Frequently asked questions

Everything you want to know about raw feeding, Honey’s and ordering…

Frequently asked questions

Everything you want to know about raw feeding, Honey’s and ordering…

Every species on earth should be eating a species-appropriate diet. That is why cows eat grass and pandas eat bamboo. It is their natural food, the food they thrive on. Feeding them anything else is likely to cause health issues.

What is the species-appropriate diet for dogs? It is the same sort of diet that a wolf would eat. Why? Dogs are so closely related to wolves that they can interbreed. Even though dogs have been domesticated they share the identical digestive system. A wolf’s diet consists of prey (such as sheep, hares and birds), carrion and plant matter (grasses, herbs, fruit and vegetables). Wolves don’t cook. Cooking alters a food’s molecular structure and destroys much of its nutritional value. Cooked food is actually rather unhealthy for wolves/dogs.

The best food you can feed your dog is a domesticated version of his or her wild diet: raw meat, bones and vegetables. For more information: Why raw?

There is considerable evidence to show that a natural, raw food diet results in numerous benefits for dogs including a glossy coat, healthy skin, lean muscle tone, robust immune system, sweet smelling breath, healthy teeth and gums, increased energy, better digestion and a strong heart.

A specially formulated raw food diet is especially beneficial for working dogs as it helps performance and healing.

Its advantages cannot be overstated.

Dogs eating a raw food diet can be expected to live longer and to suffer less illness and disease.

Indeed, if your dog has any health issues now (even minor problems such as allergies, dry skin, bad breath and what the Americans refer to, euphemistically, as ‘gas’) it is quite likely that a switch to a raw food diet will clear them up.

For more information: Why raw? Research

Raw food is the easiest, healthiest way to help your dog return to his or her correct weight without feeling hungry. We specialise in helping dogs to lose weight without feeling hungry (if only it was as easy and pleasant for humans).

For more information: Weight loss

Thanks to decades of misinformation by the dog food industry and others there is a perception that a dog’s digestive system is too sensitive to deal with raw bones. This is not true. In the same way that it is perfectly safe for a boa constrictor to swallow its prey whole, it is perfectly safe for dogs to chew and swallow bones. They have been doing it for over a million years, after all.

In short, raw bones are the natural thing for dogs to eat. It is what they eat in the wild. Dogs should never, however, be fed cooked bones.

For more information: Bone guide

Dogs have the most amazing immune system. Consider what they sniff, lick and eat during the course of a typical walk in a park! The bacteria found on fresh meat poses no threats to them whatsoever. Indeed, they are surprisingly well-equipped to deal with bacteria. Their saliva contains lysozyme, an enzyme that destroys harmful bacteria. Their short digestive tract is designed to push through food and bacteria quickly without giving bacteria time to colonise.

The extremely acidic environment in the gut is also a good bacteria colonisation deterrent.

Humans also have a high tolerance to bacteria. There is, after all, likely to be more bacteria on the handle of a shopping trolley than on a piece of fresh chicken. Of course, this doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be careful. If you handle raw meat or bones (although with Honey’s you don’t actually have to) it is advisable to wash your hands and anything else they have come into contact with. When serving Honey’s we certainly recommend you follow your usual hygiene routine (in other words: ‘Now wash your hands!).

For more information: Myth buster

It is generally fine to switch from your usual food to a balanced, raw food diet without any transition period. However, it is worth bearing in mind that in the wild dogs do not eat every day! Indeed, many vets recommend fasting a dog once a week to give their digestive systems a rest. A day of fasting before you switch to a raw diet has much to be said for it. We will find lots of tips on switching dogs to a raw diet in the article listed below.

For more information: Switching

Raw food, far from making dogs aggressive, frequently makes them much calmer and happier. It is worth remembering that a growing number of vets believe that highly processed, cooked dog food is the canine equivalent to junk food. In the same way that sugar, fats, food dyes and so forth affects human mental health (see the film Supersize Me for stark evidence of this) so manufactured, highly processed dog food can affect canine mental health. The idea that – somehow – eating raw, fresh meat will result in dogs suddenly wanting to go out and catch their own is fanciful and not based on fact.

It doesn’t matter which brand of dog food you use or how much it costs it is never going to be as good for your dog as raw, fresh meat, bone and vegetable.

This is what is wrong with manufactured dog food:

 

It is cooked. Cooking destroys most of the food’s nutritional value from a dog’s perspective.

It is treated. You may have noticed that dog food has an incredibly long shelf life. This is because it has been preserved in some way (chemically or otherwise).

It contains inappropriate and harmful chemicals. These are absorbed through the bowel wall and transported to other organs with a range of harmful effects.

The quality of the ingredients is poor. For instance, the meat is often unsuitable for human consumption. Even expensive dog food often has very, very low quality ingredients.

The ingredients are difficult for dogs to digest. For instance, most dog foods contain a high percentage of grain (including rice), which is unsuitable for the canine digestive system.

It fails to clean the dog’s teeth and gums. This allows plaque bacteria to build up. This gives rise to periodontal disease and worse.

It can lead to all sorts of ailments. Health risks include allergies, skin complaints, bad breath, flatulence and overweight.

 

The dog food industry is worth a staggering £1 billion in the UK alone. Manufacturers spend a great deal of money on advertising and on sponsoring vets.

Many people feel that in the near future the processed pet food industry is going to be exposed and brought to account for its misdemeanors, in the same way tobacco and pharmaceutical companies have been. In other words, they may have knowingly encouraged dog owners to feed their dogs food that is actually harmful.

A growing number of vets are starting to wake up to the fact that most of the research on food and diet for dogs is done by the dog food industry. Most of the professional bodies are funded by pet food manufacturers and have been reluctant to come out with any statements that criticise the industry.

For more information: Free book

Yes, we were once Darling’s (a long time ago) but now we are Honey’s. We had to change the name of our dog food because we didn’t understand about trademarks when we started up and someone else owns the word ‘Darling’ in relation to pet food. True, they are only using it in Eastern Europe but we decided not to risk it.

Incidentally, our company name is The Darling Experiment Limited and we also produce an ethical treat called Beautiful Joe’s (which are sold in aid of dogs in need).

For more information: About us

We are one of the longest established raw dog food producers in the world. What makes us different is:

 

The quality of our ingredients

We use seasonal, British, fresh ingredients suitable for human consumption.

Our meat is free range, certified organic and wild.

The level of our experience

We have been feeding thousands of dogs a year since 2009. We have written three books about canine nutrition and health. We have commissioned extensive research.

Our concern for farm animal welfare

We visit all our producers to make sure they have the highest possible animal welfare standards. We give 1% of turnover to Compassion in World Farming.

Our interest in protecting the environment

We are signed up to ISO14001. We belong to 1% for the Planet. We are carbon neutral. Our packaging is 100% recyclable.

 

Honey’s employ a full time team of experts, including vets and nurses, to provide anyone who contacts us (you don’t have to be a customer) with unlimited health, nutritional and feeding advice.

We will be happy, by the way, to show you how to switch your dog to a species appropriate diet without buying food from us or anyone else.

 

For more information: Switching, About us

The core difference between us and other dog food companies is that we supply our dog food raw.

We use different basic ingredients, too.

Our emphasis is on lean, minced meat and bone with no more than a third of the food being vegetable.

We don’t use any ingredients our vets believe to be unhealthy for dogs, such as grain.

We are also concerned with the welfare of the farm animals that become our ingredients.

Our meat is free-range and/or wild and/or certified organic, always fresh and always British.

We know and trust the farmers we source from and buy as locally as possible.

The ingredients we buy are of such a high quality that you could eat them (if you eat meat) yourself.

There are no additives, preservatives, colourings or chemicals of any kind.

Until Honey’s came along no one was offering working dogs a specially formulated raw food.

For more information: About us

We try to buy ingredients from local farmers and, failing this, from as close to our kitchens as possible.

Obviously different ingredients are available at different times of the year (lamb in spring, turkey at Christmas and so forth).

This is why our food changes in appearance from batch to batch.

Indeed, no two batches are the same.

This is much better for your dog’s health and it is better for the environment, too.

After all, it would be crazy to use imported meat or vegetables when we can get such wonderful, fresh ingredients from much closer to home (sometimes just a field away!).

For more information: Ingredients policy

Bones are important for two reasons.

Firstly, they provide vital nutrients including calcium, complex (good) fats and vitamins.

Secondly, the actual chewing of the bones is what keeps a dog’s teeth and gums healthy.

Chewing and gnawing are also, believe it or not, excellent exercise and help a dog to stay fit.

That’s why our food contains finely minced up bone and why we also encourage you to serve whole bones on the side.

For more information: Bone guide

Yes, we do use offal in some of our recipes. We also sell offal separately if you prefer to make up your own food.

For more information: Shop

We freeze food as soon as it is made and then send it to you frozen.

We pack it in insulated boxes and the food is fine out of the freezer for 48 hours.

Our courier will get it to you overnight so the longest it is out of the freezer is 24 hours and the average is about 14 hours.

Incidentally, if it thaws a little in transit that is fine.

Nowadays domestic freezers are so efficient food can be thawed and re-frozen several times without risk.

Occasionally, if we have just finished a batch of food, we may include it in your order fresh.

This is safe, too, as it will be surrounded by lots of frozen food.

For more information: How it works

Yes. Expectant mothers love Honey’s. If you have a pregnant dog just let us know the details and we will adjust the food quantities accordingly. As soon as they have whelped we will adjust the food again.

Yes. It is the best food possible to feed puppies. It is vital to a dog’s long-term health that he or she eat the best possible food (i.e. a natural diet) from the moment they are weaned. It is especially damaging to puppies to allow them to eat processed foods containing harmful ingredients, additives and chemicals.

A puppy’s stomach lining is more permeable than an adult dog’s, so the risk of causing lasting health issues is much greater.

We will happily work out a feeding schedule for you and make sure that your puppies get exactly the right nourishment as soon as they are old enough to start eating solids.

For more information: Puppies

Yes. Senior dogs adore Honey’s and it can make a huge difference to their health and welfare. As dogs get older and less active they generally need fewer calories. However, just like humans, they still require the same nutrients regardless of their age. In other words, their diet should include the identical protein, fats (polyunsaturated), vitamins and minerals. Indeed, as they move through the canine equivalent to ‘retirement’, they require more bioavailable (aka digestible) nutrients to continue to support their immune system against the natural process of aging.

A raw, natural diet has the advantage here because:

  • It is easier to digest.
  • Less time and energy is spent on converting the nutrition.
  • There is less strain put on the digestive tract and the organs.

One of the major factors identified in aging, and cancers, are free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules found all around us that can cause oxidative damage to our cells. How can we stop free radicals from doing damage? The only proven method of slowing down the aging process is antioxidants. These are molecules that inhibit free radicals and they are found in living foods such as fruits and vegetables. Crucially they are destroyed by cooking and other heating processes. Feeding your dog raw food gives him or her access to antioxidants, which, in turn, will help to slow down the aging process.

For more information: Senior dogs

Yes. We can provide you with a wide range of ethically sourced butcher’s offcuts and other ingredients so that you can make up your own food – at home – quickly and easily. This should save you as much as 33% or more when compared to our own prepared recipes. Basically, our labour costs. We offer made-up boxes of ingredients or, if you prefer, you can go à la carte. Either way, our prices are highly competitive.

For more information: DIY, Shop

Honey’s Working Dog Food has been specially formulated just for working dogs. We offer two ranges. Our Out of Season Working Dog Food is designed for working dogs that are resting or in low-level training. This has a lower fat content. Our Active Working Dog Food is designed for, well, active working dogs who are travelling a lot on business, doing long days at the office, running around like mad &c.. This has a higher fat content. We can advise you on what is suitable for your working dog. If you are feeding a number of working dogs, incidentally, we will make up a tailor-made food to suit your requirements.

For more information: Shop

We would love to supply raw food to independent pet shops, veterinary practices and other outlets but the problem is we use such high quality ingredients and work on such slim margins that it just isn’t feasible. As it is, because of our introductory offer (designed to help people try raw feeding at minimal cost) we lose money on a new customer for the first few months.

Our business model is based on keeping customers (both with two and four legs) happy for a long time. Even though we can’t supply food for resale we will be pleased to help in any other way we can if you get in touch with us.

If you are a vet, veterinary nurse, behaviourist, trainer, breeder, kennel owner or other canine professional (or if you run a canine charity or web site) please get in touch. There are lots of ways we may be able to support you including free copies of our books, free samples of food, support for your clients and support for causes you believe in.

We will automatically remind you to reorder when we believe you are starting to run out of food. Also we are happy to arrange a regular monthly standing order for you. All you have to do is email or call us and we will do the rest. You can always adjust (or cancel) the order any time you want. And we will always give you plenty of warning before we send anything to you to make sure you are expecting delivery.

Yes, of course. We do mini ‘taster’ boxes and can tailor them to your needs.

For more information: Mini Boxes

We deliver five days a week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. However, we don’t recommend Saturday delivery as, if something goes wrong, the next time the courier would be able to deliver would be the following Monday. This is a long time for the food to be out of the freezer.

Delivery will be between 9am and 5.30pm. Delivery before 1pm is also available for a small additional cost.

In case you aren’t at home when your food is booked to arrive we ask you to supply us with further instructions.

For example, you might tell us to leave it in your garden shed or garage.

Another option is to have it delivered somewhere nearby.

One of our customers always has it sent to his local pub, another to the home of her retired mother, a third to a nearby corner shop.

Ideally it should be put straight into a fridge or freezer but for a few hours somewhere reasonably cool will do it no harm.

We will calculate delivery for you when we produce a quotation for you. Please note our biggest box holds approximately 15kg and can be lifted easily.

Your food is made to order, frozen within minutes and then sent to you by courier overnight.

What about once you have taken delivery? We recommend that you unpack the food from the insulated box (note that it is recyclable) and stack it in your freezer. Before going to bed at night just take out the following day’s food and it will be all ready and thawed in the morning. The advantage of this system is that you can be certain the food you are serving is as fresh as fresh can be.

Incidentally, if your food thaws a little in transit that is fine. Nowadays, domestic freezers are so efficient that food can be thawed and re-frozen several times without any health risk.

For more information: How it works

It is fine to freeze any bones you order. You can then thaw them as needed although some dogs actually love chewing on frozen bones.

Although we pack all our food and bones so that they take up as little space as possible you may find that your freezer is just not big enough for all the Honey’s you need.

Different options include:

  • Ordering more frequently. We will despatch every 14 days although it does work out more expensive because of the extra packaging and delivery charges.
  • Asking a friend or relative to help by keeping some of the food for you in their freezer.
  • Keeping food for up to five days in your fridge.
  • Buying a new freezer. If the only other option is ordering more frequently it is actually more cost effective to buy an extra freezer.
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