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  • Wendy

Our Review: Feed Real Institute

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

Learning the science of how to feed our dogs

When we started to build a framework for The Wholesome Dog, we were very aware that so much had changed in the world of raw food and feeding. Where there were only a few educational materials available, primarily though holistic veterinarians, there were now podcasts, blogs, and several media influencers sharing their ideas on what raw feeding was and was not and how to do it best. I had been doing my raw feeding protocol for some time, but I had branched out and was feeding and getting raw materials from several sources that I researched and trusted. People would often ask how I determined a need for products that I used, and where I sourced them from. One of the major organizations was Real Dog based out of California. Ruby, the CEO, started something I had thought of a million times, but never thought could come to fruition. Her company sourced several products I had used for my study in the use of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) to make my dog Harry well again.

A principal of Chinese medicine utilized like foods in healing the animal, meaning if a dog had a heart condition you would feed heart to nurture it. To do so, I had begun sourcing raw forms of spleen, livers, and kidneys. I used a local Italian market, and gagged my way through every recipe to make make my dog whole again. One late night, after setting up two weeks worth of meals, I decided I was fed up with the smell and the need to utilize the whole product that I had purchased, and found Real Dog Box. I immediately placed an order for a box and waited to see what arrived. I was hopeful, but not committed. Anyone that has ever tried to find a trustworthy, good provider of product knows they are not all created equal. I was not disappointed. Real Dog came through and each month I received a box, and Harry was happy.

I met Ruby at The Healthy Dog Expo in April 2023, and learned they would be offering classes through the newly-established Feed Real Institute. Their courses are designed to teach all of the materials that I had used to figure out how to properly feed the Ancestral Diet to consumers, and more importantly to industry professionals as well. The instructor and curriculum designer is Kay Stewart. Her credentials were stellar, she is a registered veterinary technician, certified professional canine nutritionist, and previous to Feed Real, she worked for over 30 years as a faculty adviser at the University of Notre Dame. I now had an educational ally. I was excited. We reached out to Kay and both Julielyn and I took the coursework. Julielyn got her professional certification, while I agreed to take both courses to weigh them and speak on behalf of the courses for this blog, as well as a future presentation that Kay had offered to provide.

I took both courses, first the parental course (Real Dog Food Nutrition Course) and then the professional certification course (Professional Canine Nutrition Certification Course). I have reviewed both programs and can say the material was thorough and complete. Both the pet parent and the professional coursework focus heavily on the scientific details of why raw is fed, and the systemic benefits to your pets. The Feed Real programming addresses all three major types of raw feeding (BARF, Prey, and Ancestral), with an emphasis on The Ancestral Diet. Each course had 7 units of material. The professional course had more detail and identified more relationships between food and disease. It was more in depth on what vitamins and minerals can heal deficiencies, and the interactions with medications and food. Both offered food choices for the deficiencies, and both offered sample meal preparations. Each unit ends with a unit test. You must answer 60% of the questions correctly, and you can retake each test until you have mastered the material. Each unit provided additional resource material at the end before you take the timed exams. The final exam is comprehensive, and you are provided with an hour to complete it. This exam can be retaken as well. At the end of the parent course you are given the opportunity to take a class with Kay and prepare meals for your dog using the Real Dog Food Calculator. The professional course requires it to be certified. Time slots for the class fill quickly and the dates are far out from class completion at this time. It is a great class and well worth the wait.

Looking back, and having experience feeding my dogs a raw diet for years, I would have skipped the parent class and gone on to the certification class right away. For pet parents interested in trying raw as an option, definitely consider the Real Dog Food Nutrition Course. Both are well written and I enjoyed each class. If you're looking to feel educated and confident in feeding your dog(s) a nutritionally complete and balanced meal, I highly recommend taking this course.


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