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Diet Concerns

The skin is a mirror - reasons to read ingredient labels



  • 30 years ago were our animals less or more healthy than today? 

  • Is there valuable wisdom in some of the 'old ways' before 'clever marketing' arrived?

=>   We've been trying to caution animal owners about the dangers of some modern foods/guidance for well over 10 years...
=>  For many skin, behavioural, gut & joint issues, diet plays a vital role so we always recommend a review of food ingredients in case they may be responsible (e.g. molasses, mould inhibitors, rice, garlic, preservatives, soya, starch, flavourings, cereals, haylage etc.,). 
=>   It's another reason that Probiotics/'Live Bacteria' can play very important roles - to help calm the digestive system & thus support the immune system response. 
=>   Species - see below -  A  [dogs/cats], B  [horse/donkey/camelid] or C [other]

 A.  Pet Feeds*

  • BEWARE of rice due to its Arsenic content.

  • "Rice...eaten more than 3 times a week, arsenic exposure is considerably increased".

  • And "...babies/young bodies [or read young animals] are at a sensitive age of development & are more susceptible to the harm from arsenic".

  • Visit R&S Ltd Newsletters section [scroll down to 2009] for our worries since 2009 with rice for pets.

  • Or 2017 + 2014 TV media/warnings regarding rice & arsenic - click HERE or HERE or HERE for informed articles or precis of the TV programs....

  • Daily Mail newspaper's damning report on 'convenience' pet feeds [dog + cat] kidney issues, reduced lifespan, unsavoury links between the manufacturers & 'the professionals' whom we are supposed to trust for 'unbiased' advice, etc.  Click HERE

(i).  Many ingredients lists on easily available feeds can be pretty scary.  With more & more of our pets suffering from discomfort (constant scratching, ear issues, runny eyes, chewing feet, upset tummies, surprising stiffness +++), it can VERY often indicate that the body is struggling to cope with something it is eating (frequently rice, sometimes cereals, often soya, garlic,  brewer's yeast (as it's not good for dogs but fine for horses), chemical preservatives/flavours (often EU approved!), BHT, BHA...).
(ii)  The BARF (raw feed) diet (see below for full details) is undoubtedly best... but sometimes impractical.

Important - #1. 

i)  Never solely feed a 'complete' dried food day in day out.  Would you only eat 1 x complete meal for the rest of your life...?  (Keep reading for why...)
ii)  Outside of a BARF diet, try to feed at least 50% of a day's food as wet, tinned, fresh food.  Avoid adding 'complete' dried biscuits to your wet/tinned/fresh food as it defeats the objective of 'aiding' the body...)   (Keep reading for why...)
iii)  How?  Perhaps feed wet/tinned/fresh in the morning & dry/complete in the evening.
iV)   Why?  See "Important #2" and "Watch Out" items below. 

Important - #2.  With any tinned/fresh/wet food meals, please do not use Complete food biscuits as the 'filler' - please only use plain & simple mixer biscuits or left over boiled potatoes or sweet potatoes (these are much kinder on the digestive process & help give the body an approximate 12 hour window free of processing complete/dried foods). 
  -  Fed alongside the right wet/tinned/fresh foods, you may be amazed how the 'basic mixers' are celebrated by bodies, intolerances do not worsen but may even disappear(!) - basic can be best.... 
  -  Whilst itchy and/or with health struggles, try to feed white meats or fish not red meats as the latter are harder & take longer to digest which in turn helps slow down the immune capability.

Watch Out.  Feeding 100% dry food can stress the body because animals must drink a lot more than Mother Nature intended.  So certain body parts have more 'wear & tear' by processing the increased intake. 
-  But frequently animals do not drink more, which also stresses the body as it needs to pull 'moisture' from it's own self which leaves the body short elsewhere.  Feeds are a 'murky' world - the following is just a "starter".  We have NO connections to any feed companies.

  • Having looked into many products, the following offer you a few easily available & affordable options that are guaranteed free of rice, soya, unacceptable chemicals.

  • Just be sure you do not accidentally buy say a fish & rice instead of a fish & vegetable as the rice one will almost certainly be positioned for easier picking....! 

 • Basic MIXERS •
Foods/brands identified are intended as a guide only.

**STAR CHOICE**   "Basic, old fashioned, simple" Mixer biscuits (not complete feeds)  
-  Feed 'mixers' with RAW/Barf, wet or tinned we did 30 years ago!
-  These links allow you to easily identify packaging (or print off the photographs) when buying at the Supermarket/pet stores.  Please use great care as many bags 'look similar' but are not...

  Pedigree MIXER (orange bags - "Small Bite" or standard) - value & easily available - here
     Potatoes & Vegetables.  Leftover boiled or baked potatoes (skins on) or sweet potato - R&S Ltd use these intermittently and/or if itching/health is under extreme challenge. 
   -  Try adding in some leftover vegetables too (perhaps at the side of the bowl or separately so they can eat or avoid).  Consider green ones if itching, struggling, e.g. broccoli, greens, spinach...then observe what your dog likes best as it may change weekly/monthly depending on how they feel!! 
  -  Or instead add
some of R&S Ltd's Organic Green Barley Grass for ultimate goodness  - click here (Other webshop) to read more, buy some.
    -  If itching and/or struggling with health issues, please do not feed standard carrots (but organic are fine).

 • Wet/Tinned •
Foods/brands identified are intended as a guide only.

**STAR product CHOICE**   [Dogs & Cats] 
Our genuinely pure & Omega 3-intensive Salmon Oil &/or Biscuits (with the right higher ratios of OM3 compared to OM6...most products are the wrong ratios!). 
Order some here at the "Omega 3 , Joints & GBG" webshop or call us - 01823 259952. 

  • All 'pure' OM3 is excellent for all the following simultaneously - skin & joint issues, fussy eaters, sensitive tummies, heart health etc.

  • Plus every week, why not also feed a tin of Pilchards or Sardines which are also naturally rich in OM3 rather than OM6?  Food then becomes extra beneficial but for no extra cost than a standard meal.   Available everywhere. 

  • Drain off brine (or wash off tomato sauce) before feeding.  Feed alone or with our OM3-intensive biscuits, or standard mixer biscuits (not complete food) or some boiled or baked potatoes or sweet potatoes (see section above) as part of your 'wet feed' selection.  Click here for OM3 & OM6 tables & how to boost natural OM3 intake.

NEW  **STAR product CHOICE**  [Dogs & Cats]
True Instinct
meat & veg Pouches.  Super ingredients, available at supermarkets or multi-pouch packs at their web.  From the super Nature's Menu team...see BARF section below.  0800 018 3770

**STAR product CHOICE**  [Cats & Kittens]
Meat & Bone (no cereals/fillers) cat/kitten food - pouches, tubs, on the bone++   0800 909 8099

**STAR product CHOICE**  [Dogs]   150g + 400g trays (NOT other ranges & NOT the complete dried!).  Potato & veg' with min' 60% Salmon or Chicken or Turkey - all these include brilliant extra ingredients inc' Green Lipped Mussel (no brewer's yeast, soya, cereals, rice).  Available at Asda etc.  Call for stockists etc. - 01845 576227

**STAR product CHOICE**  Forthglade 'wet' (NOT any of the dry food...)  01837 83322
     >  1-7 yrs old  Salmon, Potato & Veg' 395g Tray **care** as most contain the dreaded rice.  Also ensure NO Brewer's YEAST.  Beef & Wild Boar also v. nice but not when itchy due to red meats.  HERE    
     >  Puppy 2-12 months - 195g or 395g trays HERE

 Chappie 'Original' - none of the other cans.  It's back to being 'excellent' with no rice, soya or added sugar, and, contains the much needed OM3.  0800 738800
 Gelert Country Choice Tinned Tripe (no soya, cereals, rice)
 Denes Tinned Turkey & Tripe (no soya, cereals, rice) 01273 325364
 Butchers [Dogs]   01788 823711
Available extensively at supermarkets + pet shops or ask your local shop & they'll then stock it.
400g tins or 400g Trays
>-i.   400g TINS - Butchers Tinned Tripe or Tripe with Chicken (none of the other cans) (no soya, cereals, rice) HERE for direct link to photo, details ++ 
        Plus  >-ii.   NEW [05.18] 400g TRAYS Grain-Free Chicken (not the Beef Grain-Free if itchy/serious joint issues;  NOTE:  EXTREME caution not to select any 400g TRAYS without the Grain-Free branding as most others contain RICE) - click HERE
[B] - small dogs
 150g trays - only the following - all other tins, tray, pouch meals are not on the list.
       >-i   Butchers "Grain-Free" [new 05.18]  Traditional Recipes - click HERE 
        >-ii.   Butchers "Choice" - "Meaty Recipes" (NOT pouches) - has picture of golden-coloured Cockerpoo on the foil - click HERE for direct link to photo, details ++
>-iii.   Butchers "Gourmet" - has picture of rough-coated Terrier on the the foil - click HERE 

 • BARF style (wet/fresh/RAW)
Caution - there are many similarly named products which are NOT the same as those mentioned below!
Foods/brands identified are intended as a guide only.

**STAR product CHOICE**   Pure Pet Food - pure, dehydrated 'human grade' meat & veg'  Exciting way to feed RAW for dogs - dried in packets to retain maximum goodness & no freezer!  Just add water to rehydrate.  020 3326 2970

NEW  **STAR product CHOICE**  [Cats & Kittens]
Meat & Bone for cats + kittens - handy pouches, tubs, on the bone++   0800 909 8099

**STAR product CHOICE**   Nature's Menu - Dog, puppy  +  Cat, kitten Foods  Natural feeds following the 'BARF' principle.  From 80% raw meat with 20% raw fruit & vegetables to 100% meat or meat & bone.  But check that NO RICE or yeast has been added - if it has, avoid it.
   >  Canines - this list  Natures Menu - Canines 
>  Felines - this list  Natures Menu - Felines       Helpdesk for all species - 0800 018 3770

**STAR product CHOICE**   Natural Instinct - Dog or Cat Foods - 'the pure choice'
Natural feeds following the 'BARF' principle.  From 80% raw meat with 20% raw fruit & vegetables to 100% meat or meat & bone. But check that NO yeast or rice has been added - if it has, avoid it.  01276 608500/303555

Honey's Real, Raw, Organic Dog Food - Formerly Known as Darling's
Ethically, seasonal, locally produced dog food (Wilts), containing no preservatives, additives or chemicals.

 • Complete/Dried •
Foods/brands identified are intended as a guide only.

**STAR product CHOICE**  AATU for Dogs & Cats.  All with high meat %. 
Salmon, Herring & Sweet Potato - excellent ingredients, ideal Omega 3 to OM6 ratios (i.e. lower OM6 than OM3), & thankfully no rice, brewer's yeast or soya.  (Chicken available but OM6 is a bit high)   01442 212392 (web includes useful Stockist Locator)

**STAR product CHOICE**  Fish & Vegetable complete feed from James Wellbeloved - currently it is ONLY this recipe (Adult, Senior, Puppy Fish & Veg') as the Turkey & Lamb options have too much Omega 6.  Also, care not to inadvertently select a RICE version!
J.W. Fish & Veg' contains  NO soya, cereals, rice or brewer's yeast.  Surprisingly 'simple, well priced & excellent' feeds.      0845 603 9095
   >  Adult - J.W. Fish & Veg'  here 
   >  Puppy/Junior - J.W. Fish & Veg' - Puppy/Junior here  

CanaganExcellent blend of Scottish Salmon, Herring & Trout + Sweet Potato (no soya, rice or brewer's yeast). (inc' for local stockists) 0800 068 0608

Salmon & Potato complete from Wafcol (no soya, cereals, rice or brewer's yeast) - it is only this bag not their other ranges   0870 906 8090 

Chicken & Potato complete "Vitalin Adult" from Vitalin (no soya, cereals, rice but sadly contains Brewer's Yeast)  01765 605156

Adult Fish + Vegetable from Orijen (no soya, cereals, rice, sadly does include brewer's yeast)
Available online and at certain outlets. 

Ocean Fish & Potato from Arden Grange.  Complete feed but sadly contains brewer's yeast - it is only this bag not their other ranges 01273 833390

See Item #3 below for resources or our Links page - Click here  

 B.   Horse Feeds*

A feeding program without the following 'problem ingredients' will offer your horses a diet about as close as one can get to their ideal, which in turn should increase their ability to self-heal & bounce back from health-knocks, whilst frequently reducing their owners' feed & vet bills!  For all horses but especially for Itching, mud/fungal issues or animals who seem unable to recover from ill-health, we very strongly recommend your animal's diet:

  • completely excludes molasses, mould inhibitors, garlic, cereals (including wheatfeed, straw chaff & fillers), soya, preservatives, flavourings, and that starch levels are at a minimum.

  • Ideally exclude haylage and all non-organic carrots (see one of the newsletter links below for details)

Look carefully at labels (or ring manufacturers) as when they state "no grain" & "cereal grain free" sadly they many do include wheat chaff/straw and/or wheatfeed, rice... which we feel is very misleading!   Where they state 'oil' check that it's not the cheap soya with all it's downsides rather than say linseed oil which is much more beneficial but more expensive. 

Why no Garlic?  The following may help you decide whether to stop using it or not.

  • Click Here - Garlic, Dr Karen Hayes - Veterinary concerns (silent toxin) [or search online using the same keywords].  From 2002 article,

  • Click Here - more garlic 'techie'

  • ...and Here (horse + dog + cat) [Garlic heading is on P4]

  • Click Here - A client's big Garlic scare (or see our testimonials page for others)

  • Newsletter - lick Here - Garlic, Carrots (see item 3)

  • Newsletter - click Here - More garlic cases (see item 5).

  • Newsletter - click Here - Haylage, acids, sugars (search on the page when you land on it).

If you struggle to find feeds that fit this criteria (or cannot find labels on your current feeds that confirm they are without them), research indicates the following offer most horses/ponies 'kinder' food alternatives than cereals.
     >   Simple System feeds are an extremely wise choice (we have no financial connection) due to its Alfalfa base rather than standard cereals, and it is absolutely molasses free-
  >  Click here for an overview article on Alfalfa's benefits to all horses, irrespective of their level of work (the protein is processed differently from cereal-protein...).  Please mention us when you call them on 01728 604008.
     >   Emerald Green feeds (A.Poucher & Sons) - 100% pure Alfalfa or grass products; UK grown on their massive farm, fully traceable.

 C.  Other Resources*

Canine Health Concerns - the truths exposed
A fascinating website by Catherine O'Driscoll covering vaccinations, food, etc.  When we know 'the truth' then each of us can make up our own mind...  The tragedy is if it is kept secret & inadvertently we then end up hurting &/or endangering our beloved animals...  DYOR of course...
BARF/R.A.W. Dr Ian Billinghurst
Feeding biologically appropriate raw food (BARF) for restoring animal wellness (R.A.W) - see  The web explains the ethos behind this pioneering Vet although his book "Give the dog a Bone" is a global best seller on how to follow this feeding regime.  Just be be sure they exclude rice, cereals etc. as many do have them in the 'small print'!   Click here
Beginners Guide to RAW - Anne Ridyard
Lots of do's, don'ts, amounts, which meats to start with etc.  Some useful tips!  Click here
Cornwall Alpaca & Llama Group
Health issues, animal husbandry, current threats, helpful guidance - it's THE place to go for information.  Forum & online group that's open to members in any location.  Click here

* Important Notes:
Any blacked out words with [bracketed] text has been amended to meet VMD/Vet Med criteria.  All text is Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) compliant.  Click here for what that means to you.
• *Any foods/brands identified are intended as a guide only.



"I am now convinced
the rice was the root of the long-standiing paw chewing & itching.
They are so contented now...thank you very
much for identifying it"

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