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Hi de Hi Campers!

Before I start this week's rant, can I ask all the VIP's who have not yet activated their subscriptions to do so before the end of the 31st October (tomor.  If your link has expired, contact me for another one.  On Monday, 1st November, I'll be opening up the diary to the Ad-Hoc clients for 2022; they represent 50% of my business and after they've been booked through there will be perilously little space to play with.  

This is probably going to be a long one, so sit down, grab a cuppa or a glass of wine (depending on when you're reading this) and read on.  It is information worth repeating even though I've covered elements of this before.

I have spent a large part of this week picking poop off dogs' bums, which leads me to the subject under the microscope today.  Diet.

Dog poop should be kickable and odourless.


If it sticks to your dog's fur on the way out or  it makes you gag at 100 paces, it's falling short of that mark, by a long way! 

Some facts you may find astonishing:
  • Dogfood is subject to the MDR.  That is the Minimum Daily Requirement required to keep your dog alive for 24 hours.  That's the only bar it has to reach and believe me that's so incredibly low that a slow worm would have a problem limbo dancing underneath it.
  • The data used to create dog food is based on trials of 60 beagles living in cages in a lab over 50 years ago.  That's nothing like what your dog has to cope with. 
  • When a product is labelled as "with" Cranberries or "with" Chicken, the Cranberries or Chicken must be at least 4% of the total product.  Yup, you read that right, 4%.  So Barfo Complete Yummy Scrummy Dog Food with Chicken from your local supermarket is 96% suspect fillers and 4% Chicken.
  • In the US, dog food companies are allowed to put animals rendered at rendering plants into your dog's food.  That includes the "4D's". (Dead, Dying, Diseased and Disabled Stock).  It also includes euthanised companion animals which will, sadly, still contain the lethal dose of whatever the vet used to kill them.  I kid you not.  We are assured this isn't allowed to happen in the UK ... by the same government who promised us "Three weeks to flatten the curve" over 18 months ago.
  • Protein - you're probably thinking prime breast of chicken when in actual fact they can put in their guts, feathers, beaks and feet (that's all chicken), testicles, eyeballs, cheeks and anus's (beef) ... you get the picture.  They do have to wash the guts out first but are allowed to leave a certain amount of faecal matter in there. Without looking it up I'm afraid I can't quote the percentage but with some brands, you are literally feeding your dog s**t.  
  • There is 95% protein in decent leather boots, so the amount quoted on the packet means diddly squat if it is largely indigestible to your dog. 
  • Digestion - nothing happens in the mouth, the stomach churns away like a cement mixer and turns it into chime (still no digestion) then this sloppy soup passes into the intestines where whatever is usable is absorbed and whatever isn't fills your poop bag on every walk. 
  • While the stomach is working the blood supply concentrates in that area to the detriment of all the other organs - liver and kidneys specifically. 

Who owns the dog food companies? 

If you follow the chain upwards from your dog food packet, you'll realise that huge multinationals are turning their waste products from other industries into profit from their dog food factories. It's a billion-dollar industry.  The UK's pet food industry is now said to be worth close to £2bn a year supplying an estimated 10 million dogs and 8 million cats in the UK.  These multinationals are driven by profit.  They really do not care what happens to your dog.  Mars has now opened a chain of veterinary surgeries so they get two bites of the cherry ... if they make your dog sick with their food they get to fix it with their drugs!

There are some small, independent companies out there too - these are the ones to investigate ... and keep an eye on.  Lily's Kitchen used to be my go-to brand if a client could only feed tinned food, but since it was bought by Nestle, the quality of the product has dropped substantially. 
There are three major types of food on the market today, with a gazillion choices within each group.  

Dry Food - Kibble

Dry food, normally sold in sacks and bags can be the most highly processed and toxic food for your dog.  It takes 12 hours at least to turn into chime in the stomach.  If you're feeding this twice daily, your dog's stomach is working flat out, 24 hours a day.  As soon as you open the bag, air gets in and the fats begin to deteriorate and become rancid.  Buying a huge sack for one dog therefore simply means that the last couple of weeks of meals contain rancid fats, are nutritionally worthless and could be seriously damaging your dog's health.  By far the worst on the market are supermarket own brands and bottom end brands like Bakers.  These are akin to feeding your kids on MacDonalds twice a day, every day, forever. There are a few very expensive brands that look good on the label, but they still keep the stomach working longer and harder than it should be and that's why all kibble gets a thumbs down from me. There are some brands that have tried really hard and have put brilliant ingredients into their food, but then they heat treat it at 230˚ for two or more hours which kills any heat-sensitive vitamins. If you MUST feed dry, take a look at Rocketo or click here for the list ranked highest rated to lowest.   "Eat these digestive biscuits, they're crunchy and will clean your teeth," said no dentist - ever. (So why do you believe your vet or the pet-food ads?)

Wet Food - Tins and Pouches

Wet food normally comes in tins or heat-sealed plastic trays or pouches.  Comprising of 70-80% water they are far closer to "real" food and therefore they only take 8 hours to get turned into chime which is a huge improvement.  Fed twice daily, this dog's tummy gets two four hour breaks and the blood supply to kidneys and liver is, therefore, vastly improved.  Sadly, the ingredients may lack quality and the treatment process will destroy many vitamins.  B vits are particularly heat-sensitive and essentially lacking in both these food groups. Chappie, a pretty ancient brand, scores a reasonable 54% nutritional value, whereas Pedigree Tins with Jelly (formally Pedigree Chum) scores a miserable 36%. Add to that some supermarket mixer with a miserly 2-4% nutritional rating and your dog's meal is suddenly looking astoundingly poor quality.  ALL supermarket brands are dire. Click here to find out which one scores a miserable 18%.  There ARE some good ones, just use the search engine to find the others.  Don't bother with any that fall below 80%, your dog is worth more than that.  Add chopped carrots for crunch - forget the mixer, it's just a filler. 

Raw Food

Raw food comes frozen in convenient 500g tubs, free-flow mince or chunks or in large sausage-like wraps called "chubbs".  This is not the most convenient food - you have to remember to defrost it every day, but that's a habit that is easy to establish.  Because it's raw, the amino acids are readily acceptable and easily fully digestible by your dog.  What comes out the other end is the holy grail of dog poop, being both kickable and odourless. This clears the tummy in just 4 hours giving the twice-daily fed dog's tummy a whopping 16 hour break each 24 hour period.  We feed a brand called Nutriment which was one of the first ones out there, though there are MANY brands now competing for your custom.   As you can see, most of these score well over 85%, with Nutriment being right up there with some flavours topping the 95% mark.  The higher the score the smaller the poop it produces. 😉

Anyone who has had anything to do with horses will know that behaviour and diet are intrinsically linked.

Feed only oats and watch them explode, feed only hay and watch them slump. 

A good diet for your dog is no different and will result in clear skin, a glowing coat, shining eyes, a cold wet nose, good energy levels and quiet controlled behaviour.  

"A natural diet dog will look like each hair has been plucked out, polished and reinserted."  Wendy Volhard 1993.  Author of A Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog.

A poor diet will result in a spiral of disaster for your dog.  Kidney and liver failure, rotten teeth, rank breath scurfy skin and dull lifeless coats abound.  No matter what your groomer uses, the hair is of such poor quality that the finished result will be disappointing. Yeast infections take hold of skin and ears.  Thin blood and skin make parasitic infestations easy. Poor nutrition will result in the dog's health collapsing like a house of cards and as one thing after another starts to fail, veterinary assistance is sought, pharmaceuticals are prescribed, then more pharmaceuticals are required to deal with the side effects of the first, second and third rounds.  The average veterinarian completes just 24 hours of canine nutrition in their 7 years of training at Vet School and this is sponsored by Waltham Nutrition, which is, in turn, owned by Mars.  (It would appear that the wolf has truly been left to guard the sheep.)

There are some notable exceptions; hero's in their field even - Christopher Day and Nick Thompson are pioneering veterinary gods in my humble opinion. 

There are some stunning books to read on this subject - Ian Billinghurst was one of the first authors to tackle the subject with "Give your dog a bone", and you can do some good research on the net by searching for BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). 

This is obviously just a Whistle Stop Tour of the dog food market which is way beyond the scope of this meagre article. If you have questions, I'm always happy to take the time to talk about them on your next visit. 
Nutriment Core Range

We stock Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Duck, Salmon, Lamb, Chicken and Lamb, Venison, and Just Tripe. If you place your order the day before your groom we can have it ready for you to take home with you at drop off or pick up, your preference.   We can supply anything from the Nutriment website, but would need 2 days notice to get it in stock for you. Remember there are plenty of other brands out there that are as good. 

This is what the next couple of weeks look like currently. 
Free appointments are in yellow text
and the complete list is at the bottom of this section

Monday, 1st November
9.00 Scarlett Ghedia and Moo Wylie
1.00 Mungo, Poppy (FG), Mia and Fonzie (teeth) (brought forward an hour as there are 4 of them if that's OK with you Shirley?)

Tuesday, 2nd November
9.00 Cloggy Pelly and Bella Waters
1.00 Dixie, Domino and Frankie Amabile (brought forward an hour as there are 3 if that's OK with you Lindsay?)

Rest of week - closed (Half Term)

Sunday 7th The Groomers Market, Aldershot 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (Click Here) 
Perhaps the BEST opportunity for you to buy your dog-obsessed friends their Christmas Presents this year? 

Monday 8th November
9.00 Poppy Rennie and Reggie Braccetti
2.00 Frankie Weaver and Lucy Wilkie

Tuesday, 9th November
9.00 Toto Pidgely and Maggie Blundell
2.00 Snoop and Teddy Dye

Wednesday, 10th November
9.00 Zavi Hamilton Andrews and Looby Jackson
2.00 Tilly and either Walt or Basil Farr

Thursday, 11th November
9.00 Lia Cook and FREE
2.00 Lily and Rollo Durose
It's available in both the App Store (iPhones) or Play Store (Android).  Just remember to use the same email address as you get your appointment notifications from! 

Looking forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Many thanks and kind regards
Katie Rourke Dowding
International Certified Master Groomer
T: 01344 291465  M: 07767 341424 E:
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