When you decide to share your life with a whippet there are some things you really should know – they feel the cold, hate the rain AND they will thrive on a good quality dog food – if they can’t get their paws on your food that is!
I am often asked 'what shall I feed my whippet' and wonder how on earth do you decide what to feed your new friend when there is so much choice out there. It's an absolute mine field but all I can do is speak from my own experience.
Do you go for a dry kibble – the most popular choice - as over 36% of dog owners do, or do you go down the raw route? Also, a very popular choice with over 27% of dog owners choosing pre -prepared raw. I haven’t had very good experience of either – I've never been a big fan of dry kibble mainly because I think it must be so boring for the dog, but also because I have always wondered how much nutrition can be left after all that processing. As for raw, we have done a little of this over the years, in between the home cooking, but for someone like me who hates handling raw meat even though I am not a vegetarian, it isn’t ideal. We started George on raw but had to take him off it when he got ill at 6 months old.
15 years ago, when I brought Bruno home with me, I didn’t know any of the above! The breeder had been feeding him boiled tripe and I continued to do this, but although he loved it the SMELL took a little to be desired! It wasn’t long after that I met Mr Redhound and its testament to his love that he wasn’t phased by the disgusting smell of Bruno’s supper that often flowed through my small flat!
I eventually progressed onto cooking him less smelly options and intuitively added vegetables to the mix, with rice and pasta too. When Frankie came along the home cooking continued and they both thrived on it, living to a good age of 14. In those days there wasn't the choice we have now and I just didn't trust tinned dog food that looked and smelt more disgusting than the tripe. I did feed them raw for periods of time, but I found that they got bored of it quite quickly - I think there are better raw options available now.
One thing you can do is check the ingredients – meat should be at least 60% of the content with the rest being vegetables, pulses or grains. If you are in any doubt please take a look at this glossary of ingredients commonly used in commercial dog food to check for yourself, it makes for very interesting reading.
So, what do we feed George and Winnie? I still cook occasionally for them, but their main diet is prepared for us by Butternut Box – and they are thriving on it.
When George had a bad case of Giardia at just 6 months, followed by E.coli soon after, we struggled to feed him anything, nothing would settle his very delicate tummy. He couldn’t tolerate anything other than turkey and some vegetables for months. So, I cooked for him. I added in mashed sweet potato, rice and sometimes pasta to help fill him up, but still he struggled to put on any weight. Then a friend told me about Butternut Box, and, I confess I was taken in by not just the look of their website but the thought that someone else would prepare food for him. One year on we are still feeding Butternut to both George and Winnie and they both love it. They are happy and healthy and George hasn't had any recurring tummy trouble for months.
I worked out the maths and for around £2.60 per dog per day - very similar to the cost of home cooking - they get very nutritious food, delivered to our door in frozen portion packs. They both LOVE it and we have clean bowls every meal – ours are fed two meals per day. I heat it up in the microwave for just 1 minute as a warmer meal is more easily digested.
Let’s face it we all want our dogs to be happy and healthy and to enjoy their food.
We did find that for a while they were both passing the lentils and carrots much the same as they went in, but over time I think they have adapted to digest the fibre better and we rarely see anything that looks like undigested food in the poo which is solid and not smelly.
I choose mostly turkey for them, as the other flavours are richer, George isn’t good with chicken so we avoid that. The lamb and beef ones are fattier but they do need fats, so I serve these flavours maybe every 3 days.
In December last year Butternut Box asked me to be an ambassador for the brand. I was already a fan having recommended it to many people who had asked me what I feed George and Winnie. We are rewarded in food vouchers and you are rewarded by getting 75% off your first box - if you fancy giving it a try click here.. It might not suit you or your whippet, but it is worth a try if you have a dog whose tummy is delicate like G's or maybe an elderly dog who is quite fussy.
So, how does it work?
Once on their website register your dog, they will ask you questions – type of dog, weight, age etc and then it calculates the pouch size you will need to order. Within a few days your box will arrive – frozen, insulated with recyclable wool packing and ice packs – we have left ours out for over 5 hours in our porch and it has remained frozen.
We are mindful about packaging in our house, so Hubby uses the wool insulator to keep his plants warm in the winter and it can be composted – Winnie also takes great delight in pulling it to shreds. We use the ice packs in our cool bag - very useful on camping trips and picnics.
The box is recycled and the pouches the food comes in are recyclable, but not taken in all council collections - if you contact the lovely people at Butternut they can advise you on this.
Debbie, George & Winnie x