By Sarah Bellis
I’ve always been really “funny” about what I feed my dogs. You hear about people who give their dogs the cheapest foods, and the dogs live forever! But knowing my luck that would never be the case. My dogs have always been fed better than myself. They dress better than me too, but that is another story!
As a dog-parent, it’s easy to get caught up in dog food marketing campaigns. The ones with the bright packaging, the ones with the happy dog on the packet with the shiniest coat and the brightest eyes. Some promise things that they definitely do not fulfil. When it comes to genuinely excellent quality food, it is so important to do your research. Something that can be confusing, you end up down a rabbit hole.
I think what you feed your dog is entirely dependent on your budget, your circumstances, and your preferences. It can get a little controversial which can be a bit intimidating, especially if you ask in some dog groups. I’ve made that mistake a few times! Some people are raw-feeders, while others swear by giving their dogs kibble. I personally prefer to feed my dogs a mixture of wet and dry and add vegetables/fruits. I have investigated raw-feeding them, but as I was hoping to train one of them as a therapy dog, raw-feeding wasn’t going to be possible.
Whether you have a fussy dog, like my Shih-Tzu Rainbow, or a dog who will literally eat anything like my Saint Bernard, Bambi, it’s difficult to find the right balance between them enjoying the food, and it being nutritious for them. There are so many foods on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to choose the right one.
My Shih-Tzu, Rainbow, has always been fussy, but since starting tablets, she has become super hungry. It has been hard to make sure that she has the right food to give her all the nutrients she needs, whilst also making sure that we are able to control her weight (weight-gain is a side-effect of one of her medications). Another of her medications has meant that we must be monitor her salt-intake. This would be a worry with most foods as they have hidden ingredients.
Due to working, and rarely having much time on my hands, I find subscription foods so easy. I do not have to think, someone else does the work for me! After lots of research, I came across Butternut Box on a Facebook advert. Their meals looked great, but I was not sure Rainbow would eat them. Like with any food I considered, I did my research. I went onto their website and was really impressed with what I read. They use human-quality meat and vegetables, and all of their food is tested by humans!
Before meeting my friend, Cathrene, packaging was never really something I thought about. Now I’m more aware of the impact of pet food packaging, It was important to me to find a food that was responsibly packaged. The Butternut Box packaging is re-used and the pouches that the foods come in can be recycled by a local pet food recycling programme which is a rare find!
The boxes are packaged with a sheet of raw wool to keep the food inside cold. This can be used as plant bedding, for composting, for birds’ nests or even shed insulation! We’ve been collecting ours to use on the allotment for plant insulation in the winter. The box also contains icepacks, which means the food stays frozen for longer, so if your box is delivered while you are out of the house, you do not have to worry about the food spoiling. The icepacks can be reused repeatedly. We keep ours in the freezer to use in lunchboxes. And will wrap them in blankets in the summer to keep my cat cool.
The website takes you through a range of questions in order to tailor the food and portions for your dog. They ask you about your dog’s specific requirements (health issues, allergies…), their weight and their activity levels so that the portions are perfect for them. You choose which foods you would like, from beef, pork and fish to their new veggie recipe.
Rainbows favourite is “Chicken you out!” It contains chicken (obviously), peas and sage. We tend to stick to the chicken, turkey, and fish due to Rainbows specific dietary requirements as a result of her medication. But before she started the new tablets, she LOVED the pork and duck meals too. Now, her little Shih-Tzu friend, Purl is making the most of eating Rainbow’s pork meals that we’d kept in the freezer.
All their dishes are made in the UK. The meat and vegetables that are in their meals are all from UK farms (The lamb however- when out of lambing season- is sourced from a farm in New-Zealand). Butternut Box pride themselves on their relationships with the farmers that provide their ingredients. And, although they source their meat from some of the “best in the business” they are also working towards getting all of their meat from free-range farms which is something we feel very strongly about.
They have a range of treats and poo-bags. We already have a subscription to Earth-rated bags as we go through them like there’s no tomorrow (4 dog life!) but will use the ones from Butternut at some point. It’s always helpful to know I can just add them to my order so that I never run out of bags! I have rolls and rolls of poo-bags in every single bag, coat and in every compartment in my car. I’m pretty sure that’s a typical “Dog-mum” thing!
Each month you get enough pouches to keep your little friend going, they don’t take up too much space in the freezer (we keep a draw free for the dog’s lick mats, frozen carrots and Rainbows food). Just take 5 out and put them in the fridge, then feed them when they’ve defrosted- Some dogs may enjoy eating them frozen during warmer months, but Rainbow prefers hers straight out of the fridge.
Butternut offer a trial box so that your furry friend can test the food. I pay around £44 per month for Rainbows meals, which works out at less than £1.60 per day. In my opinion that is very reasonable for the high-quality food she eats. No bowl is ever left with a crumb in! She absolutely loves it!
An extra note I’d like to add (just before posting this!), is that Cathrene’s dog, Purl has now joined the “Butternut family” and absolutely loves the food!
Our favourite thing has been the difference in her health- She had some urinary issues a month or so ago. To help this, we were advised to change her food from dry to wet. We put her on Butternut and added water with each meal. After a few weeks of doing this (and her being on antibiotics too) her issues have now cleared up and she is so much better! This may be a complete coincidence, but we’re so pleased that she is better. Just like Rainbow, she clears her bowl every single meal with no exception.
Unlike Rainbow, Purl is allowed to eat all the available meat options from Butternut Box, although we do tend to avoid the lamb in order to reduce our food’s carbon footprint. Her current favourite is the beef! Both dogs are excited to try their new vegetable meal in their next box!
How to buy – and a 50% discount for Butternut Box!
If you would like to try Butternut Box dog food, just use this link to get 50% off your first and second box. It also means Rainbow gets 50% off her next box too which she would appreciate (and I am sure she would share with Purl…)! You won’t regret it!