• Myrna Shiboleth

Food, Glorious Food!!!!

A Dog's Opinion of Nutrition

When I started breeding dogs, many, many years ago, there was not a great choice of foods for them. At the time, in Israel there were one or two locally produced kibbles (and the ingredients were primarily the leftovers from other industries) and one or two better quality imported kibbles, which were quite expensive. There was also a product called Tarkizan, which was some kind of powder, presumably meat powder, which was supposed to be mixed with bread and water to provide proper nutrition for dogs.

The alternative was making up your own food, which we often did, using old bread that we got from the bakery nearby, milk powder, meat powder, tripe and paunch, and whatever else that was available at the time. We went to the market on late Friday afternoon when it was closing for the sabbath, and collected wonderful meat bones from the trash. The dogs ate what they were given and seemed to do all right, they were in good condition and were active and healthy.

Of course, back then, we knew much, much less about good nutrition, both for our dogs and for ourselves.

Our various breeds of dog all have pretty much the same nutritional needs. They need their proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and so on, and we know, after years of research in the subject, just what the correct proportions should be. We know that puppies have special needs, as do working dogs, pregnant bitches, show dogs....but basically they all need the pretty much the same things.

This is true of us humans also, our nutritionists know very well what our nutritional needs are to stay healthy. Although we often don't follow their recommendations...

But this does not account for one very important point – taste and individual preferences!

I have several breeds, and each one relates to food differently, and individuals relate differently than the others of their breed.

My collies are not food crazy, they are not dogs that count the minutes until meal time, but they like to eat, and are not very particular. They will eat pretty much anything that I give them, have no problem if we have to change from one kibble to another, and are very happy to get treats. But the treats have to be “normal” treats – commercial dog treats are the best, but sausage or cheese are fine, and they love leftover bread. But “strange” things like vegetables or fruits for them can not be considered something they want to put in their mouths. A few of my collies have tried tasting fruits or vegetables after seeing me eat them, and have not been at all impressed.

The Canaans are not at all food oriented. They eat because they are hungry and because their bodies need food, but they can very well go for days eating little or nothing if they are not in the mood to eat or the food is not something they like in particular. One of the characteristics that has helped to ensure their survival is their caution about eating – they are very suspicious of any food they don't recognize. I had one Canaan that went to a new home at the age of about ten months, and he ate nothing for over a week – he didn't recognize the food and didn't know the people offering it to him. I had to go and feed him the food from my hand so he could see that it was safe and that I approved.

My heart dog Habibi, a house dog all his life, who went everywhere with me and had experience with everything, if I gave him something as a treat that he was not familiar with, even as innocuous as a piece of cheese, would gently take it from my hand, carry it into the next room, put it down, examine it very carefully, and then decide if it was edible.

The little podengos are food maniacs; the high point of their day is meal time, and when they see that I am preparing the food, they dance and yodel and demonstrate that if it is one more minute before they get it, they will certainly die! They are willing to try many things, but are also not in particular interested in fruits and vegetables, but other table food for them is a great treat. They have a tendency to get fat easily, so I have to be careful with what I give them, despite their insistence that it is not enough.

The Italian Braccos love food, love to eat, but like true Italians, they much prefer good Italian cooking to simple kibble. They adore vegetables, in particular tomatos, peppers, and cabbage, but are ready to eat just about anything that comes off the dining table, including onions, garlic, and mustard. They may be sleeping soundly after a very active play session, but the aroma of food will resurrect them immediately. They will watch every bite, waiting for their share, and lick their well endowed lips in anticipation and afterwards in appreciation.

Fortunately, our modern life style gives us the possibility, first of all to understand what the nutritional needs of our dogs are, and then to be able to choose the right food for them. Not every dog needs to eat the same thing, we can these days choose what will keep our dog happy and healthy. We can make up a diet that is geared to a specific dog and his specific needs to keep him in optimal condition.

Take a look at the products on this page – specially formulated portions that are calculated just for your dog, what he likes and what he needs for his own personal optimal condition.

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