NATURAL MEDICINE CENTRE
HERTS AND LONDON
August 18, 2014.
HIGH-LIVING HOUNDS AND "KEBAB-VAN-JUNK" PET FOOD LENGTHEN VET QUEUES.
High-living hounds and junk-munching mutts are lengthening Britain's veterinary practice waiting rooms queues by around 25%, according to a senior vet.
Richard Allport of the Natural Medicine Centre in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, and the Bayswater Referral Centre in London, a vet for more than 40 years, says that both rich barbecue-season titbits and cheap day-to-day dog foods are generating a trio of increasingly common ailments.
"It's the old story of best intentions and innocent ignorance. Dog lovers often apply human values to their pets' lives, and food is usually a big part of it. But an incorrect or poor diet will quickly lead to skin disorder, digestive tract problems and bowel diseases. They are not only expensive to treat, but cause great discomfort to pets, and probably account for 25% of visits to the vet," said Richard.
"Humans may relish designer sausages or high-quality cuts of marinated meat straight off the barbecue, but they're far too rich for dogs, and should only be very sparingly offered to pets. Equally, you may think you've found a bargain treat for your pet if he wolfs down a cheap brand you've never heard of, but you may well be feeding him the equivalent of the worst of additive-laden, over-seasoned kebab-van junk - at every meal time.
"Whereas a dog just eats what's in his bowl, a cat can get round junk food by going out hunting, and ensuring it gets the correct balance.
"That balance is vital. In around half of the cases I treat, a simple change of diet to natural-and-nutritious has a massively positive impact for an off-colour dog.
"Their owners may consider their dogs at one end of the scale to be garbage disposal units, or at the other end of the scale to be pampered pets. But rich leftovers and fine dining can be equally bad for dogs - with some breeds being particularly susceptible to poor quality or rich, fatty diets.
"Modern pet foods have only really been around for perhaps a century - but dogs' digestive systems are designed to deal with eating prey and scavenging - chomping away on raw meat, bones, feathers, fur.
"That may seem a bit gory to some of us humans, but dogs' digestive systems haven't changed significantly through the ages - especially not to deal with the wheat and carbohydrates used in some cheaper processed pet foods. Dogs need a protein-rich diet, and their health suffers if they don't get it."
Richard Allport qualified as a veterinary surgeon from the Royal Veterinary College, London, UK in 1973. After ten years as a veterinary surgeon in general practice, he began to specialise in holistic medicines. In July 1996 he opened the NMC as a referral centre for pets, offering treatments with acupuncture, homoeopathy, flower essences and herbal medicine for pets. Richard is a past president of the British Association of Homoeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, and holds the qualification of Veterinary Member o the Faculty of Homoeopathy (VetMFHom). He is a member of the Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists, and the European Herbal Veterinary Medical Association. Richard has written several books on natural medicines for pets, writes regular columns in Dogs Today and Cat World magazines, and has appeared regularly on radio and TV programmes.