For as long as I can remember, I was always pestering my parents to get a dog. I was always hearing stories about Sadie, the family’s former Cocker Spaniel. It killed me that my brother and sister got to experience the joy of having a dog in the house, even if only for a few years, and I didn’t. I dreamed of visiting a pet store (or any place that could give me a puppy) and picking “the one” from the litter or coming into the living room on Christmas morning to find a puppy (complete with bow) waiting underneath the tree. I don’t know, maybe I have television and movies to thank for these dreams. Even though it seemed to take forever, I’ll never forget the day my parents told us there would be a new addition to the family. After reassuring my older siblings that no, it would not be another baby, they promised us a Golden Retriever puppy from my dad’s boss. 10 years later, we’ve welcomed three great pups into our home.
I guess you could say the whole “don’t feed the dog from the table” thing doesn’t exactly apply to our family. We’ve always said that any people food should be given to the dog in the kitchen and away from the table so that he/she wouldn’t beg. (Like that ever works.) I’m sorry, but whenever I see the puppy dogface staring at me, hear a heavy sigh fueled by a hope for a taste of whatever I’m eating or feel a chin resting on my lap ready to catch any crumb that misses my mouth, I can’t help it. I cave. I know everyone in my family got used to saving a couple of bites during dinner for every dog we’ve had, and I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of slipping a piece under the table a time or two. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
We always wanted Toby, our first dog, and Bridgette, my grandpa’s miniature poodle he gave to me when he moved to Hawaii, to have the best food. I think the sudden and tragic death of Toby taught the family to be more sparing with the table scraps. (To be clear, Bridgette’s no longer with us, but that’s a whole other story too painful to recall.) I think it’s fare to say that when we got our current dog Tucker (yes another Golden), his human food consumption and amount of exercise received much more attention, as did the ingredients in his food. I mean if I’m worried about what’s going into my mouth, it’s only natural to be thinking about the same for the animal I love. Right? Okay, call me obsessed, call me a crazy dog person, I just have a soft spot for animals. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.
In fact, I’m not the only one showing interest in the food my family’s dog is eating. I stumbled upon a post on Twitter by Petango arguing the benefits of premium pet food. Though more expensive, they offer pets quality products instead of by-products (I don’t even want to imagine what those would be), a good source of necessary vitamins and minerals, organic ingredients and premium protein sources. Sounds great to me! Who doesn’t want that for their pet?
Still, I can’t help but consider the possibility that different dogs (or whatever animal) react differently to pet foods and the ingredients they’re eating.
As I was messing around on Facebook I came across a post one of my sister’s friends left on her wall. Before I continue, let me just stop you by saying, no, I was not creeping. I actually visited her page to leave a comment myself, but decided to get in touch with her another way. Anyways, her friend asked her how much she knows about dogs. Apparently his has such dry skin that he’s chewed a bunch of his fur off of one of his legs. Poor thing! The only recommendation my sister had was trying a new type of dog food.
While her friend, and I guess his vet, don’t know what the problem is, it reminded me of a similar story my friend told me about her aunt’s dog. She kept getting a hive-like rash all over her stomach. After several trips to the vet, they learned the food they were giving her had too much protein and her body had developed a type of an allergic reaction. Now they have to get her a low-protein premium dog food. Sound tricky? Well, it’s out there!
Earlier this year, my family started to see a sudden change of behavior in our dog Tucker. Instead of his rambunctious, energetic self, he seemed sluggish and depressed. Constant thirst and hours spent guzzling water left him with excessive urination and a couple accidents at night. (Not okay for an 11-month-old puppy.) We knew something was wrong, especially when he wouldn’t eat his food. This was a complete turnaround from the pup that empties his bowl before you have a chance to put the lid back on the food container. Originally thinking he didn’t care for the flavor of dog food, we switched it up and tried everything from sweet potato to lamb. Several exams and blood tests later, we were relieved to hear it wasn’t related to any type of medical condition, but were surprised to find out that the brand of food was to blame. It’s no wonder the little guy didn’t want to eat it! It took some time, and a completely different kind of food, but he made a full recovery. I’m happy to say that he’s back to being the same crazy, playful, cuddly fur ball you can’t help but love!
Here’s the little guy at Greenhill Humane Society’s Bark in the Park. Mom and him came down last weekend to participate in the big event.
He was a little overwhelmed at first, but look at the handsome fella. I’d say he had some fun!