Friday, February 1, 2008

Homemade dog food?

I was reading Mrs. B's blog the other day and she had an interesting post about DOG FOOD. She linked to two other blog posts about people who have started giving their dogs homemade dog food instead of store bought stuff. Since I recently blogged about cat food, I thought I'd pass on these links.

Blaine Staat wrote a post about the reasons why he started to make the dog food for his dogs. He writes:
I was talking to a veterinarian some months back and I told him that I was now feeding my dogs mostly leftovers and table scraps. He immediately started to chastise me. "Oh, you shouldn’t do that," he said, "you need to get them on a good, quality dog food; table scraps aren’t good for them."

"So what you’re telling me," I said, "is that the food I feed my family is good enough for my wife and children, but it’s not good enough for my dogs?" That completely caught him off guard, and as he sat there open mouthed trying to think of something to say, I posed another riddle to him.

"Let me ask you a question," I said. "If scientists developed the perfect 'people food' that was nutritionally perfect in every way, and maybe even tasted good too, would you eat that food 3 times a day – every day – for the rest of your life?"

You should have seen the look on his face as he struggled to come up with a reply. He couldn’t say "yes" because he knew that would have been a blatant lie, however, he couldn’t say "no" either because it would have proved my point for me.

(read the entire post)

I definitely see his point, though I have been told by people Smarter Than Me that the reason you shouldn't feed your dog table scraps is because it's too rich for them (the meat, and the spices we use in our meat). I also have been told that one of the reasons why vets discourage homemade dog food is because a lot of people don't have the wherewithal to research the correct foods for a dog, and therefore it's better in the long run for the dog to eat manufactured dog food in those instances.

One other comment about that particular blog post was his insistence that dog food smells and tastes bad to us, so we shouldn't feed it to our dogs. That may be partly true, but I don't think you can draw a straight line there. If dog food tastes bad, someone should have told my dogs because they were always SO! EXCITED! at mealtime. Also, they thought that litter box findings were the best treats - we had a lot of trouble with that! But I think the issues he raised in his post are worth thinking about, so I'd encourage you to read it in its entirety.

In response, Emily at Walking in Faith wrote a post about homemade dog food, and more specifically the raw meat diet. Her entire post is good; here is an excerpt:
In the wild, our dog's ancestors ate RAW meat. I know, many of you are probably cringing at the thought. I did too for a while at first. But then again, dogs eat lots of things that would make you and me very sick but they do fine with. You know, 'treats' from the kitty litter box and frozen 'poopsicles' from the yard and etc. *gag* ;) When meat is cooked, vital nutrients are destroyed. Also, you really do want to include the bones in your dog's diet.

(read the entire post)

I thought her post was really good - it talked specifically about the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet and what types of food were good for dogs. (They really need to come up with a new acronym for that diet!) She also included some helpful links. I don't have a dog right now, but I thought it might be good for me to research homemade cat food, and see if it's a better alternative than the food I've been buying for them.

What do you think? What do you feed your dog?

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