Kateřina Novosádová: All Our Dogs Are Fed Only on Fresh Food
Kateřina Novosádová is the author of books about canine nutrition and feeding natural food to the dogs. Our readers will have opportunity to read articles on this topic regularly in the future on ProfiDOG.cz. So, let me to introduce the leading Czech expert on canine nutrition in this brief opening interview.
How long have you been involved in canine nutrition? What led you to explore this subject?
I bought my first dog in 1994 – a Miniature Poodle called Anitka. At that time, everybody was mostly feeding only cooked or raw food. Dry dog kibble was not as accessible as it is today. When Anitka got old, we started feeding her on dry kibble on the recommendation of a vet. She didn’t like it at all and we were stuck in the vicious circle of adding meat, cans and pouches to the dry kibble… Meanwhile, problems with heart and then kidneys started to occur and that was what brought me back to the meat. I started to study suitable diets and we began feeding fresh food again. Anitka benefited incredibly from the change and even the vets could not believe it. She was with us for the following three years and died at almost 14 years of age. So it can be said that I have been involved with the subject of feeding fresh food since around 2004.
My husband and I bought our first Rhodesian Ridgeback in 2007. Another one came a year later and we founded our breeding kennel Manwë. At that time, I became even more interested in nutrition, because both our females were fed on fresh food and raw meat since they were puppies. There was not much available information about the subject, just some bits and bobs from a few breeders who were feeding their dogs that way. That’s why I was looking mainly at foreign websites. I contacted breeders in Germany and Austria, where this method of feeding was very common at that time. I wanted to pass the information on and that was the reason why I started writing articles for our website (www.manwe.eu). The first one was published in 2008, followed by more and more articles.
We currently have five Rhodesian Ridgeback females (9 years, 8 years, 5 years, 3 years and 1 year) and a Chinese Crested dog puppy. All our dogs are fed only on fresh food and so are the puppies bred by us.
Are you doing any sport with your dogs? Are you training them?
We are showing them a lot, which is not exactly a sport but it takes a lot of time. I am training two females for hunting, but only as “recreational” activity and for our pleasure. We used to do lot of coursing. The Ridgebacks were really enjoying it. Unfortunately we haven’t got enough spare time these days so we haven’t been anywhere for a long time. Other than that, we are not involved in any special training. We only do basic obedience, so the girls know how to behave on walks in the woods, in the town and we can take them to a hotel, restaurant etc. Most Ridgebacks are very greedy, so we train for treats which is mostly dried meat or some sort of kibble. Yes, that’s right a kibble. It is a rarity for our dogs, so they are considering the dry kibble a great delicacy.
Do you buy any dog treats or do you make everything yourself?
Sometimes, I dry meat myself. That’s for us as well as for dogs, but otherwise I buy treats. I also occasionally bake biscuits for dogs.
What else do you do in relation to diets and dog health?
I am trying to show people how to do it, so they are not afraid to try it and I am encouraging them. Over the years, I have seen many different dogs and encountered different issues, so I can offer advice on common problems. The impulse to move to fresh food is often a dog’s disease (allergies, kidney problems, problems with pancreas etc.). That’s why I have worked on various types of diets in collaboration with the veterinarians.
What is in your opinion the most common mistake the owners make with their dogs?
The most common “mistake” is fear. When people do not have enough information, they are frightened and then make mistakes. They are afraid to feed naturally and they are often waiting for a puppy to grow up. So exactly when a puppy needs the best nutrition to grow properly and to promote immunity etc., it does not get it.
Supplements for dogs are also a big problem. People are often adding a large number of supplements that are not needed. There is a large numbers of different supplements on the market and it is difficult to know what is needed. Unfortunately, even the sellers themselves often cannot advise properly and force a number of unnecessary or even inappropriate supplements onto the buyer.
As you say, there are many opinions, dogmas and theories and it would be enough material for a whole long article. However, the most common question is “balance” of the diet. Adverts for animal feeds constantly drum this into our heads. But what exactly is the “balanced daily ration”? It’s nonsense. Every dog needs something different and every day is different. How can you cover nutritional needs from the food which is same every day? On the other hand, fresh food offers you plenty of options to feed a dog properly at the times when he/she is resting on the sofa or during training periods. We can only talk about “balanced diet” in terms of weeks or months when the dog should get the recommended amount of meat, bones and side dishes in order to cover his/her current needs.
You are the author of the book “BARF Krmení psa přirozenou stravou” (BARF feeding your dog natural diet).When did you get the idea to release your own book?
An idea to write a book about feeding dogs was not even my own. I was approached by the owner of the publishing company “PLOT”, Mr. Jeřábek. He was reading my articles on our website and in magazines. He liked my articles and made me an offer that if I write a book about BARF, he will publish it. At first I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. I could not imagine that I am writing a book. I have never ever tried anything like that before. My husband and friends greatly encouraged me, so I finally went for it. It took me more than a year (book was published in 2011) and it cost me a lot of time and energy. I do think though, that the result is worth it. A positive reaction from my readers confirms that and a lot of dogs tasted the meat because of my book.
The second book “BARF otázky a odpovědi” (BARF questions and answers) was published in 2014. The book was based on “real” questions that the people were asking me during those past six years. I thought it is impossible to come up with any more questions, but after another two years of communicating with people, I saw it was actually possible. At the moment I am not preparing another book, but who knows…
So what else do you prepare?
We are currently working on “BARF kuchařka” (BARF cookbook). Readers will find almost 170 recipes for dog biscuits, cakes, jellies, broths, purees and “festive” recipes in it. This book is also designated for dog owners who feed processed dog food. After all, every dog likes a good biscuit. I have baked, cooked and fried according to those recipes, took the pictures and our dogs tasted everything. So you can say that the recipes are tried and tested by the “consumers” :-). The book will be released at the end of November 2016.
In conclusion I would like to wish good appetite to all the dogs, who are lucky enough to taste the meat.
Interview: Draha Mašková
Translation: Marketa Braierova
Photo: Author’s archive, www.manwe.eu