My person, Laura, asked me to write a guest blog post for today because she got busy with other stuff. Which like I told her, is totally cheating, since I was there when she wrote that bit about her seven-day writing challenge. People are way too busy, if you ask me. They miss out on so many of the important things in life, like lying in the sun, playing in the snow (if we ever get any again), and spending quality time with their pack members. But I digress.
You might be wondering who I am. You might also be wondering why my opinion matters.
My name is Nikita, and I am a 14-year-old female Siberian Husky. Which, if you know anything about dogs, is just about the smartest kind of dog there is. I am also beautiful, charismatic and a natural-born leader. In my youth I loved nothing better than to run and pull whatever I could, bikes, sleds, people on skis, carts, whatever. You wouldn’t believe how strong I was, I could pull as much as dogs twice my size (I’m a bit on the petite side).
While I must concede that my people are the pack leaders overall, I am the undisputed alpha of all dogs. So that, in a nutshell, is why my opinion matters. I make sure to protect and provide guidance to all of my pack. Especially my current pack mate, Dante, who, let’s just say, isn’t quite as intelligent as I am. Poor guy, he’s sweet but really needs some looking after. Since it’s in my nature, and I’ve finally mastered the hunt and paw method of typing as well has how to use the spell checker function, I would like to share some of my sage advice with dog people everywhere.
What I want to say today is, well, lets just say, its OK for us to eat something that’s been on your plate.
Really, folks, in recent generations there’s been this crazy idea that dogs will be malnourished if they partake of leftovers from their people’s meals on a regular basis. I’m guessing that the idea started as a marketing campaign by a very profitable dog food industry but the end result is that people feel they really need to make sure we never, ever get that tasty tidbit of pork chop or burger that you’re too stuffed to eat. It’s madness, and a waste of perfectly good food that often ends up in the garbage. Even more scary, irresponsible pet food makers are letting our food get contaminated, especially that cat poo from China (I say that because I can’t think of anything more disgusting than eating cat poo, although Dante assures me its pretty good). Talk about food that can make you sick! Check out this recent link about some tainted products that finally got pulled from the shelves….what took them so long! Then there’s all that hoopla a few years ago about pet food tainted with melamine.
Dog food options range from cheap kibble that’s bad for us to ridiculously expensive healthy stuff that costs more than human food. But what confuses me, is why do humans think that separate dog food is necessary at all? Why can’t we eat your leftovers? Or, dare I ask, share your meal? While its true that dogs need way more meat than humans, and some things you eat are poison to dogs, we generally like and thrive on lot of the same foods. We both want the same thing: roast chicken, pork chop, a hamburger, some thanksgiving turkey, your leftover oatmeal. Yum!
Here’s what you need to remember. Wolves became dogs by hanging around people’s villages, and eating what they ate. So you see, its in our nature to want the food off of your plate. Now, if you are a fat slob and eat really bad food, then yeah, it isn’t going to be good for us either. Truth is, you should be eating less meat and we should be eating less corn in our food. How about you give me half of your steak, and you give yourself an extra helping of salad? Wouldn’t we all be healthier? There are folks out there who feel that dogs should be fed almost exclusively whole prey, raw, just like the wolves we descended from. I’ve got no problem with that personally. But if you’re feeling squeamish about raw meat (I understand, human stomachs can’t handle that so you worry about it making us sick too), just throw an extra burger or two on the grill. I prefer mine cooked rare.
There’s a reason why this topic is important to me, besides the obvious reason that it tastes better. Over the summer, I was having such bad tummy troubles that I finally refused to eat. I’m getting older, you see, and my immune system is not what it used to be. I kept picking up this nasty bug, giardia. Even after taking medicine for that, I felt terrible all the time and didn’t think I was ever going to feel better again. My person was so worried, she tried a lot of types of food before finding something that worked. Now, she cooks a big pot of what she calls “dog stew” each week. It has some rice, oatmeal, and a bunch of different meats in it, but mostly chicken. She puts in some digestive enzymes with probiotics, as well as something called “Missing Link”, right before she feeds us every day. And now my tummy feels great! My appetite has never been better. And, she no longer worries about letting us eat scraps off of the table. If it is good enough to feed her human pack members, and something healthy for a dog to eat, she gives it to us. She says she isn’t really spending more that way than if she were buying premium dog food, and with a little trial and error she’s been able to figure out how much food we need to stay at a healthy weight (I know when to stop, but Dante would eat all day long if we let him!)
So what I’m trying to say is, it isn’t really all that hard to feed us non human pack members healthy homemade food. If you are pretty good at making reasonably healthy food for yourself, you’re probably going to be able to figure it out for us too. So don’t worry, go ahead and cut your steak in half. Especially if you like it cooked rare.
YOUR dog will be so happy you read this! Then they will all know that, of course, I am the best candidate for Alpha of the Pack.