THE BUTCHER'S BLOG
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Why Dogs Need Natural Nutrition
We all know that a well-fed, well-exercised, well-loved dog will be happy and healthy. But while it’s easy to ensure your best friend is getting enough walks and cuddles, it’s more difficult to tell if you’re feeding them correctly.
There’s so much conflicting advice and so many different types of dog food available that it can be a confusing issue. But at Butcher’s, it’s very simple. We believe the very best nutrition for our pets comes from fresh, natural ingredients – plenty of meat, some superfoods, a dash of essential oils…and that’s about it.
And definitely no nasties! You’ll never find us using bulking agents, phosphates, binders, artificial flavours, preservatives or colours in our foods. ‘We produce a natural product that contains everything a dog needs and nothing it doesn’t,’ says Butcher’s Product & Process Technical Manager, Robin Hone. ‘That’s key.’ Robin was there a little over 30 years ago, when Graham Baker, son of livestock farmers Fred and Alice Baker, realised that the offcuts of meat would make the perfect dog food.
‘There was a lot of tripe, livers and kidneys,’ says Robin. ‘They’re packed with the protein, vitamins and minerals that dogs need to thrive. Tripe contains omega oils that are good for the heart, coat and skin, selenium is a natural antioxidant, and there’s calcium for bone growth. These rich organ meats – the liver, lungs and kidneys – are so nutritious that, in the wild, these are the first parts of an animal that the dogs would eat…and they love it, which is the most important thing,’ says Robin.
Meat is the main ingredient in all Butcher’s recipes. Superfoods – like chicory, for digestion – naturally gluten-free wholegrains and sweet potato for slow-release energy, prebiotics, for immunity and gut health, and essential oils make up the rest. And thanks to our understanding of what dogs really need, Butcher’s has had a grain-free range since 1987.
‘It’s important because dogs have a short digestive tract, which is less suitable for carbohydrates like grains,’ explains Robin. ‘And their stomachs don’t break them down, so they don’t get any nutritional benefit from them.’
The key to our success are the great relationships that we’ve built with local suppliers, and the fact that they only ever use meat from British and Irish farms. ‘It’s important that we get the quality we want, and you’ve more chance of achieving that with local firms rather than bringing it in from further afield,’ says Robin. ‘We like to have that traceability and to ensure that meat is fresh – not months old. ‘Better-quality raw material produces a noticeably better-quality product.’
Because we use fresh ingredients, there’s none of the deterioration in the nutritional value that freezing can cause. Robin is so convinced of the quality of Butcher’s, he feeds it to his own dog, Travis, a German shepherd. ‘When I get home from work, he bounds up to the door to greet me, then stands by his bowl until I’ve fed him. I know he loves it – his tail goes bananas when I’m dishing up the bowl and while he’s eating. And if Travis is happy, the rest of the family is happy.’