Treating myself naturally is something I have been raised with. Since I was a kid my dad has always tried out various natural remedies. “Put some tea tree oil on that” was one of his favourite sayings. So it’s no real surprise that, though I rolled my eyes and complained as a child, as a (questionable) adult I have learnt to love this philosophy. I mean, what’s better than using the earth when we can to put on and in our bodies.
The same can be said for our dogs. In todays society dog food is filled with preservatives, grains and many other unnecessary and unnatural components, soaps are filled with chemicals, and collars, leads and other such accessories are created with man made fibres that take thousands of years to break down. Our poor pup pals, they are having our man made “better” inventions forced on them by us. And I know, oh boy do I know, how easy it is to use these products like everyone else does for little Rover, and go about my life thinking I’m still doing my dog a solid by buying him upmarket, top quality products. But the fact is, many of these are filled with unnecessary ingredients that make them anything further from what your dog truly needs.
That’s why I have decided to make the conscious switch to treating my two beautiful puppers to a more natural life style.
I started with raw feeding. And I’ll admit, I’m still making this switch. I’m not perfect in any way, and I do still sometimes fall for what’s convenient. However, I’ve started and I’m trying. And I think that’s all we can really ask ourselves to do at the start of a change. Everyday Moose gets half a raw meat chub we buy from our local pet shop Pet Essentials Napier, which they make themselves. You would not believe how crazy Moose (and now our new girl Camel) goes for this stuff! Every second day Moose gets a veal brisket bone. I never knew how important bones were for a dog before I made this switch. Not only are they natures toothbrush, they also provide your dog with vital nutrients they would get if they were hunting for themselves in the wild.
Now, I would love to say that is all I feed Moose a day. But I must admit he does also get half a cup of biscuits. I do hope to one day phase these out, but for the meantime I have these biscuits in his diet as a bit of a backup. In case we must suddenly leave the dogs with someone else, or I am ill-planned and run out of meat. When choosing the biscuits to include Moose’s diet I went for a grain free option that still offers as close to natural as I could achieve in my budget. We opted for Origin. When choosing a biscuit for your dog should you want to phase them into a more natural, raw diet like us, look for the first ingredient on the list. It should always be the meat. You want the highest proportion of their meal to be meat for the simple reason that it’s what your dog should be eating (and would be if it weren’t kept loved and safe in your family home). But don’t stop looking at the ingredients list just yet! You want to check if the food has any grain or carbohydrate in there. A food with none is the best option, however very low is still better than a lot, and will be slightly more realistic on your pocket. I know that dog food can get expensive, and it’s hard to budget it into your weekly spend (I think my dogs now eat better than me if I’m honest), so find the best option that works for you. All you can ever do is try, and any step in the right direction will be a huge benefit to your dog.
After diet I went to the products I put on their bodies everyday – their collars. Now, owning a springer (and now two… send help) I go through my fair share of collars. Known for their love of birds, water and anything dirty, Moose’s collars go through a lot, and it’s unrealistic to expect them to last forever. But what I hated was that every time his collar got unsalvageably dirty I just had to throw it away. It felt like such a waste (and trust me, I tried cleaning that thing, but the smell of a dead rabbit really sticks in there). That is when I decided to start looking into eco friendly alternatives. Collars that when they did unfortunately meet their doom, weren’t going to sit in a landfill for hundreds (if not thousands) of years doing sweet f*** all. And that’s when I decided to make my little business Moose&Camel. Because though there were a few eco friendly options out there, I saw a real need for them in our little country New Zealand. And I thought who better to do that than me? Too long have I relied on other people to make a change for the better, and though mine is only small, I would like to think that it’s a part of a bigger movement – a shift in thought.
And so here I am, at the start of a new adventure, making eco friendly dog collars and accessories that can decompose in your compost bin in just a few months, and only a few years if the worst happens and they are left at a landfill. Most importantly though, I wanted this option to not sky rocket in price above the non eco friendly options. Though my prices are slightly higher than the middle of the range products you may find in your pet shop, I tried to keep them as low as I possibly could. Considering the higher price of organic materials, the hours they take me to make and the time I have to spend testing the products, I think the prices are a lot more reasonable than some other similar products I have seen that are out there. And it’s because I want this to be a viable option. I want it to be a choice people can make without having to go far more above and beyond than they already do for their precious pups. So please trust in me that I am trying. That I have your pockets in mind as well as the livelihood of our planet and, of course, our dogs!
And that’s me. That’s my story of the natural path. That’s where I’m at, and that’s how Moose&Camel came about. I hope if you take anything away from this, it’s that we should all at least try to be better. Even small changes make a difference, and I am trying everyday to make these changes too.
Let’s change together.