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This article has been kindly submitted to us by Jonathan Self, founder, and written by Vicky Marshall, managing director, Darling’s Real Dog Food

The first time a vet suggested giving our dog a bone to chew on I was slightly shocked. This, I thought to myself, borders on malpractice. The poor dog will choke or, worse, he will swallow a bit of bone and then…well, I wasn’t quite sure what might happen but I felt certain nothing good could come of it.

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This article has been kindly submitted to us by Jonathan Self, founder, and written by Nat Self, Executive Canine Chef, Darling’s Real Dog Food

‘Always read something,’ suggested P J O’Rourke, ‘that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.’ I am not quite sure how you would look if you keeled over with a book about canine diet in your hands. Earnest, I suppose. At any rate, you wouldn’t (and this may surprise you) die of boredom. Because, like many specialist topics, once you get into it, canine diet is fascinating. In fact, my chief complaint is that although there are a number of really good books on the subject, more has not been written. ‘Outside of a dog,’ advised Groucho Marx, ‘a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.’ Where that leaves books about dogs’ insides I am not entirely sure. Anyway, here are my favourites.

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Maurice Fleming in Not of this World: Creatures of the Supernatural in Scotland gives interesting accounts of more recent sightings of supernatural dogs which are summarized here. One story from the 1960’s near the Bridge of Cally, Perthshire tells of a large reddish-brown dog which crossed in front of a car and was clearly seen by all four passengers. Another episode took place in 1995 Aboyne when John Stewart of Blair Atholl saw a large dark coloured dog that he spoke to, but when he went to touch it his hand went right through it! This was not his only experience as he also saw a black dog run in front of a car but nothing was lying on the road when the car passed. Even more frightening is the account of a black dog walking so close to a woman as touch her leg, but she could see that its paws never touched the ground.

A well known story is The Grey Dog of Morar that is seen on an island on Loch Morar, apparently having been abandoned there by a man about to enlist on his return he was killed by the wild pups of this bitch who is still to be seen to this day.

Other stories of ghostly encounters are with rather more fearsome dogs and some stories connect black dogs with the devil or see them as witches in disguise. Such dogs can have other roles - for example guarding underground treasure and even being the form that a human who was committed a crime takes as a punishment.

One such tale is The Ghost o’ Mause from eighteenth century Perthshire where the black dog is the ghost of a murderer. Another story his time of a ‘green lady’ who when she makes amends for her crime a large black grey hound is seen crossing the moor never to be seen again.

Could it be that such lingering superstitions account for the difficulty of homing rescue greyhounds who are black in favour of fawns etc. which home more quickly?

Morris Fleming also gives an account of his own sighting a well known apparition the black dog of Tornacarry and concludes ‘It is to be expected that dogs which have been mans help and companion since early times have become deeply embedded in his folklore…’ Man’s best friend can have another side to him especially if he is black or grey?

The next part will look at the Sluagh or Host of the Air with a Cusidh story connected to this belief and other related stories of packs of supernatural dogs.

By Claire Cartmell

©Scottish-Deerhound.Com. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permission.

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There is always quite a bit of discussion regarding raw food for Scottish Deerhounds. Here’s a summary of an on-line discussion on the forum and further reference sources to get you interested. This article previously appeared in the Deerhound Club UK Newsletter.

What to Feed


  • A raw meaty bone diet and/or whole carcasses
  • Chicken necks, minced chicken with bone
  • Tripe
  • Turkey necks and wings
  • Lamb ribs and breast of lamb
  • Rabbit
  • Beef
  • Bison (or bison tripe)
  • Pork
  • Goat
  • Roo (for non Aussies that's Kangaroo)


  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Pumpkin
  • Celery
  • Silver beet
  • Carrot
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Lettuce – Romaine is good
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Beetroot greens
The vegetables can get ground up or can also be pureed and then frozen into portions. Vegetables can also be roasted for the dogs.


  • Apple
  • Cut up banana or other mild fruit
  • Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  • Pineapple
  • Melons
  • Pears
If you make yourself fresh juices the dogs can get the pulp and some of the juice too can be added to their food.


  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Bread (wholemeal)
  • Cooked potatoes or Sweet potatoes
  • Oats/oatmeal
  • Millet
  • Long boiled barley
Carbohydrates are useful for puppies to slow/ moderate their growth rate. Fewer carbohydrates are needed as the dogs get older. 1 Tbsp of brewers yeast, lecithin - can be added to the oatmeal (or equivalent) after cooking.


  • Tinned tuna
  • Sardines in oil
  • Fillets of white fish e.g. Pollack
  • Salmon
Quite often the fish is cooked.


  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Fish oil
Dogs don’t need much oil. Too much can cause diarrhea.

What else?

  • Bioactive yoghurt added to the food is also good. Goats milk yoghurt is good.
  • Cheese grated over their meat sometimes
  • Cottage cheese - the low fat varieties can be used to replace some of the meat for dogs who need to "watch out for their weights "
  • Raw eggs still in the shells
  • Kelp, about 1.5 tsp on the meat per day
  • Herbs
  • Fresh/raw ginger can be added to the feed regularly to help digestion
  • Extra fat from a butcher and it helps with metabolism
  • Peanut butter about 1 tsp of fresh helps fussy eaters
Eggshells can also be stored in the fridge then placed in an oven (about 250 – 300 deg F or 100 – 150 deg C) until the shells are slightly browned. Then put them in blender until fine. Store in fridge and add about 1 tsp per feeding. The blended shells can also be frozen for longer storage. This makes the shells softer and should be easier to digest without any lose of nutrition.


Loose or Hard Stools

If your dogs suffer from loose stools, rice is ok, but cooked mashed pumpkin is better, plus it has a lot of potassium, which dogs lose when they have loose stools. For 'hard poos' try adding a bit more meat, making sure, there is plenty of fat with it and also perhaps more vegetables. Too much bone may cause this problem.

How Much to Feed

A formula you can use is 3% of the dog's ideal weight when fully grown. That would be approximately 45kg, giving almost 1.5kg of meat and bones per day.

Feed a lot of different meats, about 2/3rds meat 1/3rd vegetables/fruits usually, extra bones 1-2 times a week (some ground up in the meat or another form of calcium added), some chicken necks/backs but not every day. For older dogs increase the percentage of vegetables and fruits.

Not every meal has to be balanced, but over the course of one week they should get everything they need. A multivitamin supplement can be added each week to be on the safe side to ensure your dog is getting everything they need.

Make sure fresh water is always available.

What not to Feed

Offal in moderation, perhaps once or twice a week and introduce it slowly in small quantities. Organ meat - kidneys, liver and hearts – can be fed regularly but not every day. You need to get the balance of meat and bone right. Too much bone and the poos turn into bullets and too much meat leaves them deficient in various vitamins/minerals.

Raw potato, raw onion or raw garlic. Grapes and raisins are also a no-no.

Avoid cooked bones as they can splinter.


It is advisable to worm every 3 months if feeding raw food.


Instead of adding liver to the dog's food you can dry it and it makes a great, high value treat. Alternatively, you can make liver cake see this link for a typical recipe

Sources of Meat in the UK

Many people are able to get cheap (no pun intended!) 'waste' bits of chicken and turkey from local abattoirs. You can see if you have any local abattoirs from this site If you can already get bones from your butcher, it's probably worth talking to them to see if they can supply you with anything else.

Unfortunately many local butchers buy in stock ready butchered, so have no offcuts or excess. Meat and fish in the supermarkets is viable if it's really reduced.

Darlings Real Dog Food ( supplies a range of raw, fresh dog foods, bones, biscuits and treats. They deliver nationally. Their dog food comes in three varities: free range chicken; beef and lamb. Each variety contains approximately two-thirds raw meat and ground bone and one-third grated raw vegetables.

Landywoods ( and the Dog Food Company ( both supply raw meat animal food. Both are fine and prices are about the same, some people prefer The Dog Food Company who are really helpful. Landywoods only deliver to some areas once a month. The Dog Food Company are a bit more flexible. You need to make sure that you order enough to get you to the next delivery, but not so much as it won't all fit in the freezer! Second hand cheap freezers can be bought from specifically for the dog food. An additional fridge as well could also be useful- it's a bit off putting to have 2kg of raw green tripe defrosting in your fridge next to the leg of lamb for dinner!

Reference Information


It isn’t necessarily expensive. Particularly in relation to the recent price hikes in dry dog food. A range of different raw meats can cost slightly less per month than a dry food.

This information has been taken from posts and information from: Samantha Doohan; Cassandra Cook; Steve Liversage; Trish Southern; Spring Arnold; and Verena von Eichborn from and previously appeared in the Deerhound Club UK Newsletter

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The previous article dealt with the fairy dogs of the West Highlands and the stories of the fear that they seem to have engendered. However there are some stories of fairy dogs being befriended by humans and returning the favour. These dogs would have been held in such awe because they were part of the organized realm of the fairy, which unwary humans got involved in at their peril. However, in the stories the stress placed on the fact that they barked three times suggest that they were associated with omens and prognostications. In the West Highlands second sight was and is particularly strong and often is concerned with foreseeing death, so there may well be a connection here.

There is one particular type of dog that had a very close connection with death and this is the spectral Black Dog, best known through Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Black dogs were almost always seen as a dangerous omen and sometimes as instruments of divine justice stalking a guilty person until justice was done. Black dogs were particularly connected with England as reflected in the large number of ‘Black Dog Lanes’ in villages and towns up and down the country, but there are many variations and different names for these dogs in different parts of the British Isles.

It appearance, Black Dogs are described as usually shaggy and as big as a calf, with huge fiery eyes, but they make no sound. In the north the black dog is also known as Capelthwaite, Padfoot or Shag, and there is a black dog called The Black Angus, who is said to haunt the moors of Scotland and northern England, appearing to those destined to die in a short time.

East Anglia also has a black dog called Shuck, which may derive from the Saxon for devil (succa). Black Shuck or Old Chuck has either a single eye set in the centre of his head or has glowing red eyes, but he has even been described as headless, yet having glowing eyes set in front of him.

One of the most famous of these dogs was The Black Dog of Peel Castle on the Isle of Man, the ‘Mauthe Doog’. Though Black Dogs were dangerous and ominous as they could ‘blast’ anyone who spoke to or struck them, nevertheless the Black Dog of Peel Castle apparently gave a friendly warning of disasters at sea.

The Black Dog is particularly associated with two Scottish families one for the good, the other for ill. Ean Mac Endroe of Loch Ewe and his and descendants were granted protection from the power of the Black Dog by a fairy whom he saved about the time of Culloden (1746). On the other hand, any member of the Clan MacLartin was doomed to death on a dunghill if he were to see a Black Dog. The story goes that Jamie MacLartin was the last of the MacLartins to encounter a Black Dog and was subsequently killed by English Dragoons and throw on a dunghill in the earlier Jacobite rebellion of 1715.

The Church Grim is another kind of dog found in England - also considered a death warning. There was a widespread tradition that church yards were guarded from the devil and from witches by a spirit in the form of a Black Dog. One story tells that the Yorkshire Church Grim can be seen about the church in dark stormy weather by day and night. It sometimes tolls the bells at midnight before a death and at a funeral that the clergyman would see it looking out from the tower and would be able to judge from the dog’s appearance whether the corpse was bound for heaven or hell. There was certainly a belief that the first man buried in a churchyard had to guard it against the devil, but to save a human from this task a Black Dog was buried in the north part of the churchyard as a substitute.  This is similar to the belief held in Scotland, that is was the duty of the last buried corpse to guard the graveyard till the next funeral.
By Claire Cartmell 

©Scottish-Deerhound.Com. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permission.


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