Tell us a little about you and your four-legged friends. What makes them the Top Dog in your eyes?
Monty is our eldest chocolate Labrador, part dog part human, with a sensitive soul and naturally keen obsession with playing “fetch”. He’s always loved his food, has been super active, and is very intelligent. A big fan of swimming, finding big sticks, and an all-round good boy.
What made you switch to raw? Or choose to feed raw from day one?
Summer 2014 – Monty was staying with friends while we flew to the UK to celebrate my daughter’s wedding. Our friends had always fed their dogs raw, so treated Monty no differently on what soon became his very own doggy health retreat.
Reality is… Monty had been suffering from a skin condition that would leave sore, dry, red patches in his coat that caused him to itch where the fur had fallen out. We couldn’t bear to watch him go through the ongoing discomfort, and to our frustration, struggled to find a successful remedy.
Monty's allergy was definitely environmental as it would only ever present itself around springtime and run through April, May, June to July. He was then fine all winter regardless of what kind of kibble he was eating. So it wasn’t the food itself causing the allergy.
Despite working with our vet for three years to address this, nothing we tried made a lasting impact. Monty had skin samples taken to the lab and was given all kinds of medications without success. Little did we know, all it would take was a simple switch… Raw was the answer.
It all happened by chance, but we’ve never looked back.
What been the biggest difference you’ve seen in their health and happiness?
We couldn’t believe the difference in Monty when we returned home. Monty’s skin was beginning to heal, and his coat was regaining its shine. All thanks to our friends, and their commitment to raw feeding.
The proof was in the pudding, as they say.
I only wish we had known sooner! No more annual summer visits to the vet due to seasonal allergies (resulting from the change in weather), or unwanted bills for skin flare-ups… Plus all kinds of new positives to enjoy – including less poop to scoop!
Raw has been truly revolutionary for us. Our favorite four-legged friend, Monty, lived a full and happy life up until he went to the dog park in the sky in June 2022. People would always comment on how soft and shiny his coat was. It helped us to manage Monty's weight, which made his Labrador shape much more defined. Needless to say, it also meant seven plus years vet-free before his passing at the ripe old age of 14. Rest in peace to our OG Top Dog and the best boy ever.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about feeding raw too?
First of all, it's about commitment. Raw feeding is not something you dabble in for only a week or two before returning to what you’re used to. You don’t see the difference in just a couple of dinners. Instead, it deserves at least three months to really get to grips with how it works and to see the real benefits for your pet.
When you first start, it’s not as easy as just taking a couple of cups of kibble out of the bag. Raw feeding is an investment in your pet’s health and your future happiness. Often people get worried about how much to feed with raw. With kibble, there’s normally a picture on the back saying how many scoops they need based on their size. Once you know what to do, it’s simple. It’s the same with raw, you very quickly work out just how much to give your dog.
Secondly, it can be more time consuming to prepare because you've got to go through the defrosting process etc., as opposed to dealing with dry kibble, although the benefits hugely outweigh the additional few minutes involved to get raw feed ready.
Also, try not to be too overly concerned with the hygiene aspect. Just think of it in the same way as preparing your own human-grade meat at home; whether it be steaks on the BBQ, or preparing a raw chicken to roast in the oven for your family. Handling raw dog food is no different, the exact same rules apply. There’s no need to overthink it. Especially when it’s all USDA, human-grade meat. There’s no difference in buying raw meat from the supermarket and bringing it home to make spaghetti Bolognese, as there is with doing the same for your dog’s dinner.
As great advocates of raw feeding, our mission is to share what’s possible when you make the switch. We believe in making raw more accessible and streamlined for everyone, which is why Top Dog brings you simplicity at its finest, supporting dog lovers in New England, just like us.
What do you love most about Top Quality Dog Food?
Number one: the product itself is all USDA.
Number two: the time it takes to go from ‘barn to bowl’ is an extremely quick process due to their short supply chain. It’s great knowing the product is as fresh as possible for our pets and hasn’t been sitting in warehouses or freezers for any great lengths of time beforehand.
Another thing I like is the fact that Top Quality Dog Food is a small, family-run business. I think that's very important too.
What’s Monty’s favorite kind of raw food that we supply?
Yeah, so again, it's a difficult question because Labradors will eat whatever you put in front of them… even tissue paper (they're not particularly fussy)! Personally, I choose the ‘healthy variety mix’ which includes vegetables, and means I don't need to add anything else. So, any of the HVM product lines (with beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, or duck) because it’s got everything in it. That’s all I’ve ever ordered.