Westies and Besties

We were recently asked to author a piece for the January issue of ‘Westies and Besties’ magazine. It was a fabulous opportunity, especially as we know that many of our customers are owners of this fun-loving, cheerful and active breed.

Like many pedigree dogs, Westies can be pre-disposed to particular health problems, as well as those affecting general dog health and wellbeing. We believe that natural food, treats and supplements is key to preventing or minimising these conditions and we focused on some of the science around this within the article.

Alongside the theory, we demonstrated how this had been applied in practice. Westie owner Fiona Johnston, from London, kindly provided a case study. Her dogs Magnus, aged six and Lilly, two, have been enjoying Karnlea Bone Broth for the past six months – initially having used it to help them recover from a stomach bug.

A helping paw for Magnus and Lily

Hearing these examples of how our products have been used to help dogs recuperate or improve their overall health, is extremely heart-warming. It is what we set out to do when we founded Karnlea just a year ago – make life better for dogs and easier for owners.

Here we are reproducing the feature in full but urge you to buy a copy too – it is an excellent magazine, full of news, views, top tips and in-depth analysis. For more information visit: https://westiesandbestiesmagazine.com/

Karnlea Bone Broth is Simply Natural

‘Simply natural’ has become the mantra for many dog owners seeking to achieve an holistic approach to pet health, and Karnlea Bone Broth epitomises this. Made from all natural ingredients – with no preservatives or additives – it boasts ‘green credentials’ too.

From natural treats and supplements, to making the switch to raw or unprocessed foods, pet lovers are actively choosing to invest in the health and wellbeing of their four-legged friends.

Diet is vitally important to maintaining good health and helps prevent disease. Many nutritionists expound the virtues of ‘natural’ and believe that it may curb the onset of genetic conditions that pedigree dogs, including Westies, might inherit.

Natural foods and supplements reduce inflammation and provide essential vitamins and minerals needed to support joint, skin, coat and gut health.

Keeping it simply natural is an ethos on which Karnlea Bone Broth is based.

Its range – which now features beef, lamb and chicken varieties – uses just three ingredients: fresh meaty bones, apple cider vinegar (which helps extract all the goodness from the bones) and naturally filtered water.

It is packed full of collagen, amino acids and minerals, and can be used as a diet supplement, tasty treat or support recovery for sick or elderly dogs and cats – essential sustenance when they feel less inclined to eat a full meal.

It can also be used to encourage hydration – straight from the carton or diluted into water. It is suitable for all ages, breeds and sizes, including puppies. Adding it to moulds for a frozen treat or measured portions is also a great option.

Karnlea’s founder Lara McCullough first started making bone broth at home for her two dogs.

“The qualities of bone broth as a superfood have long been known. For many years, I would cook up a batch after every Sunday roast. The bones would go into a large pot and simmer away for many hours, requiring regular top ups of water, with the smell pervading the house for days,” she said.

She started looking for more convenient options but could only find frozen products that required time to thaw or powdered collagen supplements which had gone through a lot of processing, losing a lot of goodness and taste during manufacture.

Having worked in the pet industry for more than 15 years, she decided to develop a 100 per cent natural, ambient cupboard-friendly bone broth – convenient to store and use when needed.

She researched and identified production and packaging requirements, and put green credentials at the top of her list.

“I identified that the best method for locking in freshness would be a Tetrapak style heat-sealed carton. I wanted the packaging to be fully sustainable and recyclable and found suitable sources including a bio-plastic made from sugar cane for the spout and cap.  The brick shape of our cartons also makes for a lower carbon footprint – they fit neatly into boxes for dispatch,” added Lara.

These credentials are matched by the quality of the ingredients: meat produced from antibiotic and hormone-free, grass-fed animals  and free range birds, reared on cooperative farms and naturally filtered spring water. The result was the launch of Karnlea Bone Broth which hit the shelves at the start of 2022.

The brand has grown exponentially in a short time: within six months it was stocked by more than 100 independent retailers including Just for Pets. It was then approached by Pedigree Wholesale who now distributes it to shops across the UK, boosting its availability.

It has developed a loyal following of customers including many Westie owners including Fiona Johnston, from London. Her dogs Magnus, aged six and Lilly, two, have been enjoying Karnlea Bone Broth for the past six months.

Said Fiona: “It’s so good for digestion, skin, joints and helps them recover from illness. Magnus and Lilly both had a nasty stomach bug recently so I have been using Karnlea Bone Broth everyday to help them regain full health. They have a frozen paw-shaped cube with their raw food at dinner time.”

Raw feeders have also taken to Karnlea as a key diet supplement – supporting their holistic approach to feeding natural ingredients with beneficial properties. In recognition of this, Karnlea recently became a corporate affiliate of the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society (RFVS).

Sadly Westies, like most pedigree dogs, can suffer from inherited genetic health problems but there is a school of thought around ‘epigenetics’ which has identified that food and environment can affect ‘gene expression’ – potentially ‘silencing’ them and curbing the onset of conditions such as dry eye, atopic dermatitis and bone and joint problems.

Of course, epigenetic effects are everywhere: where your dog lives, how frequently they exercise, the chemicals to which they may be exposed, but the benefit of natural foods is an essential factor on which all agree.

“Science indicates that a healthy diet and clean living is better for our dogs. By feeding the right things we can probably influence our dogs’ health more than we realise. Like most things in life, we can all benefit by keeping things simple,” Lara concluded.

Support for High-Performance Dogs

It is always nice to receive a good review – be it short and succinct or a more detailed evaluation of how a pet owner or professional is using Karnlea to support the health and wellbeing of their dogs. Of course, every dog is different, both in breed – anatomy and characteristics – and their lifestyle and environment.

This is particularly true of sporting and working dogs whose nutritional needs need to be geared to supporting high-performance activity. Karnlea Bone Broth can help provide that little extra ‘fuel in the tank’ – easily digested and rich in collagen, vitamins and minerals.

That’s why we were delighted to receive this review from professional dog trainer and behaviourist Ronan McShane who is the founder/owner of Bushidog®, in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.

Ronan has spent the last 30 years working with all breeds and age groups over a variety of disciplines and is a specialist dog handler – certified in the use of canines for tracking and recovery. Clearly, these dogs need to be on top form to carry out exacting military protection duties and Bushidog® now feeds Karnlea to all their dogs some of whom undertake Schutzhund sporting events which test tracking, obedience and protection skills.

Here, in his own words, Ronan explains the importance of feeding bone broth to sporting and working dogs.

“Karnlea Bone Broth is an essential formula which supports the unique nutritional needs of high-performance dogs.  Their work includes sprinting i.e. intense periods of focus, tug and ball work, weight pulling and jumping.  Intermediate activities include agility and service work. While endurance events sees physical activity lasts many hours i.e. military protection dog work and Schutzhund in a sporting capacity.

“The success of performance dogs depends upon a combination of genetics, training, and nutrition. The latter which must always meet the demands of the dog’s activity. No matter the specific focus of training, several key principles hold:

  1. It is important to start a nutritional programme in the early stages of the dog’s training and find a baseline on which to improve current fitness levels and build capacity steadily. Karnlea Bone Broth is an essential supplement for a dog destined for high performance work. From the start, they not only need to compete, but to beat the competition. Performance work is all about winning and this is achieved through small daily gains. Karnlea Bone Broth provides that support to make an average dog, a great dog. It’s nutritional support is evident in the clarity of the eyes, colour and condition of the coat, mental and physical endurance as well as physiological repair.
  • As intensity and duration of training increases, the body and the tissues adapt to accept the greater challenge. Nutrition is the key component here, as the tissue fibres tear and repair during intense exercise diet supports recovery. Collagen helps repair the dog’s gastrointestinal system also so Karnlea Bone Broth is a vital weekly addition to our dogs diet. It is also effective in delaying arthritis as a dog’s physiology continues to repair, and this especially important for older dogs of seven years plus.
  • The nutritional goal for any effective training program is to provide an optimal nutrient profile to support overall health as well as performance, especially disease resistance and vitality in operational duty, day after day, in all weather conditions.

The Importance of Hydration

“The most important nutrient for performance, is often overlooked: water. Water is essential for all biological activity and it helps tissues absorb concussive forces during physical activity. Adding Karnlea Bone Broth to your dog’s water before, during and after exercise provides additional nutritional support and electrolytes which prevents muscular cramp, deterioration in your dog’s mental state, such as fatigue and crankiness, as well as providing your dog a quick meal before returning home or to the kennels.

“At Bushidog®, we feed our top dogs with Karnlea Bone Broth to support them in commercial work and in a companion capacity.  Now, with climate change and resulting extreme weather conditions, it is vitally important that we respond to our dogs’ needs by making bone broth ice cubes in the summer and warm drinks in the winter.  We even add it to our dumplings which can be rolled into a ball and stored in a pocket or backpack for a quick meal on the go. As the owner of Bushidog®, I highly recommend Karnlea Bone Broth and will continue to feed it to all the dogs which come through our schooling system.”