All about Antlers for Dogs – Source Story, Benefits & Doggo Dental Health

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Deer antler chews might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re deciding which dog treats to buy for your number one pal. We understand that you might have some questions – some common ones that we are often asked include are deer antler treats cruelty free? And if so, how are these dog treats sourced? In this article we will answer a few of your questions and provide a short introduction to the many benefits of deer antler dog chews for dogs.

Did you know that deer naturally shed their antlers? Our four legged friends – usually seen pulling santa’s sleigh complete with their impressive natural head gear – lose their antlers every year. Although it’s not something that the average person would encounter, our deer farmers often find their paddocks littered with these creepy looking exhibits. These naturally shed deer antlers are then collected from the paddock and that’s when the farmer – our treasured antler supplier – delivers them to Gully Road HQ. From here, we divide them into pieces and prepare them to send to doggo antler fanatics around Australia.

Antlers make the perfect treat to clean dogs’ teeth and if your dog has bad breath, a deer antler chew might be just the thing that you are after. In the wild – prior to becoming your pampered companion – dogs regularly ate bones and other hard chews, which clean the teeth and provide vitamins and minerals. Bones (such as beef bones, see Gully Road Raw) are great for dogs to chew on, however you may need to feed them to your pooch daily for optimum dental health benefits. One advantage of deer antler chews over beef bones is that they are longer lasting than bones. Depending on the size of your dog and the extent of their chewing, deer antlers can last from two to three months (for a large dog and a super long lasting dog chew we recommend gig-antlers as the most suitable choice).

Feeding treats that enable a long lasting chew for dogs can significantly improve bad breath, which is most often caused by a build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. This in turn is associated with a build up of bacteria in the mouth – these pesky little stinkers can make those sloppy kisses from your pooch a little less enjoyable.

It’s worth noting here that it’s very important to also have fresh drinking water available for your doggo at all times. If your doggo’s breathy pong persists after introducing deer antler chews or grass-fed beef bones to the diet, we recommend seeking veterinary advice.

Are deer antlers safe for dogs to chew?

Deer antlers are completely safe to chew and won’t splinter or cause any dangers for your doggo’s digestion. If a large enough chew is chosen for your dog’s size and breed (see the different types of antlers that we offer below) they will wear them down slowly after many hours of chewing. These pieces of ground antler are safe for your dog to digest and are full of nutrients. Deer antler chews are also low risk for choking and perfect for doggos that like to scoff their treats (and then immediately ask for another one).

Can I feed deer antlers to my puppy?

Deer antlers are great for puppies that love to chew (and might just save your new pair of shoes from being destroyed). Puppy teeth are delicate – even though they might not feel like it when your pupster is latched on to your hand – so softer Apple Cider Fallow Straps are the ideal treat for younger puppies. As your pup grows and reaches around six months of age their teeth will be strong enough for other antler chews.

The nutritional benefits of deer antlers for dogs

Deer antlers are highly nutritious and contain many vitamins and minerals. Interestingly, there are a range of deer antler supplements for humans on the market too and these are advertised as being advantageous for athletic performance as well as a natural remedy for treating high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, liver damage and anaemia.

Odourless deer antlers – an additional perk

Deer antlers are odourless, which makes them great for inside the house or snacking in the car. They did come from an animal, so they won’t smell like roses, however you won’t have to deal with the typical pong of treats like some of those from our seafood collection. So, if your doggo decides to hide an antler chunk in the couch you won’t get the same weird looks from guests when they wonder what the hell has been happening in the lounge room.

There is some batch variation between antlers and some may have a slight scent. In this case (if this is a problem – your doggo will probably think otherwise) we recommend soaking the antler in apple cider vinegar. Doggos love this extra flavour and the apple cider vinegar provides added nutritional benefit.

Deer antlers are hypo-allergenic dog treats

Deer antler chews are particularly good for dogs that are sensitive to alternative types of treats and are prone to experiencing allergic reactions. If this applies to your doggo, always introduce new treats with care.

What are fallow straps and what is the difference?

When we receive our deer antlers at Gully Road HQ we divide them into smaller pieces that are suitable for a range of different uses. All have the same great benefits, however some are harder and suitable for longer chewing (or bigger teef) than others. Fallow straps are the softer, flatter section of the antler and are better suited to smaller breeds or seniors.

The different Deer Antler products that we offer at Gully Road

Apple Cider Antlers

Dogs love the flavour of apple cider antlers and these are perfect for a fussy dog that might be lacking a little chewing enthusiasm. We soak these antlers in bone broth and raw apple cider vinegar, which gives them extra nutritional value while making them more palatable. This process also softens the antler slightly, which means that they are not as long lasting as standard antlers (however they are way more delish). Our apple cider bone broth concoction is great for balancing stomach pH and increases mineral bio-availability.

Apple Cider Fallow Straps

The fallow straps undergo the same soaking process as the apple cider-soaked antlers, however these are softer again. These sections of the antler make the perfect nutritious treat for puppies, seniors or smaller dogs that are more gentle chewers.

Small Fallow Straps

Selected from the softer, flatter section of the antler these are perfect for smaller breeds or youngsters. Small fallow straps last anywhere from one week to several months for small dogs.

Large Fallow Straps

These sections of antler weigh 100g+ and are ideal for larger breed puppies or senior dogs. As always, how long these treats last will depend on the ‘chewiness’ of your dog however these should take at least a week for your dog to chew through.

Antlers

Antlers – the harder part of the full deer antler – come in four sizes (small, medium, large and gig-antler). The size of the antler should correspond with the size of your dog and when the correct size is selected the antlers won’t splinter or break, but will instead be ground down over time. These chews are very hard and will last between two to three months as your dog slowly gnaws them down.

Gully Roadsters with their Deer Antler Dog Treats

Gully Road for Dogs

Gully Road enables our friends to buy dog treats online, fresh from our farm to your doggo’s treat jar. We source all of our natural dog treats carefully to ensure that they are produced with the highest standards of animal welfare as the highest priority. We stock a range of grass fed beef dog treats, seafood products and wild rabbit for dogs and proudly deliver ethical dog treats Australia-wide from our little farm in Western Victoria.

Hairy scary furry bits – animal fur dog treats and digestive health

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Let’s face it . . . Dog treats with hair or fur on them are pretty confronting – scary even. Like “what little shop of horrors did this thing come from”?? But the hairy bits in your dog treat selection might are supaw good for your pooch and their doggo digestive health. Dogs love munching on fur treats and they make up an important part of a balanced diet as well as being a natural dewormer.

Is animal hair in dog food a good thing?

Absolutely! Natural animal fur treats (think wabbit products and cow’s ear) are an important of a balanced diet for dogs and promote optimum canine digestive health. In the wild, your pampered pooch would eat their prey . . . Fur and all. These ethically and sustainably sourced products (more on where they are from later in the article) are also jam-packed full of essential nutrients and healthy fats.

Fur treats are a natural de-wormer for dogs

One of the major benefits of fur dog treats is that they act as a natural de-wormer for dogs – goodbye smelly chemical treatments, the nutritious natural alternative is here! As your dog chews and consumes fur, the hair sweeps the digestive tract. Along the way, the pesky worms get trapped in the hair and leave the body in your dog’s faeces (you know, out the other end . . . Poo poo caca)! This might mean some weird bits in your doggo’s do-dos, but we can assure you it’s perfectly natural!

The process might sound a bit unpleasant to us hoomans, but your new worm free doggo will be happier than ever and will have enjoyed a delicious snack in the process. A serving of cow’s ear or rabbit can help to remove a range of parasites and dog worms including the main types of worms that commonly affect domestic dogs – roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms. To keep on top of worms fur treats can be added to meals daily or served on their own a few times a week. For smaller dogs we recommend cutting the treats into smaller pieces until you are able to gauge how quickly your doggo likes to eat them (we all know a scoffer) . . .

Is it safe for dogs to eat animal fur?

Definitely – the consumption of animal fur should be a natural part of a dog’s diet. Before dogs were domesticated they had to hunt for their food in the wild. Dogs would eat a range of different meats – essentially any that were available or could be caught – complete with fur attached. Dogs have evolved with fur being an essential part of their diet and eating fur is a natural process. Natural hunting behaviours are not possible for most domesticated dogs, so fur treats can help to fulfill this purpose – munching on and playing with fur is mentally stimulating for your dog as well as being great for their health.

Although our lucky pooches might enjoy carefully prepared bowls of the best quality dog meat, supplements and healthy additions (sometimes more care goes into your doggo’s dinner than your own, ammirite?!), this of course wasn’t always the case in the wild. Consequently, the diets of many pets today are lacking in the types of fibre that would be naturally consumed by dogs prior to becoming domesticated. Considering these primal requirements, fur treats are great for supplementing a balanced diet for dogs.

Depending on the size of your dog, a range of different products might suit you best – rabbit fur treats are ideal for both large and small dogs. Cow’s ears are great for larger dogs and smaller dogs that like to chew, while more delicate rabbit wafers (rabbit ears) are ideal for puppos and small pooches.

If your dog has any health issues relating to their digestive system we always recommend seeking veterinary advice before introducing new food and treat products. However, animal fur treats are perfectly safe for healthy dogs. As with all new foods, it is important to introduce animal fur treats to the diet slowly over a period of several weeks, slowly increasing portion size over time and allowing your dog to adjust to this new healthy way of snacking.

How often should I feed by my dog fur?

We recommend feeding at least two hairy bits per week for optimum digestive health of your doggo. For variety, consider alternating between cow’s ear and rabbit products – the cow’s ear fur is a little more coarse and offers a great digestive cleanse, while the rabbit hair is a little softer and is jam-packed full of additional nutritional benefits including healthy fats and essential vitamins.

In addition, fur treats can be divided into smaller pieces and added to your dog’s daily raw meat meal for optimum benefits and consistent cleansing of the digestive system.

Other benefits of feeding dogs animal fur

Just when you thought we had finished talking about poop, here we go again… Feeding your dog animal fur products, particularly if done on a regular basis, can help to create consistent, solid and healthy stools (no more gross runny poops). We recommend monitoring your dog’s poop after introducing them to fur to see if there are any changes (easy to do if you’re the lucky person that gets to poopa-scoop the yard). If you feed your doggo fur products daily you should notice solid, consistent poops.

While fur treats help to treat the digestive system from worms, they also promote general gut health, which in turn strengthens the doggo immune system. Fur is also a source of manganese, which is important for the development and maintenance of healthy ligaments. Last but definitely not least, fur treats are FUN. Don’t be surprised if your doggo bounds around the yard gleefully – rabbit hopper in mouth – and uses every opportunity to show off their new favourite treat.

Dog with Rabbit Fur Treat

Ethically sourced fur – where it comes from

The animal fur products in the Gully Road range are made from free range, grass-fed beef (processed on farm by Provenir) and wild rabbit carefully, sustainably and ethically sourced from regional Victoria.

Ethical Rabbit Treats

While there are some farmed rabbit products on the market we strongly believe the wild rabbit is only truly ethical way to source rabbit products for dogs. Rabbit farming has negative implications for animal welfare (think battery hens, but fluffy) and quite frankly it sucks in a range of different ways. You can read more at our previous post discussing sourcing ethical rabbit products here.

Rabbits are considered vermin in Australia and are a serious environmental threat in many rural areas, so humane processing of wild rabbits has many advantages. Rabbit products are also incredibly nutritious for dogs, with rabbit meat being high in vitamins B3 and B12, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. Wild rabbit is also low in fat but contains a fantastic balance of fatty acids and is richer in omega 3 than many other meats. Based on these balanced nutritional benefits, rabbit is the most biologically appropriate food for dogs.

Ethical Beef Treats

All Gully Road beef dog treats (including cows ear hairy bits) are sourced from Provenir – Australia’s only licensed commercial on-farm beef processing operation. These beef products are processed with the highest possible animal welfare as the upmost consideration. Rather than sending cows to an abattoir – a scary, stressful and drawn out process for the animals – Provenir brings the abattoir to the farm. This enables cattle to be processed in a stress-free manner in their own familiar environment. Our beef treats form an important part of our nose to tail philosophy and through ‘honouring the whole animal’ ensures that nothing is wasted. 

Gully Road is proud to offer highest welfare and cruelty free dog treats. If you’d like to know more, read more about the story behind our highest welfare beef treats at a previous blog post here.

About the Products – Gully Road Furry Bits

We produce a range of dehydrated animal fur treats including;

Rabbit hide – Wild rabbit hide, locally sourced from Central Victoria. These are mostly fur and the skin’s quite thin – so they’re not a robust chew.  Simply cut into strips and add one to your dog’s meal or offer as a quick treat every few days.

Rabbit paws – Wild rabbit forelegs, locally ethically sourced and dehydrated on our little farm. Ideal for smaller dogs.

Rabbit hoppers – Wild rabbit hind legs, ideally suited to medium or large breed dogs.

Cotton tails – wild rabbit tails, ideal for trialling the whole ‘feeding your dog fur’ thing or as meal additions for small dogs & pups.

Wabbit wafers – rabbit ears, ideal treats for small breed dogs or puppies

Cows ear with fur – Low temperature dehydrated and low odour, these are perfect fur treats for larger dogs and chewers.

If you’d like to try a few different rabbit products, check out our Large-ish Rabbits n Pieces Variety Box or our Smallish Rabbits n Pieces Variety box.

Oh, and if you’d like to try rabbit without the fur check out rabbit rack and rabbit backstrap. For other beef bits, see the range here.

Bach with Rabbit Foot

Where our natural beef dog treats come from and why it’s important

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Dog treats come in many weird and wonderful forms, as we know all too well at Gully Road (think weenie peenies, beef bunts, moo tubes and icky chicken feet). Dog treats like these form an important part of the nose to tail philosophy that is behind Gully Road’s commitment to deliver ethical dog treats from sustainable sources. Across our range of beef, chicken, rabbit and seafood dog treats we take care to ensure that all of the dog treats online at our little farm store are supaw ethical and come from responsible sources.

Our grass-fed beef treats are especially one of a kind – literally. All of the Gully Road beef dog food products that you can buy at our store are sourced exclusively from Provenir – Australia’s only commercially licensed on-farm mobile beef processing unit (or mobile on farm butchery). Provenir was founded by Bach’s hooman Dad Chris along with a few other (stubborn) individuals who were determined to find a better solution to animal welfare. There was a heap of red tape surrounding abattoirs and the process to change the laws took many years. But, it was worth it – on-farm processing of free range meat means highest welfare and low-stress for the animal. This is one of the key values of Provenir (we’ll talk more about the others in a minute).

In Australia 99.99% of beef cattle go through a multi-step process which begins on the farm and usually involves being sent to a saleyard, then to a high-density feedlot and finally to an abattoir. Each of these stages involves transport on a large truck, is stressful for the animal and disrupts their natural herd environments. Not what we want for our cow friends (even Bach agrees, despite being officially at war with the resident bull at Gully Road). In a stark contrast, the animals that are used for Provenir beef spend their entire lives on their own farm and in their familiar environments. Their interactions with humans are predictable and low-stress and they never have to see a truck (unless it’s to move to the lush green paddock down the road), saleyard or stinky feedlot.

The beef that we use is;

  • 100% grass fed meat (the best quality dog meat – hooman-grade food for dogs)
  • Free range beef (animals graze freely and happily, like they’re meant to)
  • Meat free from hormones and antibiotics (these are very common in feedlot raised beef)
  • Exceptional quality, natural dog treats (no preservatives or other additives, just fresh and dehydrated beef)

This means that our beef dog treats as well as our raw dog meat delivery service, Gully Road Raw, are the best quality dog food available in Australia (and who knows, maybe the best dog treats in the world!). Provenir is the choice of many top chefs and we use all of the parts of the animal that are not in high demand in restaurants (including the BEST EVER beef liver dog treats). This nose to tail processing ensures that no part of the animal is wasted and all of the extra-nutritious bits (organs and offal – see our Regen Pack) end up in your doggo’s bowl. Gully Road dog treats are also the only truly high welfare beef dog treats Australia-wide, delivering natural beef for dogs straight from the farmer to your doggo. All natural dog treats, done right.

Why is grass fed beef better?

The feedlotting systems mentioned earlier are focused on fast growth and maximum productivity. Animals are fed high grain diets (lots of carbs) and are kept in small pens so that they don’t burn off their calorie intake by doing cow things like walking to the other end of the paddock for fresh grass. These conditions that result in fast growth mean less nutrients in the end product – your dog meat.

While grass-finished beef is a slower (and more expensive) process, the grass-fed meat is more nutrient dense. As just one example, grass fed beef contains five times more CLA than the fast-growing, grain fed beef produced in feedlots. CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is a potent antioxidant fatty acid, which improves lipid profiles and enhances the overall health of your dog.

So what about other pet meat available, like the pet mince at the supermarket? Yep, you guessed it – not grass-fed, free range or on farm processed. In fact, chances are it is almost definitely grown and processed in quite the opposite way.

About the Products – Gully Road Raw

Is raw meat good for dogs? Absolutely! Gully Road Raw offers a range of packs catering for an essential raw food diet for dogs. Using our top quality beef, we offer minced meat (great for puppos and little teef), premium diced muscle meat for dogs, beef bones for healthy teeth and beef organs that are jam-packed full of nutrients. Although it’s a larger topic for another day, we also offer a PMR pack which is a balanced mix of muscle meat, liver and organs designed to cater for a Prey Model Raw diet for dogs.

Your hooman can order your Gully Road Raw dog food online for delivery across Victoria, with other areas coming very soon. All packs are dispatched frozen and are safe to re-freeze if there is any defrosting during transit.

About the Products – Gully Road dried beef treats

We produce a range of dehydrated beef treats including

  • Beef bunts – beef epiglottis, which consists of cartilage, connective tissues, tasty meat and healthy grass-fed fats which all make them an incredibly nutritious and beneficial dog chew.
  • Beef neck splits – crunchy dried beef neck pieces that make the perfect treat for large dogs.
  • Cows ear with fur – fur is an important part of a healthy diet for dogs (think doggo digestion and natural dewormer for dogs).
  • Beef liver jerky – dried beef liver jam-packed full of nutrients and a perfect treat for dog training rewards
  • Grass-fed ribbers – beef rib bones with a high bone marrow content and are great for cleaning dogs’ teeth
  • Hock knuckle – huge beef knuckles with lots of marrow and sinew for healthy teeth
  • Moo tubes – dried beef trachea tubes, great for dog joint heprovalth being high in glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Regen pack – including organs (liver, kidney and lung), meaty bits (heart and tongue), chewy bits (paddywacks and chuck ends), crunchy bits (rib bones, and other non-weight bearing bones – bones that are safe for dogs to chew)
  • Weenie peenies – use your imagination… Rich in protein and amino acids.

More about Provenir – from provenir.com.au

“Provenir was founded in 2017 on the belief that the best quality meat comes from livestock that are raised to the highest of welfare standards, right up to the very end.

Until now, all livestock processed in Australia was done so at a fixed abattoir, often after live transport over long distances and experiencing an unfamiliar environment.  In our view this system is flawed in that livestock are put through the unnecessary stress prior to processing.

This is not only bad for animal welfare and our farmers, it can also negatively affect the eating quality of the meat. The founders of Provenir we knew there had to be a better way.

Better for farmers, better for the livestock, and better eating qualities of the meat.

Our solution is simple – highest welfare, mobile on-farm processing. So, instead of the animal being transported to abattoir; the abattoir comes to the farm.

Eliminating unnecessary stress on livestock associated with live transport to the processors, our unique on-farm processing improves animal welfare and produces meat of exceptional quality, taste and tenderness.

The six star Provenir Promise includes;

Highest Welfare

Provenir farmers utilise low stress handling techniques and raise their livestock on open pastures within a familiar herd structure; allowing the animals to express their natural character.

Processed on-farm

Instead of the livestock being transported, the abattoir comes to the farm. Eliminates unnecessary stress on animals associated with live transport. Less stress means less adrenalin produced, and thus more retained glycogen stores in the meat, leading to exceptional eating quality, taste and tenderness.

Full traceability & true provenance

Provenir oversees the whole operation from purchasing livestock on farm direct from our partnering farmers, to the on-farm processing, into our butchery and on to you. By processing on-farm and utilising the latest in digital traceability technology we are able provide full transparency and guaranteed provenance.

Grass-fed & free range

Provenir partners with farmers who raise their livestock free range and grass-fed.
For cattle and lamb this means they are fed on natural grasses, pasture, hay or silage.

Exceptional eating quality

Our on-farm process and artisan butchery techniques ensures that the quality of the meat is retained and maximised throughout the whole process.

No added hormones, herd antibiotics, or intensive feedlots

Provenir farmers raise their livestock naturally: they do not feedlot, nor do they add hormones or antibiotics to the feed as growth promotants.”

Why we’re on the mooooove 🐮

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Guys, it’s been a rough trot lately. You’re probably sick of hearing that but geee whizz it’s been a really hard few weeks.

To be honest, the Pity Party is still in full swing and we keep crying… I mean there’s plenty of laughing too but it’s gotten to the stage where we greet each other like this

“Good Morning! I’ve already cried once today and it’s only 6am”

“Meeeeeeee too! Was yours a quick sniffle or a good howl?”

“Oh it was pretty howly… but then I found some peanut M & Ms”

“Oooh…got any left? I think that’s what I need!”

So what happened? How did the wheels fall off?

Basically we were reported for operating illegally… Which according to all the publicly available information we weren’t.

We would buy all our products in ‘finished’ from licensed facilities and then send them out in deliciously stanky parcels. We did no processing, cooking, dehydrating, prepping, slicing, dicing of any description on site.

However, I will admit to brushing furry cow ears with a horse brush (it was one of those momentous times where you think “Well, I just didn’t think i’d end up a fully grown woman, sitting in a shipping container, grooming a cow’s ear… Didn’t that Uni degree pay dividends 🤣)

But according to the Meat Police Overlords, there was a teensy little clause, from something written in the 60s (not kidding!) that said were were ‘processors’ and as such needed a licence.

For things like blood and guts and meat and food prep… sure I get it…

But moving a dried goat trotter from one box into another box? Not so much.

Anyway, I just couldn’t come at the licence requirements. It involved a whole new facility, mountains of paperwork, vast amounts of cash and a squillion rules.

I started this business so I could work from home, surrounded by animals and keep a quiet, private life tucked away in my Valley. With these changes I’d need to build a whole new facility and be left wide open for the Meat Police to barge in whenever they wanted and whenever the Dibber Dobber wanted to have another whinge.

With rules like this, it was never going to fly 🤣👇

While it would be sad not to have the dogs or lambs in the office with us anymore, I just couldn’t bear the thought of telling Mary Kate that we no longer had a job for her.

She’s worked so hard to put herself through school and finally got her dream job as Gully Road’s Wellness Officer – It was just too much to tell her we no longer had a job for her.

So who were the dibber-dobbers?

I’ve got a few ideas… but that’s where you come in 🤣

Before packing everything up, we compiled the biggest, stankiest, treato haul of all time – and it’s up for grabs for the successful identification of The Dibber Dobber. There’s more on that below

Um… What now?

Well one option was to shut the doors completely (that was the desired outcome of the Meat Police). The other was to lawyer up and fight…. and that would drain my pockets (& happiness cup) pretty quickly 🙄

But THEN… a cracking solution came along.

We’ve decided to hand the reins over to our mates ‘down the road’ who have been supplying Gully Road for a while now. They’ve got all the licences (stick that up ya bum Dibber Dobber), they’re a small family business, they live on a farm surrounded by weird looking animals and they’re just good people.

I knew you guys wouldn’t hang around for long if we sold up to some plastic lovin’ corporate so this seems like the perfect solution. Obviously there will be a few teething problems while we do the handover because meticulous record keeping is err…not one of my strengths 😳

To be more accurate, we’re just throwing them in the deep end with helpful instructions like “These Moo Tubes are great for little teefs. Teeeeeeeeeeeeeefs! Lil snappy teeefers” (while tapping our own teefs for illustrative purposes)… It’s pretty advanced stuff 🤷‍♀️

But in the end you can expect the same deeeeeeelicious products and generous servings – sourced from small businesses around Australia. The focus will always remain on providing ethical treatos with minimal waste. Because haven’t we all had enough of cutesy plastic packaging holding a measly 80gs of treats?? It’s just so bloody pointless and needlessly wasteful 🙄

So what’s next for us?

Well we’ve lined up a few gigs at a Strip Club when lockdown is over and failing that, there’s always the street corner.

Nah, I don’t know… but I can tell you one thing, it will 100% not involve the aroma of dried fish… (but depending on how dirty your mind is, you can draw your own conclusions about our new chosen professions 🤣)

So, we actually don’t know what we’ll do.. but don’t worry, we’ll pop back into the Gully Road socials and let you know about our new venture.

But you know what guys? We’re going to miss you. Not in that cheesy tourism campaign sense of the word either. We really will.

Even typing this has me tearing up again.

What a surprise!..Got any peanut M & Ms?

It’s been quite bizarre getting to know you and your puppers so well over this last year. We’re invested in you guys and we genuinely care whether Jasper gets better and whether Jeeves will ever learn to Jedi mind trick his Mum into dishing out more treatos. We’ve loved being part of your lives and we’re so grateful for every single order and message of support.

This is so shit.

Fuck you Dibber Dobber.

But…

Please, please, please continue to support Gully Road. Chris and his family will bend over backwards for you guys and I really urge you to get behind them. Feel free to introduce your dogs in the order comments, put in special requests and be specific with your teeeeeeeef requirements (remember: they understand better if you tap your own teefs at the same time).

By supporting Gully Road you’ll be continuing to support the little guys and be helping make the world a better place for animals xxx

If you’d like to keep up with us, you can find our personal accounts on Instagram below. Who knows, with all this spare time we might post more than once every 6 months 🤣

And if you’re keen to keep up to date with our random farm happenings on Facebook, check out Timmy Trumpster Rescue Pony on Facebook (language warning applies 🤣)

Don’t be shy, come and say hi!

Pauline’s IG account

Jemima’s IG account

Mary Kate’s account

Rabbit for Dogs: Why wild is wonderful but farmed is pretty effed up

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I’m calling it… wild rabbit is one of the best food sources for dogs.

Of course, some peeps wont agree but I reckon there’s a pretty compelling argument from a nutrition, welfare and environmental perspective.

…But not all rabbits are created equal and there’s some important info you need to know.

Ethical and Welfare Considerations

Guys… if you take one thing away from this article, or even the whole website. Please, please, please draw a big fat line between farmed rabbits and wild rabbits.

Rabbit farming in Australia seems to have flown under the radar in the Shitty Animal Welfare Practice Stakes. It’s no better than caged and battery chickens. I’ve included a link at the bottom from Sustainable Table that outlines the big difference between farmed and wild rabbit.

Here’s an example of a rabbit farm in Australia 👇

Also, breeding rabbits in a country that already has such a monumental rabbit population problem seems pretty douchey to me 🤷‍♀️

Ever since I’ve had some success selling our Wild Rabbit products – I’ve had a few suppliers come up saying they too have ‘wild’ rabbit products they can supply to me… Only when I’ve seen the product, I can tell they are 100% NOT wild rabbit 😩

HOT TIP: If you see a rabbit fur product that is white, black, caramel, patchy or anything that looks like it’s the colour of a pet rabbit – it’s been farmed and is NOT wild.

Wild rabbits are the speckly, grubby brown seen below.

With the meat, obviously it’s much harder to tell but wild rabbits are usually smaller and leaner than farmed rabbits. They’re also much harder to find.

When it comes to animal welfare, there’s just no question that Wild Rabbit are one of the best options. They hop around doing their rabbity thing – wrecking crops, digging holes and rooting like… well rabbits – so they probably have quite a delightful life 🤣…..Then one night, with no warning and no fear it’s all over with a fast, clean shot to the head.

That sure beats living your whole life in a cage with no fresh air, sunshine or socialisation 🤷‍♀️

Nutrition

Wild rabbit meat has the highest protein ratio compared to chicken, pork, turkey, duck, fish, lamb or beef. It also an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Rabbit meat is high in vitamins B3 and B12, phosphorus, potassium and selenium.

It’s low in fat but contains a fantastic balance of fatty acids being richer in omega 3 than chicken or pork.

Environmental Benefits

Feral rabbits compete with native wildlife, damage vegetation and degrade the land. They ringbark trees and shrubs, and prevent regeneration by eating seeds and seedlings.

Their impact often increases during drought and immediately after a fire, when food is scarce and they eat whatever they can.

Australia is home to over 150 million wild rabbits (which is why I think farming them is so ridiculous). Most control methods are pretty inefficient so it sits well to find an end use for their meat and hides.

Introducing ‘Wild Rabbit’ dog treats

So… after all of that – how do we source our Wild Rabbit?

Well, a friend of ours is an avid hunter and helps local farmers by cleaning up their feral animals. Mostly he shoots foxes during lambing season and also but does rabbit control at other times.

And yes, he is the reason we have such a stupid amount of orphan lambs at our place 🤣🤦‍♀️

So back to the rabbits…We figured we could pay him for the rabbits and use the meat (and fur) for treats… Because before that, the carcasses were just chucked into a burn pit.

So now, instead of the whole thing being wasted – we use absolutely everything we can. The only parts we don’t use are the head and the organs. It’s all available- literally from their ears to their tails – and all the healthy meaty parts too. Check out the Wild Rabbit on the Shop Page here.

These treats come to you from wild animals with absolutely no preservatives or ‘treatments’ – they’re exactly as you’d find in the wild, only dehydrated for your convenience.

Our Wild Rabbit Half Hides are excellent for sweeping the digestive tract 🐇

Harvest & Dehydration Process:

  • These rabbits are sourced from local vegetable farms where no poisons are used.
  • During the harvest and butchering process, all rabbits are assessed for signs of illness and discarded if there are any signs of sickness or parasites.
  • The segmented rabbits are frozen for 6 weeks prior to dehydrating (this is the current recommendation for parasite eradication)
  • The rabbit meat is dehydrated at 75 degrees, which is the current human consumption standard for the removal of harmful bacteria. The length of dehydration depends on the cut getting dried.

The above is a transparent description of our risk mitigation in relations to pathogens & parasites. This is over and above the standards for human food consumption, however customers need to be aware that these are wild, natural products. We use no preservatives – including no chemicals, irradiation or other methods of sterilisation. Please consider this when deciding if these treats are right for your dog.

Links 👇

“Not all Rabbits are Created Equal” – Sustainable Table

Gully Road Wild Rabbit Dog Treats

This is why we don’t sell kangaroo meat

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ethical dog treats Australia

A few months ago I was driving home and had a small brain fart.. I thought, hmmm – I dont think I want to sell Roo products anymore. At the time they were our biggest sellers – so it wasn’t an easy decision.

What some people don’t realise is that a significant portion of kangaroo culling is driven by the pet food industry. Some cull quotas are even dedicated as pet-food only programs. This means these animals are being specifically killed to feed our dogs – and that just doesn’t sit well with me.

This year (2021) the Kangaroo Harvest Quota increased by nearly 40,000 to 95,680 – and that’s just in Victoria. And in the last 18 months 86 kangaroo harvesters and 5 pet meat processors ave taken part in the pet-food only program.

I dunno about you, but I reckon there are plenty of alternative meat sources, with just as many benefits to our dogs – from animals that have already died to feed humans first. To me, it seems off to go out and take a life just to feed our dogs.

Besides, I think kangaroos are kinda cool. With so many being killed on our roads and wiped out my the bushfires – I don’t think we should kill them so they can go straight to pet mince. I feel like they deserve a bit better than that 🤷‍♀️

Also, from a business perspective, it was a really dumb decision. Roo is cheap to buy, has a big profit margin and is easy to sell – there’s no wonder pretty much every pet food or treat business has it in stock.

But sometimes you’ve just gotta do what feels right – you know? 😳

Seeing as the roo products were always sop popular with our customers, I sourced some fantastic and suitable alternatives – rather than leaving y’all in the lurch. Instead of Roo Tails we now have Lamb Neck Splits (great, meaty chews!), instead of Kanga Tubes we have Moo Tubes and the Roo Liver Jerky has been replaced by Goat Liver Jerky. 

So there we have it, that’s where we’re at – and I genuinely hope you’re on board with these changes… Or at the very least this has provided a decent explanation for you. 

Edit: Since I first mentioned this, there have been a few questions. A few have popped up more than once, so I’ve answered them below 👇

Isn’t this better than leaving them to rot in the paddock?

Well no, that’s not really how the system works.

Professional roo shooters wouldn’t have any incentive to go out and shoot them, if they weren’t collecting carcasses and getting paid for the meat. It’s not uncommon for farmers to shoot roos on their own property but a) that’s on a pretty small scale and b) it’s unlikely they’d have the systems and licensing in place to collect and sell these carcasses anyway.

There’s a massive population issue with kangaroos. They’re better off being killed for pet food – otherwise they’ll die slowly of starvation.

Nah, I call bullshit on this one.

There just aren’t the population numbers for this to happen. Sure, nature will take it’s course in times of drought and farmers will understandably get cranky when kangaroos compete with their livestock for feed.

But weird fear mongering like this is just a pretty desperate way to justify roo harvesting in huge numbers.

Q: How can you favour one life over another?

I guess this is where it gets a bit tricky. I’m the first to admit that it’s my personal ethical compass that comes into play here and it may not resonate with you.

But here goes..

Us big, bad human beings are at the top of the food chain. As such I’d rather salvage the leftovers from the human consumption industry to feed our pets.

Secondly, I’m more inclined to source products from introduced species, especially ones which are having a detrimental impact on the environment.

For example our Wild Rabbit products come from an existing program where rabbits are eradicated from local vegetable farms. Until we started buying them, the rabbits were just dumped in burn pits…. Also rabbit meat is pretty much the most biologically appropriate source of protein for dogs… so it kinda worked out well.

Often these motivating factors work in together. For example the goat and camel products we sell are by-products from human consumption AND are declared feral animals. Two birds, one stone and all that.

Grass Fed & Good Fats For Dogs

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Grass fed, grass finished meat products are a completely different ball game when it comes to healthy fats. Grass-fed fats been found to be higher in:

  • Fat soluble vitamins
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Beta carotene (a potent antioxidant)
  • CLA (more on that below)

The fat from grass-fed animals takes on a yellowish tinge (that’s the beta carotene) rather than the stark white fats of a grain finished animal.

You’ll notice that with our new Pastured Beef Range – there is a much higher proportion of fat on the treats, and it might be a bit yellower than you’re used to. However, I can assure you that’s a good thing 👍

The down low with CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)

CLA is a beneficial fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties, it is found in meats & milk of ruminant animals. CLA is linked to fighting cancer, preventing bone loss, and building muscle. The anti-inflammatory properties help provide protection from chronic inflammatory disease.

Importantly, grass-fed fats contains 300–500% higher more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than fats from grain-fed cattle.

Synthetic CLA is often added to commercial pet foods, but the absolute best source for bio-available CLA is from grass fed and grass finished beef cattle.

Highest Welfare Produce for Dogs: Introducing our Ethical Beef Range

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You guys… This. Is. Massive.

Until now, us pet owners haven’t had much choice when it comes to selecting ethical, high welfare produce for our dogs.

If you’re anything like me, you’d never buy a caged egg or battery chicken breast but when it comes to making considered dog food decisions…well that choice isn’t really there.

Whether you feed kibble, canned or raw – it’s hard to know exactly what’s in it…and importantly what standards of welfare those animals were held to.

I mean you’re never going to see a dog food label that says ‘Caged Chicken with Peas & Gravy’ or ‘Pet Mince from A Pig That Never Saw the Sky’ 🤷‍♀️

But don’t despair, light is on the horizon and it’s closer than you think.

A few weeks ago I found a place that provides exceptional quality beef from grass-fed, free range cattle that have a high welfare lifestyle from start to finish.

And by ‘finish’ I mean they get a quick, painless, stress-free death within the familiar surrounds of their own farm.

Currently Australian livestock are primarily processed in abattoirs- which involves the stress of long distance travel and the fear associated with unfamiliar environments.

It’s not great, in fact it’s pretty terrible… And it’s those scenes that make people swear off meat for good.

But that’s not the answer, especially as conscientious dog owners.

Instead we’ve gotta pull on our grown up pants and actively research our food production – as well as that of our pets. And yes, this includes livestock welfare (even the confronting stuff) and from that information we can make better, more informed decisions.

Change is possible and it starts right here.

“I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got to do it right.” – Temple Grandin

After we discovered the high welfare beef producer down the road, Pauline and I couldnt get there fast enough.

We were shown around, saw the set up and were actually pretty speechless.

The level of respect and compassion given to these animals at every step is pretty mind blowing. It sets an incredible precedent for improving livestock welfare in Australia.

People, the change is coming and we get to be part of it 🙏

High Welfare Pastured Range – Honouring the Whole Animal

Here at Gully Road, we’ll be repurposing the ‘spare parts’ in a new range of High Welfare fresh, raw dog food delivery in Victoria.

Shortly after that we’ll be offering pastured beef dehydrated treats and chews.

I know right… How exciting!!!

And around about now I bet you’re thinking ‘Hmmm… Sounds good. But how crazy expensive is this going to be?”

Well I’m glad you asked and obviously these products will be more expensive.

That’s because it’s a premium grass-fed product (no fast-buck feedlots here) and we’re doing everything on a small scale…by hand… So we cant compete with mass production prices.

However I can assure you there will be no douchey mark-ups or wanker tax… after all, if we cant sell these treats – then it defeats the purpose of honouring the whole animal.

During the trial phase, we’ll only have limited quantities and availability will be released by email or direct link only. (This is because I cant be bothered with the yelly whinge-bags that pipe up on social media every time I make mention of anything remotely confronting 🤦‍♀️)

So seeing as you’ve made it this far you might be keen to know more? If you’re in Victoria, visit the Gully Road Raw site by clicking below 👇

If you’re not in Victoria, please enter your info at the bottom of this page and I’ll let you know when the new products have arrived.

Ya girl the ‘Woke Dickhead’ (with Woolliam Wallace) wheeling and dealing in the offal trade.

Yes, some dude called me a ‘woke dickhead’ on a recent post and I thought…”Hmmm, that’s got a ring to it… I’m gonna run with it”

Anyway, here’s the form. Let me know if you want in 👇

Gummy Shark for Dogs – Is it an ethical, sustainable choice for treats?

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Uh oh spaghetti oh…The sight of gummy shark products has really rattled people’s cages lately… And there’s been lots of yelly, angry keyboard bashing coming this way 🙈

I’m guessing it’s because the word ‘shark’ might be making people think we’re selling endangered animals and apex predators like the Great White or Hammerhead. For those sharks there are real and valid concerns.

However, from my perspective the use of Gummy Shark for dogs is an excellent, ethical choice and that’s why we’re selling it.

However, the spectrum of what’s ethical and not is pretty broad – so I’m just going to outline the reasons so you can make your own mind up.

Again, it’s a bit like the ‘length of a piece of string’, so I’ll stick with sustainability, by-catch issues and whether it’s an appropriate food source for dogs.

Gummy sharks are small species which are fished at sustainable levels in Australia and there are no indications that these sharks are over-fished. In human circles it’s sold as flake – but confusingly, flake is not just gummy shark, it can include some other species 🤷‍♀️

All our Gummy Shark treatos are by-products of human consumption markets – i.e. the bits that are no good in restaurants or supermarkets. This is in keeping with our nose-to-tail mentality where nothing is wasted and everything is celebrated.

Who are you calling Gummy? Little Scully getting her teefers into one of our Gummy Shark Tails.

Gummy Shark Sustainability

Gummy Sharks can be fished at sustainable levels because they:

🌎 Are a fast growing species.

🌎 Have a high reproductive rate.

🌎 Eat from invertebrates in the sand & mud.

However, their fishing is still managed by quota and there is a current catch limit of 1775 tonnes for the 2021 season.

Issues relating to by-catch

Commercial fishing can sometimes catch unwanted species of fish (not the type of fish the net was supposed to catch). This is known as by-catch and the main issues with gummy shark by-catch relates to Australian sea lions and School Sharks.

The previous issues relating to sea lions have largely been resolved. The areas close to sea lion colonies have been closed to gillnet fishing and boats are now monitored by video cameras.

School Shark are considered over-fished and cannot be targeted by fishers. In order to restore the population, there’s currently a rebuilding strategy underway for school shark. This includes closing pupping and nursery grounds to fishing, restricting gear and lowering the by-catch limit.

Gummy Shark for Dogs – is it an appropriate source for dogs?

As mentioned above, Gummy Shark is usually sold as ‘flake’ – and it’s commonly the fish in fish & chips. It is considered totally safe (and delicious) for both human and dog consumption.

Unlike some other sharks, there are no issues with mercury or other heavy metal accumulation. This is because Gummy Sharks are a fast growing species and heavy metals don’t have time to build up in their flesh.

Gummy Sharks are considered high protein, natural fats and in Omega 3 (with 0.141g per 100g).

The skin is extremely tough and it makes fantastic, long lasting dog chews. Our gummy shark products are all tailored towards the tougher chewer and consist of the Chewy Skin Scrolls & Shark Tails.

For quick delicious treatos, packed with plenty of goodness we also have the very popular Cartilage Crispies

So there you have it, a bit more info about Gummy Sharks…. hopefully this will help you decide which way your microwave spins on the issue of whether they’re an ethical choice for your doggo or not 😃

I’d love to know your thoughts… If there’s something I’ve missed or any other questions you’ve got, please shout out in the comments below 😀

Sources:

University of Melbourne – ‘Flake is sustainable gummy shark, except when it’s not’

Australian Fisheries Management Authority – ‘Gummy Shark’

Fish Files ‘Gummy Shark’