A German butcher specialising in zebra, kangaroo and cattle gullet for pets says good quality cuts can help cats and dogs recover from poor health.
BERLIN, GERMANY (AUGUST 3, 2013) (REUTERS) - Anything else I can get you? The answer to this question is probably met by an enthusiastic wagging of the tail. Because butcher Heidingsfelder in Berlin is not just any old butcher but a specialized animal feed butcher.
And Rex, Struppi and co like what they see - or smell - in the delectable meat counter: Not appealing to us humans but delicatessen nevertheless for our four-legged friends are on display: cattle stomach, rumen, larynx and other mouth-watering doggy treats.
"The healthiest food a dog can eat," master butcher and owner of the animal feed butchery Joseph Heidingsfelder told Reuters.
"Cattle gullet is also much liked amongst the animals," he adds.
And for the more discerning palate - or rather for the allergy sufferers among the dogs - there are exotic animals: antelope and ostrich - although not now because of the foot and mouth in South Africa as well as zebra, kangaroo. There is also horse meat, five different kinds of fish and game from the region.
Heidingsfelder owns a dog and has 40 years of experience in trading in healthy, fresh pet feed. He is determined to source dog and cat food that is as close to the kind animals would have eaten in the wild countryside.
Heidingsfelder says good quality meat has restorative benefits for ailing pets.
"Dogs came here first with open wounds, the fur all bloody, diarrhoea constantly. The vets did all they could but to no avail. And six weeks later the wounds have healed, the fur starts to grow back, the diarrhoea is gone. ... That is my advertisement."
He says there he has seen an increase in the number of cats and dogs developing allergies which he believes are exarcebated by the type of pellets or processed food owners buy in shops.
Loyal customer Oliver Cherek needs little convincing. He has been buying dog food from Heidingsfelder for a year for his Labrador Emma.
"Yes, it is definitively more expensive than just pellets. But it is worth it for us. It is also probably a bit preventative. If you think about all the costs for the vet for possible diseases, we'd rather approach this in a preventative manner," Cherek said.
More than 70 kinds of meat are available at Heidingsfelder's butcher shop. Everything is fresh and constantly monitored by the department for food safety - a butcher for the dog's masters.