real food

Feeding your dog

A healthy dinner for both Elsa and I; although the orange would have to be snuck in somewhere for her. 

What did you have for dinner last night?  I had an organic romaine heart salad with organic quinoa, pecans, beet and cabbage sauerkraut, organic black beans, with dressing.  To drink I had water with cranberry juice.  I pretty much eat salad every night.  I feel really great eating at least one salad a day; plus it's super easy to make.

What did your dog eat for dinner last night?  Elsa had grass fed beef, wild caught salmon with bone and skin, organic quinoa, organic greens, chia seeds and cranberry juice.  Right now I have a turkey meatloaf for her in the oven that will be packaged up and put in the freezer for later.  For breakfast this morning she had wilted organic romaine, eggs over easy, egg shell, organic quinoa, hemp seeds and cranberry juice.  Earlier this morning she shared my peanut butter Perfect Bar in bed before 6:00am.  We eat well.

Nutrition is such an important part of feeling good.  Sure you can exist on over processed, dried and packaged food but you will not feel optimally healthy.  If you've only ever eaten a diet of processed food then you won't even know what you're missing as far as feeling great.  Same goes for your dog. 

Yes, dogs can exist and be sustained on a diet of over processed garbage, like Pedigree or Beneful but will they thrive?  Nope.  There are lots of folks out there that will say "my dog is so healthy," when questioned about what they feed.  If it is a poor quality dry dog food then your dog could be much healthier.  

There is such a range of food available for canine guardians to feed their dogs.  If price is the first thing you look at, you need to do some homework.  Just because you can feed your dog for penny's a day does not mean that you should.  No, you do not need to spend a fortune on food to feed a better diet.  When you buy better food, the amount needed is typically less.  Many dogs eat too much food that contains too little nutrients. 

Think of a wolf when considering what to feed your dog.  How much actual real meat is in their food?  How much nutrients are accessible for their body to utilize?  Elsa and I often eat a very similar dinner albeit different rations.  She is heavy on the meat where mine will be heavy on the veggies.  We need to think about food as fuel for the body; both for us and for our dog.  When I take Elsa out for a run; I consider what her powerhouse of a body needs to run.  She is a high energy dog in peak condition.  Much thought goes into what she eats so that she feel as great as she looks.  

Feeding real food makes sense; eating real food makes sense.  The more processing a food goes through the less nutrition is left at the end of it all.  Does your food resemble real food?  How about your dogs?


Cupcakes for dogs, you bet I tasted them. 

The nice woman handed Elsa a treat from behind the counter which she very promptly spit out, blah!!!  I said "oh she just needs to check it out first."  Elsa reached down and had a sniff at the item she had seen cause to remove quickly from her mouth.  She looked at me as if to say "you expect me to eat that?"  I laughed inside while handing the once bitten and spit out bakery item to the woman.  "Sorry, she's not eating it," I explained.  "Oh, let's try this" she said handing Elsa a freeze dried piece of liver.  I had no doubt that she would gobble that down, and she did.

As a longtime baker of human baked goods and foodie; I love good tasting food.  This love of food flavor has seeped into my dog's bowls.  I make dog cookies and my dog cookies have to taste good.  Yes, I eat taste them and they have to be good.  So many times I open a box of dog cookies and shudder at the smell.  "Does anyone ever taste these things?" I often ask myself and the dogs.  Even fancy "dog bakery" items may look very fancy and adorable but if they don't taste good, a dog may not eat them.    

Some dogs will eat anything, true.  But, from personal experience, the more they are offered a varied diet; the more fine tuned a dog's pallet becomes, like our own.  If a dog is only offered one type of food throughout their life; then yes, they will be stunted as far as food experience.   I'm sure that much of the dog food out there does not taste great so if they are offered an alternate food at some point; then most would likely gobble it down.  But, if a dog is offered a wide variety of foods so that they develop a preference for one item over another; then they can begin to differentiate between what they will eat, like to eat, eat if nothing else is available or not eat at all.

Luke optimized fussy; never have we ever had a dog like him.  I don't know how many times we would say "what dog turns down meat?"  Luke, that's who.  Luke knew what he liked; but it went further than that for him.  Luke knew when and where he liked to eat particular foods; he was a fussy guy in general which added a tad of craziness to his food fussiness.  If you tried to offer him what he would classify as a "nighttime snack" in the afternoon, well... he just had to leave the scene.  It still makes me smile. 

Most dogs like food.  That said, if they have never been offered a variety of food items then they will not have expanded their food pallet. Most dogs like this just wolf back and don't think about taste.  Sort of the opposite of those humans who are fussy as far as food.  They don't like "different" food because they don't know different tastes.  Although dogs who have not been given the opportunity to expand their food experience, they may seem to like anything.  Many dogs who eat cardboard like kibble may gobble anything that resembles real food compared to their dry option in the bowl each day.  

Each and every one of my dogs have had different likes and dislikes.  Jessie liked just about everything except citrus; she was a very typical Jack Russell in that she LOVED food.  Tilley liked most everything except for fruit, eggs and fish.  She would eat eggs and fish but did not prefer them.   Luke, well, it was always hit and miss with Mr. Fussy pants but he almost always loved beef, liver and anything with a very strong meaty taste.  Although as many of you know he loved butter, chips and smoked turkey cold meat (nitrate free).  :)  

Now as far as Elsa is concerned, she likes good food.  She has changed over the years and the more variety she is offered the finer tuned her pallet has become.  It is very easy to see what she likes and doesn't.  She loves fish, the fishier the better, YUCK.  She loves sardines and smelt.  There have been very few things that she has turned her nose up.  The occasional almond can be seen lying on the floor beside her bed, she is not a fan. Luke loved almonds so I tend to forget that Elsa doesn't like them until I see it on the ground.   She will not eat fruit unless it is smuggled into something that she does like; which is fortunately quite easy to do with her.  She is not a fan of raw meat but is learning to like it if it is flash seared.  I have recently discovered that she ADORES feta, the girl has taste.   

It always amazes me what we expect our dogs to eat.  Delicious is always better than simply edible.  Yep, even for our dogs.