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Bonsaviour Natural Dog Diet


We at Bonsaviour strongly believes in a Raw Natural Diet for True Health of the Dog,
we offer help and advice on the correct diet for the In-Whelp Pregnant Bitch, naturally rearing healthy puppies, adult dog diet and the older dog diet.
Dogs fed naturally as nature intended with the addition of vital herbal minerals and vitamins will keep your dog in excellent health and ailment free throughout their life.
Bonsaviour has practiced the Natural Diet for the dog for more than 25 years.
Dogs in the wild would naturally kill their own prey, this is the reason why raw meat and raw bones is a natural diet for the domestic dog as like their ancestors. Domestic dogs and wolves have exactly the same strong digestive tract, the prey, (example the rabbit) the dog will eat the cereal content of the stomach, the prey would of raided the farmers crops thus why the cereal is part of the dog's diet, the fur would be the roughage, we replace this with bran it helps the anal glands to empty naturally.
Commercialized unnatural dog foods can cause health problems in dogs especially as the dog ages.
Feeding your dog raw foods the natural way as nature intended combats these problems.



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Bonsaviour Tripe Diet

Dogs were in existence long before the creation of dried dog food. So how could they have possibly survived. In the wild a dog will catch it's food and devour nearly all of it, the flesh (good source of protein), fat (a good source of energy), bone (good source of calcium), muscle and organ meats, and the stomach with its contents (a good source of enzymes, minerals and pre-digested plant material consisting of herbs and grasses).

Dogs, both domesticated and wild, are members of the carnivore family. Anatomically, they are built for it. No one describes this more eloquently than Juliette de Bairacli Levy in her book, The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog A Handbook of Natural Care and Rearing:

The dog is a meat eater, from the teeth fashioned for tearing and crushing, the powerful jawbones and muscles, the small, very muscular stomach, the short intestines and above all the very powerful digestive juices peculiar to the carnivorous animals - digestive juices that can dissolve even lumps of bone. In health, the dog's juices, both of mouth and stomach, are strongly antiseptic, and thus high meat and even flesh from diseased animals  food which would kill a human being in a day,  can be eaten without any harmful effects.

Ms. Levy's philosophy of raising dogs is called Natural Rearing and it means just what it says raising the dog in such a way as to reproduce the way they would exist in their natural state.

Natural rearing diets, such as Raw Food, also known as, Bones And Raw Food), are based on fresh foods such as raw meats, raw bones, raw vegetables and herbs. Because dogs in the wild would not eat every day, one day of fasting (only for adult dogs) per week is also recommended. This allows the animal to cleanse its body of toxins.

Cooking breaks down many of the proteins and amino acids in raw meat, thus destroying much of it's nutritional value. The dog being not only a hunter, but a scavenger as well, will be able to exist on a diet of cooked food, but it will not be in optimal health. I guess a similar comparison would be to place a human being on a strict diet of only MacDonalds hamburgers and fries for the rest of his/her life!

Raising your dog on poor diets will eventually have its effect - disease, immune deficiencies, short life span, the list is endless. Thanks to the works of Juliette de Bairacli Levy, Dr. Ian Billinghurst, Wendy Volhard and Dr. Kerry Brown, Dr. Tom Lonsdale and Kymythy Schultz a step in the right direction (back to nature) has been taken. Their books have been and invaluable source of information for all dog owners.

The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog, Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Give Your Dog A Bone, Dr. Ian Billinghurst
The Holistic Guide For A Healthy Dog, Wendy Volhard & Kerry Brown, DVM

I am sure you are thinking, "...what is Green Tripe?". The answer to that is simple, because it is the best, most natural food you could feed your  dog. It has been a well known secret of top breeders/kennels of performance dogs for years. The following excerpt from Juliette de Bairacli Levy's book, The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog, says it best.

"I would suggest breeders make good use of such flesh foods as the following paunches of all animals (the raw, uncleaned paunches of healthy grass-fed animals can be fed with much benefit to all breeds of dogs). I learned this from a gypsy in the Forest of Dean: this man had bred many famous greyhounds, and he told me that such fare was the finest of natural food tonics.

Tripe is the stomach of  animals. These animals i.e. cattle, buffalo, sheep, deer, goats, antelope, etc.) are classified as being four-footed, hooved, cud chewing mammals. The food the animal eats i.e. grass and hay is swallowed unchewed and passes into the rumen and reticulum where it is then regurgitated, chewed and mixed with saliva. It is again swallowed and then passed through the reticulum and omasum into the abomasum, where it is then further broken down by the gastric juices, amino acids and other digestive enzymes. 

So how can something so disgusting, be so good. These same gastric juices and enzymes not only aid the animal in digestion, but also aid the dog in digesting and efficiently utilizing his food. The amino acids are necessary for muscular development and, the other gastric juices, I believe, are the best cleaner ever for their teeth.

Finally, because of the rubbery texture of tripe, serving it in large chunks also aids the canine in strengthening it’s jaw muscles and has an added benefit as a form of canine dental floss.



Interview with a Raw Feeding Vet Anyone who’s done even the slightest bit of research on raw feeding would have come across the horror stories of vets laying into their clients for their choice of doggy diet, but is this really justified? It’s no secret that the dog food industry heavily endorses veterinarians, but this shouldn’t mean that raw feeding is so quickly dismissed. Dogs have been eating this way for thousands of years so what’s suddenly changed? I caught up with pro-raw feeding vet David Hopper who runs Vet on the Corner, a small family run practice in Horncastle, Lincolnshire. David has over 25 years veterinary experience and has been feeding his own dogs a raw diet for at least 5 years. His practice doesn’t stock dog food, prescription or otherwise. Without giving away any trade secrets I was staggered by the list of ingredients which went into the food but did not appear on the label, some of which in my opinion more at home in the chemistry lab not dog foodDavid Hopper David was in mixed practice for 25 years working with farm animals, horses and pets before specialising latterly in pets. He has used acupuncture in horses and dogs for much of that time and more recently trained in veterinary homeopathy. However the majority of his work is still in conventional veterinary practice. David tries to keep an open mind and every day learns something new – not bad after 34 years in the game! The interview was proofread by Nick Thompson of Holisticvet who added a few of his own comments. Nick is a fully trained vet with over 20 years experience, he has also trained in homeopathy, acupuncture, natural nutrition and veterinary herbal medicine. Hi David, thanks for taking the time out to discuss this very popular topic. I actually asked a couple of raw feeding groups on Facebook if they had any questions for this interview and the response was phenomenal! This is going to be a good one. I’ve heard a lot about the pet food industry subsidising veterinarian education, how true is this? Large sums of money have been spent by the Pet Food Industry on the veterinary profession over the years to sponsor education and research to the point that no one can remember any alternative to commercial diets. Following on, is there any sort of nutritional training available for raw feeding, perhaps sponsored by larger raw suppliers? I am not aware of any specific training courses but I suspect they will come with time as the major pet food firms can not ignore raw diet any longer and come on board. Having said that I have always been able to get advice from raw diet producers like Honeys. There is also a wealth of material online After being anti-raw for the majority of your career, what changed your opinion of a raw food diet, and even convinced you to rethink what you were feeding your own dogs? The conversion to feeding raw diet has been a gradual process over several years for me. Many years ago I had a client who ran an Old English Sheepdog Rescue. At regular intervals we would get emergency phone calls from her to attend to dogs with gastric torsion. This is an acute emergency condition which will rapidly kill dogs if not surgically corrected and often recurs. Unfortunately we had to operate on many dogs and we lost several in the process. One day it occurred to me that I had not heard from her for several months. It transpired that she had started feeding raw diet instead of dry dog food and the torsions had stopped. I had heard through antipodean vets that raw diet is popular in Australia but I did not know any vets in the UK who supported it. Several years after that I did some veterinary work for a now defunct pet food firm which supplied most of the major chains with ‘own label brands’. I had access to the menus for the pet food. Without giving away any trade secrets I was staggered by the list of ingredients which went into the food but did not appear on the label, some of which in my opinion more at home in the chemistry lab not dog food? There appears to be no legal obligation for pet food manufacturers to declare all of the ingredients in pet food? I suppose the first step towards realising the importance of diet was when I noticed a tiny article in a veterinary publication about a vet called John Burn who had produced a holistic dog food. I phoned and had a long chat with this quietly spoken Scottish vet and as a result we tried this new food. Holistic diet improved many chronic skin, digestive and behavioural problems that had evaded curation by conventional treatments. It was long uphill struggle to convince clients that these conditions could be improved if not cured by diet alone. About 7 years ago a client walked into the surgery who fed her dog on raw diet. Raw diet seemed to tick so many boxes for me but it took a discussion with my wife, a vegetarian of over 30 years, to convince me to try it. So I spoke to her suppliers Darlings, later to become Honey’s Real Dog Food. We embarked on it with some trepidation and I must admit that when we first fed our dogs chicken wings I was ready to perform bowel surgery. However both dogs, one a GSD puppy the other a geriatric JRT, took to it readily and the benefits were almost immediate and they have continued ever since. Why do veterinarians oppose raw so much? Is it lack of education/fear of the unknown? Veterinarians and veterinary nurses oppose raw diets because they have no knowledge of them. Indoctrinated since students days of the merits of artificially produced pet foods by advertising and education, they have forgotten that for millennia animals have eaten raw food. Commercial dog food only became available in the 20th Century. They have also been fed old wives tales about raw food carrying bugs like salmonella and making dogs aggressive. Vets are understandably cautious about litigation and they are often unwilling to stick their heads above the parapet by recommending raw diet. More education and information for the veterinary profession and the general public is essential. Have you have treated any dogs for any injuries/illnesses directly related to raw feeding? I have not treated any dogs with illnesses related to raw diet feeding. There is some discussion about an overactive thyroid illness but I have not personally seen nor had any experience of this condition in dogs fed raw food. I have treated many cases related to feeding inappropriate commercial dry and tinned diets including skin, bowel, metabolic, skeletal, neurological and locomotory disorders. What are you thoughts on both BARF and Prey model feeding? What do you feed? There is some confusion with pet owners who sometimes consider a raw food diet as totally meat. They do not realise the need for vegetable content and supplementation with bone flour. Occasionally pet owners also confuse a holistic artificial diet with raw food diet. Nick Thompson: There is much discussion among raw feeding vets on the most appropriate diet. No consensus beyond it has to be complete (diet, not necessarily each meal), nutritious and work well for that individual. Watch this space! What is your view on supplements? Do you use/recommend any? Nick Thompson: I do supplement and there is evidence that modern foods, meats and vegetables have lower mineral content than 80 years ago. I also like using herbs, glucosamine products, vitamins at nutraceutical levels to give a nutritional boost beyond that of optimal nutrition. Can you tell when a dog comes into your practice if it’s raw fed? If so, how? I am unable to tell if the dog is on raw diet when it comes into the surgery however certain things give the game away on further investigation: clean teeth, no bad breath, normal faeces with no offensive smell and good bodily condition. What are your thoughts towards commercial dried dog food now that you’re an avid raw feeder? To start buying fresh raw ingredients and mixing them into a diet for the dog is an anathema to most people with busy lifestyles so I can understand why pet owners feed commercial dry diet. It is quick and convenient rather like the fast foods some of us regularly eat. They have also been convinced by very persuasive advertising that a particular diet is the best one for their dog. I admit that we buy our raw food conveniently prepared from the wonderful Honey’s Real Food which we have delivered to our freezer. We will never use commercial dry diets again if we have the choice. Do you have any advice on how to approach a non pro-raw vet? Unfortunately very few vets at the moment have any experience of raw diet so they do not recommend it. Hopefully in years to come that will change. Until then tread carefully and consult web pages like Raw Food Vets first. Vet on the CornerWe’d like to say a big thank you to David Hopper for taking the time out to help us explore the vet industry in a way which isn’t often discussed. If you’re local to Horncastle, Lincolnshire, I advise you check out Vet on the Corner as good vets are hard to find! We’d also like to thank Nick Thompson for proofreading this interview and adding his own input. I’d also like to thank each and every member of The Raw Feeding Community, Rawfeeding Rebels, BARF Diet Chat and Raw Feeding UK who helped come up with these great questions.



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Golden Retriever
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