Butcher’s Pet Care, which pioneered the original, grain-free canned
wet dog food, take a look back over the last 30 years, and examine the effects of ‘over-humanising’ our dog’s food
A dog’s life continues to evolve in modern Britain, and this includes what we feed them. More and more dog owners are ‘over-humanising’ their pet’s diet, treating them to foods like chocolate and crisps, and other table leftovers.
This over-feeding is impacting the health of the nation’s dogs and this is evidenced by the amount of overweight dogs vets are now seeing. A study by the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association revealed that of the number of dogs vets treat in UK, as many as 45 per cent are obese or overweight. The report identifies owners feeding their pets leftovers as one of the biggest factors of this epidemic, citing a figure of £215 million a year as the cost to owners of overweight pets.
In a recent poll, carried out by Butcher’s Pet Care, 60% of dog owners admitted to giving their dog food they shouldn’t, while over a third mixed their dog’s food with other ingredients such as vegetables, cheese and gravy before serving. Moreover, it appears that the humanisation of our pets is set to continue –1 in 5 25-34 year olds said they throw their dog a birthday party, with younger dog owners treating their pets more like members of the family than ever.
Robin Hone for Butcher’s Pet Care, commented: “In the 1980’s when we launched our first canned dog food, the landscape was very different from some of the pampered pets we see today.
He continues: “As humans we are constantly revolutionising our diets – vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, pescetarian – it’s ever-changing. Nevertheless, when it comes to our dogs, their genetic make-up is not equipped to deal with such changes. Dogs have a strong acidic stomach, which helps to break meat down and sharp teeth and strong jaws, which are designed for ripping and shredding meat. They are natural meat eaters and this is what they need for a healthy, balanced diet.”
Since 1987 Butcher’s, a British family company whose heritage is in farming and as butchers, has been at the forefront of innovation, using its unique meat preparation skills and pet nutrition expertise to specialise in the making of quality, natural dog foods which are rich in meaty proteins.
Their very first product and grain free recipe was the Butcher’s Tripe Mix, which is a complete and balanced meal for dogs and contains no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives, and is grain free. 30 years later these values remain the same. Furthermore, consumer awareness of grain free products is at an all-time high – a report by Mintel into pet food trends in UK, showed that 38% of pet food buyers are interested in grain-free or gluten-free pet food.
Robin said: “Clearly owners are concerned about the contents of their dog’s food and want to know what they’re giving them. For 30 years Butcher’s has continued to innovate producing quality meat based products for dogs that we know they love. We firmly believe in enlightening dog owners about the ingredients in their dog’s food, and how this can affect their dog’s health and behaviour. From our very first ground breaking recipe, the Tripe Mix, through to today, we have advocated that meat is best when it comes to our dog’s diet.”
Tripe in particular is packed full of the right protein, fats, vitamins and minerals which contribute to giving a dog a healthy coat, bright eyes, and plenty of energy to run around. It acts like a super food for dogs, as it is rich in many natural nutrients which are essential to a dog’s well-being. Robin continues: “30 years of expertise in the meat trade has shown us that when you feed your dog you need to look at what it needs. Grains are composed of carbohydrates, which are turned into glucose which is used for energy. However, if a dog doesn’t receive enough regular exercise, any glucose that isn’t used as energy gets stored as fat; and this is one of the many reasons behind the growing obesity epidemic in modern dogs today.
“Butcher’s core values of giving dogs a simple, high protein and meat based diet has remained constant during this time, and is epitomized by our iconic ‘Fit as a Butcher’s Dog’ strapline. At the same time we have stayed at the cutting edge of innovation, constantly developing our recipes, and which has been helped by continual feedback from our customers.”
One such innovation is Butcher’s latest product – The Butcher’s Choice Plastic tray, which the brand will be introducing to market this month. The range is made with British ingredients at their home in the heart of Northamptonshire, and is a totally new packaging format for Butcher’s, providing a single serve pack which offers a complete and balanced quality meal. The complete and balanced meals include 60% single animal protein recipes; chicken or lamb along with potatoes and two vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots, which are gently steam cooked to preserve the natural qualities of the ingredients. They are right on consumer trend being grain free, and free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
Robin comments: “From our own consumer insights, we know that we are tapping into a growing need for an increased quality and freshness for their dog’s food. The plastic tray is a very familiar format for human meals and perceived to be fresher, where you can see the food within this alternative and more modern packaging format. As consumers, we want to be able to buy something that looks tasty, healthy and good; not just for ourselves but also for our pets. The Butcher’s Choice Plastic Tray is just that and can be fed as a complete meal. Its’ protein-rich recipes provide all the natural nutrients a dog needs and meets the health and fresh needs of the consumer.”
To mark their 30th anniversary, the company will be showcasing its new Plastic Tray product at the annual Crufts dog show, where they will be helping to spread the message directly to consumers, that meat is best when it comes to their dog’s diet.