Gone are the days when you just give a dog a bone.
Now the number of pets with diets that suit humans is increasing. It may sound strange, but just as the food industry focuses on the health-conscious taste of a modern generation, so does the pet food market.
For some fangs, switching to gluten-free, pescatarian or even vegan meals is the result of a food allergy or intolerance diagnosis – for others, their owners simply want them to eat lean, clean, or ethical foods. Or, perhaps most importantly, to reflect the way they dine themselves.
Here, six dedicated owners reveal the tailor-made diets made for their dogs – and why, simply, nothing else will do.
Bentley does everything for a vegan sausage
Charity worker Michael, 31 (photo), from Birmingham, has been a vegan himself since he was sixteen and has followed the switch from Bentley to veganism after adopting him from the Birmingham Dogs & Home 39 last year.
Bentley may look difficult, but the seven-year-old cross between a pug / bull mastiff is vegan – just like his ethical owner.
Despite his carnivorous past, Bentley is a changed mutt and now he is partying on soy chunks, dry dog food and omega supplements made from seaweed – and will do anything for a gluten-based seitan sausage, according to his owner, Michael Summers.
Charity worker Michael, 31, from Birmingham, has been a vegan himself since the age of 16 and has oversaw the transition from his pet to veganism since he adopted Bentley from the Birmingham Dogs' Home last year.
& # 39; If I want him to perform tricks, a snuff of homemade seitan sausage and he will do what I ask him, & # 39; says Michael.
& # 39; The vet said there was no reason why Bentley should not thrive on vegan food. My main concern was to ensure that he would get enough protein, which dogs usually get from meat. & # 39;
Bentley & # 39; s basic food is a & # 39; nutritional complete & # 39; dog food mix that looks like muesli and contains amino acids and omega oils to keep it healthy.
But Michael makes sure he keeps it interesting. & # 39; It costs £ 30 for a 15-kilo bag that lasts for four months and I often add beans, or veggie gravy. When his fur started to fall off last spring, I was worried that it was due to his diet and I added extra omega supplements made from seaweed to his food. Within a few weeks his jacket came back and he was shiny again. & # 39;
Michael says that Bentley does not seem to miss his old food. & # 39; If a vet ever told me that Bentley should have meat or other animal protein for health reasons, I seek further professional advice & # 39 ;, he says before adding: & # 39; but in the end I would be adjust his diet because his health is more important than my ethical beliefs. & # 39;
£ 4.50 Cod fillet for spoiled Peggy
Peggy the puggle – a cross between a pug and a beagle – had a rough start to life. The run of a litter, she was abandoned like a puppy in a cardboard box and, after being rescued, tended to eat too much in the event that the next meal was her last meal.
But after being adopted by Sunny and Danny Andrea, she is now so well part of the family that she eats as well as she does. The Northamptonshire couple decided to give Peggy a strict pescatary diet – fish and vegetables but not meat – after their veterinarian suggested it could help her lose weight and help her overall health and digestion.
& # 39; We soon noticed that her coat was shinier, she lost weight and had no stomach problems & # 39 ;, says Sunny. But Peggy's favorite dishes with cod or salmon fillets – and the occasional shrimp as a treat – add £ 30 to the family's weekly store.
Sunny Andrea, 36, decided to give Peggy (photo) a strict pescatary diet – fish and vegetables, but not meat – after their veterinarian suggested that it could help her lose weight and also improve her overall health and digestion.
For Sunny, 36, a full-time mum to three-year-old Harish, there is only one drawback: Peggy definitely has a fishing spirit, which requires the use of doggy toothpicks. & # 39; I always buy her boneless fillets for around £ 4.50 a piece and steam them, grill or bake them, and then serve them with green beans, broccoli or carrots, & # 39 ;, Sunny explains.
& # 39; She makes fun of fate in about 30 seconds.
& # 39; For snacks, she has bananas, cucumber and apple slices. When my husband and I eat steak or roast chicken, she comes straight over for a curious one, but never complains about trying. & # 39;
Terrier Ted had to go gluten free
It is a known craze among food-conscious people and now even dogs can follow a gluten-free diet, as Chloe Pillar can testify.
Her pet Ted, a Bedlington Terrier, was diagnosed as gluten-sensitive by a friend after Chloe noted that he was a fussy eater, often consuming only one meal a day.
Chloe, from Chesterfield, switched to expensive gluten-free dinners and soon noticed a boost in his energy levels. The mother of two, 28, who is on maternity leave with her job at the Environment Agency, said: & I considered giving him a raw, fresh food diet, but I was concerned about the frequent handling of raw meat.
& # 39; Instead, I put Ted on a raw meat and vegetarian dog food that you mix with water.
Chloe Pillar put her Bedlington terrier Ted (photo) on a gluten-free diet after being diagnosed as being gluten-sensitive. After he switched to gluten-free meals, she soon noticed a boost in his energy level
& # 39; But for £ 40 for a month's delivery – twice the cost of his old food – it became too expensive.
& # 39; He is now on dog biscuits that do not contain gluten, wheat or barley and they only cost £ 10 for a four-month delivery.
& # 39; They have resisted a treat, because in addition to eating all his meals, Ted now has a healthy coat and is ridiculously energetic. In the meantime, I am not out of my wallet. & # 39;
The biggest challenge now, Chloe acknowledges, is to ensure that her two children – India, 19 months old and baby Archie – do not feed their own gluten-containing foods to Ted.
Chester wolfs are & # 39; holistic & # 39; kale puree
She may be a vegetarian herself, but Caroline Wilkinson is still willing to feed her two bass dog meat – as long as it is raw.
The dog trainer and animal behavior adhere to nine-year-old Ezri and Chester, five, on a completely raw food package to combat various allergies and infections identified by a & # 39; holistic & # 39; veterinarian who specializes in alternative animal treatments.
The dogs are treated to a cordon bleu menu of raw duck or venison and portions of pulverized raw vegetables such as broccoli, kale and carrots with wool down, sprinkled with almonds, coconut oil or linseed oil. And their biggest treat is a bowl of raw steak on their birthdays.
Caroline, 38, lives in the Bristol area with her technology consultant Jonathon, 39, and explains: “Basset hounds are susceptible to fungal infections due to their skin folds and long, closed ears. And Ezri had recurring ear infections when she was still a puppy.
Caroline Wilkinson keeps Basset Hounds Ezri, nine (left), and Chester, five (right) on a complete raw food diet to combat various allergies and infections identified by a & # 39; holistic & # 39; veterinarian who specializes in alternative animal treatments
& # 39; Encouraged by our vet, who suspected that her standard dry food, called lump, caused the problems, I switched her to a raw food diet when she was six months old.
& # 39; She has not had an ear infection since then, she is full of beans, even though she is almost ten, and has a beautiful, shiny coat.
& # 39; Ezri no longer eats chicken or turkey since a holistic veterinarian has identified the proteins they contain as the cause of itching of her fur. People assume it should be expensive to feed the pair of fresh, raw foods, as opposed to bulk-buying kibbles, but in fact it only adds a few pounds to the weekly shopping bill. & # 39;
Poor Luna & # 39; s soy-free lifestyle
When golden retriever puppy Luna became ill, the problem was an allergy to soy – something that usually occurs in humans.
Owner Stacey McCall, 32, from Cheshire, says that Luna developed an upset tummy and a terrible lethargy after eating the commercial dog food that she was raised by her breeder.
But it was only after she was put on an allergy-friendly dog food – which, ironically, contained soy as the main ingredient – that Luna became so bad that she could barely drink water.
Stacey, who has two daughters aged seven and nine years old, did some research and has loved her pet since then.
Stacey McCall placed her golden retriever puppy Luna (photo) on a soy-free diet after developing an allergy to soy
& # 39; For the past four months, we have fed her soy-free dry cookie form with a special pet food brand, including turkey with brown rice, and she is like another puppy, & # 39; Stacey says.
& # 39; It costs around £ 50 for a monthly supply, which is £ 10 more than we spent on its old food. & # 39;
The family should be especially vigilant when other dog walkers offer treats in Luna's shop so that the happy dog gets home-made instead. & # 39; Most delicacies purchased from the store contain soy or soybean oil, so we have to refuse and give her boiled chicken at home as a treat & # 39 ;, Stacey explains.
& # 39; Hypoallergenic & # 39; meals for veggie Max
Poor Max often has a chance to win his luck at the Sunday lunch table and begs for a bite of roast beef. But unfortunately for the cockerpoo, he is forced to become a strict vegetarian – and he gets a hypoallergenic diet specially delivered to his home.
The move became necessary after a veterinarian discovered that Max is allergic to meat and fish.
Owner Gareth Devaney, 39, a cyber security analyst from Boston, Lincolnshire, says: “It's hard not to feel sorry for him.
& # 39; But after we got him from a breeder and kept him on a normal diet, he stayed sick.
Cockerpoo pooch Max was forced to become a strict vegetarian after his owner Gareth Devaney, 39, (photo) discovered that he was allergic to meat and fish
& # 39; He scratched his skin, developed sensitive spots around his ears and didn't like to be touched, so we took him to the vet.
& # 39; We have now had a specially formulated, hypoallergenic, vegetarian dog food delivered to our home. It was recommended by the vet, costs £ 33 and lasts up to six weeks. Max's coat has improved and he is now a very cuddly dog who loves to play with our little boys and loves hassle. & # 39;
Treatments by dogs at the supermarket are prohibited, as most contain meat products. Even apparently meat-free chew treats that remove plaque from the teeth of dogs make him sick.
That means that Gareth or his wife Joanne, 34, along with their sons Ethan, nine and Lucas, seven years old, have to brush Max's teeth themselves to keep his breath fresh.
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