I have a confession to make.
I am really, acutely aware that “holistic canine nutrition,” as an industry, sounds like a load of wank. It’s up there with paleo, charging twenty dollars for a jar of fermented cabbage and anything with the word “bespoke” in front of it nowadays.
When I told my friend Dan about this business he exclaimed “I love it! I want to buy a doggy latte from HUNDE.” Thus both endearing me with his wit, and realising my greatest fear that people would think I was running some sort of health retreat for spoiled, middle class dogs from the suburbs.
In reality, the very opposite is true.
Middle class dogs from the suburbs are of course most welcome here, but the idea I am peddling is far less health retreat and far more back-to-basics.
I believe that we should feed our dogs in a way that reflects their digestive capabilities and their nutritional requirements. I believe (because it is true) that the companion dog is a close relative of the wolf. I don’t believe that processed pet food producers are anywhere near concerned enough with either of those two principles.
And our dogs are sicker than ever. They are itchy, fat and smelly. And they’re the lucky ones.
When I say holistic I don’t mean “alternative.” I am not talking about holistic medicine, although I do agree that has its place in the animal kingdom. I am talking about it in the sense that the dictionary defines holistic, which is as “relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.” Why are we treating itchy dogs with special formulas instead of just taking away the irritant? Why are we spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars fixing our dogs rotten teeth instead of feeding them in a way that prevents periodontal disease in the first place?
I advocate holistic nutrition in the sense that I advocate whole, unprocessed foods from nature. There’s no snake oil, no pointless food fads and no gimmicks (and I buy my kimchi from the Asian grocers for five bucks).
I’m also acutely aware that my use of the expression “natural diet” could refer to just about any diet and is essentially meaningless. At some point pretty much everything originated in nature. For me, the term ‘natural’ encompasses all aspects of my food philosophy for dogs (and myself, for that matter) and I believe I use it in a way that shows both integrity and is a reflection of what people expect it to mean. Fresh, whole food without anything artificial.
At the end of the day, I am going to do and say things you will dismiss – and I think that’s really great. Think for yourselves! You go, girl. Sometimes I feed my dog green smoothies. He’d give up his first litter for a spoonful of coconut oil. That picture at the top is a bottle of sesame milk that I made and may or may not have fed to my dog. But I feed him green smoothies when I make too much, I give him coconut oil because he bloody loves it, and have you ever tried sesame milk? It is BORING. I will never, ever tell you that you need to do any of these things in the course of providing a healthy dog’s diet.
I might use airy fairy sounding phrases like “holistic canine nutrition” but all I’m really asking is that you give your dog a bone every now and then.