I and Love and You Dog Food Review and Giveaway

I and Love and You Dog Food Review and Giveaway

My dogs Ace and Remy got to try the dry and canned dog food from a company called I and Love and You, and we have a chance for your dog to try the food too.

The company’s “Naked Essentials” dry food is grain free, high in protein and made in the USA. It’s made without artificial preservatives, fillers or by-products and contains prebiotics and probitotics for healthy digestion.

The canned “stews” are also grain free and made with healthy ingredients. My dogs couldn’t believe their luck when I put the stew on top of the dry food! “A spoonful of love” the company calls it.

This post is sponsored by I and Love and You.

Leave a comment at the end of this post for a chance to win a FREE bag of dry food and 2 cans of wet food for your dog (two winners). Click here. (This giveaway has ended.)

I and Love and You dog food review

I and Love and You Dog Food Review

My thoughts on I and Love and You’s dog food:

The food is high quality and I recommend the dry food and the canned food to my readers. The company also makes dehydrated raw diets for dogs, but Ace and Remy haven’t tried it yet.

I appreciate that the is made in the USA, grain free and contains no by products or fillers. (It’s not that grain is necessarily “bad” but dogs and cats simply don’t need them.)

The company also makes dry food and canned food for cats as well as treats and chews for dogs.

I and Love and You suggested I put a spoonful of the stew on top of a dish of dry food for the dogs. This, of course, was a big hit!

(We’re giving away a bag of dry food and two cans of wet food to two readers so your dogs can have a chance to try the food too. Just leave a comment below to enter.)

A spoonful of Love from I and Love and You

My Lab mix Ace and my weimaraner Remy loved the food! Actually, Ace even ran over and ate Remy’s food while I got distracted! Something he would normally NEVER do!

Cost of the food

I and Love and You is available at various online retail locations such as Chewy.com as well as in various grocery stores for convenience (such as Whole Foods). ORDER HERE.

In general, the Naked Essentials kibble is about $26.99 online for an 11-pound bag.

A case of one dozen 13-ounce cans of wet food cost around $27 online. Order here.

What’s unique about the company?

I and Love and You said it has donated 47,000 meals to dogs and cats waiting to be adopted in shelters and rescues across the country.

And besides making healthy food, the company promises to be good to the planet. According to its website, its headquarters is 100 percent wind powered and employees use alternative transportation like biking to get to work.

Pros of the dry and canned food:

  • Real meat as first ingredients
  • Naked Essentials is 30% protein
  • Made in USA
  • 5-star rating on Dog Food Advisor (dog food review site)
  • No fillers or by-products
  • Free of grains, corn, wheat, soy and rice
  • No artificial preservatives, flavors or colors
  • For convenience, the food is sold at several grocery stores (Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, etc.)
  • The Naked Essentials kibble contains prebiotics and probiotics for healthy tummies


  • The “lamb and bison” variety of dry food lists bison as the 11th ingredient. Lamb is the first, followed by chicken. I was hoping there would be more bison in the food.
  • I had a hard time finding the larger bags (23 lbs) of dry food online. With larger dogs, I prefer to order larger amounts of food at once.

Would I buy I and Love and You’s food?

Yes. Although I’m happy with the food my dogs are currently eating, I’m going to purchase I and Love and You’s dry food for my cats. I’ve been looking for a grain-free, high-quality brand for them, and this is available on Chewy.com where I already order their food. Here’s a link to the cat food.

Would I recommend the food to others?

Yes. This is a high-quality food made with healthy ingredients from a company I trust. If you are looking for a high-quality dry food, wet food or dehydrated raw food, I definitely suggest you look into I and Love and You.

Both the dry “Naked Essentials” kibble and the stews come in a variety of protein sources. View them all here.

Giveaway! Win dry and canned food for your dog!

*This giveaway has ended and the winners have been notified.

I and Love and You is giving away an 11-pound bag of dry dog food and 2 cans of wet food to two readers of That Mutt. (Must have a U.S. mailing address to win.)

To enter:

Just leave a comment below so I know your dog wants IN on the drawing. Let me know why your dog would like to try this food.

I’ll choose the winner at random Saturday March 11 and announce it in That Mutt’s email Sunday morning. (Sign up for That Mutt’s email digest here.)

Note: Everyone signed up for the $7 reward level or higher on That Mutt’s Patreon page receives automatic entries into ALL of our giveaways. Limited to first 75 people. There are still four spots remaining. Click here.

Would your dog like to try I and Love and You’s food?

Let me know in the comments!

A Typical Day of Pet Sitting (As Told by Our Pet Sitter!)

A Typical Day of Pet Sitting (As Told by Our Pet Sitter!)

Note: My mom Nancy flew from Wisconsin to San Diego to take care of our four pets while Josh and I went to Maui. We are so lucky she did this for us! This is a post she wrote about her “experience” or what a typical day of pet sitting our crew looked like. Visit her blog Nancy’s Point where she writes about breast cancer, grief and also dogs!

When dear daughter and dear son-in-law visited over the holidays and mentioned they were planning a February Maui trip and then went on to inquire about my interest in pet sitting while they were vacationing, I jumped at the chance.

Dear hubby and I refer to all our children’s pets as our grandchildren, so how could I say, no?

If you think it’s odd a person (meaning me) would contemplate flying from Wisconsin to California to take care of some dear pets, you don’t know my family.

I’m back home now reflecting on my experience, and I thought it’d be fun to write a blog post about it. It’s a nice break from blogging about cancer chaos and fallout, right?

When your home includes four pets as my daughter’s does (two dogs and two cats), taking care of their needs can feel like a full-time job, especially when one is an active Weimaraner pup and the other three are seniors.

During my stay, I often thought, wow, how in the world does dear daughter get her work done?

Basically, the answer is … routines.

Thank you for being so organized, Lindsay, and for leaving me all those detailed schedules and instructions. I guess you didn’t inherit your organizing skills from me.

Here’s what a typical day of pet sitting four lovable California critters was like:

A typical day of pet sitting, according to our pet sitter

(The pets include cats Beamer & Scout, senior dog Ace and Weimaraner pup Remy.)

5:45 a.m. – Rise and shine!

Actually, it was still dark.

Upon my rising, stumbling around while getting dressed and appearing from the bedroom, all four pets demanded to be fed, and they had no intention of waiting around for meal service.

Scout the cat, being the slowest eater of the crew, got fed first. He needed time and privacy, which meant a closed door on the cats’ bedroom (yes, they have their own room).

My cat Scout - what it's really like to watch my pets

Next, it was senior mutt Ace’s turn as he moves a bit slow these days and doesn’t like to be hurried either. He ate in the main bathroom ‘cuz he also required (and deserved) an undisturbed eating space. The third one to eat was cat Beamer who by that point was feeling a bit put out for being forced to wait so long. Beamer devoured all his meals in the kitchen.

Last, but not least, it was the pup, Remy’s turn. By then, he was feeling quite impatient, but was required to further wait while I put on my shoes and then gathered my jacket, phone, cap, dog leash with pinch collar and doggy-poo bags. Once released from his kennel and finally allowed to attack his breakfast, he wasted no time, gobbling it up in less than a minute. He didn’t understand the meaning of slow down, boy.

6:00 (yeah, all the above only took 15 minutes!)

Remy and I headed out for our first walk of the day; he was last to eat, after all, so for this he was first. The cool, clean morning air and gorgeous sunrises reminded me daily why morning walks are the best walks.

Upon returning, it was Ace’s turn, of course. Such a good boy for waiting, Ace. And gosh, I do love leisurely strolls with a senior dog. Puppies are wonderful, but there is something extra special about an old dog.

7:00 – Coffee time for me.

I needed some!

8:00- 11:00 – Lindsay, you’ve got the dogs’ morning routine down really well. Impressive.

Remarkably both dogs napped on and off for major chunks of the mornings, but only if I separated them, otherwise Remy continuously bugged Ace who understandably, much preferred to keep to himself and be left alone. Who could blame him?

I had breakfast, did chores around the house, checked email, blogged and got stuff done. I was impressed with (and surprised by) what I was able to accomplish during the quiet chunks.

11:15 – Time for noon walks

Boy, Remy was raring to go again!

As usual, Ace patiently waited for his turn.

12:30 – Back home.

Lunch time for me and more quiet time for Ace and quiet time (if I was lucky) mixed with supervised playtime for Remy. Luckily the apartment was puppy-proofed nicely, so it wasn’t too often I had to figure out how to coax the pup to drop something he wasn’t supposed to have. (Sorry about that chewed book, Josh. And the broken bowl, too. Oops.) The cats appeared at that point to check on the lunch situation, especially the eating-machine, Beamer.

More work time for me during Remy’s quiet moments. I actually got quite a bit done. Thanks, Remy.

4:00  – Remy and I headed out for walk #3, our longest of the day.

The primary mission of walk #3 was to tire out said pup so the evening would go more smoothly (hopefully) for all of us. Tired pup equals a better-behaved pup.

Upon return, yep you guessed it, Ace’s turn. What a patient, boy.

5:00 – Woohoo, dinner time!

Dinner bell for all four animals. They were so excited and who could blame them, right? Meal times are the best times for all of us, are they not?

With Remy tired out (okay, kenneled), it was finally time for my shower and then dinner without animal interruptions. Well, of course, Beamer was there checking to see what was on my plate or possibly on the floor.

After dinner, Remy was allowed out of his kennel for the evening and offered appropriate stuff (not my hands, elbows, socks, shoes, towels, pillows, books, etc) to chew on. Evenings included TV time and Remy supervision time, special doting on Ace time, phone calls time and before I knew it, final doggy-potty-break-for-the-day time.

9:00 – Bedtime at last!

All animals (except Ace, of course) tucked in and kenneled. Morning meals were dispensed in bowls at bedtime to eliminate some of the morning chaos ahead.

Thought about reading, but never did ‘cuz I was exhausted! Lights out instead. Whew, what a day.

Final thoughts

First of all, pet sitting is hard work. I have so much respect for those who do this for a living. Lots of people think this line of work is a snap, but they know not of what they speak.

Second, puppies are challenging! Well, duh, right? When you haven’t had one in a while, you sorta forget how much work is involved. And patience. A one-year-old Weimaraner is not unlike a toddler, just sayin’.

A senior dog with special needs (think cone, daily meds, itchy skin sores, achy joints) requires an extra dose of love, which I was more than happy to dispense, along with his meds.

Cats are relatively easy, but still they have needs, too. And the eating-machine feline of the family provides his own set of unique challenges. (No food can be left unattended anywhere at any time. Ever).

Lastly, I love California, in short doses anyway. Great weather. (What’s a little rain?) No snow. No winter coat. No gloves. No stocking hat. No boots. Dogs and dog walkers everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. The ocean. Dog beaches. (Didn’t take Remy there this visit. I know my limits). Sidewalks. (Why aren’t there sidewalks where I live?) Surrounded by Democrats.

I could get used to these things.

So, will I be back for more?

You bet I will.

Have you done any pet sitting? What does a typical day of pet sitting look like for you?

Thank you, Mom, for watching our pets! We are so lucky!

Make sure to visit my mom’s blog Nancy’s Point.

Common Dog Training Advice I’m Glad I Ignored

Common Dog Training Advice I’m Glad I Ignored

You have to pick and choose what dog training advice, tips and “style” to use for your own dog. Don’t listen to me or anyone else.

With my own dogs (a senior Lab mix and a young weimaraner), I tend to gently guide them to do what I want, praise them and give firm corrections occasionally when they don’t do what’s expected.

My focus is on structured exercise, calm and positive leadership, consistency and clear rules so they know what’s expected.

We have never allowed Remy the weim on the couch, for example. Not once, not even as a tiny puppy. Because of this, hopping on the couch is simply not on his radar. Clear, consistent rules make a big difference.

Still, Remy is a big challenge for me, constantly seeing what he can get away with.

My two dogs are very different, and I’m not training or raising Remy in the exact same way I raised my senior dog Ace.

So I wanted to share some of the common training tips – ideas I would normally use and recommend – that I threw out the window when I got Remy.

Let me know if you can relate to any of this! Which tips do you normally use or ignore? And has your dog challenged you to train differently than you’re used to?

Dog training advice I threw out the window when I got my weimaraner

Dog training advice I'm glad I ignored

1. Make your dog work for his food. Feed him as a reward.

Great advice. I say this all the time. It’s actually something nearly all dog trainers would agree on!

However, my weimaraner is so food obsessed that in the morning he’s drooling and shaking and moaning in his kennel for his food.

Frankly, it’s just easier to feed him immediately and get that stress behind us.

Yep, I feed The Prince and then we go for a walk.

For the longest time, I fought this and made Remy “work” for his food by walking him and then feeding him.

This just ended in frustration for both of us.

All Remy could think about on our walk was getting back home to eat. Our walks were not fun. He pulled like a train. He could not focus on me or on anything. I lost my temper every morning, and it was not a good way to start the day.

So, I feed the freaking dog immediately.

Our walks are much more relaxing this way.

You do what works.

2. Cradle your puppy until he stops squirming.

When I first got my puppy, people told me it was important to “cradle” him on his back and only let him go when he’s calm and stops squirming.

My puppy Remy

This is especially important with a powerful breed like a weimaraner, they said. Not necessarily to be “alpha” but to encourage the valuable skill for a puppy to accept being restrained and to feel comfortable and relaxed being held. I think this advice is generally great!

However … this DID NOT work for Remy!

Even at 8 weeks, he would absolutely not “surrender” to being cradled. He would squirm and kick and bite and as time went on he would become more and more aggressive.

I held him for 45 minutes one time, trying to sooth him and calm him while remaining as relaxed as I possibly could.

He was mad with energy! It was more of a wrestling match than a bonding experience. I was determined not to let go until he calmed down. Well, let’s just say he never calmed down. I had scratches and bite marks on my arms and legs and stomach.

He and I are both stubborn. Apparently him more than me.

So I stopped doing this ridiculous exercise.

3. Positive reinforcement training is best. Science tells us so.

Yes. By all means, stick with positive reinforcement as much as you can.

This means reinforcing the behavior you like by rewarding your dog with food, toys or access to whatever he enjoys. Research says this is the best way for a dog to learn a behavior.

I use a lot of positive reinforcement with Remy, but not 100%.

My dog is very … “willful” and frankly, sometimes I just need to be a Mother Bear and give him a firm “NO.”

I have to say, I’ve even bopped him on the nose a few times for nipping me or jumping on me. It’s not something I’m comfortable recommending, but you know what? It gets the point across.

My dog is not sensitive. He’s strong, fearless, wild and just plain rude at times. My older dog Ace snarls at Remy to communicate, “STOP.” My cats smack Remy in the face to politely as possible tell him to “Fuck off.”

Sometimes when I see my dog is about to jump on me, I step forward and hip-check him.

Yes, positive reinforcement works and we should all use it, but maybe not every second of the day.

My weimaraner Remy

4. Don’t use a choke or prong collar. They’re outdated.

I highly recommend a Gentle Leader for walking (fits over the dog’s muzzle) or a no-pull harness that clips in the front. I have both and use them as much as possible. These limit the pulling for most dogs (even Remy!) and are less likely to cause injuries compared to any collar around a dog’s neck.

No-pull harness

However, I use a prong collar for walking Remy about 80% of the time. (This doesn’t mean YOU should. It’s just what works for us.)

I’d prefer to use a Gentle Leader, but Remy holds his breath, puts his head low and pulls like a train. He also paws at it, which causes other dogs to react to us.

I’d also prefer to use a no-pull harness, but when he wears it he “hops” on his hind legs when we pass other dogs. Obviously not ideal in an urban setting. He makes other dogs too excited. It’s embarrassing, and it’s not responsible on my part.

The prong collar allows me to take my dog just about anywhere and keep him calm and under control. He can pass people without jumping on them. We can take him to breweries and coffee shops. I can take my dog out into the world to tire him out mentally and physically and keep on socializing him.

Yes, I’d love to transition to a martingale collar or the Gentle Leader. But for now, the prong collar it is.

See my post: Gentle Leader vs. prong collar

5. Use treats often for rewards.

Treats are a great training tool. I use them occasionally and absolutely recommend you use treats for your dog. I recommend Zukes minis.

However, food tends to make Remy extra nutty. He’s generally better behaved, more focused and just all-around a nicer dog when we train with minimal treats and toys. I keep some treats in my pocket, but he only gets them when he’s relaxed (not mouthing my hands, jumping, fixating or trembling with excitement).

An occasional treat is good.

Other than that, my dog has an easier time focusing and learning when I use calm, verbal praise like “gooooood booooy.”

So you can see, general dog training advice is good, but you really need to consider your individual dog and pick and choose what works for you.

Don’t worry what others tell you is “right.” It might be right for their dog, but not necessarily yours.

That goes for everything I say on my blog too.

Every dog is different.

Every environment is different.

Every owner is different.

What dog training advice have you generally used or ignored?

Dog training advice I'm glad I ignored



5 Reasons to Try Feeding Your Dog Raw Food

5 Reasons to Try Feeding Your Dog Raw Food

Free Shipping on Balanced Blends Raw Pet Food Thru March 14

This post is sponsored by Balanced Blends.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I wanted to share this special with you!

Free shipping storewide at Balanced BlendsBalanced Blends is offering FREE shipping storewide now through March 14 (minimum order 10lbs). Click here.

The company makes balanced, frozen raw diets for dogs and cats and delivers right to your door.

A great deal on raw

There are two ways you can get a great deal on food from Balanced Blends.

First, the company is offering Free shipping storewide now through March 14. (Minimum order 10 pounds.)


Or, if 10 pounds is too much, you can try a smaller, 2-pound “Starter Pack.” These are just $12 and shipping is free when you use code STARTERPACK. Click here.

Reasons to try feeding your dog raw food

Why feed raw?

You might be thinking, Why raw?

Simply, because real, fresh food is healthier for dogs and cats and a healthier diet will improve their quality of life. A raw diet contains more nutrients than cooked food, and dogs and cats are naturally designed for eating raw meat.

If you give raw feeding a try, you’ll see some of the benefits for yourself!

5 reasons to give raw feeding a try for 30 days

If you’ve ever considered switching your dog to a raw diet, an easy way to go about it is to commit to feeding raw for just 30 days and see how it goes. Just mentally create your own 30-day trial.

When I switched my Lab mix Ace to a raw diet in 2011, I committed to a 90-day raw feeding trial. I said I was going to feed my dog raw for just three months, and after that I could go back to feeding cooked food if I wanted. (Turns out, I prefer to feed him raw but I have switched back and forth a few times to save money.)

Ingredients for Balanced Blends raw food

Here are some reasons to consider feeding your dog raw for 30 days as a test:

1. A 30-day trial is less overwhelming.

A lot of dog owners are interested in feeding their dogs a healthier diet but they feel overwhelmed about the cost and whether or not they should make the food themselves (vs. buying pre-prepared raw food from a company).

Looking at it as a 30-day trial is far less overwhelming. After 30 days you will see the health benefits from the healthier diet and that will help you decide if the trial was worth it. (More on that below.) If not, that’s OK too!

Tip: It’s MUCH easier to start feeding your dog pre-made raw food from a company vs. putting the meals together yourself. That way you don’t have to worry about the meals being balanced, there’s no planning involved and there’s no worry about bacteria. You can always switch to homemade raw once you’re more comfortable (or some sort of combination).

Free shipping storewide at Balanced Blends2. A raw diet is healthier for most pets.

I believe a balanced raw diet is the healthiest way to eat for most dogs and cats, and you can see the benefits for yourself if you try it for just 30 days.

Some of the health benefits of a raw diet for pets include reduced allergies (many pets have allergies to the grains and other ingredients in kibble) and improved digestion since raw food is more natural. When you feed your pet a raw diet, some of the first changes you will notice include healthier teeth and gums, healthier looking skin and coat and less poop!

Other raw feeders also report seeing their older dogs and cats have increased energy and an easier time maintaining a healthy weight.

3. Committing raw food in your budget for 30 days is not so bad.

Cost is the main barrier I hear about for switching to a raw diet, but when you commit to just one month of raw feeding, you can plan it in your budget and then decide if it’s something you’re able to continue long term.

If you have a hard time affording raw food (the case for many people), consider feeding raw once a week or one meal a day or whatever works with your budget. Make it your goal to feed the healthiest food you can afford.

Also remember that a healthier pet means fewer visits to the vet in general and fewer vet bills. No, you can’t control everything but what our pets eat does play a major role in health and quality of life.

Remy with raw food from Balanced Blends

4. You can always go back to feeding cooked food.

It’s OK if you decide raw feeding is just not for you. That’s what a 30-day trial is for!

You can always go back to feeding homecooked or dry dog food. For me, it was much less overwhelming focusing on a short-term trial and then deciding what to do based on how that went.

I decided raw feeding is the way to go, and I think you will too. (I do mix it up with homemade raw, commercial raw and also dry dog food.)

5. Learn as you go.

Pet owners will tell me they are interested in feeding raw but they don’t know enough about it or they need to do more research first. I see that as an excuse! (I know, because I did the same thing.)

Yes, of course it’s good to do some research before changing anything in your dog’s diet. However, you don’t have to spend weeks or months or years preparing. Start with a few articles on my blog and check out the info at Balanced Blends. Most people make raw feeding much more complicated than it needs to be.

We’re all still learning and trying different recipes with our dogs. That’s OK!

Take advantage of specials!

If you decide to give raw feeding a try, now is a good time to take advantage of the special offer through Balanced Blends.

You can get FREE shipping on all orders through March 14 (minimum order of 10 pounds).

Order Balanced Blends with free shipping here.

Or, consider one of the Starter Packs where you get 2 pounds of raw food for $12 and free shipping using code STARTERPACK. Order Here.

I hope this helps you give raw feeding a try for a month, and I’d really love to hear how it goes!

Do you have questions about raw feeding or the special I mentioned?

Just let me know in the comments and I’ll get your questions answered.

Get Your FREE Mutt Sticker, We’re Celebrating 9 Years of Blogging

Get Your FREE Mutt Sticker, We’re Celebrating 9 Years of Blogging

We’re celebrating 9 years of blogging at That Mutt about dog training, dog behavior, exercise and everything DOGS!

That’s more than 1,600 blog posts, over 1 million words published and more than 29,000 comments from you!

To thank our readers for sticking around the blog, we want to send you a FREE “Mutt on Board” window sticker. Yep, we designed a NEW sticker specifically around Mutts!

Click here to claim your FREE sticker!

The free Mutt on Board stickers are 5″ x 5″ vinyl and can stick on a car, window, notebook, dog kennel or anywhere else. (They peel off really easily so they’re safe to put on a car, window or other smooth surface.)

We partnered up with Mighty Paw to have these made just for you. The stickers are totally unique, you can only get them here. These are limited, and we have a few hundred left (once we run out, we run out).

Just click the link below to get YOURS and we’ll drop one in the mail for you this week!


Thanks for following That Mutt. It means a lot to us!

-Lindsay, Ace & Remy

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