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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Switching diets

I would really like to try feeding my dog – a six-year-old female, spayed, rescue collie cross - a raw diet but my husband is opposed, worrying about salmonella and other infections that might be picked up.

We used to feed her on a well-known but not high-quality canned food, with a handful of the same brand dried mixer added in, until I read in Dogs Today that diet can affect scratching. She used to scratch a lot and since switching to sometimes Natures Menu, sometimes Arden Grange canned food, with some Orijen dried food too, she doesn’t scratch so much anymore. On a Sunday she has roast dinner instead, and she is very partial to carrots! Her breath could be nicer too!

Is salmonella something to be concerned about? What are the facts when it come to raw food? Is there a good way to introduce the diet? And how can I convince my husband?!

Shelia March, Farnham, Surrey


  1. Hi Shelia

    I'm one of the directors of Natural Instinct, the UK's premiere raw dog food company, and as we have our factory and a shop based in Camberley not far from you, I'd like to invite you (and your husband!) to visit us for a tour of the factory. Then you can see the pride we take in our products and our ingredients. In fact we have an open door policy, and always invite new customers in the shop to see how things are made.

    As for the salmonella issue, we are obliged by law to test for this on a regular basis. All our meats (except for green tripe) are human grade, and exactly the same as you'd by for yourself from the supermarket - in fact, they are probably fresher, as our meat doesn't sit on a shelf for days on end! When feeding your dog raw, the same hygiene rules apply as to when you handle raw meat, so common sense should prevail to avoid cross-contamination with cooked meats etc. It is in fact very easy to feed raw - most dogs switch without any problems whatsoever, and the benefits can be almost seen immediately. As well as being very good at alleviating scratching where there is an allergy to (for example) grains, raw feeding can help with a huge range of canine problems, too long to list here. I'd be delighted to take you round our factory and meet you, your dog and your husband!

    Kind regards

    David Brock

  2. Dear Shelia

    I can understand your husbands concerns about salmonella in raw foods and especially in raw poultry products but in fact most healthy dogs are more than capable to deal with raw foods and in fact, it is these raw food diets that help to maintain the natural resistance that dogs have to live bacteria’s. Simply think about all of the things that you wouldn’t want your dog to eat that they actually do eat, bin scraps, dead things, puddle water and much more and it actually answers the basic question … dogs are designed to be tough.

    Years of feeding sterilised, processed pet foods can reduce your dog’s natural immune system and her ability to combat live bacteria which she would normally shrug off without a thought. It’s like you eating sterilised food every day and not having any fresh foods, you gradually lose your built in live bacteria which you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. Dogs are the same, they will thrive on some fresh, raw foods to help maintain their built in digestive ability to deal with live bacteria.

    Introduce the Natures Menu raw complete foods. They are a complete balanced food and contain raw meat, raw fruits and vegetables and fibre all premixed for your convenience. These are easy to rotate into a diet with other main stream pet foods.

    Feed a mixed diet, introducing the raw food gradually and then after a couple of weeks you should be able to feed just raw or raw once a day with a processed food if you wish.

    Hope this helps

    Dawn Wood
    Natures Menu – Customer Service

  3. I would like to suggest that you talk to a canine nutritionist - seeing as you are in Farnham, near me, the best person I can recommend is Claire from The Haslemere Pet Company. She is always very helpful.

  4. It's helpful to know what raw feeding involves, so I suggest you get hold of a copy of vet Dr Ian Billinghurst's Give Your Dog a Bone, or a book by Tom Lonsdale, another vet, called Raw Meaty Bones.
    Google BARF diet too - there's so much info on the internet on it.
    It's not difficult, feeding raw, but you need to know what foods or veggies to avoid.
    You can also do what is recommended above, which is to buy ready-prepared raw food, already mixed with veggies, etc, but it is quite a bit more expensive. Depends on your budget, really.
    Julia Lewis