Having four dogs at home myself I decided to find out more about how food choices affect our canine friends in the same manner that our choices affect us. Katie Lewis from facebook group ‘Every Thing dogs Mallorca’ answered a few questions for me from a pet owner point of view.
Why did you decide to feed your dogs on raw food?
I decided to change from typical ‘dog food’ to raw after speaking to an animal nutritionist - my friends husband - Sergio. He informed me that the most natural diet for dogs is the raw diet, rather than processed food you get in a tin, or kibble. I did do my own research and was blown away by the health benefits.
Did you swap over from commercial dry foods straight away?
My girl we started off on high quality ‘dog food’, Canagan. After my research it seemed to be one of the best options here in Mallorca. Everytime she had a big feed she was bloated and sleepy, like my others dogs I’ve had in the past she would lie down & sleep after, which was pretty normal. Once we made the switch to raw it was like she got a boost of energy after eating, it was noticeably different! We made the switch slowly with her, Ca’n Na Tess advised me on the best way to do it, it can upset their stomaches at first as they need to build up the right stuff to be able to break the food down. We gave her raw bones, and introduced the raw meat one meal a day, and kept her on her usual food the other meal - or a little bit of raw throughout the day for a gradual switch.
My young Doberman came home very unwell, and early from his mother at 5 weeks. She didn’t feed him as a baby and rejected him so we didn’t have a choice, so he started out on raw food. He came home with bowed legs from lack of protein from his mother’s milk and was extremely sick. We started him out on raw food straight away, the ‘complete’ menu from Ca’n Na Tess which has everything in they need!
The vet was unsure if he would survive but I believe his diet massively increased his chances. He’s now a whopping 51 kilos at almost 2 years old and NEVER been back to the vets unwell since. He looks incredible, very lean yet so strong!
What about their teeth, have you found raw food better for them?
Their teeth, their coats, their gums! I saw such a huge improvement in them. We give mine a raw bone once a week for extra clean teeth too!
Is it a very high protein diet?
Yes very high protein, I get the ‘complete’ menu which has all the veggies, nutrients & oils they need. This is mixed with the bones, meat, offals - everything!
Have you noticed any differences in the behaviours of your dogs after raw feeding?
I have noticed they have more energy (sometimes not always a good thing!). They’re not heavy and sleepy after eating which I noticed with ‘dog food’
Is it a little tricky to feed them a raw diet if you decide to do it DIY, you need to make sure they get all the right nutrients - but there’s loads of information out there on how to get the right balance in their bowl if anyone is willing to learn. I personally prefer ordering from Ca’n Na Tess. They deliver my food monthly and it means I don’t have to think about it. I could never go back onto ‘dog food’ now after feeding raw! It’s incredible!!
Thank you to Katie for her input! I am hoping to follow this up in the coming weeks with more infomation and advice. In the meantime don’t forget if you’d like to be included in these pages, please get in touch.
Your Dog is learning 24 x 7: be conscious, aware and anticipate!
By Joachim Sommer
This is not only important if you have a “problematic” dog but makes educating any dog a way easier and relaxed process.
“Positive reinforcement trainers” like myself always emphasise on:
● Reinforce desired behaviour
● Ignore (if you can) undesired behaviour
By avoiding punishment we reduce the risk of inadvertently reinforcing undesired behaviour and inducing stress in the dog when trying to “correct” this behaviour.
So we should focus on how we want our dog to behave in certain situations.
For this we need to:
1. Be aware of the issues or problems and the situations where they occur, for example the dog jumps for attention at people we talk to in the street or pounces to “greet” another dog.
2. Consciously interact with our dog and reinforce desired behaviour until the behaviour is established, then phase out the reinforcer (like treats). When we meet someone we should keep the distance to this person great enough so the dog does not get tempted to lunge, manage the leash (but don’t constantly restrain them on a tight leash) so that the dog cannot get to what they want. This means we have to know what the dog is doing and reinforce them when it is compatible with the situation, even and especially when they are doing nothing in particular, and NOT wait for them to start jumping. This may mean you have to look more at your dog than at the person you are talking to and let the person know why you are doing this, most will understand.
3. Anticipate, that means for example to be “in control” of the next street corner because your dog’s favourite (or most hated) person or dog may be behind it and you want to be able to increase the distance to them, distract your dog or even turn around if necessary. Manage the people you interact with so the friend or dog handler does not come too close for comfort for your dog and communicate your intentions to them, most will be helpful and understanding, some may not. Also consider your dog’s daily form, they -like us- have better and worse days.
You can use the dog’s obedience (like make them sit) to manage the dog in these situations as an interim measure, however, ideally the dog should take the decision to give appropriate behaviour and not be made to do so.
This is harder than one might think and takes a lot of practice. If you can’t achieve this during your daily walks consider practicing with your dog and friends in a controlled environment like an empty field or car park.
Consider group or individual training sessions with a dog trainer if you seem to get stuck.
Thank you Joachim for this valuable insight into training our best friends!