I have had the pleasure of having animals all my life and as a very young child, they were always more important to me than anything else.
In the 70’s my mother would always feed our pets a fresh and natural diet, sometimes cooked, sometimes raw and I believe it was that instinct that grew in me over the years to do what I do now.
I do remember however, shaking a box of ‘kitecat’ biscuits to get our cats in some nights and shudder now at the fact because it was the beginning of an industry which in my opinion would do more harm than good to our four-legged friends. Whiskers used to advertise on the television, “8 out of 10 cats prefer whiskers” I now know that is probably because they were addicted to it!
My first little terrier, Piglet, who I rescued from Battersea Dogs home when I lived in London was fed a tin of dog food and in those days, like many people I believed that feeding some biscuit in the diet helped to keep my dogs teeth clean!! How wrong I was and seeing ‘small bite mixer’ fall into my sink one day and absorb water, I did question what it was doing in his stomach if it could swell that much! If only I had investigated further, I could be a very wealthy woman now!
Not that much later, I was buying mince from my local butcher and lightly cooking it. I knew nothing about nutrient values at that time and ‘dog food was just dog food!' My dogs caught and ate rabbits and squirrels and whilst raising a young family, I was aware of hygiene but also knowing the need to build a strong immune system for my family and my dogs and cats. Funnily enough I think that more people who feed a raw diet are much more likely to use good hygiene as we are all aware of the potential pathogens in raw food for humans, but as we know, dogs are not the same and the acid in their stomach would burn your fingers!
A few years later, we had a wonderful cat; Tom and his sister Gerry (!) who most of the time supplemented their diet in the garden with predominantly mice, but like so many, I felt the need to have the bowl of kibble for them permanently available. Tom changed colour from a wonderful shiny black to almost orange when he was about 6 and started yowling and vomiting daily. Clearly the kibble was making him very unwell, so I changed his diet to completely raw and have never fed my animals anything else since! It was not an easy time and I got a lot wrong, but eventually my orange cat turned black again and lived to a very good age with wonderful health. He also had a bad reaction to his first vaccination and had to wear a collar for several months as the jab caused a horrid skin reaction – consequently I never had him vaccinated again!
I started to question everything in a dog and cats diet and also worked for several raw feeding companies which I found fascinating. The spark in me grew stronger and eventually I stopped working and decided to do a Diploma in Canine Nutrition as I realised that I could not give dietary information to anyone without having a qualification.
Processed food has done so much harm to our dear pets and it makes me sad and angry so see so much ‘so called food’ beautifully advertised and making ‘mans best friend’ live less time and contract so many diseases I had never seen as a child.
If you went to the doctor with stomach pain and he suggested that you rush off to a well know restaurant chain under a golden arch and only eat that food, you would think he had gone bonkers! Many conventional vets (not all) are doing exactly that when suggesting that a highly processed diet containing potentially toxic rice, rendered animal parts, hydrolysed protein, pea starch, synthetic vitamins and other unmentionable ingredients could cure a dog with skin/gut/immune system issues, plus give an animal good health and wellbeing.
‘Recalls’ from dry pet food always make me sad and there are so many, especially when they seem proud to announce that the ‘sell by date’ is a year. Synthetic vitamins and in particular vitamin D has caused the death of a significant amount of pets, this is surely unacceptable when feeding what is advertised as a ‘healthy and complete diet’.