Last week I met with Kev and Dave, who have set up a new business (along with Dave’s mum!) called Butternut box. They’re making proper, fresh, home-cooked food for dogs, which they deliver to you weekly, Abel and Cole style. They very kindly offered to send me a free box, which arrived today, and I was really rather impressed!
Those of you who know me will know I’m quite a big advocate of raw feeding, as it’s generally the least processed option commercially available. When I first had Alfie I home-cooked for him for a while, but I must say, it was labour intensive and I worried about him not getting the right nutrients. Raw ticked the boxes for us- not highly processed, locally available (important when you have two big dogs and limited fridge/freezer space!), balanced, and healthy.
But when I met with the Butternut Box guys it was clear that when it came to nutrition for our dogs we were definitely on the same page- mainly meat, natural ingredients, not highly processed. So I was very keen to give it a go, and I knew Alfie and Fia would happily get involved in some sampling!
When the box arrived, Fia clearly thought it was a great improvement on the box of veg that’s usually outside the hall door on a Tuesday morning!
Once it had been thoroughly sniffed, I brought it inside and opened it up. Sure enough, it was nicely packed with seven 1kg vacuum packed bags of food (and some extra goodies!). My first thought was that these would be a lot less messy than the bags of raw food, which invariably leak, and would also take up less space in the fridge.
There were three varieties in the box- Turkey, Chicken and Beef. Meat content is my main concern with dog food (the more the better!), and each of these meals contains 70% meat. The remainder is made up mainly of lentils and vegetables. There are a few extra bits added, which I presume are there to ensure the food is ‘complete’- calcium in the form of Calcium Carbonate and Dicalcium phosphate, magnesium (magnesium oxide), and minerals. The additives listed are again fairly identifiable vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, D3, E and zinc.
In short, nothing that would cause concern, such as the E numbers that often appear in commercial dog food. No wheat, which can inhibit digestion of nutrients in your dog. No grain, which usually just acts as a filler in dog food. No ‘meat and animal derivatives’ (the thought of what could be included there always makes me shudder!). No ‘meat meal’. In short, none of the things I avoid like the plague when choosing dog food!
As my two are used to eating a varied diet and don’t suffer from sensitive stomachs, I didn’t bother with a transitional period, and gave them the recommended amounts for their size. The amounts equated pretty much to the amounts of raw food I feed them- around 1kg/day for Alfie (who’s a hefty 35kg) and around 700g a day for 25kg Fia.
They started off with the beef, and the component parts were all easily identifiable. It didn’t look a bit fatty or gristly, and definitely looked like something you could eat yourself. Once I saw the food, the fact that the Butternut Box gang taste test the meals themselves didn’t come as such a surprise!
But they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating….
… and eat it they did! Both bowls were licked clean (Fia always licks her bowl clean, but poor old Alfie with his two remaining teeth often decides eating is too much effort half way through and has to be spoon-fed. No assistance was required with this!).
All in all, two very happy dogs!
I’m sure you’re wondering how it compares price-wise to other options. Well, it’s a bit more expensive than raw feeding, and with a combined 60kg of dog to feed, food costs add up in this house! The raw food that I currently feed comes in at about £40/week for the two dogs. This would come in at about £55.
The verdict? Well, it’s certainly going on my list of recommended dog food! My take on this is that it’s delivering most of the benefits of a raw diet, but with greater convenience for the human. No blood from leaky bags of raw food. Easier to fit in the fridge. Nicer smelling! The convenience of having it delivered- and the pleasure of finding a nice box of goodies on your doorstep once a week. I’ll definitely be recommending this to clients who don’t like the thought of raw, or whose dogs don’t like raw.
As for me? Well, I’m keeping a boot in both camps! I’ll be keeping Fia on raw. She’s not fussy, has done well on the raw, and it’s a bit more economical. But Alfie will be becoming a Butternut Box dog! He struggles to eat the raw with his 2 remaining teeth, and he definitely prefers the Butternut Box food.
You can find out more about Butternut Box on their website:
If you have any questions, the guys are lovely, and I’m confident you’ll find the customer service great!
If you try them out, do let me know what you think!