Saturday, August 11, 2007

Just Because Puppy Likes It, Doesn't Mean It's Good

Husband and I were planning to feed our dog home cooked food even before the pet food recall. There seems to be a negative connotation with feeding your dog "people food". They say it's not good for the dog and you should feed your dog pet food to make sure s/he gets a balanced diet. I find this ironic because most people wouldn't eat what they feed their pets, and what could be in my food that's so bad for a dog (minus the obvious things like chocolate), but is ok for me?

It's no secret that what they put in pet food is not healthy by any means. Pet food, as I understand it, is made from the food that was not fit for human consumption. That means dead and rotting meat and moldy grains, all tied together with lots of soy, which dogs actually have trouble digesting. How is that better than a steak, brown rice, and broccoli?

Some might say it's too expensive to feed their dog home cooked food. Well I would argue that first, it's probably not much more expensive if you take into account that your dog will probably need less vet visits because s/he'll probably be a healthier dog. Also, it wouldn't be so bad if you shopped at costco. You can buy a huge bag of frozen chicken breasts for $12. Second, if you can't afford to feed your dog in such a way to keep him/her healthy, then you shouldn't own a dog, period. Would you have a baby and feed it rotten food with the argument that you couldn't afford better food?

I've heard people say that if the dog doesn't mind eating the food, then what's the problem? It's pretty common knowledge pet food companies spray dry kibble with fat to get the dog to want to eat it. If food looks appealing to a dog, they'll want to eat it. Even if it makes them feel sick later, they'll still eat it. A co-worker last week told me about his dog that reinforced this fact with me. My co-worker likes very spicy food, and his dog, of course, always wants some of what his owner is eating. So my co-worker started offering his dog jalapeno peppers when he ate them. The dog would happily gobble up the peppers, and pay for it later when his little booty was on fire after digesting those things. The next day my co-worker offered his dog the peppers again, and again the dog happily ate them up, forgetting his discomfort from the day before. The dog wouldn't associate the food with what was causing him pain hours later. So just because a dog likes his kibble doesn't mean it's good for him.

I'll still need to do some research into doggy diets, proportions, recipes, that kind of thing. I'll post when I find out more.


Bruce Code said...

Hi, I can't speak for all dog food manufacturers, I can only speak for Uncle Ben's/Masterfoods/Mars here in Australia.
My wife and I have both worked for them - my wife was a food technician and made new recipes.
The food that come out of the Masterfoods factory is human grade - and has to be by law.
Having seen what goes into the dog food, and having also eaten some of it myself, I can state that many dogs eat better than we do! It is only the low end dog foods which I think are unappealing, not because of the quality or condition of the ingredients, but rather because of what I like. I prefer meat to be meat rather than grains.

JuLo said...

You make an excellent point. There are definitely dog food manufacturers that have "human grade" food. That's absolutely an option, if you are willing to spend the money. I should do a cost compare between human grade pet food and home cooked food.

I think I just gravitate toward home cooked food because I can better control proportions of the different food groups. Husband's dad has fed his dog home cooked food for years and his dog is so beautiful and healthy, I think I just want to mimic that. And yes, my dog will most likely be better fed than me, and I'm ok with that. :)