FOR the first time in its 14-year history, contestants on Couples Come Dine With Me have been served fresh dog food.

Having been asked to wear black-tie, the unsuspecting diners were given dog masks and collars and sat down to a ‘Dog’s Dinner’ dished up in dog bowls.

Viewers were able to watch what happened when the Bristol-based episode of Couples Come Dine With Me was broadcast on Tuesday February 12 at 5pm on Channel 4.

The three-course dinner proved to be an experience for the senses and comprised handcrafted, fresh recipes that are suitable for both humans and dogs.

Dylan Watkins, who founded fresh, raw dog food company Poppy’s Picnic in Melksham, appeared on the programme to promote his business.

Poppy’s Picnic was formed to provide natural, additive-free meals for his beloved miniature schnauzer Poppy that he couldn’t find anywhere else.

Mr Watkins said: “I wanted to make the point that dog food doesn’t have to be a mundane eating experience with dry kibble day-in, day-out.

“Sadly, over 50 per cent of dogs in the UK are obese, and many are dying from cancer and diabetes. We know that highly processed food is a contributory factor in human health problems, and the same goes for dogs.

“This was a massive inspiration to me when I set up Poppy’s Picnic and why I used my appearance on Come Dine With Me to spread the word that fresh is best.”

For the programme, he teamed up with Emma Rutherford, a functional canine dietary consultant, who he met at a dog show.

He added: “When a friend sent me the advert for the new series I knew it would be an excellent platform to encourage more dog owners to feed fresh, healthy meals.”

“My partner Michael was mortified at the thought of appearing on TV, so when Emma volunteered to join me, I seized this mad opportunity.”

Fellow contestant Kelly Houghton said: “It’s definitely not what I was expecting from a sophisticated dinner party!

“However, having spent the week with Dylan and experiencing his love, passion and dedication to dogs first-hand, I was sold.

“We are now the happy owners of our own miniature schnauzer, and having previously known nothing about dog food, there was no way I was going to be feeding her anything else.”

Mr Watkins said: “My heart pounds every time I think about the filming. I needn’t have worried, as all was forgiven by my fellow contestants as both couples now feed their dogs fresh, raw food.”

“By appearing on a nationally loved TV show such as Come Dine With Me, I knew that the diets and health of thousands of dogs could be improved.”