November 23, 2015

As we turn our hearts and thoughts towards the most Thankful time of the year, we here at Steve’s Real Food are grateful for so many things.  Since Thanksgiving is on the 26th, here are 26 things we are grateful for, with pictures from real fans of Steve’s:
Baileybaxter great pyrennese pawtrero dog sniffing




sparky colleen dunn   Tera: “Our passionate customers.”

Bruno and Dan   Shantel: “Being able to meet so many amazing independent retailers across the country!

CaliAspen: “Our positive office environment where things are fun and relaxed and we all get along.”

ChipAndDaleShantel: “The chance to help pets get healthier.”

DiddyNicole: “Distributors who go the extra mile to help our stores.”

dogs sniffing steve's   Shantel: “The ability to feed our fur-babies so well.”

ERin, Chuck, and Redbull   Aspen: “Fun projects like Raw.U!”

FoxeyBrownShantel: “Families who support and believe in what we do here at Steve’s.”

Harper   Shantel: “Canines for a Cause, the local charity we support, who are doing great things!”

HomerAspen: “Hearing all your fun stories on Facebook!”

JackAspen: “I’m grateful for 2015, when I got kicked out of my apartment, bought a house, got engaged, finished grad school, planned a wedding, got married, graduated, and got a new puppy – all by June!  I survived!”

JimmerShantel: “Working for Nicole, who has a huge heart and allows us to be creative.”

Jody and Carmine and Redbull   Nicole: “The patience that our online customers showed us during the dry ice shortage.”

KobeAspen: “Our four-legged family members who love us unconditionally.”

Athena the rescue   Tera: “Our families.”



Bravo bentleys corner bakery bruce c meno manny brucecmeno








callie looking mysterious   Nicole: “The ability to source our meat from local farmers who provide top quality meats and produce.”

carlotatiajuana   Shantel: “For working with the very understanding people at our manufacturers and storage facilities.”

lucky   Nicole: “Dedicated employees who truly care about our customers, products, and pet parents”

Nala of Nala Jeans a therapy dog   Tera: “Our good health.”

tanktassi   Nicole: “Steve Brown, for being the pioneer in the raw food industry that has made good health possible for millions of pets.”

ThreeDoodles   Tera: “Our good friends.”

Lambkin   Nicole: “The animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians who are paving the way for the raw food movement.”

LilyNicole: “The support my family gives me which allows me to be a mother AND a business owner.”

michael jackson   Aspen: “For working in a field we can be passionate about!  Go healthy pets!




Adorable pomeranian in the leaves. Other fall decor blurred out in the background.Rocko Simba Simon-And-Garfunkel ThreeDoodles









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November 19, 2015

In this week’s blog, we are going to be sharing some stories we have gathered from retailers around the country who have helped pet parents switch to Steve’s Real Food through their advice, research, and especially, their willingness to care.  See why more and more people are switching to raw, thanks to the hard work of retailers who are making a difference:

“A few weeks ago I had a new customer come in looking for Nutro.  I told her I was happy to special order it, but that I didn’t stock it.  She asked why not, as she understood it to be the best food, and I explained it didn’t meet our quality standards.  She said her dog was doing great on it, but had bad breathe, itchy skin, and joint pain.  This led to a review of ingredients and a discussion of minimal processing and the absence of enzymes in kibble.

We reviewed options of premium kibble and raw.  She was skeptical that raw could improve her dogs issues and was worried about the lack of convenience.  I suggested we work towards 1 meal raw, 1 kibble, then reassess in a month.

She returned a few days ago thrilled to report  one box of Steve’s chicken later, her dog has noticeably better breath, more energy, and was less itchy!  She plans on transitioning to 100% raw when she returns from traveling!”


Cute dog and kitten isolated on white

“I recently had a customer come in and ask me to recommend a diet for her dog.  The dog is a three year old basset hound mix who suffers from allergies.  The symptoms of his allergies include lethargy and excessive paw licking.  The dog is also a few pounds overweight, and because he is a basset she wants him to lose weight so as not to put unnecessary pressure on  his spine.  She had previously been feeding the dog a high quality kibble, but speculated that the dog was allergic to chicken and was looking for a new protein.

I recommended that she try a more novel protein like pork, duck or rabbit and encouraged her to consider a raw diet.  I explained to her the myriad benefits of raw feeding and told her about my own experiences with feeding my dog and my cats a raw diet.  She was not quite sold on the idea of feeding raw, mainly because of the cost, so I encouraged her to start slow by adding some raw goat’s milk to her dog’s kibble, explaining to her that goat’s milk is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent as well as an excellent source of raw nutrition packed with enzymes, vitamins and minerals essential for good health.  She was impressed by the effects of the goat’s milk on her pup’s allergies and decided to give raw feeding a shot.

This experience taught me the importance of being able to read your customers; this customer was still skeptical after I explained to her that the cost of feeding raw is offset by the money saved in the long run (through less frequent illness/vet visits), so I had to take another approach – recommending the inexpensive raw goat’s milk to give her an easy introduction into the world of raw feeding.  Once she got a taste of just how much raw feeding could improve her dog’s health and quality of life, she was enthusiastic about the prospect of transitioning to a fully raw diet, regardless of the cost.”

Cairn terrier dog playing with his ball a sunny day in may. ** Note: Visible grain at 100%, best at smaller sizes

“I had a customer come in and said he was looking for an organic dog food without any poultry in it.  His vet thought his dog had a poultry allergy and they wanted something to help with her itchy skin.  I asked him if he was set on a kibble or if he would be open to trying a can or a raw food for her.  He told me that he just wanted what was best and would help his dog the most.  I told him that without a doubt that would be a raw diet.

He had several concerns about feeding raw; cleaning, remembering to thaw and then of course questioning whether or not it was organic.  I addressed his issues one by one; first explaining that cleaning the bowls should be simple enough; done daily just like your own dishes.  I told him that the Steve’s nuggets were great because you could serve them straight from the freezer, or he could do patties and thaw a few at a time.  Lastly, I explained that even though it was certified organic, it was much less processed and would be much closer to organic than any kibble would be.  He ended up leaving with a box of patties and a bag of nuggets in case he forgot to thaw a patty out.”


Many thanks to the retailers who work every day to bring the best knowledge and products they can to their customer’s pets. They are the best!

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November 5, 2015



Big shepherd dog stealing unattended raw meat from a table, particular focus outdoor shot


Recently I noticed a trend on a comment board.  After reading an article about commercially prepared raw food for pets, over fifty comments from raw feeders ran along the lines of “Well, I prepare all my raw meals for my pets at home, and so should everyone else.”

As raw feeders,  we exist in a community of passionate people.  This is a fantastic group of smart, wonderful folks, but like all interests, there are people who are experienced, and people who are brand new to the whole world, looking to learn as much as they can.

Telling people who are new to raw feeding that they should be home-preparing their meals is like plonking a pre-med college freshman into the middle of an open heart surgery and handing them a scalpel.  Oh, and of course, judging and looking down on them for not being able to do it.

This worries me, because I would not personally want to be that patient, would you?  It isn’t like a macrame class, where the worst that can happen is your finished product doesn’t look that great – not knowing what you are doing can have serious consequences.   Our pets rely on us feeding them a properly balanced diet, and if we fail at that, we have quite likely damaged them – maybe for life.


cooking class, culinary, food and people concept - happy group of friends and male chef cook cooking in kitchen

Here is just a brief overview of the things you have to get right if you are preparing raw food for your pets in your kitchen:

  • Calcium and Phosphorous levels: Calcium is necessary for bone and teeth formation, blood clotting, milk production, muscle contraction, heart pumping, vision, and to metabolize enzymes. If you don’t ensure you have enough in your dog’s or cat’s diet, their systems will pull it from their bones, causing fractures and kidney problems. If you have too much, you can stunt bone growth and cause hip dysplasia.  In addition, for the calcium to be properly absorbed, you need a good balance of phosphorous as well – especially when they are puppies for adequate bone strength to develop.  The necessary levels can change over the life of the cat or dog as they move from puppyhood to adulthood or pregnant and nursing animals.
  • Magnesium:  This is necessary for many chemical reactions that help the animal absorb and use the food they eat.  Too much magnesium can lead to bladder stones, and once again required levels vary based on the size and life stage of the animal.
  • Fats: I think everyone pretty well knows by now that fats are actually good for you, as long as they aren’t from unhealthy sources.  You have to find a good balance of healthy fats to keep organ function strong, and to provide a good balance of energy for your pet depending on their life-stage and energy needs.
  • Protein: We know protein is a big part of a raw diet, but sourcing matters, moisture content matters, and the amount you feed matters.  Too much protein, and you can cause kidney disease. Growing animals need more than older pets, and pregnant and nursing animals need more than those who are not.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Trace minerals are essential to good digestive health, and an overabundance can cause health issues, such as kidney stones and other issues caused by buildup or overworked organs.  Not enough, and you can cause nutrient deficiencies.

Are you starting to see a pattern?  I mention just the beginning basics of things you need to know – it gets more complicated from there.  Then you have to learn about meat sourcing, which vegetables provide the necessary nutrition, how to balance long term, how to get these nutrients in proper amounts for maximum absorption, and what behaviors and signs you need to be watching for that indicate an issue.

I do not actually want to discourage anyone from feeding a home-prepared raw diet for their pets, but I want to emphasize the amount of training and education and time that those raw advocates have put in to properly do this.  With our busy lives, not every pet parent has the ability to complete the rigorous education necessary to protect their pets from their own mistakes.  I have heard from multiple raw feeders that say when they were home cooking they spent more time and money feeding their animals than they did their families!  Everyone has to make a choice about what fits their budget, lifestyle, and knowledge base, and at the heart of it, everyone loves their dogs equally, no matter which raw option they choose.

There should not be an attitude in our community that you don’t belong if you don’t home prepare your meals.  We all care about our pets, we all want what is best for them. And for many pet parents, there is safety in leaving the nutritional balancing to people who can devote 40 hours a week, year in and year out, to making sure it’s done right.  It’s our job, and we take it seriously.


Dog sleeping on the bed by owners feet

We take it seriously because we are pet parents, too.  We know what it is like to have a dog wake you up with an affectionate lick to the nose in the morning, we know the excitement of coming home to a pup who can’t wait to say hello.  We have that cat who likes to sleep on our arm while we type, too.  We even know staying awake all night with a sick cat, or not being able to move at night because there is a cat at your feet, a dog on your right side, and a spouse on your left.

What I really want to say is, if you are an expert and prepare your own meals, you are doing the best you can for your pets.  Don’t make others feel badly because they are not yet where you are.  You started somewhere, too.

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October 21, 2015

An unidentifiable womans hand holds Medical Marijuana aka Pot, D










Written by Aspen Anderson

In addition to my role as Director of Retailer and Consumer Relations at Steve’s Real food, I also teach evening history classes at a local university, and I begin every class the same way – talking about marijuana.

Now I don’t use marijuana, and it isn’t legal where I live in Utah.  The school I teach at is in a county that is 88% Mormon, and the majority of my students are as well. Most of them have probably never even considered trying it.  I’m not even particularly passionate about legalizing it. So why do I talk about it?

I use it as an exercise about why history matters, and how knowing the story of the past can inform the debate of the present.  The banning of marijuana in the US was part of a long chain of measures to attempt to control immigrant populations of Asian and Mexican descent.  Fearmongering in sensationalist newspapers helped fan the flames, using their influence to terrorize people with accounts of those who were racially-other (and therefore “un-American”) committing unspeakable crimes against white people under the influence of the drug. Wild suppositions about a link to marijuana was enough to inspire fear, and in 1937 a set of hearings in Congress (in which a member of the American Medical Association actually testified that all the evidence against the plant was based on sensationalist accounts and not scientific fact) led to its’ ban.

It is important to understand this because it took from 1937 to 1996 for America to move toward a more realistic view of the plant.  That was when California passed Proposition 215, which legalized medical cannabis. Since then, progress has been made in the cultivation of strains of the plant that have a very low THC content (the psychoactive element) and high cannabidiol content (the medically beneficial element).  Strains like Charlotte’s Web, designed especially for children with epileptic seizures, have anecdotally proven to be a huge benefit for those suffering from debilitating medical conditions.  This low THC strain allows for all the benefits of medicinal use without the worry of getting “high.”

A main issue with medical marijuana is that the government’s stance has made it impossible to do any long-term studies about the medicinal benefits of cannabis products on various diseases.  Therefore they can argue that there is no scientific evidence to support the claims of cannabis proponents, while effectively blocking any ability for researchers to produce that evidence.  The American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, and even PETA are advocating for marijuana to be moved to a Schedule II drug to allow for more research opportunities. Fortunately, despite our closed American thinking, we are not the only country in the world (gasp!) and researchers all over the globe have done the studies that are near-impossible to do here. Their results have found a clear homeopathic link to better health, pain relief, and function for a myriad of health issues.

Woman's Hands Picking Hemp


Though small, there is a growing niche for cannabis products in the Pet market, as well.  The AVMA has published a near-glowing article about the benefits of cannabis for pets, with multiple accounts of how it has benefited animals in pain, and calls for the Veterinarian community to become involved in the debate around cannabis.  Dr. Karen Becker interviewed Dr. Rob Silver in February of 2015 and discussed medical marijuana for animal companions. On the down side, he notes that dogs actually have higher numbers of receptors in their brain that react to cannabis, and high THC strains can make them uncomfortable. There have been a number of dogs have eaten “edibles” for humans that have made them sick (especially when combined with chocolate).  Yet he is a strong supporter of low-THC strains that can benefit end-of-life pain, anxiety, and more. So evidence suggests that it would be beneficial for dogs and cats to have cannabis products designed especially for them, rather than sharing their owner’s stores, which can cause unforeseen effects.  These are starting to come on the market, but they are still few and far between because of marijuana being illegal in many states for humans.  There is, however, a loophole.

The Cannabis plant has many strains, but two broad sub-categories are Marijuana and Hemp.  Marijuana is defined as a cannabis plant that has a level of THC higher than .3%. Hemp is a cannabis plant with a THC content lower than that marker.  It is the THC component that makes cannabis illegal in most states, but hemp products are legal in all 50 states. Because the THC content is so low as to be virtually non-existent – kind of like the alcohol in Kefir – pet products that do not contain THC are 100% legal in all 50 states.  More and more people are recognizing the loophole inherent in this – hemp still contains CBD, the medically beneficial element, and therefore much of the illegality surrounding medical marijuana can be avoided by sourcing from hemp.  Dogs and cats are likely to be among the first to benefit from this, because the emotionally-charged political debate surrounding cannabis is not nearly as heated in the pet industry. We here at Steve’s Real Food predict that more and more cannabis products will soon arrive on the pet market, to benefit pets everywhere.


Medical Cannabis ( Marijuana ) oil ready for consumption

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June 17, 2015

a person and a dog making a heart shape with the hand and paw to


Did you know that pet parents all over the country love Steve’s Real Food?  Here are just a couple of the experiences we have heard from owners everywhere.



“I foster dogs for French Bulldog Rescue Network (FBRN), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing French bulldogs in need.  I would like to share the story of one of my recent foster dogs, Mambo.
Mambo was surrendered to FBRN in a vet’s parking lot, suffering from his second rectal prolapse in three weeks. After the first prolapse, his owner had opted for a purse-string procedure, but the cause of the diarrhea that had precipitated the prolapse was not diagnosed, so it continued unchecked and the prolapse recurred.  The poor little mite, only a year old, was hunched over in agony.  A 3-inch section of tissue protruded from his bottom, and every few moments, he strained and screamed in pain.  As soon as the surrender paperwork was signed, I rushed him into an examining room, and the vet went to work.  Unfortunately, about 1-1/2 inches of rectum was gangrenous, and had to be amputated.  He underwent the necessary surgery and I took him home the next day.
For the first two weeks after surgery, Mambo had to eat a bland, canned diet, and was on antibiotics and medication to keep his poops liquid so that he wouldn’t tear his sutures.  Despite taking him outside eight times per day, I went through 150 potty pads during the first two weeks.  After four weeks, I began to experiment with his diet, to see if I could get him on a more manageable potty schedule.  I tried a high-quality, grain-free kibble —  It didn’t go well.  I tried canned food — he gained weight, but he still pooped 8-12 times per day, including during the night, and there was a great deal of straining involved.  I also tried a dehydrated formula, but it was very high in carbs, mostly potato, and this boy was an active one-year-old, and needed to put on lean muscle.  I tried giving him probiotics and enzyme supplements, but they didn’t seem to improve his digestion.  In fact, the probiotic supplement seemed to make him worse.  We had him allergy tested to see if the food he was eating was causing irritation, but he was not allergic to any of the ingredients.
Finally, my thoughts turned to raw.  I had several criteria in mind as I searched for a suitable product.  The food could not contain ingredients which the allergy test indicated that Mambo might be sensitive to (including pumpkin).  It had to contain high-quality, preferably human-grade proteins, organs, fish oils for omega-3 fatty acids, and vegetables and flaxseed for fiber.  It had to be reasonably priced.  Finally, It had to be easy to use — no frozen chubs that required power tools to cut into meal-sized portions.  My quest led me to Steve’s Real Food.  I bought a 5-lb bag of the Turducken formula, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.Mambo_3
I was not disappointed.  Mambo loved it.  More importantly, I noticed that almost immediately, his poops improved in diameter, frequency and consistency, and he had an easier time passing them.  Because of his special needs due to the fact that he had very little rectum remaining, I added a few things to his meals – a little baked sweet potato and extra ground flaxseed for additional fiber, and goat milk yogurt for probiotics.  It was not long before Mambo had improved to the point that he could be adopted.
Mambo_2 (1)
Three-and-a half months after his horrendous ordeal, a happy, healthy Mambo headed off into the sunset with his forever family, a bag full of his favorite toys, and a styrofoam cooler full of Steve’s Real Food.”
Heather Mayrand
FBRN Volunteer


“I have an 18 month old gordon setter who has had stomach issues since I got him at 9 weeks. He is pretty thin because he had never been interested in “food” and had never had a solid stool in his life. I decided to switch him to a raw diet using Steve’s Real Food. Since the switch almost 2 weeks ago his stools are solid and he is loving his meals (maybe too much if that’s possible). It’s safe to say poop scooping is going to be a dream compared to what it was! I am so excited my puppy, Hendrix, has found your real food to be exciting and delicious.”


Ashley Wilke – Omaha, Nebraska


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