreaks-2012.html 
  6. https://foodregulationfacts.com/2019/01/16/338/ 

Handling & Serving

Like your own food, fresh pet foods are equally susceptible to harboring pathogens if handled improperly.  We suggest leaving products at room temperature for a time no greater than you would feel comfortable consuming the food yourself if it were yours.  If you’re struggling to get your pet to consume a product within a reasonable amount of time after you put it down, we suggest putting it back in the fridge and trying again at the next meal.

  

If you are still having issues, consider the following reasons to visit a trainer or vet:

 

  • Your pet may be suffering from dental pain that’s preventing a desire to eat
  • Your pet may be suffering from neck or back pain.  Often, pets with this issue will eat from your hand but not from a bowl. This is because it hurts too much to reach the bowl.
  • Pets have an excellent sense of smell. If the food was handled improperly, your pet may notice before you could. Evaluate how long the product has been thawed, at room temperature, or other factors that may have affected the quality. 
  • Mineral imbalances and heavy metal toxicities can cause appetite loss. Nausea, vomiting, hair loss, allergies, inflammation (etc) are all symptoms of imbalances. If your pet is suffering from other health problems you may consider an HTMA Nutritional Blueprint (hair test) to identify if this is a contributing factor to picky eating. 
  • Some pets are picky because they were taught that it serves them well.  If you have tried adding things to the food to spice it up you may have inadvertently taught your pet that snubbing their food results in filet mignon and other tasty treats on their otherwise perfectly good meal. You may consider working with a trainer to learn how to break that behavior for you both. 
  • Overfeeding is a common cause of “picky” eating.  If you are providing too many calories (in the form of food, treats, chews or people foods) your pet just may not be hungry enough to eat.

Diets – 4 days

Milks – 10 days

Jiggles – 10 days

Cheeses – 1 month prior to opening. 10 days after opening

Herbs – do not place in the fridge or freezer as this may allow moisture to build up, potentially resulting in mold.

If handled appropriately, yes.  Pathogens grow when you handle products improperly (did you know that pathogens are more common in your children’s breakfast cereal, grocery store meats and cheeses, fruits and veggies than in raw pet foods?)

 

Here are ways that you can safely handle the food so you may refreeze it:

 

  • Thaw the product in the refrigerator or quickly thaw it in a bowl of cool water
  • Do not leave the product at room temperature or above for any length of time (don’t heat it – heating will damage some of the nutrients) 
  • Once partially or fully thawed you can easily manipulate the product and place it into another container then refreeze.  Other storage container options include pyrex, Messy Mutts stainless steel bowls with silicone lids, Silicon molds (for candy or pet products), ice cube trays, trachea chews, enrichment mats or stuffable toys. 
  • Do not thaw and refreeze repeatedly 
  • Here are some examples of how/why you might do that:

Proper handling helps to prevent the product from rising to temperatures that allow pathogens to grow. 

Our cartons are made from eco-friendly, recyclable materials. While they are healthier for our pets and planet, they are not completely leakproof. We recommend thawing in the sink, or in a container, to catch any leaks.

Poorly handled raw ingredients can cause illness. Statistically speaking, the CDC website shows that your risks are greatest with grocery store meats, pasteurized soft cheeses (for humans), fruits, veggies, peanut butters, and dry kibble.  

However, if you leave fresh food products at room temperature or above for extended periods of time, the environment will be ideal for pathogen growth. This can cause illness.  It’s important to treat your products with care, clean all surfaces with soap and hot water after use, and immediately discard anything that was not cared for properly.  If you are immune compromised, this is even more important.

Either in the fridge or in a bowl of cool water.

There are two ways you can measure out servings of Solutions products: by weight (mass) or volume (measurement cup or spoon). Food scales and measuring cups are inexpensive and are easily accessible in local stores. 

 

When using high-moisture products (such as milk, gelatin or raw food), mass and volume happen to be equal to each other. Therefore:

 

1oz = 1 shot glass = 2 TBSP = 1/8th cup

2oz = 2 shot glasses = 4 TBSP = ¼ cup

4oz = 4 shot glasses = ½ cup

8oz = 1 cup = 1/2lb

16oz = 2 cups = 1lb

It is best to serve it cold or room temp, just don’t heat it. If you are concerned about pathogens, you may thaw the product in the refrigerator then add warm water prior to serving to bring it up to room temperature.

Cooking it changes the raw food state and degrades its nutritional value. We strongly advise against cooking the milk or meat products in any way. 

 

Gelatin is a cooked product. Gently heating is an option if you are looking to temporarily change the consistency to a liquid.

No.  Solutions diets are formulated to meet and exceed nutritional requirements for puppies and adults.

 

Chelsea Kent, co-owner of Solutions Pet Products, attends all AAFCO meetings and does a lot of research on regulation and food values.  Due to her extensive knowledge of AAFCO, she is not a big supporter of it as a guideline for determining nutritional adequacy.  For this reason, Solutions Pet Products diets are formulated “the hard way.” Rather than throwing in a toxic vitamin/mineral premix or just assuming that fresh = complete, Solutions is meticulously formulated to determine nutritional adequacy.  Solutions diets meet and exceed AAFCO nutritional requirements but we use nature to do it, not dangerous chemicals and fillers.

We strongly recommend rotation.  Here are three reasons why:

 

  1. Dogs are scavengers - If I, a “hunter/gatherer” species, told you I couldn’t eat anything but Macaroni & Cheese, you would think I need to see a specialist because there’s obviously something wrong with me. But we’ve been taught to believe that dogs, a scavenger species, can’t tolerate rotation and that that’s normal.  That is not normal. An inability to tolerate rotation is an indicator of disease, not health.
  2. Balanced diet through rotation - The only “100% complete diet” that nature provides is breast-milk (raw milk).  All other foods are not meant to be consumed exclusively or year around.  Plants can have variations in nutrients when harvested in the morning vs the evening.  A cow will have minute differences in tissue nutrients if Grass-Fed vs FeedLot, or if in the United States vs Australia. A sprouted seed will have different nutritional qualities than a hard seed.  Rotation can help provide variations in micronutrients, many of which humans don’t yet fully understand.
     
    Additionally, there is evidence that long term exposure to a single ingredient can lead to the development of sensitivities and allergic response to that ingredient. Rotation can help the body detox and prevent allergies to specific ingredients.
  3. Quality vs convenience - A company that focuses on sales over quality will purchase from pretty much anywhere in order to ensure that the product is available for your purchase at any time, anywhere.  You can get this type of product conveniently, but you really can’t get the best quality.
     
    Alternatively, when a company prioritizes quality over sales, they will not compromise quality in order to guarantee a sale. Therefore, you might occasionally not have access to a product but it’s in the benefit of your pets health, the health of the “ingredient” animals in the food, and the health of the planet. If your pet is not acclimated to rotation it could create a problem for their digestive system if you choose to feed a product from a company that prioritizes quality over sales.
  4. Life happens - Blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and evacuations, stressful schedule… life happens and sometimes you run out of pet food. If your pet is acclimated to rotation, this isn’t a problem.  You should be able to rotate your pup onto eggs, oats, sardines or other foods temporarily when necessary. While these types of changes long-term can result in imbalances if you’re not properly formulating for nutritional adequacy, short term changes should be an option.  After all, the last thing you need during an emergency is doggy diarrhea or starvation adding to your stress.

Dogs and cats have enormous stomachs compared to humans. It’s nearly impossible to fill your dogs stomach daily and not injure them metabolically.

Read this article for more details:

“MY DOG IS ALWAYS HUNGRY- WHAT DO I DO?”

If you’re struggling to get your pet to consume a product within a reasonable amount of time after you put it down, we suggest putting it back in the fridge and trying again at the next meal. 

 

If you are still having issues, consider the following reasons to visit a trainer or vet:

 

  • Your pet may be suffering from dental pain that’s preventing a desire to eat
  • Your pet may be suffering from neck or back pain.  Often, pets with this issue will eat from your hand but not from a bowl. This is because it hurts too much to reach the bowl.
  • Pets have an excellent sense of smell. If the food was handled improperly, you pet may notice before you could. Evaluate how long the product has been thawed, at room temperature, or other factors that may have affected the quality. 
  • Mineral imbalances and heavy metal toxicities can cause appetite loss. Nausea, vomiting, hair loss, allergies, inflammation (etc) are all symptoms of imbalances. If your pet is suffering from other health problems you may consider an HTMA Nutritional Blueprint (hair test) to identify if this is a contributing factor to picky eating. 
  • Some pets are picky because they were taught that it serves them well.  If you have tried adding things to the food to spice it up you may have inadvertently taught your pet that snubbing their food results in filet mignon and other tasty treats on their otherwise perfectly good meal. You may consider working with a trainer to learn how to break that behavior for you both. 
  • Overfeeding is a common cause of “picky” eating.  If you are providing too many calories (in the form of food, treats, chews or people foods) your pet just may not be hungry enough to eat.

Many vets do recommend raw but to answer this question we need to look at a few veterinary facts:

 

  1. Vets go to school for about the same amount of time as doctors.  Unlike doctors, though, vets are responsible for learning about dogs, cats, horses, rodents, reptiles…. In a sense, their education on a single species is “diluted” as compared to doctors. 
  2. Veterinarians are responsible for learning anatomy, physiology, diagnostics, pharmacology, and surgery.  Of course, this means they must also learn new techniques, new science, and new drugs as they develop and release into the market. Like doctors, it's pretty unfair to expect them to also know much about nutrition. 
  3. In 1929, Mark Morris (the owner of Hill Science Diet) founded the Mark Morris Institute. As veterinary medicine and practices developed, the Mark Morris Institute held their hands throughout time… why question tradition?  Of course, an institute that’s founded by the owner of a company that produces high-heat processed canned and kibble products is likely to be more than a little biased.  Today and throughout their history, the Mark Morris Institute is the primary “educator” on the topic of nutrition in veterinary colleges. Vets are required to take a single 8-hour course on nutrition taught by the very brand that they will be tasked to sell.  It’s not the vets' fault if they are given biased and/or incomplete information that serves the sector of an industry that financially benefits from the information that they share - and certainly it isn’t unreasonable for veterinary students to accept the information as fact since it’s provided at a college.  They have a lot on their plate already, so it’s uncommon for veterinary students to spend the necessary time it takes to educate themselves about nutrition outside of school.
  4. Unfortunately, the pet food industry is a beast to understand.  Chelsea Kent, co-owner of Solutions Pet Products, has been in the nutrition sector of the pet food industry for over 20 years.  She has attended every AAFCO regulatory meeting for years.  She has worked closely with numerous well-educated people in the industry for years, including regulators. She spends her entire career, and most of her spare time, learning about the ins and outs of the pet food industry, and even she is constantly learning about industry loopholes, standards, sources and practices that completely change perspective of everything from single ingredients to the industry as a whole. Veterinarians are tasked with being the experts on medicine (diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and surgery).  It is nearly impossible for them to be the experts in pet food and nutrition as well.  Veterinarians that are well-educated about nutrition and pet food have spent hundreds of hours outside of school and away from product reps doing research, learning facts from “the source” (not reps or deceptive marketing materials) and working tirelessly to learn about this topic that is really just not covered sufficiently in school.

Please see our blog page to determine how much to feed your pet.  See our Feeding Guide or our blog posts about Pet Food Math

Yes, it does.  But before you go, we’d like to describe what this really means.  Here are a handful of facts about AAFCO that will help you better navigate nutritional adequacy statements in the future:

 

  1. Did you know that AAFCO is NOT a regulatory agency?  AAFCO is a private organization that has existed for over 100 years with the mission to help align state regulations, in order to improve interstate commerce. In that time, they’ve managed to get only 14 states to adopt AAFCO suggestions into law, only 23 states have adopted parts of their official publication into law, and only 8 states have adopted Chapter 6 of their official publication into law. In 100+ years of efforts, AAFCO has only managed to get 28% of states to function cohesively.  Your state may, or may not, be one that has ever even been to a single AAFCO meeting.
  2. According to AAFCO, there are 4 ways that a pet food can state that they are “complete and balanced.”
    • Regardless of the base ingredients, if a company adds a blend of poorly-regulated, heavy metal laden, synthetic vitamins and minerals then it automatically passes as complete and balanced. To prove a point, one company made a pet food out of leather shoes, sawdust, motor oil, and the vitamin/mineral premix and it passed as complete and balanced.
    • A manufacturer can lab validate, or do an analysis, to determine nutritional adequacy. This is probably the most accurate method but it’s also the most expensive.  In most cases, this method is cost prohibitive and rarely used.
    • The product can be “similar to” another product that is already labeled as “complete and balanced.”
    • The manufacturer can do a feeding trial.  This means that the product must be fed as an exclusive food source to a total of 8 dogs (or cats) for a total of 6 months.  During this time, 2 dogs can drop out for any reason, including death, and the rest can’t lose more than 15% of their body weight. At the end of the trial, the remaining dogs must not show any significant nutritional deficiencies, though no nutritional uptake or blood test is required to determine this.
  3. While AAFCO provides guidelines for minimum requirements for some nutrients, in most cases, they don’t state maximum limits.  Their official publication specifically states that this is not because there is no toxicity limit, but rather that they don’t know what it is, so they don’t enforce it. To give you an idea of how damaging this could potentially be, consider some results from KnowYourPetFood testing. The minimum requirement for Iron in dry pet food is 88mg/kg. There is no established maximum and absorbability ranges from 10%-90%, according to AAFCO. In humans, 60mg/kg of Iron is considered toxic. Five popular kibble pet foods were lab tested for 214 nutrients and contaminants. On average, the kibble products contained 474mg/kg, with the highest containing 1,200mg/kg and the lowest containing 234mg/kg.  While 1,200mg/kg surely seems dangerous, this product was still compliant with “regulation” because it exceeded the minimum requirement.

 

Solutions Pet Products adhere to AAFCO standards in the sense that we meticulously formulate each diet to meet or exceed the minimum nutritional requirements.  We ensure this through careful analysis and lab testing.  We do not add any synthetic isolate minerals or vitamins from any poorly regulated, heavy metal laden, foreign, or man-made source. And we don’t just assume that Solutions products are complete and balanced because of any similarities to other brands on the market. Also, despite a lack of requirement, we meticulously ensure that none of our nutrient levels are too high.

 

For more information about the failures of AAFCO and regulation, we recommend visiting www.TruthAboutPetFood.com.

There are two ways to transition a pet to raw food:

 

  1. Slow and steady - This is a slow transition where you slowly acclimate your pet to the new product over time
    • Reduce the current food by 10-25%*, add in 10-25% of the new food.
    • Continue with that amount until your pet has consistently formed stool. This could be 24 hours or it could be 10 days. Transition as quickly or slowly as is appropriate for your pet. Do not transition based on a generalized schedule.
    • Once your pet has a consistently solid stool, increase the new food and decrease the old food by another 10-25%. Repeat a and b as many times as necessary until you are no longer adding the old food. Take whatever time you need to do this *10% for a slower transition - this is normally done with pets with a highly sensitive digestive system. Up to 25% for pets that don't tend to have digestive issues.
  2. Cold turkey - Canine Microbiome studies done by Marc Roberts show that fasting a dog for 24 hours will significantly alter its gut biome and ultimately prepare it for transition to a fresh food diet.
    • Stop feeding the old food entirely.
    • Fast your dog for 24 hours. If your dog is highly food motivated you may provide only one of Solutions Raw Milk blends for the 24 hour fast. Raw Milk is highly sustaining, super nutritious, and will still serve the same purpose for the microbiome.
    • After 24 hours, provide the new food at 50% of normal daily caloric intake for one day.
    • From the second day on you may provide the full necessary daily calories.

 

NOTE: regardless of which method you choose, you may want to provide an herbal supplement to prevent diarrhea just because you don't want to deal with it (we don't blame you - we feel the same). In this case, you can safely give Elemental Solutions The Regulator, as instructed on the package, for up to 10 days so you can be sure that you'll both sleep through the night and have an easier transition.

This is such a wonderful question and we’re so glad that you want an answer to this! 

 

Solutions Pet Products exclusively purchases ingredients that could be legally consumed by humans. This means:

 

  1. All the ingredients are classified as Human Grade quality
  2. The products are manufactured in facilities that are primarily for human food production, and/or that we would consume human foods out of. 
  3. All of our ingredients and finished products are stored, handled, processed and transported according to human food regulation.

There are a few reasons we don’t claim human grade on the packaging:

 

  • Solutions Diets - we use meats that are sourced exclusively from regenerative, clean farms. However, we also used cuts of meat that humans tend to not like, or not eat. For example, whole bone-in, skin-on chicken.  You could eat the chicken but we grind it with the bone and skin. Your dog will love it but it’s really not something you would or should eat. 
  • Solutions Milks - While our milk is completely human grade, and is sold in some places in the state of Pennsylvania (where it’s produced) for human consumption, it is illegal for it to be sold for human consumption across state lines.  By law, it is NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION but it is human grade
  • Gelatin Jiggles - We consume the heck out of this… you can, too, if you want. It’s human grade, super healthy, and since it’s a heated product it's legally acceptable for you to consume it. 

Herbs - 100% of our herbs are organic or wild harvested, kosher, and purchased from human grade sources for human consumption.

No. However, we recommended that if you want to add grains, make sure that they are organic and non-GMO. Also, we feel that the only grain with significant enough nutritional value to be worth using is Oats. Or you could use a pseudo-grain such as Amaranth, Quinoa or Millet. If the reason you are looking for information about grains is DCM, please see our blog posts:

DCM Study Review

The Taurine Controversy

Absolutely! We have quite a few suggestions.

 

  1. Check caloric intake - Often times owners overfeed their pets.  Overfeeding costs more money.  Double check that you’re feeding the right amount. We strongly advise NOT feeding by percentage of body weight (click here to see why). Click over to our page on calculating calories for more information. Solutions Pet Product recipes generally have double the calories per ounce compared to most other brands.
  2. Modify your ratios - Solutions Pet Product recipes are at a 1:1 Ketogenic Ratio. However, increasing the fat/calorie content can also reduce your overall cost by 10-15%. For more information, see these articles about Ketogenic Diets or visit www.KetoPetSanctuary.com
  3. Feed 50/50 (or whatever you can afford) - Just like with humans, some fresh food is better than none.  If you can’t feed exclusively raw food, consider at least feeding as much as you can.  If you are feeding partially freeze dried/dehydrated/air dried or kibble, we recommend separating them out from the fresh food.
     
    Consider that when a human diets, there is little to no value in eating poor to mediocre quality for part of the day and super healthy for another part of the day. The value of a diet is when there is an extended period of restriction - caloric restriction, restriction from toxins, and/or restriction from nutritionally damaging ratios. The same is true for your pet. The health benefits of feeding fresh foods will be amplified if they are fed alone for a period of time. Therefore, if you, for example, can only afford to feed 50% raw then consider feeding Solutions Pet Products for 2 weeks, then feeding the alternative diet for 2 weeks. This way your pet will gain the full benefit of fresh feeding, but your budget will get a break on the “off weeks.”
  4. Watch your supplements - Not all raw foods are created equal. Generally, the “cheapest” raw foods work out to be the most expensive because they are low calorie (so you have to feed significantly more), and they are nutritionally inadequate (so you have to spend a bunch of money on supplements).

 
If your experience with fresh feeding is that it’s too expensive because of these variables, you may consider using our feeding guidelines to re-evaluate your needs when using Solutions Pet Products.  It is likely that you will need to feed as much as 50% less volume than you would with other diets. Further, there is no requirement for supplementation which may save you a lot of money, too.

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