No, not you personally. You guys are the best.
The reason I pose that purely hypothetical question is that I recently put up a couple of Instagram stories about how I am (apparently) a terrible mother because I give my dog chemical flea and tick treatments. I explained in them that I make absolutely no apologies for doing this because I live in a very high-risk Paralysis Tick area, and it’s really shitty that people are judged for the choices they make when it comes to the care of their animals. I don’t like giving my dog chemicals and for the first four years I owned him, I didn’t. But I also really, really like him and I don’t want any harm to come of him, especially if I could have prevented it. These products are FAR from perfect. I am aware of the risks and I’ve made an informed choice. It’s mine to make.
But I didn’t really think much of it. I needed an Instagram story to put up and I had just given the treatment that day and compulsively taken a photo of it.
I was completely overwhelmed by the response I received, on both Instagram and Facebook, from people who had been similarly shamed for giving their pets chemical treatments, as well as from people who had been shamed for NOT giving chemical treatments. You can’t bloody win! And that’s kind of what inspired me to write this post, which is realistically going to end up being a fairly pointless rant (I can feel it).
I love that there are these really tight knit little communities of animal loving dog and cat freaks, waging war against multinational conglomerates who are seemingly out to poison our treasured pets with endless streams of processed junk food and overmedication. I do. But can be all just back the hell off each other a bit? I am a member of a zillion raw feeding groups on Facebook but I don’t follow any of them, I have all notifications turned off and I almost never participate because they give me major anxiety.
The world of fresh feeding is confusing and overwhelming enough with just the corporations to contend with; when you add in a bunch of strangers on the internet criticising every single thing you do or every question you ask or every bit of input you offer, it makes me want to slam my laptop shut and feed my dog Pal in protest. The point of this post is not to offer the answers one way or the other (that’d be impossible and totally contradictory to the point I’m making); more than anything, it’s really just to say “I get it.” It’s OK to not know everything and get overwhelmed. I do. There is almost never one single right answer to a question. I’m still learning and my opinion on many things has changed over time and will continue to change in the future. The person who types the loudest isn’t necessarily the most knowledgeable. And even if they are, it’s OK to do something different. You’re not a bad person if you don’t feed your pets gourmet meals that look like the animal equivalent of an Instagram yogi’s smoothie bowl for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s OK to not give them breakfast or lunch at all. It’s OK to give your pets chemical treatments and vaccinations if you feel that it is the best choice for them (and for you). It’s OK not to, too. If someone disagrees with you in a comments thread, it’s OK to turn off notifications and walk away (trust me, I do it ALL the time and you WILL feel better for it). Don’t worry what everyone else is doing. Don’t give up. Don’t panic. Breathe.
There are heaps of really great resources out there and heap of really average ones. Find the ones that work for you and chuck the rest in the bin. My door is always open, and you are totally welcome to email me, Facebook me, Instagram me, call me, turn up at my house, whatever. I have free resources HERE and all of my nutrition products cover the most common concerns and have loads of flexibility built in to suit different lifestyles and levels of experience. If you buy a nutrition plan and you are finding it too much work, email me and I can give you my recommendations for commercial products to use as a base or a backup. Ask me stuff! I love it. Honest.
And remember to breathe…