• Jackie Bushnell

The Beginning of Howl Around Cowal

The idea of Howl Around Cowal grew from my interest at trying to give my dogs the best health and life I could afford. I realised that our health is shaped hugely by what we eat and dogs are no different. I wanted to know why 'dog food' often meant either canned food or dry kibble today, neither of them similar to the domesticated dogs ancestor, the wolf. I had previously read a great book, 'The man who lives with wolves' by Shaun Ellis and found it fascinating how the hierarchy of the pack indicated what part of the kill the wolves ate and also that they did eat plants and fruits, sometimes consuming the stomach contents of their prey too.

So when did kibble come about and what's in it? Well it turns out that it was first commercially made as early as 1860!! That surprised me. But really I think kibble didn't start to become popular here in the UK until possibly 1970's, although I certainly remember canned meat was what we fed our dogs back then, and table scraps. Well as you can imagine kibble is comprised of waste from the meat industry and lots of fillers. There are lots of articles that discuss its quality (or lack of) but one thing for sure, it's highly processed. Now our doctors and dietary researchers all agree on one thing, yes they do! It seems like they keep changing their minds on what we should and shouldn't be eating, but in fact they all agree we shouldn't be eating the amount of processed food that we do saying that it increases our chances of developing cancer, heart disease or strokes. Should I be feeding processed foods to my dogs also?  There certainly seems like a lot of dogs develop cancer today and many dogs die before they get into their teens. I remember dogs frequently living to 16 or so when I was a child. It seems so rare now.

I actually began feeding raw to my dogs intermittently several years ago but I never had the space to stock enough of it so would continue to use kibble and trays of wet food. Eventually I managed to dedicate enough room in my freezer to hold two months worth at a time however then I struggled to restock it. I had to dedicate time to go over the water to collect it but the delivery times would clash with my work hours so I was frequently resorting to packet food and then there was the added cost of ferry journeys! The only way I could do this was creating more freezer room so why not enough to become a stockist and deliver to other dog owners in the area! So Howl Around Cowal was born! My plan is to guide you through the process of feeding your dog a raw diet although there are many Facebook groups that support and advice raw feeders out there. I would encourage you to join one as their members have years of experience of feeding raw diets and can show you how healthy their dogs have become since transitioning them from kibble. Skin conditions and coat generally improve and hot spots (inflamed, weeping areas on the skin that just seem to suddenly appear anywhere) disappear. The dogs weight improves and joint pain is reduced and it can seem like you have a new dog as they become happier and healthier. Some owners have even managed to reduce the size of lumps/tumours too! Benefits I have seen in my dogs are reduction in ear infections, reduction in weight and improved joint health. Another great benefit is there is less waste to pick up in your garden or when out for a walk and it doesn't tend to have that offensive odour! Their poo will generally turn white after a few days and crumble if the balance of bone in the diet is correct.

I will be posting how you calculate how much to feed your dogs as a general guide and what is thought to constitute a balanced raw diet, sharing articles of interest by professionals but it is for you to make your own judgement what is best for your dog. Please share your experience of raw feeding and what it has done to your dogs health and perhaps you have some tips to share to help others setting out on this new journey.

Many thanks and I hope you and your dogs enjoy Howl Around Cowal.

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