Charlotte Peltz Living with Your Dog "She's Always Hungry" brought to you by Joy Beckner Artist/ Bronze Sculptor

Living with Your Dog

She's Always Hungry!!!

By Charlotte Peltz

Sitting there was Misty. Misty's person was very concerned about the almost frantic activities that she exhibited even right after meals. A "rib check" on Misty made it very, very clear that Misty was not short-rationed when it came to mealtime but still there was the evident behavior that had Mr. Carabunch asking for help.

Canines have evolved as hunters and scavengers and those members of the canine family closest to us have been more successful as scavengers. Just check around town and get proof of that! The feral canines are NOT out there forming hunting parties. They are slinking around every food stand, butcher shop, and unattended garbage bag seeking an easy meal. Either way it has been a world of feast or famine which means that our loving canine buddies come with a genetic program that dictates, to many of them, to eat when the eatin's good because it could be a long time between meals. It matters not that meals appear at 8 A.M. and 6 P.M. for our own buddies. Genes do not know about clocks.

Not very long ago I would have suggested that Misty's problem was purely one of genetic predisposition to eating whenever possible and simply ignore the shenanigans! After all, Misty was a long way from death's door as a result of starvation.

Or was she!

Misty is one of millions of dogs being fed a totally grain-based diet which is loaded with carbohydrates and that is not a natural food for dogs. While her ribs are hard to find under the layer of fat she is, indeed, a hungry dog. Hungry for real food.

Many people ask why dogs eat grass or garden plants and while there are certainly no definitive answers based on scientific studies* a logical approach is that they eat those things because in the course of routine living those items embellish their diet. Wild canines eat anything they can get their teeth into when they are hungry and that includes berries, greens, fallen fruit, fish, insects, etc. These things are available and have nutritive values. They eat feces for the very same reason; there is nutrition in those bodily discards and vale la pena! Do keep this in mind any time you want to think that dogs are people in little fur jackets. We do not routinely eat feces; dogs do!

While dogs are entrepreneurial their needs clearly lean in the direction of meat and bones, not grains! If you have any doubts just check out their teeth, compare them to yours, a cow's or horse's and try to convince me they should eat grains! (Cats, incidentally, are true carnivores and should never be fed any commercial dry food.) Time and again caring, loving people take the time to cook rice to add to their dogs' food. And, they are adding grain to a grain filled food. (The dogs love it, incidentally, because it is so much more "real" than what comes in the package of their processed dog food!) How much better it would be to give their dogs some real bones (always RAW), food-processed (or steamed) leafy green vegetables**, eggs (yes, raw!), and even slices of fresh fruit as a treat.

There are many resources to back up the message I bring but your vet is not likely to be one of those resources. Vets learn about nutrition from dog food companies. Dog food pays the bills. But, there are many vets walking a very different road these days and what they have to say influenced Mr. Carabunch and now, Misty is a happy camper indeed. Taken off of a commercial product and given what is known as "biologically appropriate raw food" (BARF!) she rests after eating. Doggie siesta time, oh yeah! Misty's nutritional needs are being met.

*The money available for nutritional research comes from dog food companies. They are not about to research anything that would bring a cloud over their lucrative business.

**Dogs cannot break-down the cellulose in vegetables so therefore the presentation of vegetables should mimic what is found in the gut of an animal they might kill. Food processors do a commendable job of meeting this goal. With fruits the best would be the overripe fallen fruits, especially when starting any diet change. Many dogs, not unlike their human companions, resist any change so it is best to approach change slowly.

For more information about a nutritional improvement over commercial processed food check the library and read Dr. Ian Billinghurst's (an Australian vet) book, Give Your Dog a Bone. Check there soon for the book Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats, The Ultimate Diet by Kymythy R. Schultze, a nutritionist. And, for more information on this very important subject, check the internet for information on raw diets for pets for some suggestions. Any diet change may cause intestinal upsets; that is true when one switches from one commercial food to another. Digestive enzymes truly aid in this transition but often all one needs to do is make a gradual change as is always recommended when changing from one commercial food to another.

"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things man will not himself find peace." Albert Schweitzer.

"One can measure the size and moral progress of a nation to how she treats her animals." Mahatma Gandhi.

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