Saying goodbye to your pet

To Sydney: A great dog, friend & family member. What it was like to say goodbye 😩

Me, Sydney & Cooper

A tough start to the day

This past Saturday was one of the tougher days I’ve had in quite some time. When our family woke up, we were met with the unmistakable smell of a dog that had gone to the bathroom all over the home. Unfortunately, my dog, Sydney had another accident through the night, only this time, she wasn’t able to stand up without the mightiest of struggles. Unfortunately, this was the last day our family would get to spend time with Sydney. 

For the past 2 years, she’s been fighting the inevitable aging that eventually hits all dogs. As the owner of a dog food company, I knew this day would come as we all too often hear about the heartache longtime customers go through when they lose an animal. It’s always sad, but this was a new level of sadness for me. Growing up, I remember the day we got our first family dog. It was my 5th birthday, and we picked up a black lab by the name of Sadie from some family friends. As we were trying to figure out which puppy would become a member of the Felderhoff family, I had picked up a puppy, only to accidentally drop her….My Dad then said, “that’s our puppy now, Mitch.”

Sadie was a great dog and one of the best friends a young kid could have. But, as I left school for college, I essentially parted ways with her. I would see Sadie on holidays & weekends, but for the last 3 years of her life, I didn’t have a lot of interaction with her. When she passed, it was a sad moment for me for sure, but nothing like this past Saturday when Sydney took her final breath. 

As we went through the process of cleaning up after Sydney again, I couldn’t help but cry. For the past 12 months, Sydney no longer had control of her bowels. My wife and I (Aubree) tried countless measures to accommodate our senior dog and her struggles with her digestive system. We switched to raw freeze-dried 2 years ago, and that made a tremendous difference (I believe added a year to her life easily). At that time, she had been a little overweight and was starting to have bowel issues. When we switched to freeze-dried, it instantly helped her shed excess weight, she had less frequent bowel movements & they were not only solid but also crumbled and disintegrated into the lawn within a few days without us needing to scoop anything. 

A slow decline

Then, as she continued to grow gray in the face, she lost her hearing, and a few months later, she lost her sight. She could no longer hear when we would call her name, she failed to respond to visual cues. For the past 9 months, we’ve pretty much walked her everywhere with one hand on her side to make sure she didn’t run into anything. About 6 months ago, her back right hip started to rotate out and she began having trouble walking. 3 months ago she began struggling to stand & to lay down. Throughout this time, she would suffer from random lengths of time that her digestive system would wreak havoc on our home. We gladly cleaned it though, because we loved having Sydney around still, as messy as life became at times.

Her favorite spot to lay was the couch….which wasn’t “allowed” but she spent more time on them than off of them 😂😂

We had agreed that until she seemed miserable, and the veterinarians told us there were no other options, we were going to keep her going as long as possible. Plus, the amount of joy and peace she brought our kids, especially Cooper (our middle child) was irreplaceable. On the majority of days when we’re trying to find Cooper, we know to find Sydney. Sure enough every time we found her, we’d find Cooper, sitting next to her, petting her & talking with her like a friend. It was not uncommon for this to go on for close to 2 hours at times. Cooper definitely has a special place in his heart for animals, but the peace Sydney brought him in return was invaluable, and there was no doubt she enjoyed the attention.

Sydney with her favorite human, Cooper!

A very tough phone call

Unfortunately, for the past few months, regardless of feeding regimen, supplements & or medicine, Sydney could no longer find peace & comfort. As I picked up the phone to call my Aunt (who is a world-class veterinarian), I told myself “it’s ok, it’s time, she’d had 15 GREAT years and you were lucky to have her”. When the receptionist answered the phone I explained that “my sweet dog had made it to the finish line and needed to be laid to rest”. She asked for my name & the name of my dog. I managed to mumble “Mitch Felderhoff”, but when she asked me for my dog’s name, I couldn’t speak.

I literally started sobbing and handed the phone to my wife who was able to finish the call for me. Making that phone call was one of the toughest calls I’ve ever made because it felt like I was giving up on not just a friend, but a family member. I know it wasn’t true as we had exhausted everything we could have done to keep Sydney with us as long as possible, but the enormity of that decision weighed heavily. 

After making the call, I took Sydney and gave her a bath, something she’s never really enjoyed. This time, however, she didn’t try to get away, she just stood there while I washed her. In the end, she tried to shake the water off, but it caused her to fall to the ground. In the 100+ times, I’ve given her a bath, I always hated when she would shake the water off onto me. This time, I was heartbroken she couldn’t. 

Making the most of the last day

Knowing I had 5 hours until we were going to the vet, we made it a point to try and spend some quality family time with Sydney. Breaking the news to our 3 boys was just as tough as everything else that had happened that day. When we told them it was time for her to join Stormy (our cat that passed just a year earlier) all of them broke into tears, which then caused Aubree and I to join them almost immediately. 

Anyone who knew Sydney, knows her favorite thing in the world, is food…..all of it. Having not been able to feed her as much the past few months as we had her whole while we tried to manage her bowel movements, we knew today needed to be a full belly day for Sydney. So, we asked Cooper to get her a special meal ready for her. We went and defrosted some bone broth from the freezer, heated it up & poured it over a combination of Freeze-Dried Elk & Chicken patties we had. She ate and ate & then licked the bowl for a few minutes like normal and for a few minutes, we all smiled.

We then decided to share some of our favorite moments with Sydney. Most of them ironically had to do with her stealing someone’s food off the coffee table or from a picnic the boys would occasionally have on the living room floor. I remember a time in college when a few friends had come over to our rent house to watch football for the day. My buddy Cory showed up with some cheeseburgers, unwrapped them, put them on a plate in front of him & jetted off to grab some paper towels. I had walked into the other room to grab my phone, and when we returned, he asked me what I did with his burgers. Sydney was looking at him, licking her chops, and let out one of the biggest dog burps we had ever heard 😂😂…..I think we were gone for a collective 15 seconds and she managed to eat about 1800 calories in that time.

Aubree’s favorite story about Sydney goes back to 2007 when we had first started dating. For those of you who don’t know my wife, she’s very passionate about exercise and has always been quite active. In an effort to impress her, I told her I often went running with my dog, Sydney. I didn’t disclose that I rarely made it more than a mile but also felt like that wasn’t too important. Shortly after learning “I ran”, she offered to take Sydney on a run. I said “Absolutely”! I was working an event at a local feed store and my phone rang with Aubree on the other end of it “Hey, I’ve only gone 2 miles and Sydney looks like she’s going to pass out, how far do you normally run with her?”……I had been discovered as a fraudulent “runner”.

Aubree & Sydney

Picture time

Due to the pandemic, we’re currently battling as a country, only one person is allowed in the veterinarian’s office at a time with their dog. So, we decided the family would say bye at home and I would take her. I have to say, the whole time we took pictures, everyone smiled and for a minute, Sydney didn’t seem to be in pain. Every kid took an opportunity to grab a photo with her, Nolan snagged a few with his polaroid (yeah, a polaroid…so cool by the way), and then we took a family photo.

Looking at the family photo with Sydney in the middle is going to be a longtime family favorite for certain. You’ll notice Cooper can’t help but have a hand on her, Nolan is focused on the camera, Nash isn’t sure he’s ready to be a willing participant (3-year-old) & Aubree and I are just happy to have a moment where we’re all together. 

family shot!

The long drive & then wait

As I picked Sydney up and sat her in the front seat of my truck, I had an instant flashback to college. Everywhere I went that wasn’t work/school, she was with me, riding shotgun. Whether it was a 15-minute drive or a 3-hour drive, she would pretty much just lay there with her head on the center console and I would pet her as I drove. I’m not going to lie, we had many conversations where I would talk to Sydney about my next steps on how I was sudying for tests, how work was going and what the future was going to be like. If dogs could talk, she would have plenty to share!

It was about an hour drive to my Aunt’s office and was one of the best drives I had made in a while. Unfortunately with 3 kids, there hasn’t been room to bring Sydney along for a ride in quite some time. This was one of the first in a long, long time. It took me back to our old days that I remembered so fondly, and it was honestly great to just sit in that moment for a while. 

We’ve had countless hours with Sydney riding “shotgun” over the years.

When I arrived at the office, I was informed there had been some emergencies and it would be a little longer than anticipated. For the next 1.5 hours, I sat in the truck with Sydney and just talked with her. I went over the different memories and couldn’t believe how many I had. She just sat there like a good dog and stared at me while I talked and was just there with me. Even though she was the one at the end of the line, she was comforting me. 

When we finally went into the office, there was another 30-45 minute wait. Due to Covid, the grief room wasn’t being used, so the procedure would be done in the exam room where they could disinfect easily enough after. So again, I just sat there with Sydney and for the first time in a while, just wanted time to stop. The past year our family has climbed a few mountains, and there really hasn’t been much time at all to just “sit” and think, and if so, it was normally in traffic. Today, I was forced to “sit”, but at least I was able to do it with my dog. I don’t know how to explain it, but I actually feel like time slowed down and I felt the most peace I had felt in a while. 

There were no words exchanged, I didn’t say anything to Sydney, I just sat down on the ground next to her. So many times in life after a bad day, I would come home and just “sit” with Sydney. She never had anything negative to say, and would just lay her head on my leg like she did this last time. Without ever talking, I always felt better after hanging out with my dog.  In a way, I think this was her way of leaving me with one last gift. She pulled me out of what was bound to be a busy Saturday, right before a very, very busy week & made me stop. 

Our last moments together…..

When my Aunt came in for the final step, it was a very surreal moment. The dog I had proudly taken home to my apartment 15 years ago was about to be gone forever. I knew it was close, but I never knew how I would react. In those final moments though, she just lay with her head pressed against me while I kept my hand on her shoulders. As she took her final breath, I said my last goodbyes (Although I’m not sure what it really sounded like as I choked on my tears, I’m certain she understood). Sydney lived a great life as a dog and continued to make an immeasurable impact on me even in her final moments. Aubree, the boys, and I will miss her dearly, but we’ll forever be thankful for the peace and happiness she brought us.

Final thoughts

Many people never own a dog, and will never know what it’s like to lose one. Even though my family has had pets from the time I was a child, I never truly knew what it was like to lose “your dog”. It’s been a while since I’ve cried as much as I did Saturday, and honestly, I have tears running down my face as I type this. In a way, these are healing tears as it’s been a reflection of the impact Sydney has had on my life.

To all of our friends and customers who read this, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope this helps you understand how seriously we take being a pet owner & how seriously we take our responsibility of providing your dog with the best product we know how to produce. Know that we will continue to press forward and continue pushing the envelope to develop the best diet that will give us the most years with our pets. When you tell us how great your dog is doing on our food, we genuinely get excited and happy. When we hear that you’ve finally resolved issues that have followed your dog for years, we’re happy. When you share news of your dogs getting sick or passing, we genuinely get it and feel with you. If you’ve ever lost a dog that was more than just a dog, I feel you. We’re here for you, good and bad, and I appreciate you being here with me.

Much Love,

Mitch Felderhoff
-4th Generation Owner

30 days of dog food….Why?

Driven by personal & professional conviction.

Becoming Introspective

My wife and I had just left the DFW airport and were about an hour into an 8-hour flight to celebrate our 10 year anniversary trip. We’re both avid readers and wanted to use this trip as an opportunity to hit the reset buttons on our minds & focus on our marriage and how we’re going to plan the next 10 years, and then spend some time reading and listening to podcasts. I’m not sure anyone out there looks back after 10 years of marriage or life and says “That’s exactly what I thought it would be!”

While we are very happy together and have had a blessed life, it certainly hasn’t come along the way we mapped it out when we first said our vows. We’ve been given many challenges like most couples have. We’ve ridden the rollercoaster of career changes, I became an entrepreneur, we became parents, and we’ve had to fight long term chronic ailments. In the past 10 years, we’ve also moved homes & schools, lost loved ones & brought new ones into the world. We’ve made progress financially and suffered setbacks that we didn’t anticipate. But overall, we’ve lived a blessed life, and we’re still here!

When we started to discuss what the next 10 years of our life would look like, I knew it would be different. I knew I wanted something different. I knew that if I wanted something different, I had to do something different. It was time for me to take control and be myself more than I have been. I needed to stop trying to do the things I can’t, and focus on my strengths. I also felt like I needed to raise my level of commitment to my family, my business & our customers.

Feeling unproductive

One of the things I struggle with personally is feeling like I’m never doing enough. Our parents raised us to value hard work (which I’m incredibly grateful for). We would routinely witness them work 12 hour days Monday-Friday, and then head back to the office on Saturdays & Sundays during some times of the year. So, naturally, if I’m not putting in 60 hours a week, I feel inadequate and like I’m letting someone down, mainly myself. I don’t know why exactly, other than that’s what I’ve equated to winning.

I’ve had many good friends and mentors tell me the past few years that I’m stretching myself to thin, and at some point, I’ll pay the price. Well, that has certainly presented itself this past year. As I progressed through the year, I found myself working even longer hours & starting earlier. There are times I tuck the family in for bed and go back to work from 10-12, only to get back up at 4:30 and do the same thing. I spend a lot of time taking 3 steps forward and 3 steps back. I find ways to slowly stop working out, slowly start eating worse, slowly stop reading, and eventually end up at the same spot every year. I end up looking like someone who used to maybe be an “athlete”, about 10-20 pounds heavier than I should be, chronically fatigued and frustrated that I found myself at the same place again.

An unhealthy version of me from 2017 (my heaviest)

Do you know what the worst part of this is? In the end, the work I was doing wasn’t as important as I thought it was. Most of it was busywork that I refused to punt to someone else on the team…and we have a great team. I tell myself that I’m the only one who knows how to execute what I’m thinking in my head, and in the end, we have so many people who can do a lot of the things I’ve been doing, but better, I just needed to get out of the way.

Trying to gain clarity

So, knowing all these things, you can probably understand why a trip without kids was something we both needed. My wife (Aubree) goes above and beyond for our family, and the past few years I haven’t really been as present as I had committed to being when we first said our vows. She has found herself playing the role of a single parent too many times, and I needed to find out how to do my part better, along with gaining a clear vision of what we wanted for our life in the next 10 years. I also knew I needed to evolve as a leader and adapt to what our company needs me to be.

As we reflected and looked over notes we’ve taken from books and podcasts, one thing continued to stand out to me. If I want to live the life I want to have, I have to think differently. When Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s owner) was debating at the age of 30 whether or not he wanted to quit his job on Wall Street and start an online book store, he asked himself if, when he turned 80, would he regret not taking the risk? The answer was yes. Look at what he’s built because he was willing to take that risk and pursue his dream.

One of my favorite quotes is from Les Brown, The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”

When I looked at my notes I had taken from Ed Mylett’s book & podcasts, this one stuck out to me: Make sure you don’t turn your DREAM into a NIGHTMARE and regret the rest of your life that you didn’t give it everything you had.”

A mentor and friend of mine named Jeff York said “Nobody is proud of the easy things they’ve done”…..This certainly wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew I’d be proud if I could finish it. More importantly, I know I would regret not doing it in 20 years if I passed on the opportunity.

Do you see a trend here? Everything I was reading and listening to that made the biggest impact on my current state of mind, had to do with the fact that I don’t think I was truly executing my dream. I wasn’t being the dad I wanted to be, the husband I wanted to be, or the leader I wanted to be in my company. I had been pushing too hard to check items off of a to-do list, that I was no longer spending time looking at the big picture at home or at work. I had been lying to myself and told myself “if I can be busy, I’m making a difference,” but in the end, I wasn’t focusing on my strength or my dream, I was just staying busy.

Being honest with myself

As Aubree and I talked about what we wanted for our marriage and our kids, we then turned to what we wanted for our careers. It was at this moment, I decided to stop lying to myself. I’ve never been the kind to sit quietly in the back and wait. I wasn’t the kid who was asked to raise his hand, it was always up. When someone is stuck and trying to find an idea, I always volunteer one. When the teacher would ask someone to read, I would do it, and be happy about it.  Slowly over the past 5 years, I had somehow turned into someone that just opened their computer and responded to emails all day, worked on spreadsheets, and spent evenings and weekends responding to trolls on our Facebook page (somehow thinking that was productive….). 

I decided I was going to be happy, I needed to get back to being myself. I needed to act boldly and fearlessly. I’ve known for years that we needed to be more active on social media, that I should be doing videos & podcasts, and that I needed to get out there more to help educate our customers, and yet I didn’t. You know why? I hated the sound of my voice and didn’t want to listen to myself…Everyone has always told me that I’m a good storyteller and that I’m a great speaker, but I’ve never believed them, until now.

Acting with Conviction

Now, how was I going to take the next step and become what I knew I needed to? Well, I was going to do something that I’ve been telling myself I should do for 2 years. You see, I’ve always believed that you shouldn’t sell something unless you truly believe in it. When I worked as a personal trainer, I stopped selling training because clients didn’t want to do the work to get better. I sold supplements instead because I at least knew there was some benefit there. When I started working for my parents, I sold our foods that didn’t have corn & wheat in it, because I knew too much starch for dogs was bad for their health. Now when you look at our product lineups, you won’t find those ingredients in our foods. If we don’t believe it benefits the animal, we don’t do it.

For 2 years, I have toyed with the idea of eating our dog food for a month. Not just as an advertising bit…..far from it. I want people to know that we are so passionate about what we do, that we’ll do anything we can to make sure we’re providing the best food possible for their dog, so much so, that we’ll even eat it ourselves. Am I saying that because I did well on it, dogs will? No, that’s absurd, that’s why we work with a Ph.D. nutritionist who has over 30 years of experience in our field. I’m doing it because I want people to know that we don’t just guess about our ingredients, suppliers, and process, we trust it. I know when my brother tells me we’re making quality products and buying quality ingredients, that I don’t have to worry about the safety of the food. 

The taste, well that’s another story for another day, but I also don’t care. You see when you’re truly passionate about what you’re doing, who cares if you have to pass on pizza for a month? I know I don’t. 

Living out our passion

Chad and I have a vision for our business. We want to feed as many dogs as we can a healthier diet than the conventional pet food options on the market. We want to provide customized solutions tailored to individual dogs. We want to employ hundreds of people and pay them above-market rates for their talent. We want to make a difference in independent and family-owned pet stores across the country. We want to inspire others to do the same and hope that by leading a company of faith that we can slowly inspire that in other areas of the country.

In order to do that, we have to act boldly, and while I was staring at the ocean with my wife, for some reason, I felt it, and I knew that it was time for me to do something crazy and out of my comfort zone. I was trying to figure out how to compete with the voices of the National Brands who spend millions of dollars…..WITHOUT spending Millions of Dollars. I thought, “what can I do, that the CEO of Nestle, Mars or Blue Buffalo probably wouldn’t be willing to do? I looked at my wife and told her “when we get back, I’m only eating our dog food for 30 days”. 

Without a beat, she looked at me, said: “You’re being serious, and if anyone can do it, it’s you”. When I returned to work, I spoke with my sales and marketing team, they’re response: “hell yeah, let’s do it!”. I called Chad and told him, he laughed and said, “ok, let’s go get em, glad it was your idea, I’ll cook it, you eat it.” 

Aubree and I after I broke the news of the impending dog food breath ^

Not doing this alone

As I write this, I’m on day 20. I wasn’t sure how I would make it as far as I have, but I do now. Aubree and the kids have been so great (the kids love helping my meal prep). Our fans on Facebook and Instagram have been super supportive. My parents, mentors, and friends have called to give support & advice. Everyone from Chad, to our office, sales, marketing & production team is rooting me on and trying to eat with me when they get an opportunity (Yes, they are volunteering to eat dog food with me so I’m not alone!!! How freaking cool is that!?!?). The number of friends, retailers and even customers that have reached out wanting to join me for a meal is overwhelming! Even my doctor, nutritionist, pastors, and parents were on board with this project. 

Dinner, day 13. My personal favorite: Muenster Ancient Grains Ocean Fish
w/ Chicken Meatballs & Beef Meatballs.

I have 10 days left of dog food only, I’m down 20 pounds and feel absolutely fantastic. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol or a cup of coffee in 3 weeks and feel better for it. I’ve never felt more confident in the products we’re producing, or the team that’s producing them. I feel like I’m living the life I was meant to live, even if it means I’m eating dog food. 

-Mitch Felderhoff

4th Generation Owner

Check out our YouTube journey:

Week 1:

Week 2:

What do I do about my Overweight dog?

Obesity in Pets

Over the course of the last few decades, pets are facing an obesity crisis that’s mirroring the one people are facing, if not worse. Take a look at these statistics:

  • 54% of dogs in the U.S. are considered obese (30% overweight or more)
  • This is an 80% increase since 2005. 
  • In 2017 out of the 89,000,000 dogs, appx 297,000 of them had diabetes.
  • 60,000 dogs die every year as a result of diabetes.

How did we get here? Well, the answer is actually quite simple, most dogs eat too many carbohydrates on a daily basis. Over time, this causes insulin resistance as they aren’t able to handle the amount of sugar that’s being converted as the carbohydrates are broken down, leading to insulin resistance. When a dog becomes insulin resistant, they try to produce more in order to handle the elevated blood sugar, and eventually, the pancreas waves the white flag and gives up. 

When the pancreas gives in, the dog, unfortunately, becomes diabetic. Now, since the dog can’t talk, they don’t really have the ability to let us know they need to pee more than normal, their feet are tingling, and their vision is getting blurry, all we can see is they’re gaining a little more weight than normal. Beyond these symptoms, they are also more at risk for heart disease, cancer, and other chronic inflammatory diseases.

Conventional & mass-market pet food companies, unfortunately, spend a lot of money trying to research how they can make a diet as cheap as possible. You essentially end up with a product loaded with soy, corn, gluten, rice bran, and other starchy ingredients that cause massive spikes in blood sugar, and take the pancreas down the road of being rendered useless.

The best thing you can do is move your dog to a diet that’s higher in protein and fat, and then…..remove the junk food. When I say junk food, I’m talking about the conventional baked treats that are sold made mostly of flour & potatoes. While our dogs may eat them and seem happy, there are much better options. You see, every time you give your dog one of these sugary treats, it’s causing an insulin release. When insulin is released into the bloodstream, it converts carbohydrates to sugar, prevents fat from being used as energy, and then causes the muscle to be broken down for energy. Over time, you end up with a dog that has added fat, reduced muscle, and been subjected to chronic inflammation. Then we wonder why our dogs have arthritis at an early age and can’t lose weight no matter how much less we feed them. Unfortunately, a lot of dogs get prescribed a “weight loss” diet that’s medicated and has even lower carbohydrates.  Time and time again while talking with customers, they will ask me, “I’ve put my dog on a low-calorie diet, and he/she just isn’t losing any weight”. Then we move them to one of our low carb grain-free diets, cut the feeding amount by almost ½, and in no time their dog has lost the extra weight.

A creature created for low carb diets

If you were to follow dogs/wolves/coyotes through the wild, you would find they would consume mostly meat, eggs, and some vegetables & fruits when they find them. This would result in a starch level of approximately 4%. Keep in mind berries are mostly water, and there aren’t typically enough for a dog to eat to satiety, so they typically are doing it for water content, or they just like the taste of a cool berry! Now, consider most pet foods on the market have a calorie profile where carbohydrates contribute 40-50% of the nutrition (10X what nature intended), and it’s easy to see how the industry has missed the mark. 

Also consider, dogs have 8 hormones to raise blood sugar, and only one to lower it (insulin), it has to make you wonder why we’re working so hard against the genetic makeup of the dog. They have the ability to raise their blood sugar if they need energy with the use of EIGHT different hormones, yet we place the burden on insulin when we feed high carb diets.

What can you do?

The best thing to do is to feed your dog fewer carbohydrates. I have seen countless dogs lose weight that their owners thought would be impossible to lose, simply by moving them to a lower-carb diet, you can find ours here

The next best thing you can do would be to incorporate Freeze-Dried meats to their diet. This will increase the fat & protein of their diet even more, while also reducing the amount of dry kibble you would feed. Beyond being the exact nutrient profile your dogs were mean to eat, it may be one of the tastiest things you can add to their diet. You can find our Freeze-Dried meal toppers & treats here.

Want to save a few bucks and help your dog drop a few pounds?

If you’ve never tried Muenster before, use coupon code lessfat25 to save 25% on your first order of Grain-Free & Freeze-Dried here.

Read this if you’re new to Muenster!

   Welcome to the Muenster family. We’re so happy to have you as part of our pack, and want to give you a little insight to what makes our food the best & how to feed your dog!

  1. START SLOW: If you have been feeding another dog food for more than a month, your dog’s digestive system will need a tad bit of time to adjust. (the same way it would for a person if you went from eating pizza for a month to salad 🙂 😁
  2. FAST IF POSSIBLE: A 24 hour fast (no food) will do a wonder of good before transitioning a dog to a new diet. It lets the digestive system rest and helps the microbes in the gut to re-populate!
    1. Day 1: Fast (no food or treats 😬)
    2. Day 2: 25% Muenster, 75% old food
    3. Day 3: 50% Muenster, 50% old food
    4. Day 4: 75% Muenster, 25% old food
    5. Day 5: 75% Muenster, 25% old food
    6. Day 6: 100% Muenster 🐶
  4. FEED LESS: Did you know, Muenster contains appx 25-30% more calories per cup than most foods on the market? Due to our lower temperature cook process & higher meat inclusion recipes, we fit more calories in a cup than most! We ALWAYS recommend you feed your dog about 25-30% less than you were feeding on a prior diet. While it’s uncommon for a manufacturer to tell you to feed less of their product, we do! We want healthy trim dogs, not plump ones 😁!
  5. FEED ONCE PER DAY: While an unpopular choice, if you’re fighting digestive issues, allergies, obesity, this can be a game-changer for your dog. It allows the digestive tract to heal, rest & reduce inflammation with the body. It will take around 5-7 days to get your dog used to this, but you will see a difference in 30 days!
    1. If you have a highly active dog that has a hard time holding weight, continue feeding multiple times per day
    2. If you want to feed twice per day, we highly recommend feeding one of our many freeze-dried raw options in the morning as part of the meal plan. This will keep carbs low & provide you both with the happiness your dog wants!
  6. CONSIDER SWITCHING IT UP: Dog food can get a tad boring. I know this because I ate it for 30 days! Don’t believe me? Just google: man eats dog food for a month :) After this, we introduced the ability to customize a single bag with ingredients like salmon oil, coconut oil, bacon fat & other freeze-dried goodies. This allows you to keep the same base recipe to maintain a healthy digestive system, but also provide your dog with some of the variety it craves!
  7. REWARDS POINTS: Yep, that’s right, you just earned 100 rewards points just for ordering from us. Every time you purchase Muenster, you’re rewarded with 1 point for every dollar spent. 
  8. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Please let us know how your dog does on the food and if you need any help! As a small family owned company, we heavily rely on feedback from our customers. 5-star reviews on our products are always appreciated, as is some love on social media 🙂

Best Regards,

Mitch & Chad Felderhoff

4th Generation Owners

Day 4: I haven’t been this tired in a long, long, long time

Day 4 My middle son threw a curveball my way, and my day started at 2:30 am as he was informing me he just puked all over his bed…YES! Exactly what I was hoping would happen…

While I was sad for Cooper, I was dreading what the rest of my day would be like operating on such a low level of carbohydrates as a fuel source and not fully understanding how my body would handle the diet change yet…Even more concerning, if I got this, would everyone assume it was the food???

As many of you know, if you have kids….or a dog, that creates a massive mess at 2:30 am, most of the time, you may as well just stay up, because you may only wake up more tired if you take a nap at this point. Well, today, I did just that, and it was a terrible mistake. I could barely keep my eyes open by the time the clock hit 7:00 and it was time for me to head to work, and today was a busy day.

*Muenster Grain-Free Salmon with Bacon Fat & Freeze-Dried Chicken added. My snack for the next week or so!

While shooting videos to promote our new customized solutions, I found myself hungry, and desperately wanting a cup of coffee, on a day where I certainly could have used a boost. However, I held strong, snacked on some kibble & drank as much water as I could, and prayed the day would be over quickly. I also thought “Oh no, what if this is what I feel like for the next 26 days!?!?!” To say I felt a little panicked would be an understatement. 

The only bright spot I had today was when Aubree called me to let me know Cooper had rebounded and was doing better already. As we went back to filming videos for our “My Custom Dog Food” I was sure to include plenty of bacon fat on the product that I would be taking home for me and my pups! Here’s to hoping I break free of the carb flu tomorrow….because this was a tough day!

-Mitch Felderhoff

Also, a special coupon code: SwimUpstream will save you 10% on bags of Grain Free Salmon or Ancient Grains Ocean Fish good thru April 12, 2020

Check out our video blog here

Day 3: Why a new diet can have your dog feeling sluggish

Day 3 was a long tiring day for me…..the why behind it is simple. For the past 7 weeks I’ve pretty much eaten the standard American diet, including cheeseburgers, nachos, pizza & more sugar than I’ve had in years. The result – any time I needed a boost in energy, my body was searching frantically for sugar/carbs. 

Now that I’ve reduced the number of carbs/sugars to less than 20% of my diet by utilizing our low carb kibble & Freeze-Dried raw, my body is learning how to pull energy from somewhere other than the junk food I’ve been relying on (not to mention caffeine). Typically, when you remove the sugar & carbohydrates from your body, it can take 5-7 days to learn how to efficiently operate on a low carbohydrate diet.

What’s the good news about this? Your dog can take as many naps as it wants to throughout the day because most of our dogs don’t have a strict work schedule! However, they are just as susceptible to an insulin “crash” as we are. When we feed our dogs starches & carbohydrates, the body converts them to sugar, uses what they need from an energy standpoint & then an insulin “dump” takes place after the body has the fuel it needs.

The insulin released into the bloodstream causes the body to switch it’s energy supply away from carbohydrates/sugars and to the next most efficient/easy source of energy (the dog’s muscle). Now, it resorts to muscle because of the high level of insulin forcing the body to “freeze” fat storage and flips the switch to gathering the energy/nutrients it needs from muscle.

Over time, this can be devastating to a dog. It causes a reduced level of muscle, chronic inflammation & lowers the dog’s metabolic rate. In turn, the dog needs fewer calories, but we keep feeding them the same amount, and in turn, cause larger and larger insulin dumps….until it’s too late and the dog’s pancreas can no longer keep up, resulting in insulin-resistant diabetes.

Sooooo…..In order to combat this, we need to give our dogs a diet lower in carbohydrates. When feeding our dry based kibble and combining about 25% freeze-dried, you’re lowering the carbohydrates to approximately 15-20% of their diet, ensuring they stay well below the 24% that dogs can efficiently process. However, it can still take your dog a week or so to get efficient, so let’s give them some grace if they take an extra nap or two :).

Day 3 is in the books and I’m looking forward to the transition into a light ketosis state!

-Mitch Felderhoff

Also, a special coupon code: StartStrong will save you 10% on any order of Beef Heart Strong Meal Toppers good thru April 12, 2020

Check out our video blog here

Day 2: The Importance of a slow diet change

The Importance of a slow diet change

One of the things we preach to customers is “Transition your animal to Muenster SLOWLY!”….So many time our poor dogs get the food switched on them with no warning or transition period. We take for granted that most of the time our dog is fine, but at the end of the day, there can be a war going on in their stomach & intestines. 

Extra side of “chin” anyone? Mitch with an extra 30lbs on him….

A dog’s stomach is made up of hundreds of trillions of “microflora”, these are the good bacteria found in the stomach that we refer to as probiotics. When an animal is eating the exact same thing for a month, their “microbiome” will adjust accordingly in order to become efficient at breaking down the specific diet the body has become used to & will populate accordingly.

When we switch the food with no transition period, the dog’s stomach has to figure out what to do on the “fly.” It doesn’t get an opportunity to “learn” how to digest this new diet….it just gets thrown into the fire and has to figure it out as fast as possible! What does this lead to……..? Most of the time, a liquid brown substance that finds it’s way to an area of the carpet that you don’t want painted brown. 

By transitioning slowly,  and mixing in some fasting, you allow your dogs microbiome an opportunity to rest & slowly learn how to digest and break down the new nutrients being introduced. Think about it, at some point in your life, you ate clean or unclean for over a month before switching gears…..What happened the first time you switched from Salad to Pizza? Or, the other way around….?

When we let our dog’s system rest, and then slowly introduce a new food, it will start to rebuild its microbiome to digest the “new” diet/recipe in the most efficient way possible. In fact, if your dog has any digestive trouble at all with your new diet, one of the best things you can do is let your dog “fast” for 24 hours. This will give your dog a reboot (much like restarting a computer), and it will likely handle the diet better and without the mess the next feeding.

How did I get the first-hand experience in this? Well, I slowly introduced small handfuls of kibble throughout the day on day 2, along with drinking A LOT of water & some chunks of Freeze-Dried for dinner. It’s worth noting that I had my first bowel movement of the 30 days today….and overall: not that bad ;). Had I gone crazy and eaten too much, I can promise you the wife would have had me cleaning the carpet!

Day 1: What did I commit to?

A valuable lesson learned for special needs dogs.

On the morning of my first day to eat exclusively dog food, I had yet to eat even a single meal of only dog food, much less a full days’ worth. I found myself on the first day of eating dog food with 29 left to go….I hadn’t made a plan on what I would eat or when, I just said the heck with it, I’m doing it, we’ll figure this out as we go. 

Well, at 7:00 am, I told myself I would pass on breakfast and just snack on some kibble at lunch, or maybe some freeze-dried….Well, lunch came and went, and I had just spent a few hours in our freeze-dried facility where I had the smell of freeze-dried beef liver powder coating my sinuses and inside of my mouth (not a pleasant taste you really want to carry around with you all day), and it certainly didn’t make me hungry.

By 6:00 pm, I still haven’t taken a bite of food and I’m not really sure what I’m going to try first. Eventually, I’m staring at a kitchen table filled personal-sized pizzas Aubree has made for herself and the kids. She looks back at me and says, “well, WE’RE eating, and I suggest you join us, are you doing this or not? I smiled, and just said “ok,” grabbed some Ancient Grains chicken & pork, a few chicken meatballs and sat down.

The first bite I took made me cringe….I thought “I just committed to taking thousands of bites of dog food, and this was just one”. I thought to myself, “what in the world did I just sign up for, and why didn’t I try this for a day or two first?” Well, the truth is, if I had tried this for 2 days first, there’s no way I would have voluntarily said: “let me do this for 30 days.” 


Bites 2,3,4,5,6 & 7 weren’t any easier. I wondered to myself, “how could I get out of this?” The truth was, I couldn’t. I had told everyone I knew I was doing it, proclaimed it on social media, and told my kids. I thought of what our customers would if I called it quits after one meal and thought “that’s really showing them how much I care.” Then I thought about my boys, and how pathetic it would be if I gave up on day one. We have a set of family core values that Aubree and I are trying to instill in our boys, and this was an opportunity to lead by example. 

We tell our boys all the time: “Serve God. Don’t lie, cheat, or still…..and never, ever quit.” Well, with that in mind, I knew I had no choice but to continue, and figure out a way to make it 29 more days. So, I decided, I would eat fast, drink a lot of water & find creative ways to prepare the food without adding seasoning, sauces or spices.

If I wanted to make it through this, the key was going to be making sure I had a plan each day, just like we do for our dogs. I mapped out the rest of my month to determine what time of day I had meetings when I would have to plan on avoiding lunches, how to eat dinner when we meet other’s out, and most importantly how to carve out the time needed to prep my own meals each night.

This is when I learned my first lesson. Feeding a dog is something we take for granted often, and we need to make sure we have an easy delivery mechanism. For the most part, you can just feed it to a dog as is. However, one thing I didn’t consider is, what about people who have dogs with special needs, that don’t have teeth or need the food to be warmed before eating it? Well, for these 30 days, I have special needs, make the food in a way I can eat it without spending an hour on it, and in a way that I can replicate it quickly.

What will I try first? As soon as I get home and need dinner quick, I’ll be turning on the stove and heating some water in the tea kettle. This will ensure I have warm water to rehydrate the freeze-dried (warm water works 10 times faster), and I can eat it quickly without waiting. If you have a picky dog or a senior dog that can’t eat easily, this is a great solution to ensuring you can feed them without an hour of meal prep.

Today was a tough day, a nerve-racking day, but also a day I realized I was going to learn a lot about not only myself but also how to make myself think as other pet owners may think. I also realized that by the end of this, I would have a paradigm that no other pet food manufacturer can look through, and that is “how does the dog think/feel about what, how, when, and why it eats what it eats?”

-Mitch Felderhoff

Also, a special coupon code: meatball5 will save you $5 on any order of meatballs, beef or chicken through 2/29/2020

Check out our video blog here

A scoop a day for a stronger heart

Dogs are facing an epidemic that has plagued humans for the better part of 50 years. Obesity is increasing at a pace of over 80% since 2005 with over 54% of dogs being labeled as obese. Not shockingly, they have gone the same path as their owners, but why?

Bad Science

For over 30 years, at least in America, we have been told to avoid fat, and eat more “healthy carbs”, yet we’ve gotten bigger. When you go to the grocery store, take a look around at all of the low fat, no fat, and reduced-fat options that exist….There are more than ever and their sales are higher than ever……yet we are larger than ever.

The largest pet food manufacturers have a history of what?!

You probably didn’t know that the largest pet food manufacturers in the U.S. have their roots firmly planted in…….Candy. Yes, that’s right, candy. Nestlé and Mars are 2 of the largest manufacturers of pet food and have helped set the course of “nutrition” that dog food diets have used for years. Is it really a coincidence that they aren’t as worried about levels of carbohydrates and I don’t know….diabetes?

What do the numbers say

Obesity54% of all dogs are obese
(more than 30% overweight)

An increase of 80% since 2005

An increase of 32% since 2011
Diabetes296,666 dogs had diabetes in 2017

1 in 300

2/10 dogs euthanized w/in 12 months
of diagnosis

60,000 dogs die from diabetes every
Odds your dog will be hit by a car1,200,000

1 in 74


Simply put, this is the biggest nutritional threat your dog faces. Unfortunately, these companies have incredibly deep pockets and the ability to buy influence on a massive scale as they have spent years financing Veterinarian schools & students. 

How does this affect my dog’s heart?

The number one cause of cardiovascular disease……….You guessed it, obesity. With 54% of all dogs suffering from obesity, it’s only common sense that since we’ve checked off diabetes as one of the more common diseases facing our four-legged friends. However, the one lurking in the shadows…..Heart Disease. 

In people, we know if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to die from heart disease. In fact, 65% of people with diabetes die from heart disease. Over time, the excess blood sugar that exists in the blood due to the lack of insulin to convert it to fat or energy damages the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. This results in a weaker heart that is no longer able to pump the way it should. 

What else can cause heart problems?

Ever hear the saying, “too much of a good thing”? You can literally eat or drink too much of anything. You can die from drinking too much water, exercising too much at one time, or even eating too much salt in one sitting…..Does that mean we shouldn’t drink water, exercise, or consume salt? Absolutely not, but you do have to be aware of how you incorporate each of these.

Unfortunately, in the pet food industry, many manufacturers move too quickly when developing new products and don’t take the time to consider if what they’re making can and will, have unintended consequences. I believe with 100% conviction that unfortunately dogs are being fed diets way too high in carbohydrates, and have been for a long time. This is a result of foods being much easier to make when they are loaded with starches and happen to be cheaper.

I also believe that some brands have pushed too hard to ‘remove” grain, and in turn, ended up creating diets that had very little research behind the ingredients being used. When you look at the foods listed in the DCM study by the FDA, many of them use 5-6 different types of peas & pea protein that probably account for close to 40% of the diet in some cases, maybe even more. They also list about 13 different kinds of “fresh meats” to continue bumping the rest of the ingredients down the list.

How our food is different

Well, we didn’t produce our first grain free diet until 2015. You see, we wanted to have a solid understanding of how we could benefit the dog if we introduced a grain free diet. With a history of making dairy feeds for over 4 decades, we knew that what we put in the feed could change the composition of the milk produced, and that balancing specific amino acids, sugars, probiotics, and protein sources all played a vital role. 

Instead of just loading our ingredients into a feed program generator and hitting the “calculate” button, we took time to meet with our Ph.D. nutritionists and examine each ingredient and where we could potentially cause problems. One of the things both of our Ph.D. nutritionists advised us to do was keep legumes under 20%, because after the diets exceed this level, there’s not a clear understanding of how it affects the stomach acid and if this could have a negative reaction towards nutrient absorption (appears that it may). Fortunately, we don’t have any diets that contain over 16%, with many of them coming in under 5%.

The other thing we did was use proven proteins that have high levels of cysteine and methionine, and we incorporate appropriate levels of B vitamins in the diet that are necessary for taurine synthesis. By taking all of these things into consideration, moving slowly, and not using the cheapest path on formulating our diets, we have one of the few brands that were not listed on the FDA’s 3 reports. 

Extra preventative steps that can be taken

If you’re new to Muenster, have an obese dog, or maybe just an older dog that you’re concerned could have heart issues, one of the best things you can do is provide a supplement like Taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid that’s responsible for strengthing the heart and allowing it to pump the blood through the chambers. When you have a weak heart, it’s not able to pump blood all the way out of the left ventricle. This results in congestion within the heart as well as reduced oxygen levels.

How do I feed my dog extra taurine?

As we all know, feeding your dog supplements and medicine is difficult because most of the time it doesn’t taste good, and it’s full of useless & unpalatable ingredients like vegetable glycerin. 

approximately 40-45 servings per 12 oz container

What we did different, is take taurine and mixed it to a Freeze-Dried meat, you can learn more about this process here. This provides a very palatable and appetizing product that allows you to provide your dog with an incredible supplement. That is also made using ingredients naturally rich in Taurine like Beef heart, beef liver, beef tripe. What you won’t find in it; glycerin, flour, rice, peas, potatoes, or any other filler.

How much Taurine is in the topper, and will my dog eat it? 

Enough to ensure your dog is getting an adequate supply regardless of what food they’re eating. This will raise the amount of taurine to at least .15% of their diet when fed according to our feeding directions. The best thing about this topper?? It makes the food taste absolutely incredible. If you add this do your dogs bowl, they’ll not only have a boost in one of the most powerful amino acids for heart health, they’ll also be members of the clean bowl club!

For more information on our HeartStrong Taurine Topper, just click here

If your dog doesn’t absolutely love it, we’ll give you a refund 🙂

-Mitch Felderhoff, 4th Generation owner.

Substance vs Substitutions

While the jar on the left is 35% less full than the jar on the right, it has the exact same weight of product in it. This is the difference between high quality, meat-rich diets, and cheap, least-cost formulated foods.

You see, at Muenster, we have fixed recipes and a deep ethical conviction that dogs need to eat diets high in protein & fat, yet low in carbohydrates. We don’t compromise this for profit, because more importantly to us, the health of the dog comes first.

When you look at the jar on the right, you see different colors, different shapes and anything else that can be done to distract you from the fact that you just bought a bag of marketing garbage.

What is “least-cost”? Well, it’s when you can manufacture about 50 varieties of a recipe and still be in line with the ingredient listings on the back of the bag. This is why a lot of these companies do a few things:

1.) They use a ton of different ingredients in the food. This gives them a lot of flexibility. Ingredients are listed in order by weight, and if they’re the same weight, they can be listed in any order. Many of the larger companies are able to arrange their ingredients in a way that allows them to adjust levels of things like corn gluten, rice bran, and wheat midds in order to keep their price low.

2.) They have a committed price to national chains for 12-18 months in many cases. They aren’t concerned with ingredient prices changing because they’ll just substitute something cheaper.

3.) I’ve heard so many times that some of these larger companies are better because they have 20-50 nutritionists….Well, there’s a great reason for that too. If you don’t have a fixed, tried and true recipe, you need that many nutritionists to keep your food cheap. They simply exist to constantly modify the recipes in order to create a cheaper version of the food that still hits the ingredient listing, yet also provides them the margin they need.

Funny story to go along with this experiment….As a joke, I ate some of our Chicken and Pork recipe on the left and said, whoa….not bad…..

Then, I tried the food on the right, and holy crap….it tasted like cheese cracker, I was impressed, it was delightful, until my ears started itching like crazy within seconds. You see, I have a gluten allergy, and I completely took for granted that I knew our foods were 100% safe for me to eat, and didn’t pause to consider the food from this National Brand may have wheat in it…..well, it did, and today, I feel terrible because of it.

Also, dog food shouldn’t taste like a cheese cracker, it should taste like meat!

RECAP: the food on the left (Muenster) was made with the dog in mind, the food on the right was made with the shareholder in mind.

Creating your own Dog Food

Introducing My Custom Dog FoodTM

4th Generation Owner Chad Felderhoff adding Freeze-Dried Elk & Salmon Oil to a Recipe

A Brief History of Kibble

Since 1956, Pet food has been manufactured through a process that we’ve come to know as extrusion. This allows manufacturers like ourselves to combine all the ingredients your dog needs into one meal. While we’ve seen continued innovation over the past 70 years, the runway has gotten short. Simply put, an extruded dog food is round & brown. 

There are literally thousands of different dog foods on the market all competing with the exact same technology and science. Most foods are made by a few select manufacturers that tend to use the same recipe and just put it in a different bag. Then a marketing company will do their job and try their best to tell you why their food is the best because of some exotic dried berry they put in the food to act as an antioxidant. 

In fact, some of the largest pet food manufacturers in the world made their initial entrance into the food world by making candy (think Nestle/Mars). They tell you how great their food is because they have 20 nutritionists constantly working on their diets. However, if someone has 20 nutritionists working on a diet, they’re generally doing it so they can find a way to use a byproduct and still hit AAFCO standards. Simply put, they’re there so they can find a way to make the food cheaper. If you have the perfect product, you don’t need to try and find a way to work in rice bran, distillers grain, corn gluten, etc. However, if you’re trying to reduce costs and increase your margin, they’re great ingredients. If they were really concerned about health, they wouldn’t be making candy…

Time for a Change….

While we work very hard at Muenster to ensure that we’re using the best local ingredients and formulating the best diets possible with our Ph.D. animal nutritionist, we can’t deny that dog food as it has been traditionally presented is boring and antiquated. At the end of the day, we spend too much time trying to fit every dog out there into 1 or 2 boxes and say “this food is great for any dog of any size w/ any condition”. However, dogs have varying energy requirements, protein tolerances, grain allergies, etc. 

Based on this information, many of you have spent countless hours researching foods, trying different brands, only to end up with the same results…or possibly, the perfect food for your dog, only your dog didn’t like the taste….

This is exactly why we’re introducing our newest approach to feeding your dog, My Custom Dog Food. Now, you can bring control back into your hands. With over 14 different base mixes and 6 different enhancements available, you can create over 3000 different recipes. This gives you the ability to find a recipe that will keep your dog healthy AND give them the flavor they are looking for!

We’re starting simple, with just a few additions and base mixes, but will be rapidly expanding our offerings. By January, we will have joint health, skin & coat, digestive & heart-healthy supplements available. Next on the list is salmon & beef protein boosters. 

How do I get started?

Well, it’s very simple! All you have to do is visit a product that has enhancements enabled. You’ll notice to the right of the screen on the desktop that you can select the product enhancements you want to add. As you select them, the price will adjust for the ingredients you add. 

Current Recipes available for customization

Grain Free Rabbit & Coconut

Ancient Grains Chicken Recipe

What’s Next?

The next step for us will be to continue releasing new diets eligible for the customizations, as well as releasing new and additional enhancements. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter & updates. We would love to hear from you, so please send us a note at with any requests you have!

Want to be first in line?

The first 20 customers on November 1st to customize a bag of our Ancient Grains Chicken Recipe will receive their customizations for FREE! (Must enrol in Autoship) (Limit 1 bag per customer). You can add Bacon Fat, Salmon oil, and Freeze-Dried elk at this time, with more options coming soon! Only requirement….We want to hear back from you after you try it, so be ready to send us videos, pictures & a review!