Charlotte Peltz Living with Your Dog "Say What" brought to you by Joy Beckner Artist/ Bronze Sculptor
Living with Your Dog
By Charlotte Peltz
When I heard the comment, "Dogs need kibble!" the only thing I could think of was, "Say what?" How can someone really believe that? First off is the fact that dogs have been with us in recognizable form for many thousands of years. There is no agreement on just when dogs became "domesticated," but 35,000 years surfaces as a viable time in history. Kibble dates back about 50 years!!!!!!!! So -- please enlighten me on how these creatures became dependent on "kibble" for their survival?
Oh, yes. We do have Chihuahuas and Great Danes, (and all the wondrous other forms of canines) which clearly stretch the imagination when it comes to placing these animals in the same category as their ancestors, but - they are all dogs and furthermore, they are all wolves in varying forms -- or nearly so. By that, I mean that their DNA is almost identical and, for example, digestive systems haven't changed much during all those years. They have "short" systems and grain-digesting critters have "long" systems.
Grains as we know them are relatively new to our world. The tiny seeds formed on natural grasses that permit them to renew themselves for another trip in this world have little to do with what one sees in the grains that enter the digestive system of food animals. Big changes have happened in the formation of food production grains but little has happened to assist the digestive systems of animals that have to live with these products.
Back to kibble. "Kibble" is a generic term (in English it is kibble - in Spanish it is croqueta) which describes processed food based on a grain source. So -- how can it be that dogs have to have kibble for their survival? Clearly they don't! Do not expect a dog food manufacturer to agree with that statement.
But, oh the scary things that surface when people decide to avoid kibble and "do right" by their wonderful canine companions! For example, people cook up big pots of rice and feel very good about giving it to their dogs, and furthermore, they usually mix it with kibble! The last thing a dog needs is more grain in its diet. People hear that there are some of us who feed a raw diet to our dogs, but don't bother to learn just what that means, and what is involved in being certain that the "raw diet" is balanced and provides all the nutrition a dog requires. They throw their dog a chicken wing and then pile the bowl full of kibble and believe that they are on the right track. Sorry, but no way is that going to do much to improve the dog's health.
To justify what they are doing, I hear things like, "Oh, but MY dog wouldn't eat the raw vegetables, so I don't bother with that part of the diet." Well, THAT is a very important part of the diet, and those vegetables must be pulverized as would result from a trip through the food processor. At that point, I often hear, "That is too much trouble. I don't have time for all that extra work." To be sure, feeding a dog a raw diet is a lot more work than opening a bag of dog food and pouring it in a bowl. Whether or not one "goes raw," and does it well, is a matter of priorities.
Meanwhile, it is surely better for the dog if he is fed a top quality kibble than for him to be getting rice and chicken which is totally and completely unbalanced! For starters there is no calcium in that mixture, and the calcium/phosphorus balance is critical to good health. So -- if you feed a home-prepared diet, please learn what your dog needs to assure him good health, now and in the long haul. If you feed kibble, make it the best. But -- please, do not believe that dogs need kibble to survive -- it just isn't so.
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"One can measure the size and moral progress of a nation to how she treats her animals." Mahatma Gandhi.
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