Feb 19

Why feed raw?

I have become increasingly interested in feeding raw.

My friend Kimmi was pleased to write some blogs for me on raw feeding:

Why Real Meat?

Hugo FlourfaceBARF! No, I wasn’t just sick! BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. And it is by far and large the best diet you can have your dog on. The benefits of a BARF diet are numerous, from health, behaviour and even financial.

Why do I feed raw? Simply because I have dogs and that’s what dogs eat!

Dogs are carnivores. Simple as.

Sure they can adapt to eating pretty much whatever (and will eat pretty much whatever, even if it’s bad for them! As shown by the picture of my dog Hugo (left) with the evidence all over his face that he ate a box of icing sugar, cardboard included) but that doesn’t mean they should settle for less.

Biology tells us so if nothing else!



canine dentition.

Dogs have no flat teeth for grinding, they have teeth for chomping, and for ripping, and for crunching. But no flat teeth. Therefore they need a diet that matches their teeth. Pretty hard to chomp and tear and crunch through a tin of processed meat.  Even kibble requires grinding, and dogs do not have the capability for that.

Many people choose to use fruits and vegetables in their dog’s raw diet. But this is not strictly necessary as dogs do not produce amylase in their saliva. Amylase is the enzyme which breaks down starches and carbohydrates and sugars into simpler sugars. These are herbivorous traits, which a dog just does not share. Of course dogs can break down vegetables and fruits, but it’s not a necessary addition to their diet, which is biologically backed by their enzyme productions.

Instead, dogs have a higher concentrated stomach acid which breaks down animal proteins. Ever wonder why pooch retches in the morning before breakfast and brings up yellow sick? He’s got a tummy full of acid and a gallbladder full of bile just waiting to break down fat and protein and he’s asking you to feed him and feed him delicious meat.

dog teeth compared to cows teeth“But hang on Kim, I just saw him eat grass. Grass is a plant not an animal! He clearly can eat plant matter!” You did indeed see him eat that, and why did he eat that? To make himself sick. He needed something in his stomach to bring up with the bile and acid, and he ate something not within his usual dietary requirements to do so. It’s not a common human concept to make ourselves sick, we just take things to stop ourselves being sick, or ride it out (and writhe in bed moaning for our mums/partners to make us comfort food!). But this is the canine equivalent of activated charcoal. Of course, not every time a dog eats grass or any form of plant, he will be sick, but he knows that it’s what he needs to be able to retch up the bile and acid collecting in him. As grass is entirely cellulose and water (with of course chlorophyll) this essentially means it is fibre and water. Dogs do not have the necessary digestive process to break down lots of fibre. For example, my dummydog would eat the rabbit hay out of the hutch, and it would come out the other end whole, just as it had gone in because

  1. he could not grind it as his teeth are not capable of doing so and
  2. he could not digest it.

We all know that cows have 4 stomachs, yes? And we pretty much all know why – because it takes a long time to digest and break down that grass that they constantly graze on into beneficial nutrients for their biological make up. A dog, on the other hand, has a very short digestive tract, designed for fast breakdown of food, and particularly, of proteins.

digestive system - dogdigestive system - humanCompare the diagrams of the digestive systems of cows, humans and dogs and you will see how much shorter a human’s digestive system is than a cow’s and then yet again how much shorter it is in dogs. This explains herbivore > omnivore > carnivore eating habits.


Another clue as to their dietary needs is often overlooked, but quite simple once you think about it. Ever notice how a dog will podge him or herself out whenever food is in front of them, regardless of when he or she last ate? Also, you must have noticed that even the best behaved dog will scavenge opportunistically whenever possible! If you haven’t, and your dog doesn’t, please can we switch dogs?!

digestive system - cowLet’s go back to our lovely bovine friend – she (or he!) grazes constantly in the field. They have constant access to their food, because it is always there, because it is growing in the ground they live on continually. Dogs however have a stomach which shrinks and expands, as they are not (in the wild) guaranteed a meal at 8am and 6pm every day. When you are reliant on feeding on other (wild) animals, you don’t know when you are next going to be successful in your hunting. Therefore when a wild dog is successful in catching prey, they will gorge, and their stomach will expand so that they get enough nutrients to last them a while. This is the same for our domestic dogs and their stomachs and gorging habits!

The feeding of fruits and vegetables is disregarded by some BARF practitioners and encouraged by others. Don’t let this indecision on the matter put you off, this is much the same as people choosing whether or not to be a vegetarian (but the reverse!) I personally do use fruits and vegetables (and grains) which are good for them (I have come to research and learn which fruits and vegetables have maximum health benefits), and I use it as part of a balanced diet for my dogs.

However, some would argue it is not strictly necessary provided you give them the correct amounts and types of animal product. Whilst I agree that this is true, this requires a much more thorough investigation and research, and a higher amount of meat and a higher cost. It is entirely up to you if you want to take this route, but for me I do prefer using APPROPRIATE fruits and vegetables.

It is important that you use vegetables and fruits appropriately, they must not be the main part of the diet, they must be easy to digest, and provide maximum nutrition for their weight. Also, there are fruits and vegetables which are unfit for dogs and can cause diarrhoea, or even be poisonous to the point of fatal in some cases. Thankfully the internet exists, and websites such as this should alleviate any anxieties you may have before you feed Fido!


Feb 18

Adopting an older dog

Feb 17

Agility training

Cavaliers can love agility training.  My sister Janet took her dog Manny for some agility training which he seemed to enjoy immensely.  Here’s a video of him in training …


…  Anne

Feb 16

Fundraising for Heronbank Cavalier Rescue


Anyone wishing to donate children’s toys and games, knick knacks, ornaments etc which we can sell to generate funds for Heronbank Cavalier Rescue, can do so at our home address at Batley,

If we are out, these can be left in our front porch.

All monies raised will go towards veterinary costs for the rescued animals in our care.

Donations can also be made on donations@heronbank.co.uk

Feb 15

Working and owning a dog can present its’ own problems.

One solution is to get a Professional Dog Walker in to walk your dogs whilst you are out.

step in

Step in


STEP-IN Pets and Livestock Services was established in 2001 by Kate Greenall after many years of wanting her own business.

Having had a lifetime experience of farm animals and pets it seemed the logical step forward.

She will care for any type of animal, on a daily, weekly or on a one off basis. Based in Huddersfield, but covering the whole of Yorkshire, “Step In” is an organisation I can highly recommend through personal experience.

They are reliable and trustworthy, and I never hesitate to call on their services.

Kate is passionate about Animal Welfare as we are.
… Anne

Feb 14

Valentines danger for dogs

I invited my friend Jemima to do an article for me on the effects that eating Chocolate can have on dogs.  Here’s what she says …

You never would have thought chocolate could be a dangerous poison to dogs, but it is!  This is unfortunate because dogs just love chocolate, no more so than my black and tan cavalier Florence who would do anything to try and get some!

Black and Tan Cavalier

We all enjoy our chocolate nibbles and bars and when eating it have nothing more to worry about that our expanding waist lines, however if our dogs get hold of our chocolate it can be a very different problem and can be very serious if not life threatening, and here is why;

The coco bean which chocolate comes from contains a drug called theobromine. This is closely related to caffeine, which chocolate also contains, and it is the theobromine that is toxic to dogs.  Different chocolate types contain different levels of the theobromine:

1. Cocoa beans (30mg/gm chocolate)
2. Cocoa powder (20mgs/gm chocolate)
3. Dark chocolate (15mgs/gm chocolate)
4. Milk chocolate (2mgs/gm chocolate)
5. Drinking chocolate (0.5mgs/gm chocolate)

Signs to look for if you think your dog may have eaten some chocolate include vomiting and diarrhoeaand they are generally hyperactive, panting, have increased blood pressure and increased heart rates.  This then moves on to tremors, twitches, seizures and possibly death where large amounts of chocolate have been swallowed.  Dehydration may also occur.

If you do think that your dog may have eaten some chocolate it is always best to get the vets advice as the severity can depend largely on the size of the dog and the amount it has eaten.

There is no specific antidote for chocolate poisoning, treatment is symptomatic this may include support such as intravenous drips, charcoal orally (to aid digestion and bind the toxins together), and medications to help control vomiting, sedatives and drugs to control seizures if it has got that far.

If your dog has just eaten significant amounts of chocolate within the last hour it would be a good idea to make it sick (again your vet is the best person to do this as gone are the days of using washing soda to make dogs sick, they now have IV injections that do the job far less stress for both of you)  It is far better being safe than sorry and most pets treated for chocolate toxicity recover and return to normal within a couple of days.  You should always be aware of where you leave chocolate and where your dog can pinch it from!  A large number of cases of chocolate poisioning are seen at Easter due to easter eggs lying around and also Christmas when people have put chocolate decorations on their trees as well as Valentines Day.  Dogs will eat them, along with the wrappers, and then there’s another problem added to the situation – can they pass the wrappers? – however I have heard of clever dogs who actually unwrap chocolate before eating it!

My old boss’ labrador pinched an 80% cocoa cooking chocolate bar off the side and ate it! (I do believe this dog has 9 lives).  Only when Molly started to act strangley and became rather hyperactive did they see what had happened by this point however sadly it was too late to make her sick and so as the saying goes they had to “ride the storm”.  She was placed on a drip as she was vomiting and monitored closely.  Her heart rate was becoming very, very erratic.  She was fitting, and so was sedated, and still her heart rate increased.  They were lucky enough to be able to get some human heart treatment from the hospital to bring her heart rate down and stablise her and so get her heart rate slowly back to normal.  The next day Molly had improved greatly but then the diarrhoea started (well what goes in must come out) she was kept on the drip and blood tests were done to ensure no other damage to organs had been done.  Molly was extremely lucky, and like I say, then went on to pinch more things!

If your dog has a taste for chocolate, give them doggy chocolate – this has no theobromine in and so they can enjoy it without any worry!

Enjoy Valentine’s Day, but make sure your dogs enjoy it too!

Thanks Jemima

…  Anne

Feb 13

Mandatory Microchipping

More than 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year.
The vast majority of these are put to sleep when rescue centres are full to capacity.

spirit home after holiday1

Every dog owner in England has to microchip their animal from 6 April 2016.  This is intended to cut a rise in strays. Microchips are coded with owners’ details, and owners who do not comply could face fines of up to £500. Any owner whose dog is found without a chip and can be traced by local authorities will have a short period of time to have the dog micro-chipped. The up-side is that if your dog becomes lost, the scanner will reveal your dog’s chip details and you can be reunited quickly with your dog.

Laws governing dog attacks were also extended to cover private property, closing a loophole which has meant that dog owners whose animals have attacked people on private property are immune from prosecution. This is no longer the case.

The microchipping procedure, which costs about £20-£30 at a private veterinary clinic, involves inserting a sterile chip the size of a grain of rice between a dog’s shoulder blades.

It is a good idea to ask your vet to scan your dogs once a year to ensure that the chip has not “migrated” or ceased to function. Chips have a limited life, somewhere around 7 years, I am told, so if they cease to operate, you will have to have another chip inserted.

Please ensure that your details are updated if you move house or change your telephone number.

… Anne

Feb 12

Why vaccinate?

Whether pedigree or mongrel, un-vaccinated dogs and young puppies are at risk from a number of diseases which can result in permanent health damage and even death. Regular vaccinations can prevent some of these diseases. Newborn puppies, feeding from their mothers, will receive some temporary immunity from her but after a few weeks this immunity tends to diminish. This is when vaccination becomes essential.

Vaccines start at 8 weeks followed by a second vaccination 2 weeks later. These vaccinations are given by injection and a yearly booster is advised.

Canine Distemper
is transmitted through contact with an infected dog. The signs are flu-like symptoms – raised temperature, runny eyes and nose, a dry cough, diarrhoea etc. This often causes death or permanent disability.

Canine Parvovirus
is spread by contact with an affected dog or its’ faeces. The signs are fever, sickness and bloody diarrhoea. The virus can live in the environment for many months and can be spread on shoes and other objects. Dogs of all ages can be affected and it is often most fatal in young puppies and un-vaccinated older dogs.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis
is a very contagious virus which can be carried by dogs who have had the disease and recovered, thereby becoming symptomless carriers. It causes liver disease and respiratory problems. The disease can progress very quickly, leaving little time for treatment, and results in death.

is a bacterial disease passed through contact with infected urine. It damages the kidneys and the liver, and severe cases result in death. Survivors can have trouble with their kidneys later in life. Leptospirosis can also be transmitted to humans – which is another good reason for having your dog protected against this disease.

Kennel cough
occurs most frequently where there is a high concentration of dogs eg in a kennel situation, but the disease is air-bourne so can be picked up just as easily on a walk. The symptoms are a harsh, dry cough, and a nasal discharge which can last for several weeks but which is not usually life-threatening. Recovered dogs can be still infectious for up to 3 months. The most common form of this disease requires nasal vaccine which is effective for 1 year

is not normally found in Britain, but rabies vaccine is essential if you are taking your dog abroad. Plan well in advance as the Pet Travel Insurance Scheme (PETS) certificate takes 6 to 7 months to become valid. This scheme is regularly updated, so check with your vet or DEFRA before planning an overseas journey.

It is devastating to see a loved animal suffering due to disease and knowing that there is often little we can do about it. Worse still when we know that there is something we could – and should – have done earlier. Vaccination now can save a load of heartache later.

…  Anne

Feb 11

Spirit’s recall training

I was looking at some of my old video footage recently and found this on Spirit’s Recall training. I threw a few distractions in for her to cope with too – which she did!

Sadly Spirit is no longer with us but she was a joy to train

… Anne

Feb 10

History of the Cavalier

The Pedigree Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a relatively new breed,
having been recognised as an established breed since 1928 and
first Registered by the Kennel Club in 1945.

Cavaliers Print - Inman

Our Cavaliers


However, the history behind the breed goes back to the King Charles Spaniel (now a separate breed), which is recorded throughout Europe as “smalle ladyes puppees” and King Henry VIII decreed that no dogs were allowed at Court except “some small spanyells for the ladies”.

Following the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587, a small black and white spaniel was found under her petticoats.

However, the breed is particularly associated with the court of King Charles II circa 1660 and there are many paintings and writings of that time depicting the fore-runners of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


Heronbank Cavaliers

Heronbank Cavaliers

Legend has it that King Charles II issued a Royal edict that no King Charles Spaniel can be denied entry to any public place and they alone have the right to run loose in London’s Royal Parks. This still applies today.

King Charles Spaniels of that day were small and fine boned, with domed heads and very short muzzles, much like the King Charles Spaniels of today. However the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has evolved to be a little larger and taller, with flat heads and slightly longer muzzles.

Two of the early Pedigree Cavalier Champions were “Daywell Roger” and “Ann’s Son” to which our own cavaliers can be traced.


Pictures by Roger Inman.

Older posts «