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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The best-fed pets in Britain (Part 1)


Pampered: Susan Richardson feeds her three Yorkshire Terriers only the best ingredients and hand makes the meals in her kitchen

My husband sells dried dog food and says it’s all they need, but I don’t believe him. I think dogs have to have fresh food, too. But I won’t feed them just anything — supermarket dog food may be only 50p a tin, but what’s in it?

Not just meat, but ground up bones, feathers as well as sugar, which makes dogs fat and damages their teeth. I’d never feed that to my little Yorkies.

I go to the butchers and buy proper meat — tonight it’s organic minced steak with pasta, all hand-cooked. I also make them eat peas, cauliflower and carrots, bones to gnaw on and half a teaspoon of yumega oil on their evening meal to make their coats shiny.

And I serve it all up on white china plates trimmed with gold, sitting with them while they’re eating to make sure they eat only their own.

And because dogs need a bit of crunch, they get Healthy Option dried food for breakfast and natural chew sticks to help their teeth, not to mention bacon ribs to clean their teeth — although I am careful to boil them first to get rid of the salt.

While I haven’t consulted dog experts about their diet, it’s obviously working — they’re very healthy and their teeth are incredibly white. And why shouldn’t it? I believe if it’s good for us, it’s good for them. Thankfully, because they’re so small, they cost us only £10 a week in meat.

Abi Pope feeds her two Burmese cats organic pet food and doesn't mind that is costs double the price of supermarket pet food

If we’d fed Coco and Milo on normal supermarket pet food, I think they’d be dead by now. It nearly killed them.

They were perfectly healthy when we bought them from a breeder aged just 12 weeks for £500 each.

We fed them on boiled fish and chicken for the first six weeks. But the problems started when we tried to wean them on to adult cat food. They went downhill quickly, being sick and having diarrhoea all the time. They became shadows of their former selves.

The vet said they’d either picked up a bug or eaten something bad in the garden, but they continued being sick for weeks. I suspected their food and tried lots of different varieties, but with no luck.

But it got so bad Coco ended up on a drip in the vets for four days because she was so dehydrated. I thought we were going to lose her. The vet recommended Royal Canin dry food and it worked immediately. We were so relieved.

But soon after, Coco and Milo got bored with it — they’d never really liked it and wanted wet food, too, but there was nothing we could give them.

In desperation, I tried tuna — it’s not something I eat because it’s not sustainable — but it worked for them. Despite this, I didn’t like having to abandon my principles even for my cats. Surely there was an alternative?

Then last Christmas, I walked past a ‘pop up shop’ for Lily’s Kitchen which sells only organic pet food. By this time, I was scared of trying anything different — the cats were so allergic to most things, they became ill immediately.

But miraculously, the new food worked — they loved it and, as it’s ethical, I’m happy, too. It costs just over a pound a sachet compared to the 30-40p of supermarket pet foods but, as far as I’m concerned, it’s worth every penny.

source: dailymail


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