Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Appropriate food for dogs
Penny received a lovely treat on Sunday from Bernie and Pat, who visited us. Bernie came with a packet of yummy treats she'd bought in Hampton at a shop called 'year of the dog.' I liked the fact that the biscuits were made from human-grade ingredients and contained no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
I'm not sure that Penny was impressed that I made her work for her treats, by asking her to 'say your prayers' or that Bernie used the bow from the gift-wrapping to give Penny a hair make-over, but I guess it's just a dog's life.
When I read about the chemicals that go into modern dog-foods I wonder how canine systems can cope with these unnatural foods. Of course, the same could be said for modern human diets, but at least adult humans have a choice about what they eat.
On the other hand, Penny maintains a certain level of choice in her diet, too. There was the flattened rat mummy she scoffed in the street when she was a few weeks old. I did manage to wrestle most of it from her mouth, but she got some of it down.
Over the last couple of years I've demanded she give up deliciously smelly dog-poo, dead birds, cooked beef-bones, sliced ham, and,in my opinion, the worst of all - cooked chicken. She's generally faster than we are at spotting discarded chicken take-away in the gutters and parks, I have to admit. And, disappointingly, we haven't had what I could call success with the command 'give!' when it involves food in the street. It's one of my most un-favorite things to stand in the middle of the shopping-centre squabbling with my dog over garbage.
So far she hasn't suffered any ill effects but it's pretty stressful for her human family each time we realise she's eaten chicken bones.
There's an interesting article at this site, about dogs who steal cooked chicken leftovers. The general advice is that there's no use panicking if the dog has eaten cooked chicken bones - but careful monitoring over the next few hours and days is vital.There's quite a list of comments added by people whose dogs have had this experience.
Many people recommend feeding RAW bones to dogs and Penny has many raw bones. I realise there is always a possibility with any food of problems arising, but the work of Dr Ian Billinghurst and others has convinced me that the benefit of raw bones outweighs the possible drawbacks.