Raw feeding; My Personal Experience
As a Canine Behaviour Consultant, my own dogs have to be ambassadors for what I do. They have to behave and have to be well trained. They also have to visually endorse whatever other recommendations I make to my clients. I feed raw food and have done for a number of years. Clients and members of the public often comment on how amazing my dogs look and like any proud dog owner – I agree with them.
Some people have called me a zealot about raw food; I’m not sure that is too complimentary; I prefer the term passionate. I am passionate and I do recommend that the majority of my clients change their dog’s diet to Natural Instinct and here’s why… My canine journey has been a long and continuous one.
I have owned, trained and certainly loved dogs pretty much since birth. I am fortunate indeed that I have successfully managed to make my passion and my hobby my job and to some extent my life. German Shepherd Dogs were my first ‘breed’ – I have owned many. Back in my late teens, I fed them processed food – initially tins from the supermarket and then on advice from the vet various dry foods (because they were the best – it was a feeding revolution!). German Shepherds “notoriously have poor stomachs” and mine were no exception. There was never any reliability in their faeces, but that was just part of the breed, right? Things changed when I took my young GSD, Zakh to the vet –he was very thin, had started bleeding from his penis when urinating, and when defecating it was like someone had turned on a tap. After many expensive tests which were inconclusive, I was recommended – actually, not recommended, enforced a ‘veterinary diet’ for him. It was a wet food at £1.15 per little can (that was many years ago!) He would need about 10 cans per day. I could not afford it (of course I would have afforded it), but to me it did not seem to fit. It was at that time, I read an excellent book by Dr Tom Londsdale named Raw Meaty Bones. I ditched the ‘prescription diet’ and started feeding raw meaty bones. Zakh went from strength to strength and lived until 15 years of age.
I currently have another 15 year old German Shepherd, who behaves like a five-year-old who has been on raw food since I rescued him at nine months of age. No one can believe that I have dogs that live to such ages and look so fabulous. I took on a German Spitz (Klein) about 7 years ago at the age of seven. She had been fed processed pet food and was not very well. Her coat was poor, and when I took her for a veterinary check, they wanted to take her in to remove tartar from her teeth, under anaesthetic. I knew that was never going to happen – I am not one to put dogs under anaesthesia for no reason. A few weeks of raw meaty bones, her teeth were shiny and clean, her coat had grown by inches and she looked amazing. She has not been back to the vet since. She is now 14.
"No one can believe that I have dogs that live to such ages and look so fabulous"
Next was the challenge to bring up a puppy on raw food. It was bit scary as I watched my tiny little Rottweiler puppy chewing on a chicken wing. I wanted, as all dog owners do, the very best for all of my dogs, but especially my new puppy who had to grow properly with the correct vitamins et al. I worked tirelessly to ensure that I was liquidising vegetables, preparing offal, covering all of his dietary needs. It was not easy, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Morally, I could not revert to dry food. It just did not sit well with me. Fast forward a few years, I was invited to a dog food factory tour (dry food) and in that same week, as chance would have it, I was set to visit Natural Instinct.
My day at the dry food manufacturer was a surreal experience – they had dogs kept there for ‘trials’ that never leave the premises. Most were overweight and fed on a tiny ration, carefully measured, of dry food all kept in little drawers so that the dog did not exceed their daily ration. It was bizarre. They did also suggest that raw food was the best for dogs health and longevity?!
A few days later I visited Natural Instinct. Thank goodness – I felt like I had come home! No, dogs on the property other than the teams pets…who all looked amazing – their coats were like they had a light on inside them. I also saw food…real food, proper stuff that I recognised! Like chicken, carrots – normal stuff! Thereafter my mind was set. I knew already that raw food was the best and my week of visiting factories just confirmed that.
"As a company, they have been a pleasure to work with from the outset and have helped numerous clients of mine with complete honesty. Their passion for dogs and people meets mine."
I then started feeding Natural Instinct – and still going to my local butcher (to keep the costs down), but not liquidising veg as it is all included. The results have been fabulous. I have recommended this product to hundreds of clients and will continue to do so. As a company, they have been a pleasure to work with from the outset and have helped numerous clients of mine with complete honesty. Their passion for dogs and people meets mine.
I thank goodness for common sense, for companies such as this providing a decent, honest product to their customers and I trust that raw feeding will become the norm amongst people who truly care for their dogs.
Ross McCarthy MA
Canine Behaviour Practitioner & Trainer
A member of the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers, The Guild of Dog Trainers, The Canine & Feline Behaviour Association.
The London Dog Behaviour Company