Foods your dogs love.
Pet Sitter’s Diary: Unusual Dog Food and Treats
We pet sit and board some very lucky and beloved dogs around South Miami. Why are they so lucky? Our clients are investing in and serving really interesting dog food choices lately. They’re taking their pets’ health as seriously as their own, either going raw or supplementing their dogs’ diets with fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, and other goodies. First up, raw diets:
The Raw Diet:
Human-grade raw food for dogs seems to be growing in popularity, according to the New York Times and PetFoodIndustry.com. We currently board two dogs that eat raw diets exclusively. One is Skylar, Labrador puppy who dines on yummy raw tripe and chicken regularly- complete with bones, cartilage, and other yummy enzymes and important minerals. Her mother drives from Miami to West Palm Beach to pick up this specialty food, and buys raw bones for her baby from her local Publix or Whole Foods. Her monthly food cost? A mere $30 a month, plus an initial investment of $140 for a dedicated freezer for the food. Vicky, owner of My Dog grooming services in Pinecrest, feeds her four-member pack raw food for about $120 a month. Compare with our four-member pack: we spend an average of around $210 a month on Acana Pacifica (an excellent, if pricey, brand), and our dogs’ teeth need a little work. The dogs that live on raw food typically have pearly whites, and their stool is very different.
Watch out for: A surprising risk associated with raw diets is not simply bacteria, although it goes without saying that one must be incredibly careful with handling raw food, and one should buy from a reputable source. The greater risk is a lack of nutritional balance when pet parents feed dogs only muscle meat. According to Dr. Karen Becker, carnivores in the wild eat the whole animal, which provides valuable, balanced nutrients. “To mimic the gut contents of prey animals, I recommend adding a mixture of pureed vegetables and probiotics to your dog’s or cat’s meals. This mixture provides highly beneficial antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins and phytonutrients not found in muscle meats,” says Dr. Becker. Of course, speaking with your veterinarian is important whenever you switch over to a new food.
“People” Food for Dogs:
Apples are wonderful treats for your dogs. They love the crunch and their bodies benefit from the phytonutrients in the skin; antioxidants like vitamin A and C. Vitamin C is excellent for dog joint pain. Our friends Winston and Dylan regularly eat apples with their meals.
Watch out for: Apple seeds and core. Apple seeds contain cyanide, which are poisonous. A couple won’t hurt, but the poison accumulates over time if dogs are fed apples regularly. It’s important to just cut the core out. Just as important is buying organic, pesticide-free apples, unless you’re peeling them.
Our friend Cane (yes, named after the University of Miami’s Hurricanes!) loves his green beans. This cutey-pie is on a diet, and his parents use canned green beans as a low-calorie way to keep him full and trim. The green beans are a great source of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese.
Watch out for: If you buy canned green beans, buy without sodium, which is terrible for dogs. Salt can cause excessive thirst, excessive urination, and lead to sodium ion poisoning.
Dylan and Winston, our Golden Retrievers pals with a penchant for apples, also get watermelon treats. They’re a low-calorie treat, great for delivering fluids, and wonderful in the summer if served cold!
Watch out for: Seeds, stems, and leaves can cause your dogs serious problems. Make sure you buy seedless watermelons, and avoid melon rinds in general.