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Announcing new miracle meals! June 28, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, pets, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Sheesh, when I saw this headline in my inbox, I thought it must be an e-mail from RealAge about how I could eat whatsit and live to be a thousand. But no, turns out it was from Duncraft, purveyors of birdseed and bird-related products like feeders and birdbaths. Duncraft was in fact announcing a new line of actual high-protein, balanced meals (think cornmeal, not dinner, they’re referring to texture) specially designed for nestlings.

Just yesterday, I got another shock in the “meals” line. As our friend Ben noted in a previous post, I’d dashed into a local grocery to snag some fresh mozzarella for a marvelous Caprese salad (while he and our puppy Shiloh stayed in the air-conditioned car listening to the latest sports updates on the radio). I was heading back towards checkout with the mozzarella when I saw a refrigerated case that was completely different from anything I’d ever seen in a grocery store before. It was devoted to fresh foods for dogs, packs of meatballs and sausage-like rolls. Grabbing a brochure, I read that the fresh foods were made from chicken, turkey, or beef, plus liver, peas, carrots, brown rice, and a bunch of vitamins and minerals, all lightly cooked to perfection without ruining their nutritional value.

No, I didn’t buy any—I barely had enough money for the mozzarella, and Shiloh has plenty of premium dry food at home—but I’ll admit I was awed. Our friends Delilah and Chaz cook up their own dog food for their beloved Boston terrier Duke, aka Dukie Macdonald, but this is the closest I’ve ever seen to what they make for him, and there it is, prepackaged and ready to go. A “miracle meal” indeed! Even more impressive, a miracle meal available from an ordinary grocery store.

I’ve long been aware of the raw-foods movement in pet foods, where advocates propose giving dogs and cats the equivalent of what they’d be eating in the wild, raw meat and some vegetables and grains (to make up the equivalent of prey animals’ stomach contents). But somehow, I’ve never been tempted. We humans started out eating raw foods, too, until we discovered that cooked foods tasted better and were easier to digest. Why not offer our hard-won advantages to our pets, as well? And if cooked food’s not worth eating, why the hell are we eating it?

But getting back to that refrigerated case of food for dogs—the brochure made the point that it’s not “dog food,” it’s “food for dogs”—does anyone out there cook for their dogs rather than feeding them “dog food”? And if so, what do you cook?

            ‘Til next time,




1. Daphne Gould - June 28, 2009

Sadly our dog passed away about a week ago, but I used to feed her dry dog food. She got our leftovers at times and she loved to eat my vegetable trimmings from the garden. Carrots and cabbage were her favorite. My parents who have three dogs do half and half. The “real food” they cook, usually some kind of meat mixed with vegetables.

I’m so sorry, Daphne! We lost our beloved golden retriever Molly in April and still miss her every day, even as we’re loving and enjoying our new puppy Shiloh. We’ve pretty much steered a middle course with our dogs, too: premium dry dog food supplemented with yogurt, cheese, fruits and veggies, and wholesome leftovers. Our Shiloh, who will end up being what they call an “oversize” German shepherd at something like 125 pounds, gets a chewy dried sweet potato slice with joint-strengthening supplements every day as well. But we don’t cook just for our dogs, either.

2. Joy - June 28, 2009

Hello there Silence .. I have known people to cook for their dogs .. funny, no one does it for cats that I know of.
I did see “life jackets” for dogs in Pet Smart the other day .. the same store that has and will have Halloween costumes for dogs .. what would Shiloh be do you think ? LOL
It strikes me that with so many people hungry in the world .. this seems extravagant ? .. we do buy premium dry and can food for the girls (we won’t get into the fact that Sophie is suppose to be on a diet and exercise program)
In any case .. I’m sure you get my point .. we are almost isolating ourselves in a very elite world, where we can feed our pets better food than we actually eat ourselves ? .. isn’t that strange ?

You’ve raised an important point here, Joy, and one that’s been much on my mind during our current economic recession. World history has repeatedly shown that people spoil their pets when times are good and pretty much starve or toss them when times are bad, a depressing thought to say the least. In good times, can we justify feeding high-end stuff to our pets while the indigent and elderly are resorting to cans of dog and cat food for their own meals? And in bad times, how can we justify abandoning the pets who have given us the greatest love and loyalty we’ll ever know? As always, moderation at all times seems the best policy.

Oops, I forgot to add that with Shiloh’s black coat and dignified demeanor, if she chose a Hallowe’en costume, she’d definitely choose to trick-or-treat as Count Dracula!

3. Carol, May Dreams Gardens - June 28, 2009

I agree with Joy, this is a strange world… some people would not think twice about going thru a drive-in thru at a fast food place to get junk to eat and then once they were home, would cook food for their dogs. I’m fine with it, to each his/her own, but for every dollar someone spends on “fresh food for dogs”, please send two dollars to the local food bank. There are people here who are starving, literally, and with the economy as it is, donations are down and these people have to give up their pets because they can’t even afford the old-fashioned dog food to feed them.

Excellent idea, Carol! Seeing people have to give up their own beloved pets to survive in hard times brings the concept of unfairness into high relief!

4. fairegarden - June 28, 2009

Hi Both, very interesting. In fact, our ice cream shop in Asheville, The Hop has ice cream for dogs made with soy milk and some other nutritional type doggie things, no sugar, etc. My daughter in law, Mrs. Brokenbeat, the sole maker of all the ice cream there hosts special events with the dogs welcome called Happy Tails. It is extremely popular.

I’m so glad, Frances! I once got a “puppy ice cream treat” at a local ice cream place for our Molly and you never saw such joy. I think it was an unsweetened vanilla ice cream cup. I’d get one for our Shiloh in a heartbeat! We’re still hoping to get back down to Asheville this year—our favorite vacation spot, the Log Cabin Motor Court, allows dogs—and if we do we’ll definitely take Shiloh to The Hop for an ice cream and introduce her!

5. Jen - June 29, 2009

Oh, I’ll have to tell Miss. B about the new doggie ice cream – she’ll be so excited! She usually gets premium canned stuff but I mix a bit of whatever I’m cooking into it. She loves rotisserie chicken, scrambled eggs, and roasted potatoes, but loves sugar snap peas the most. Can’t keep them on the vine around here! Rachel Ray used to include a recipe that both humans and dogs could eat in every issue of her mag. Never tried one, though.

Ha! That’s brilliant on Rachael Ray’s part, Jen! Though dogs could probably eat most human recipes, but that doesn’t mean they’d be good for them! Our Shiloh loves sugar snaps too; ditto cherry tomatoes, radishes, apple slices, and basically anything with some crunch. But she also loves eggs, bread, Shredded Wheat, cheese, yogurt and potatoes!

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