Dining With Dogs

By June 6, 2012 June 19th, 2012 No Comments

by Dr. Jeff Todd

Man Eats BoneCan you imagine eating the same thing, three times a day, 365 days a year, forever?

I suspect even your favorite food would get really boring after about 30 meals of it. But the advice to eat the same thing forever is exactly what you’ve been hearing from veterinary professionals, probably as long as you’ve been going to a vet’s office -“NO PEOPLE FOOD”.

Most people I see in the office reluctantly admit that yes, they do feed some of their own food – fully expecting to be scolded. But that’s not what happens at our office! I think people so frequently feed their own food because they intuitively understand that the advice they’ve been given in the past doesn’t make sense.

Now I’m not talking about Doritos, pizza crust, French fries, and potato chips. The stuff that clogs our arteries will clog your faithful canine companion’s arteries. I’m talking about real food – fresh vegetables and lean meats- actual healthy food that you’d eat yourself.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with a client who declares, “She’s been eating this food for years and all of the sudden she refuses to eat it!” I always have two immediate thoughts when I hear this:

First– dogs have noses so sensitive that they may very well sense a tainted bag of food by smell, something we humans could never do. I actually read a story out of Canada during the big melamine recall a few years back. A woman began eating the food her dog refused, to show him it was OK. Big mistake, and I bet you know the ending to that story.

Secondly – you may ultimately refuse something that you’d been fed every meal for years.

There’s a border collie named Chaser who lives in Spartanburg, SC with a retired psychologist from Wofford College. She became famous last year when her story was published in a scientific journal detailing the process that her human used to teach her 1022 nouns and three verbs. Read the full story here. Chaser is willing to work 4-5 hours per day to retain her vocabulary.

My point, do you think dogs are somehow unaware that it’s the same thing each and every day forever?

What’s a responsible pet parent to do?
Feed the highest quality diet that you can afford. No matter how high quality, rotate the diet occasionally to vary the nutrients you’re providing.
Add healthy fresh foods for even more variety – fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, lean meats, fish and fish skin, plain (no sugar) yogurt. Remember, when you add some calories in fresh food, you must adjust any commercial diet you’re using appropriately.
Consider a raw or fresh cooked diet – we’re here to support you in those efforts. It’s not “rocket science”, but you will need just a little guidance if you choose to go in that direction.
KEEP YOUR PET AT A HEALTHY WEIGHT. Both canines and felines suffer from obesity as we do. If you’re not sure whether your pet’s weight is healthy, bring them in for a complimentary weight check with Dawn.

Keep treats healthy too. Click here for a refresher course on healthy treats.