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The uncooked diet for pets

In a discussion with Bella and Duke co-founders Mark Scott and Tony Ottley, they give an insight into the benefits of a raw pet food diet in comparison to other diets, highlighting its success and suggesting their opinion on the future of the diet

What are the benefits of a raw diet for pets?

There are a multitude of benefits to a raw diet for pets. 92% of Bella and Duke’s customers noticed improvements in their pets’ health within only a few weeks of switching to a raw diet. Benefits of a raw diet can include: Glossier coat and less itchy; more compact poo; well-formed and firmer poo; improved digestion and boosted immune system; improved and more balanced energy levels; and calmer and less reactive.

How does it compare to other diets?

We are constantly finding new ways of improving our own diet. As humans, we’re well aware of the dangers of having processed foods in our diet so it doesn’t make sense to feed this to our pets, switching to a natural diet has proven to provide a range of benefits for your pet.

We pride ourselves on carefully sourcing the best ingredients from British and Irish farms. That’s why everything we include in our meals are Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) approved.

Our species-specific diets for cats and dogs are also veterinarian approved to ensure pets get the best nutritional value possible throughout different stages of their life. From puppies and kittens to senior dogs and cats there are subscriptions to fit your pets’ needs at every stage of its life.

The pet food subscription consists of nutritionally balanced and easy to use meals which comprises raw meats, minced and mixed with purposeful seasonal fruits and vegetables. There is also an option for pets whose health benefits from an exclusion diet, through a single protein range which also excludes fruit and vegetables. Extras such as treats, bone broth and pet health and wellness products can be added onto your subscription as and when you need them. Each delivery comes frozen to ensure all nutrients are locked in to enrich your pet’s diet. 

What is the company’s opinion towards a vegan diet for pets and why may this be less suitable?

Our chief nutrition officer at Bella and Duke, Rowan Sanderson believes from a pet wellness perspective a vegan diet for carnivores is ‘scientifically impossible’, however well intentioned.

Both cats and dogs require a full spectrum of essential amino acids from their food to be able to thrive and by thrive, think much more than survive – merely extracting the required number of calories to action the basic movements of the day.

Thrive means enjoy full radiant health. Consistent energy, being free from unwanted and avoidable symptoms. It is virtually impossible to extract these essential amino acids from plant sources. Very few plant sources offer a full spectrum protein. When they do, they are inevitably loaded with two health challenging ingredients. 

One of these is starch, which carnivores are ill adapted to digest, creating huge swings in blood sugar as their insulin tries to stay level. It’s also associated with pancreatitis, weight gain and obesity, inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and accelerated ageing, particularly in breeds such as bulldogs and frenchies which have shorter digestive tracts.

The other is lectins, which is a plant protein designed to protect the plant from unwanted invaders. Wheat, other grains, chick-peas, peas, potatoes are loaded with lectins which are associated with leaky gut which is the doorway to autoimmune disease in our cats and dogs.

What was the idea behind the new Christmas range?

Christmas isn’t just a holiday for humans anymore, but our pets too. We wanted to ensure pets across the country have something to enjoy on the countdown to the big day and are waking up to something special under the tree this season. The selection of seasonal goodies will make your pet part of the celebrations while still getting the best nutrition through quality ingredients.

Has it proven a success so far?

Our mission is to provide all British dogs and cats with the best possible nutrition: raw food, with recipes tailored to take account of breed, life stage and any underlying health or welfare concerns.

Don’t just take our word for it, we recently surveyed 3,000 dog owners and after trying Bella and Duke for eight weeks the feedback speaks for itself: 92% saw an improvement in their dog within eight weeks; 82% reported improvements in their dog’s itchy skin; 85% reported improvement in their dog’s weight; and 99% reported improvements in their dog’s poo.

Does the company have any upcoming plans?

We’ve got some very exciting news coming in the New Year which we cannot disclose at this current time.

Do you feel we will see a shift towards a raw diet for pets?

The business has grown significantly in recent years due to the increasing consumer demand for natural, nutritionally beneficial pet food as well as the success of our subscription-based business model that delivers frozen food from our factory in Fife directly to customers’ homes throughout Great Britain.

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