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Switching Dogs & Cats to a Natural Diet

The first time I realised how much good food makes a difference to our pets was when I opened my first pet shop in Evesham and my mum tried her cats on Canagan. She had always fed supermarket cat food and Whiskas. The difference in just a few weeks was incredible. The cats’ fur was silky soft and looked as if they had been freshly washed; in fact some of her friends were convinced that she had given them a bath! I have sworn by high quality food ever since and have seen the difference it has made to my customers pets.

Good quality food simply means food with high meat content and no cheap fillers like maize, corn & wheat. Getting your pets onto a natural diet can help with:

  • Skin concerns – Many dogs and cats are allergic to grains like maize and these allergies can cause itchy skin. If your pet is always itchy and they don’t have fleas check on the ingredients list of their food to see if these grains might be the cause. Another common allergen for pets is surprisingly chicken, so trying a food based on a different protein like lamb may help.
  • Hyperactivity- Some cheap brands use sugars and food colourings that can send our pets’ energy levels through the roof and then they will get a sugar crash and slump. If you are struggling with a hyperactive pet you might consider switching them to a diet that will keep their blood sugar levels steady.
  • Toilet time – I can often tell just by looking at a dogs waste if they are on a decent diet or not. Dogs and cats on good high protein diets will have compact stools that aren’t loose.
  • Overall Health – Just like humans, our pets overall health can benefit from a natural diet. Weight issues can be managed more easily when we stop feeding them junk.

What is a good food?

A high quality diet doesn’t always have to equal an expensive one. Customer service is our top priority and that means never lying to a customer just to get a sale. We will only suggest Canagan to a customer if they say money is no object, because whilst Canagan is the best quality dry food that we stock we know that not everyone can afford it, and we do have some great affordable options too.

When a customer in store asks us to recommend a good food our first suggestion is usually Nature’s Way, which sits comfortably in the middle of our price range at £7.49 for 2kg. It’s a meat & rice based food which doesn’t have any of the gimmicks of the big brands. The savings they make by using plain brown bags and having only one sales rep are passed onto the customer. Nature’s Way has a great level of protein for a mid-price food and it doesn’t use any cheap fillers. Meat is listed as the first ingredient which is something we look for in a good natural food. If meat is listed first this means that it is the most used ingredient in that recipe, and a dog needs meat to thrive. For cats Natures Way are releasing a food soon, but for now Vitalin is a fab option with many of the same benefits for a reasonable price.

For customers who have a limited budget for dog food we would usually suggest Harringtons Hypoallergenic range over the likes of Pedigree, Wagg and Bakers. It has a higher protein content than most budget foods and they use meat meal in their recipes rather than the unclear ‘meat & animal derivatives’ that a lot of the cheaper brands use. We wouldn't recommend a budget option for cats because they have higher protein needs than dogs and really do benefit from a higher quality food. 

We also advocate a Raw diet if our customers are comfortable with the idea. It is what we feed our own dogs and we have many happy customers who would recommend it. We are always here to help with advice if you are considering a switch to raw, and will be doing a future blog post on the topic.