Charlotte Peltz Living with Your Dog "Yuck!" brought to you by Joy Beckner Artist/ Bronze Sculptor

Living with Your Dog


by Charlotte Peltz

"She won't eat it!" And "it" could be anything from a piece of steak to a raw bone, to a switch in kibble brands, to a treat offered for training lessons. Why would an otherwise sane-appearing dog refuse a bone or a piece of steak?

Scientific studies as stated in Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, by Steven R. Lindsay, indicate that dogs are influenced by what they are accustomed to eating and if raised on kibble, for example, may well refuse "real," fresh, food that is more normal for canines to eat. There are even studies that clearly indicate that dogs are influenced by what their mothers ate before they were born. This applies to other animals, as well, including rats and human babies!

Certainly, in a purely anecdotal format, I can say that I encountered that problem when I made the switch from commercial foods to a natural, raw diet for my dogs. Two of my dogs made the switch with the attitude of -- "You finally got it right!" while my third dog made it clear -- "Whatever this is in my bowl it clearly is NOT food!" It took some convincing. Also, I frequently encounter this problem in training sessions. Dogs will not -- NOT -- accept a treat. Yes, stress is a major issue, but often it has to do with not being familiar with anything besides pieces of kibble. What a sad thing that is.

What does this mean for people who will only buy food that comes in little tiny pieces and all those pieces are presented in nice, clean, attractive bags sold in vet stores, and (please, no!) supermarkets?

For starters, it means that your dog is not the best judge of what he or she should be eating. It means that you, the custodian of your wonderful canine companion, really should become more educated about what goes into those wonderfully convenient packages and take that step beyond.

It means also, that any time that you switch foods you really must take time and do so gradually. Of course, if you switch between high quality foods, which offer human grade meats and minimums of grains, the risks of having a major case of diarrhea decrease. Just for the record, your choices of quality packaged foods available here (in San Miguel) are really and truly limited. Please! Do not take my word for it. Investigate it on the "net." If you cannot do that, possibly you have a friend who will do so for you. Your dog's well being, may well be at stake -- steak?

Final suggestions: any time you switch foods, do so over a minimum of seven to ten days. Never buy "kibble" in a supermarket. There simply are no quality foods available there. Learn how to read the labels of food in the "super" or available anywhere else. (See previous articles or call me.) Never feed cooked bones. And, while it may well seem contradictory, do seek that important line between fussy eating and dogs that know when garbage has been placed in their bowl!
[Please see Charlotte's Recommended Reading.]

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

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