Would you eat one of your dog’s treats? Would you taste his evening meal? That’s exactly what people do at Bucce’s Dog Bakery in NYC. If the treats taste good to the human testers, then they are good enough for our beloved dogs to eat. Americans spent close to 50 billion dollars on pet treats last year. I am reminded that my sister, Judy Morgan DVM, was not the least alarmed when her son Andrew, age 8, wanted to taste my corgi’s canned chicken stew dinner. He said, “That’s not bad.” It was a high quality food, so why not give it a taste?
There was a time when, like so many of us, I was feeding my corgis one of the so-called prescription diet type foods. It never smelled good, and the texture was slimey at best. I realized in a dissection lab a few years later that the meat in that prescription can was fairly similar to the preserved muscle I was studying. After that, I vowed never to feed my dogs something that looked “dead” or that smelled unappetizing. This is no surprise–the pet food industry caters to what humans think is delicious or appealing, knowing that pet owners will purchase what they’d like to eat. Of course, many a pet parent still proudly says, “He never gets table scraps or human food.” What? If I’m eating a meal of whole foods and organic meats, it would be great to share it with the dog. Ice cream, cake, fatty snack foods and the like, on the other, should not be shared with pets, and eaten only sparingly by humans.
So when buying food products for your dog, ask yourself “Would I eat this?” I’m a vegetarian, but my corgi eats turkey that looks and smells like turkey, and though it might not be a meal for me, I would taste it in a pinch. The same is true for his treats. So if I am what I eat, and I eat my dog’s food, will I turn into a dog? !?
To find out more about healthy food choices for your pets, see www.drjudymorgan.com and her books of pet recipes (What’s for Dinner Dexter?, Canine Kitchen Capers) and information on food therapy (Needles to Natural). Trystan approves of the foods she’s recommended for him!