Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pet Food Peeve

Moments ago another dog food commercial came on noting with pride the inclusion of "carrots and peas". I have seen ingredients such as rice and wheat announced as if this is the greatest thing. Bowls that look as if they came from a 4-star restaurant are pile high with gleaming mounds of gravy coated beef surrounded by perfectly cut carrots and peas next to a bed of rice with each glistening grain exactly the same size, color and texture as the next.

My question is: when was the last time you had a problem keeping your dog out of the carrot patch? When does a wild dog devour a garden full of peas?

Dog food is sold to the taste of humans, not dogs. I know I'm not the first one to note that, but it bears repeating. When I watch dog food commercials I am reminded that my dogs eat their own vomit and will eat any rotten piece of flesh they can find. They will eat vegetables but only if they were first served up to humans. Why should I pay a fortune for the bliss of serving them a vegetable stew?

I base my selection of dog food on three things: the recommendation of the vet who first saw my dogs, any research (claimed or documented, I don't look into it that thoroughly) that the food is good for their coat and skin, and price. At a certain price point the dogs can have kibble from the dollar store. Anyway, I serve mine Pedigree, purchased usually from Sam's Club in the 50 pound bags. I have no idea what the ads say. I can't figure out when they are considered "older" or "mature" dogs, but as near as I can figure out, the youngest is 9 1/2 and the older one 11, which seems to be a decent age for a dog, so I probably will soon switch to the mature formula.

Anyway, I guess my point, if there is one, is that dogs should eat food that more closely resembles what they would eat naturally, though I would not serve them live squirrels, small birds, and generally yell at them if they attempt to ingest anything that was once inside their own bodies. However, kibble made with lots of meat protein and some greens (they do like to munch on grass, I call them my little cows) works for me. It semi-approximates their natural diet.

Now that I say that, I must confess that I don't use the same standard for myself, though I should. Unless I can find the Potassium Benzoate tree or the Acesulfame Potassium bush I should probably not drink the Diet Coke that has been keeping me up at night.

I gotta wonder how many nasty little chemicals are hidden in the food I eat.