Welcome to the Dogs Monthly Book Club. Each month we review our pick of the latest releases, with an opportunity to win for lucky readers! If you would like to enter the prize draw, please email competition@dogsmonthly.co.uk with the name of the book you would like to receive in the subject line. Please remember to include your name and full address. Entries close 23 March 2018.

The Lucky Dog Weight Loss Plan – Why You Never See a Fat Wolf by Vicky Marshall

Review by Yvette Churchill

Even as a squeamish vegetarian, I was pleasantly surprised by this book! Despite the title, it is not just suitable for podgy pooches. This is a simple guide for feeding any dog a healthy, balanced and fresh diet, whether completely raw or lightly cooked, homemade or pre-prepared.

I’m fascinated by nutrition and how it can affect health, and the foreword written by respected, homoeopathic vet Richard Allport was a reassuring start. However, I’m not a fan of people heavily pushing raw diets, as I personally think things can go wrong if not done well.

The author has carefully and clearly explained the benefits of raw feeding, including any risks, difficulties or circumstances where extra care is required, or where it’s not suitable at all.

I was very pleased to see the importance of fresh, local and organic ingredients stressed. Locally produced and slaughtered livestock will likely have higher welfare standards; the meat will be fresher and it’s much kinder environmentally.

The useful safety advice regarding feeding bones and the information about bacteria struck me as particularly sensible, as was the section about exercise.

Author Vicky Marshall has impressive passion for raw or ‘biologically appropriate’ feeding and has plenty of veterinary support and expertise used in her plan. She also runs her own bespoke raw-food company. What’s even more impressive is that she offers unlimited advice on the topic of raw feeding for anyone, customer or not.

The information about dry kibble ingredients is quite shocking. For example, it contains around 43 per cent carbohydrate compared to a natural ‘wolf’ diet, which would contain only around 6 per cent, and the raw regime is far higher in protein than dry diets.

In summary, this is an easy-to-understand guide with lots of practical advice, including a chapter all about poo, which is always good!

Viola Vincent Reporting… Underdog by Anna Kenna

Review by Liz Laker

I was slightly apprehensive when I started this book. A large part of the story revolves around puppy farming as seen through the eyes of a little breeding bitch, Sissy, and I wasn’t entirely sure how the story would unfold.

The main character is Caitlin Nove, a very likeable 13-year-old girl with a strong social conscience. Although still at school, Caitlin is friends with a local news reporter called Megan, and together, Megan, Caitlin and Caitlin’s alter ego, Viola Vincent, uncover a local puppy farm.

Along the way, there are other interesting characters, such as Theo and his elderly but greedy Labrador, Mac, who reminded me very much of one of my own dogs! Theo is helped by Megan and Caitlin when his greedy dog lands himself in trouble, but is able to repay the favour and assist the girls in exposing the puppy farm.

This book is the second in the series of Viola Vincent Reporting series and whilst it is aimed at young people, I found it an engaging, enjoyable read – and with an ending that had me in tears – you will need to read the book to discover whether those were tears of sadness or joy!

The Dog: A Natural History by Adam Miklosi

We all love dogs, and for good reason: throughout history they have become our hunting partners, our faithful companions, our trusted guard dogs and assistants. You’d be hard-pressed to find another species with whom human beings have developed a bond quite as deep and multifaceted. But how much do we truly know about them as a species? How much do you know about the dog who’s likely snoozing on your sofa right now?

Our understanding of dogs is constantly evolving, but some of it may not be common knowledge. Where do they come from? What ancestors do they share with other species? When and how did they become our faithful companions? How do their senses work? What does their behaviour tell us, and how deep is their attachment to us? What common myths and misconceptions should be consigned to the dustbin of history? What breeding practices are threatening their health and, ultimately, what is their future with us?

Divided in sections and beautifully illustrated with photographs, The Dog: A Natural History is a fascinating, comprehensive exploration of everything we know about dogs so far – in terms of biology, evolution, behaviour and their role in our lives and culture.

If you want to know all that there is to know about man’s best friend, and how this insight can help with their training and socialisation, this is the book for you.

Rocky Rocks and the Colourful Socks by Seniha Slowinski

Illustrated by Nick Roberts

For a short, fun and educational bedtime story, Rocky Rocks and the Colourful Socks is the perfect book for you and your children.

Aimed at children three years and above, this interactive book follows Rocky Rocks, a dog with an obsession for socks, as he searches the house. Children can play along by completing the rhymes and pointing out the hidden socks in the illustrations.

Rocky Rocks is based on the author’s own dog, Rocky, whom she brought home in 2013, quickly discovering he was no ordinary dog. As well as high-fives, he can respond to commands in three different languages! Seniha decided to start documenting Rocky’s life in captioned photographs, which have now provided the inspiration for her children’s book series.

Read right to the end where you’ll find a hilarious picture of the real Rocky.


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