Since before Christmas, Pea our Cocker Spaniel has been testing some raw food, simply because we wondered whether or not the food that we were originally feeding him was contributing to bad behaviour. So after being asked to review some initially, we decided to give them a decent test and see what a difference it made to him.
First up was Cotswold Raw. If I’m honest I had never heard about this food before, but checking out the company it’s about 5 minutes away from where Andy’s mum lives, so we have actually driven past it for the past 15 years when visiting her so know the area does have a lot of farms and other horticultural areas so could be pretty certain that it would be nice and freshly made, knowing what they manufacture around there. So I agreed to take a small batch to try.
They arrived really quickly in a freezer box, and there was a nice little selection of what they produce, from the mince to the sausages, and seeing that they won Gold in the PQ Awards 2016, you’re guaranteed to receive top quality food for your furry friends. They have since started to manufacture lamb chops and chicken wings which are a reasonable price, so they shouldn’t break the bank.
It comes delivered in a freezer box, which keeps it nice and frozen so easily transferred to your freezer. You then take one out the night before to defrost completely for your dog’s food the next day. We left it to defrost in the fridge but pulled it out 10 minutes before he was fed as coming straight from the fridge was far too cold, so taking it out for 10 minutes takes the edge away so as not to give him a tummy ache.
Now the mince Pea thought was amazing and would jump up at Andy whenever he pulled those out to feed him and would be trying to eat it just as Andy dished it up. It looks like a good quality mince with hardly any fat. Defrosted, doesn’t smell dissimilar to a regular mince (so keep the plastic on the top of you might find someone mistaking it for regular mince). 1 pack lasted a day with Pea as he eats twice a day with Daddy Bo, however the sausages were not a massive hit here. As much as they look and smell tasty, Pea isn’t keen on the sausage consistency as it’s a little soggy due to being raw and so he’d pick it up out of the bowl and leave a piece to one side whilst picking up another to do the same. I think if they were cooked then he wouldn’t have had an issue with them but raw sausages are not for him since he’s quite fussy with squishy consistencies.
He continued on Cotswold Raw for about 10 days and in that time we saw his fur return to how fluffy it was when we got him, and he seemed to sleep better, but as for the behaviour he was still very hot headed and continued to sit on Shelby’s head, pushing her out of her beanbag on more than one occasion.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely food and if it wasn’t for the fact that his bad behaviour in the evening continued then we would have been converted to Cotswold Raw since it’s a much better way of feeding the dogs rather than anything processed and full of additives.
We did look into putting Pea on this, but found the ordering a pain as you have to call up to order, and as much as we would have received a discount, I didn’t feel that the website was quite up to being that user friendly, making ordering it a bit awkward having to phone in a bulk order. Food wise, it’s sensational and if the website were slightly more user friendly I wouldn’t have a problem ordering with them in the future.
The next raw food that we were asked to try was Poppy’s Picnic from lovely Poppy and Dylan. Again we received the order in a cold box, so everything was still nice and frozen when it arrived. Pea actually tried to break into the box when it arrived and proceeded to sit and stalk it when we took it away from him to put it in the freezer. As you can see, he was pretty excited when the box was opened, so I had high hopes for this lovely lot.
Again the advice is to put straight in the freezer and remove a pack in the evening for the following day which we did.
We received the starter box of 24 dishes
4 x Chicken and Tripe Complete
4 x Chicken and Bone Complete
4 x Beef and Bone Complete
4 x Beef and Tripe Complete
4 x Lamb and Tripe Complete
4 x Lamb and Bone Complete
OK, I must admit when I saw that it contained bone I was a little apprehensive. I don’t like giving my dogs bones of any kind. You know only too well that bones when given to a dog can become quite dangerous with them getting bones stuck in their throats or stomach/intestines, so I wasn’t keen on giving my boy a mix with bone in. I realise that the bone is ground, but I still don’t like the idea of him digesting bone. But gave it a go anyway to see if Pea liked it as at the end of the day it’s his decision if he likes it and if it’s good for him healthwise (as it’s supposed to give them calcium and phosphorus, as well as marrow) then it should be ok with me.
The food does contain seasonal vegetables alongside chicken, beef, ox heart, living, kidney etc, but I’m still a bit uneasy about giving him food with bones in regardless just how ground they are and knowing that bone is generally put in the majority of commercial dog food, I was taken aback that it’s put in raw food when it might be seen as more filler? I don’t know.
Anyway, Andy pulled the chicken and bone out originally and although Pea seemed quite excited to start with, when he actually got the bowl down on his level, he sniffed it, pushed it about a bit and then looked at me waiting for something else. So we ended up giving that one to Vay and her sister. They’re not at all fussy, so it went down like a treat.
Next day we thought we’d try lamb and tripe, and as much as he seemed ok with it, he didn’t eat it with the gusto as he did with Cotswold Raw and picked at it for 10 minutes until he had finished. Not knowing whether or not he had a tummy ache or not, we didn’t feed it to him the next day but gave it to Daddy Bo and Vay who couldn’t get enough. Next day Pea tried Beef and Bone and yet again put his nose up at us when we laid it down in front of him. I have no idea why as there wasn’t much difference in smell between that and Cotswold Raw, but I guess it just wasn’t for him. So the rest of the weeks food was divided between all the other furries as I didn’t want it to go to waste since it’s great food. I don’t know if it’s the texture that has put him off, but he just wouldn’t eat it, no matter what we did.
Price wise it’s a bit cheaper than Cotswold Raw – about a £1 difference, maybe more. But comes complete and takes the worry out of trying to find enough ingredients to make this large a batch from scratch yourself.
Now I don’t actually know if the food made much difference to Pea’s behaviour since he refused to eat the majority of it. However Daddy Bo seemed to like it and it definitely seemed to calm him down as he spent the whole week fast asleep on his bean bag. The only way he’s ever achieved complete calm, relaxation is when he’s stolen the camomile tea bags out of the bin and munched on them so there’s definitely something going for it, even if it’s just that. I just wish Pea would have eaten it to at least give himself a rest from his own manic episodes.
Overall, raw food definitely has it’s place and probably has a lot more benefits than those we experienced but we’d have to try a few full months of each to actually get the full benefits. These two are both highly recommended by us, but it just depends what you feel about feeding your dog the different recipes (with or without ground bone) and mixtures. All contained natural, fresh produce and both were presented beautifully. Don’t feed processed if you can help it, try a different route. Your furry friend will love you for it.