A Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog...
- Hazel Butterfield
- 25 July 2018
We love our pets (sometimes more than most humans we know) and they rely on us completely to keep them safe, healthy and happy. I’ve been on a recent journey to re-educate myself on dog nutrition to ensure my ‘baby’ is getting what she needs - not just what she wants.
My dog is currently in fat club (woof watchers), a free service provided by my local veterinary clinic. I’d let bad habits and complacency creep up on me/us. The odd chip from our plate, the kids sharing a pack of cheddars with her, the dog and the cat switching food dependant on what they fancied... We know how we feel if we pile on a few pounds, we’re tired, lethargic, a tad grumpy and our motivation to eat healthy decreases as we crave what will give us the energy to do basic tasks that used to be more effortless.
A great campaign was done recently by Royal Canin to increase awareness and help us, as owners, be able to check our pets ourselves and be able to gage when they are slipping up he scale of obesity and how to reign it in.
My vet (who I adore) was very helpful, she help me set out an attainable plan, realistic goals without judgement and talked me through some hints and tips of what to change and how to install a new regime. My reluctance to accept she was getting fat was due to how much exercise I gave her, she is out a lot, but she was getting slower. It was purely down to bad habits with her diet. The odd snack to keep her quiet when I had friends over, leftovers, etc.
Excellently, my little dumpling lost the weight quicker than we imagined once the snacks were stopped. We only fed her a grain free satiety blend, the correct amount for her weight and breed, her and the cat were fed separately and within 2 weeks she was shifting in the right direction and has done ever since. It just shows how the ‘little things’ add up.
I was also guilty of thinking that some of the new dog food delivery services were a tad extravagant and a gimmick. I have now conducted my research and yes a fair few of these brands are more expensive, but in comparison to Supermarket brands where the quality of food is akin to feeding your kids Haribo, everyday. The costs, when looked at carefully and you accept you’re buying in bulk and not just on your weekly shop, it becomes easier to swallow (figuratively).
One of the brands I had recommended to me was Natural Instinct...
“Our raw food diet for dogs and cats follows the motto "you are what you eat". Our wholesome and delicious meals are the no stress, no mess way to feed raw!
The raw food diet echoes the food hunted, scavenged and eaten by the ancestors of today's dogs and cats. We sincerely believe that raw is the best natural option, feeding as nature intended, free from artificial additives, colours, preservatives and fillers.”
If like me you are a tad apprehensive (as was my ‘princess’) about a raw food diet, Natural Instinct provide lots of advice, education and support to introduce their new diet. The Bones & Treats are also not a visual for the feint-hearted, but quite frankly the Fish skins made my Beagle behave like an excitable puppy! She’s been on the Natural Instinct diet for 6 weeks and it is awesome, she is calmer and has increased energy for the things she loves (like winding up the cat), her coat is shiny and not to sound too grim but her stools are not as terrible as they used to be!
It’s not just us humans that need to engage with ‘we are what we eat’. Certain dog food companies are cheap for a reason, the treats are cheap for a reason. However, Pinterest is full of delicious and healthy snacks you can make for your pets, my (well I say my, I mean Charley’s) favourites are Peanut & Banana Dog Treats, but there are loads out there with varying degrees of effort required.
If you are unsure of what you think you pet needs and what brand is best for your budget, speak to your vet. They will help and advise, they don’t have an agenda other than making sure pet’s and their owners are happy. Also, many of the online pet food companies do trial offers, so you can try a variety before you choose what works for you.
But then, paradoxically there are some incredible Doggy Brunch venues out there too at the mo, not to forget my favourite Pet Cafe’s... Paws for coffee positioned quite conveniently next to one of the entrances to London’s Bushy Park & Richmond Park - A side of dried chicken feet anyone?
It’s all about finding a good balance, a Puppicino for Charley and a (few) glasses of bubbles for me...