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Health & Nutrition

  • My dog is obese - what should I do?
    Obesity is a serious and growing problem in pet dogs in the UK. Good nutrition and plenty of appropriate exercise is the key to keeping you and your dogs fit and healthy. Natural Instinct raw food contains no grains and the carbohydrates in the food are in the form of vegetables that also provide fibre in the diet. By avoiding rapidly metabolised and easily stored carbohydrates such as rice, maize and potato in the diet it already helps you to feed a satisfying amount of food without your dog gaining weight. However, it is still important to avoid overfeeding. We recommend feeding your adult dog 2-3 % of their ideal adult body weight daily but remember that different dogs can have a different metabolic rate and the amount of food needed also changes with the amount of exercise your dog has. Feeding guides are just that i.e. a place to start, so it is important to monitor your dog’s weight and condition and adjust the amount you feed accordingly.

    Remember also that different recipes contain different levels of fat. If your dog does tend towards gaining weight we would recommend using the lower fat varieties e.g. turkey and/or tripe; all the levels are clearly marked on the pack labels. In winter it is tempting to stay indoors; you and your dogs will feel so much better if you keep up the exercise, no matter how cold it gets!
  • My dog has numerous allergies, can I feed raw?

    There is no reason why any dog with allergies cannot be fed raw. In fact feeding a human grade, unprocessed single protein, grain free diet can benefit many dogs with allergy that presents either with skin disease and/or gut upset. Allergy is one of the most common issues dealt with in small animal practice and the diet is normally one of the first things addressed by vets.


    It is important in these cases to determine as far as is possible what your dog is allergic to, remembering that tests are only as good as what they are testing for! There are now good blood tests available for environmental and food allergy plus a saliva test for food allergy. Your vet will be able to help advise you about these tests. Where food sensitivity and/or allergy is involved then it is important to avoid any foods that have shown a strong positive reading in the tests. As Natural Instinct uses named protein and carbohydrate sources and has the Pure Range for the super sensitive animals, it is easy to find a diet that will suit your dog or cat. The recipes are all grain free and there is lots of evidence from years of testing that many food allergic dogs have sensitivity to grain.


    If your dog is already on high levels of immunosuppressant medication such as steroids or cyclosporine care must be taken during any transition period onto raw as your dogs gut level immunity will have been compromised. We are happy to help advise you how best to transition across from other food types.

  • My dog has runny stools and my vet wants to put him on a special formulated dry food. Would your food be an alternative option and help?

    There are many different reasons why a dog might have runny stools ranging from infections to dietary sensitivities and as a symptom of disease elsewhere in the body. The first step is to rule out some simple things first and of course the more severe the runny stool is (diarrhoea), the more important it is to have your vet check a stool sample from your dog. Stool sample checks will pick up anything like parasites and infections such as campylobacter or salmonella. Very serious cases will also need other tests such as blood tests, but your vet will advise you regarding these.


    Many cases of diarrhoea are simply caused by dietary issues and transitioning them onto a simple unprocessed food with no grains, artificial colourants or additives such as Natural Instinct can be a perfectly good alternative to a formulated dry diet. We would initially recommend selecting a lower fat variety such as Turkey and using a protein that is different from the one usually present in your dog's current food. New diets should be introduced slowly over several days otherwise loose stools might be temporarily worsened. Using a probiotic and digestive enzymes can help animals through transition and can help the loose stool itself.


    For dogs with very sensitive bowels we would suggest to start with the Pure Range where only one protein is present and initially then add for example sweet potato to test the dogs reactivity to different vegetables and carbohydrates. Break the daily feeding amount into 3-4 smaller meals if your dog has been very poorly so not to over stress the gut load.” Transitioning dogs should be introduced to one protein at a time over a three week period to ensure the dog has no intolerances to a particular protein. We are happy to help pet owners when making these choices.

  • How much should I feed my dog or puppy?

    Variable factors like lifestyle, appetite and temperament can all impact on a pet’s eventual weight, which is why there's no substitute for knowing one's pet. We recommend that a healthy dog should have a natural waist and that you should be able to feel (but not see) its ribcage.


    As a rule of thumb, an adult dog should eat around 2-3% of its ideal body weight per day (e.g. a 10kg dog should eat roughly 200g of food per day).


    Following on from our Weaning Paste, at about 8 weeks of age puppies will need approximately 5-6% of their body weight per day, spread across 3-4 meals. This will be required until the puppy reaches around 6 months of age. At this point you may wish to reduce the number of meals to two, until they have reached maturity and are well placed to switch to the recommended adult diet.


    For further help, try our food calculator in the left hand column of this page.

  • How much should I feed my cat or kitten?

    As a rough rule of paw we would suggest that your adult cat receives 2-3% of its body weight in food per day. It is important to weigh your cat regularly and make any necessary adjustments should your cat begin to lose or gain weight.


    Many pet shops (including our own store in Camberley) and most veterinary surgeries provide easy access to electronic scales. Further, many weight by breed wall charts can be found in veterinary surgeries. These charts provide useful indicators as to whether your pet is either in peak condition or has been over-indulged.


    Kittens need to be fed little and often. Feed your kitten around 4 times per day and let them eat as much as they want.


    When a kitten reaches 5-6 months in age, this can drop to 2 meals per day, totalling 4-5% of their body weight.

  • What is purging?
    Sometimes when dogs initially switch to raw, you may notice they vomit a small amount of white foam or yellow bile most often in the mornings, this can be quite common as your dogs digestive tract adapts to processing a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet. It is often more commonly seen in dogs that have previously been on a kibble diet. We recommend supporting your pets digestive system with Zoolac paste, and temporarily feeding a little food to your pet before it goes to bed to help your pets system adapt to its change in diet. If you see continuous sickness or you see other health issues please consult your vet.
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