It's a Dog's Life - Dog Training
What to feed your dog for a longer, happier and healthier life
What we feed our dogs has a huge impact on their health, wellbeing and behaviour. As a behaviourist and dog trainer I’m passionate about the subject of Canine Nutrition, which is why I’ve spent time putting this blog together.
I am on a mission to make dog owners aware of why a species-specific natural raw diet is the only way to go!
After all, as dogs are man’s best friend and to many of us a treasured family member, why oh why then would we feed them the doggy equivalent of junk food every day for the rest of their lives? Which is basically what’s on offer from the big pet food brands that we find in pet stores, supermarkets and online. As for humans, one pizza a week might be okay but we’d never consider eating one for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the rest of our lives.
Over the past 50 years or so the weekly supermarket shop has become characterised by more and more processed, convenience foods which, high in sugar and salt, are known to have a negative effect on our health. A similar story has been going on in the pet food aisle.
However, while humans are becoming more health conscious and curious about what they eat it’s time we also questioned what we feed our dogs. Just like us they need a well-balanced, fresh and natural diet.
What’s wrong with feeding dogs processed food?
In the past cooked food was never a part of the canine diet. If we look at a dog’s physiology, it’s identical to wolves and other ancestral animals just on a different scale. Their teeth and digestive systems have evolved to eat a mainly raw, high protein, carnivorous diet with very little carbohydrates.
Yet most of the dog food options available in the shops, like kibble and processed canned dog foods, contain minimal protein and nutrients and too much plant-based carbohydrates that are difficult for dogs to digest. Studies have shown that dogs brought up on an overly processed diet have a higher prevalence of degenerative diseases.
Overly processed foods like canned dog food and kibble, above, are the canine equivalent of junk food and don't contain the nutritional, health and immunity benefits your dog needs
The pet food market is dominated by a few big brands including Mars, Nestle and Colgate Palmolive supplying heavily processed products that do not provide the nutritional, health and immunity benefits your dog needs to thrive. So what should you be feeding your dog?
As I dog owner and lover myself I only feed my dog Boo a natural raw food diet consisting of raw meat, fish, bones and a few uncooked fruits and vegetables – and strongly advise my clients to do the same. For raw dog food stockists see below (Boo particularly loves handmade PP Raw Dog Food and Honey’s Real Dog Food).
The immeasurable benefits of a natural diet
The benefits of a raw, natural diet are transformative and you’ll see a huge difference in your dog. Reasons for switching to this form of diet include:
- Reduces hyperactivity and promotes calmer behaviour
- Better digestion – stools are harder, smaller, less smelly and easier to pick up
- Bad wind problems reduced
- Cleaner teeth and fresher breath
- Improved immune system
- Healthier skin and glossier coat
- Helps with appetite – they actually love what they’re eating!
Natural raw dog food diet: My dog Boo tucking into her breakfast of free range duck - she loves it!
There’s nothing Boo loves more than gnawing on a fresh recreational bone. They provide essential nutrients like calcium, act as a natural toothbrush and keep her occupied and stimulated for hours. Making up around 12-15% of your pet’s diet, there are two types of bone you should give your dog:
- Recreational bones – the large marrow-filled, femur and hip bones from beef and lamb. Although low on nutritional value, as they should only be gnawed, NOT EATEN, they do provide fantastic mental stimulation and oral health benefits.
- Edible bones – hollow, non-weight bearing bones of birds (for example, chicken wings) that are soft, pliable, easily crushed and don’t contain marrow. They provide calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals. You should not supplement your dog’s diet with bone meal if feeding edible bones.
Video: to the left is a clip of Boo enjoying a recreational bone, with commentary by me on the brilliant benefits Boo gets from this kind of bone
To the left is a photo showing Teddie, a German Shepherd I helped train, enjoying a recreational bone for the first time. His owner couldn’t believe the difference in his behaviour and temperament now he enjoys a more natural diet.
Another happy client recently said: ‘Penny gave us expert advice on Bella's nutrition, which was a real eye opener. She explained so much about the nutritional value of foods we find on the shelves these days and we have learnt so much.
'We have now changed Bella's diet, which indeed makes her a much happier and it affects her behaviour. She seems much calmer and well behaved. So grateful that our Bella gets the nutrition she actually needs that is healthy, delicious and will prolong her life.’
Unlike many vets I don’t sell dog food, nor do I have any vested interest in any particular manufacturer or brand. The only vested interest I have is the health of our dogs.
For that reason you are welcome to contact me have if you have any questions on the natural raw diet - even if you don’t use my dog and puppy training services.
For more information on the natural raw dog food diet and reputable suppliers see the links below: