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Appropriate food from a dog behavioural point of view

Caroline and Piper Dog BehavouristLike all converts, I am on a mission to convert others – in this case, to a fresh, raw diet for dogs.

It is hard to argue against people who say that every dog with which they have lived has been fed on kibble and lived a healthy life until they were about 150 (ok, a LITTLE exaggeration!), so why change?

I was definitely of this opinion, and it took a lot of convincing for me to change, but gradually the evidence for the benefits of feeding natural food became so great that I found it impossible to ignore – so I began to experiment, and the theory became indisputable reality when I saw the improvement in every aspect of my dogs’ wellbeing.

It is true that some dogs do appear to thrive on a commercial diet, but as soon as a health issue raises its head, most people start to look at diet, complementary medicine, and any other supplement they can research IF conventional veterinary treatment does not seem to be working.

Dogs which have health issues from birth, or due to illness or accident, benefit greatly from a good diet tailored to their needs. Yes, there are ‘special’ kibble diets, but these often prove completely ineffective, whereas a fresh diet built from scratch, comprising the nutrients needed for the individual health concern, can be a lifesaver.

So, why wait until you have a problem?

Yes, at first I tried to combine all the essentials for a balanced diet, and this is NOT easy for a beginner! My kitchen was starting to look like a laboratory and I found that preparing food for my dogs was taking a lot more time and effort than for my human family.

I am glad I did this because when it came to finding an easier option I knew what to look for in readymade raw food. I still sometimes prepare their food from scratch, but more often now I use a good quality readymade – and Bella and Duke make a VERY good readymade!

Even if there are no obvious health issues, imagine how much better it would be for the dog which thrives, despite rather than because of, a commercial diet, to be fed a healthy alternative.

It is not necessary to know anything about canine nutrition when you do know that a heavily processed, additive laden, high sugar diet is bad for humans. If processed food is not good for you or your children, why would it be good for dogs?

Everything mentioned above constitutes the basis of kibble – in addition, research has shown that some of the ‘meat’ content of kibble is pretty nasty.

We know from experience that switching from commercial to fresh raw can have a huge impact for the better on both behaviour and health.

Hyperactive dogs calm down, dogs with ‘dickey tummies’ suddenly are free from diarrhoea, vomiting and other digestive problems, skin conditions disappear, and the dog generally has far more useful energy and joie de vivre. Also, there is great human pleasure in seeing a dog relishing the food which nature intended it to eat.

Food is so important for our emotional and physical health. All food can sustain life, but good food enhances life – and life expectancy.

In the words of Crocodile Dundee, ‘Tastes like sh*t – but you can live on it’. Food which keeps you alive is not really what we want; we want food that makes us glad to be alive.

I want that for my dogs too.

By Caroline Spencer & Lesley Harris

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