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Natural Feeding

Carradine Cairns eat a natural diet, this can be daunting for a new owner used to feeding a kibble/biscuit based diet.

Our reasons for feeding a natural diet:

Better Quality of Life

Our dogs seem happier (I know I am humanising them BUT...) at meal times they dive in their bowls and everyone normally eats the contents of their bowls They eat things with relish and delight and on egg night they are all jumping about and crying for their eggs well before I have even shelled them...

General Condition of the Dogs

When I am feeding the correct amounts and not too much, the dogs hold their body condition better for longer, they are leaner and in "good hard condition" as true terriers should be! They are not fat and blobby as they were previously.


Feeding complete food = dirty teeth - FACT! I am sorry but I DO NOT clean the dogs' teeth, I have no need, they do it themselves... not with toothbrushes but with their daily diet. The better quality food means that the plaque doesn't build up on the teeth and the bones and crunchy food they eat removes any plaque when they eat.


We have found that dogs are holding their coats for a lot longer and they are of better quality/texture too.

Faeces - poo - out the other end....

What comes out is hardly anything at all. On bone days the poo is white pellets and on other days the dogs poo twice a day and hardly produce anything at all. We have noticed the biggest difference with puppies that are eating four to six meals a day. Pre natural feeding to litters of pups it was awful first thing in the morning, it was poo everywhere with each puppy probably having pooed about 2 or 3 times overnight BUT with natural feeding if you get one poo per puppy that is lots! The quality of the food you are feeding is better and doesn't have as much waste in it so consequently less waste comes out.

No food waste from our meals:

When I am peeling veg or doing a salad for our meals (or I should say, when Chris is preparing our meals...), instead of all the trimmings going in the bin, the waste goes straight into the blender. The good bits go on our plates and the waste (plus some good bits but don't tell the other half) go in the blender. Whizz it up with a bit of water/gravy/goats milk and that goes into breakfast, if I'm not using it that day, I freeze it in Chinese take way containers. Dogs can digest food stuffs that are "very ripe" and it won't hurt them as their gut bacteria are much stronger than ours.

Tips for feeding a natural diet

A correctly fed puppy is lively, eats with relish and speed, then plays contentedly and sleeps happily until the next meal with no whining beforehand. An overfed pup looks bloated and dull. You are doing him/her no favour by overfeeding or feeding the wrong things, it is as harmful to the puppy as it is for yourself.

DO NOT change food too much in the first month of ownership. Your puppy has enough life changes to adjust to without altering his diet. If after that time, you decide you would like to change to another brand/way of feeding, you can do so. Again, always a very gradual diet transition over at least a week is the best course.

DO NOT allow a puppy free choice feeding by leaving a bowl of food available all the time. Food is a primary resource that the puppy should realize you control. Also, puppies need to eat at regular intervals and nibbling all day can interfere with their growth pattern, not to mention making house training more difficult. Of course there should always be a bowl of fresh water available.

Cairns love fresh carrots and cucumber. Dog biscuits are good for teeth, but not too many as they contain calories.

A good chew toy would be a stuffed rubber Kong, the medium size is the appropriate. Mix a teaspoon of anything soft off the menu sheets at the end of this booklet, with a small amount of puppy biscuit/kibble and then stuff the mixture inside the Kong. This will keep a puppy’s mouth busy and out of trouble for some time!

If you would like more information about natural feeding then please google:

  • BARF
  • Natural Instinct
  • Nature Diet
  • Honey’s Natural Feeding

And of course, you can email Dawn for more information.

Things never to feed your dog

NEVER give your dog chocolate as the ingredients depress the dog’s nervous system and can cause death if ingested in sufficient quantity. Never leave chocolate bars or a box of chocolates where your dog could get them. Onions and grapes can be toxic for dogs as well

Foods to avoid giving your Cairn:

  • Alcohol - can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and complications leading to death. Alcohol has the same effects on a dog’s brain as it does on humans. However, dogs require a much lower level to cause damage
  • Avocado - all parts of the plant and fruit can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and in large amounts can be toxic. If you grow avocado at home, keep your Cairn away!
  • Bread dough - If your Cairn eats the dough whilst it is still rising it will swell inside the dog’s stomach and stretch the abdomen causing severe pain. Also fermenting yeast produces alcohol which could cause alcohol poisoning
  • Chocolate - All types of chocolate (white, dark, milk) contain substances that are harmful to dogs. It is best not to give your dog any chocolate whatsoever
  • Coffee, Tea & Caffeine - In large amounts caffeine can be fatal for dogs.
  • Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants - these fruits can cause kidney failure and just a small amount can be fatal – best to stay away from these altogether
  • Liver - small amounts of liver are fine but large amounts can be toxic
  • Macadamia nuts - dogs can be allergic to these – they are commonly used in many biscuits
  • Milk - cow’s milk should never be given to dogs as they cannot digest it. Goats milk is a good alternative
  • Onions, garlic and chives - too much of these products in their raw form, can be toxic for dogs. Garlic powder or capsules are however safe and great to keep away fleas!
  • Salt - large amounts of salt in a dogs diet will upset their digestive processes – watch out for high levels of salt in processed dog food
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener) - affects insulin levels in dogs so again, best never to feed these to your dog