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Varying your veg, transitioning your pet to raw and problems to look out for.

Hello Bella and Duke pack and welcome to yet another weekend.

I cannot believe how quickly time is passing, how much the tribe is growing and how many topics there are for us to cover. We have more topics to discuss than weeks in the year and lots to learn. And this one has been a steep learning curve week for me on lots of fronts.

Given the amount of subjects we are currently discussing in the Facebook forum I thought we would change it up a little and cover a few different points this week, starting with a recap on what Mark and I discussed in the last podcast. Variety!


Variety has presented itself for a few different reasons recently , customer questions and some observations from the Bella and Duke team. Firstly it appears that some of us are reducing rather than expanding the selection of proteins for our dogs. No doubt based on the dogs preference, smell or other. I know personally that Kismet trying to kiss me post fishy meal is less welcome than her other attempts, all of which are politely rebuffed!

The first point to this is super familiar plea with you all , please please give us your feedback 🙂 We love to hear your thought processes, your experience and what your dogs are loving or leaving. It helps us evolve and provide you and your pets with better service. We are here to learn and here to help. Help us to do this!

Secondly, whilst Bella and Duke meals are complete, and in fact they are beyond complete as they offer the additional antioxidant benefits of seasonal veg and fruits, variety is quite literally and very importantly the spice of life.

Each meal with have a slightly more pronounced level of certain minerals and vitamins than others as each of the proteins are different, and whilst for instance, fish is not an essential part of a dogs diet, it has been shown to add serious benefit to the dogs health.  So my non vet recommendation is include a variety of protein options. This also encourages your dog to try different foods and be less of a fussy eater!

Food intolerances

An additional benefit to varying the proteins in a dogs diet is decreasing the likelihood of developing food intolerances. Now…wait  a minute , I thought this BARF diet reduced food intolerances? Well yes it does, as it decreases the risk of intestinal permeability (see previous articles on this topic) but your dog can still develop these especially if it is eating the same thing all of the time. So variety is very important for both attaining the full spectrum of nutrients in balanced amounts and decreasing food allergies or intolerances

Exactly the same thing with vegetables. Some conscientious and caring owners are adding extra veg to the meals of their dogs. This is a great idea. Personally I do this with Kismet and she loves it. However its really important to cycle this, and if you are employing leftovers from your own vegetable consumption then its a timely reminder for you to vary your own foods as well!

Fibre, Flora and Motility

The vegetable element leads me to the next point to cover today which is fibre. Fibre is a super essential component of both dogs and humans diets. It forms the “substrate” for gut flora to grow on. Essentially the compost for the bacteria that makes up 80% of your immune system and it also helps in motility.

Several owners have mentioned that their dogs are ‘straining” when going to the toilet and in some cases this is leading to that dreaded gland issue. Whilst we have plenty of fibre in the B&D meals with both the ground up bone and the veggies, it may simply be that your dog needs a little more, at the present moment.

All dogs are on a different part of the”health continuum” which depends on several factors, both genetic and environment of which diet is an important part. If your pet has been exposed to various toxins and or previously been on a kibble diet for some time they may have developed some form of IBS – irritable bowel syndrome, Colitis (inflammation of the colon).  It may be nothing to do with previous kibble. Some pets are just more susceptible to this and need a little extra attention. You are in the right kennel to address this!


Please be aware that a raw diet has been repeatedly demonstrated to help with this. However. And this is the crux….how you transition your pet onto this is key. Depending on your pets current state of health, moving directly and instantly onto raw may be a challenge too far. Instead start slowly and offer raw as a treat for the first few days and see how they respond in both behaviour and observe what happens to their stool.

Whilst A RAW diet is hands down superior in terms of health, longevity and digestion for the dog, it may simply be that the “change” itself” is not within the dogs health ability. In addition to starting slowly, consider employing some of the following tools.

If you suspect that your dog has any inflammation whatsoever, then adding in some soluble fibre will help decrease this. Psyllium husk is a great one, as is some gently steamed pureed vegetables, in addition to those minced raw ones found in a B&D meal. In the wild wolves are constantly ingesting masses of fur, skin, hair and other non digestibles that add this fibre. You get a double benefit when employing vegetables as this fibre because,  of their antioxidant count.

One thing we actively encourage you to avoid is feeding the dogs our smart wool. I know it comes from sheep, I know it mimics the prey diet, but please lets keep it green and recycle this!


Next consider adding in some digestive enzymes. If your dog has had a lot of kibble exposure, has inflammation or generally not currently experiencing optimal health YET, then it is likely that its digestive enzyme production is not functioning properly. Digestive enzymes help the dogs digest their food, break down those particles even further than our mincer, decreases the likelihood of food intolerances, makes life easier in the gut and provides that essential acid balance to deal with any unwanted bacteria.


Same story with probiotics. Probiotics are such an incredible and often overlooked benefit. In my human practice, The Modern Sensei,  we are seeing phenomenal success dealing with supposedly incurable cases of IBS and other bowel issues just by addressing the underlying bacteria, removing foods the person is intolerant too and mega dosing with the correct probiotics for a period. Its really basic stuff making a really tangible difference.  Surgery avoiding difference. Life changing surgery avoidance. Let me honest. This last point makes me REALLY cross. Off the charts in fact.

Too often the traditional medical community is making basics things extremely complicated in the pursuit of expertise. And cutting things out of either people or dogs is medieval. You don’t cut your kitchen off your house if it stops working? You repair it!. Same thing bits of colon, gallbladders and other. They are there for a reason. We NEED them!

Keep things simple and do them well. Our dogs are meant to eat a variety of proteins and benefit from the protection of antioxidants. Throw in some fibre to keep that motility mobile and those glands expressed and we have a totally different dog. And in my humble opinion, any vet that is blaming a diet they don’t understand is one that needs to be changed.

If there are any symptoms, these are never normal but they are simply clues that something is malfunctioning and needs to be addressed to avoid further complications down the line.

It may be as simple as extra fibre, extra enzymes or extra probiotics. Whilst none of this is intended as medical advice, I would and will always urge you to explore these options before anything surgical. Get a medical opinion for sure. Also employ common sense, skepticism to all dogma, open mindedness to the new and continue to share on our forum so we can all learn at the same time!

Thank you ! Wishing you well!




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