Nutrition and convenience
When I see people load up a big bag of the lowest possible grade dog food opting for quantity instead of quality it makes me wonder what they themselves eat. In the old days dogs use to eat what the people ate, albeit in leftover form. If you had a dog then you prepared your meals thinking about the dog as well as the humans. Just like today there were people who fed strictly scraps and garbage to their dogs and there were owners who gave their dog a full portion of what they ate. Then came the days of the 'quick' everything. Carnation instant breakfast, frozen dinners, cake mixes etc. etc. With the surge of convenient foods being in the late 40s and early 50s, so too did the lack of nutrients filled diets.
Dog food was actually introduced in the mid 1800s but like anything else it took sometime to catch on. Once it started to grow in popularity they pushed the 'convenience' message for a rise in sales. Everything about eating became quick and easy. Of course there were some people who never ventured into the prepared dog food area and continued to feed their dogs just real food. Like anything as the popularity grew in dog food, other companies jumped on the bandwagon and the competition was on.
Most of us have never known another way of feeding dogs, to us dogs ate dog food. It came either out of a bag, can or cellophane wrapper. We fed our toy poodle Kennel-ration burger. I clearly remember pulling the little string that opened up the package in the middle so that you could conveniently feed only half a burger if you chose to do so. With a tiny toy poodle we fed him 1/2 burger a day. Was there any nutrition in those things at all? They no longer exist on the shelves today but there must have been enough of something in it to keep our dogs alive.
A great article on - The history of dog food
Then our dogs started getting sick, much of the cause was unknown until some toxic chemicals were found to be in dog food. Then people started to wonder what really was in dog food. But the dog food industry continued to grow until it seemed that there was no other way to feed a dog. The big companies got the animal medical health folks on board so veterinarians were pushing dog food as well. They were also telling us not to feed our dogs "people food" NEVER, EVER. People food is such a horrible term, do we really feel like we have all the rights on the real food, it's ours to do with what we like?
We have taken our dogs ability to hunt for themselves away, so now it is up to us to dole out the food. What would dogs eat if they were left to their own? Rabbits, birds, deer, raccoon, ground hogs, squirrels, nibble on some grass and fruit now and then. They would eat a great deal of meat if they could catch it. There would be nothing coming out of a bag. They would be eating real food, as real as it gets. So why then do we proudly state "we never feed people food?" When people say this to me I just simply say "really?" Depending on the situation I might elaborate.
I know a great percentage of dog owners these days cannot imagine feeding any other way than pouring out of a bag. It is after all what we grew up with. Many cannot fathom taking time to prepare a meal for their dog. That alone is boggling to many. "After you make your dinner you make your dog's dinner?" I've been asked this many times. And my answer is yes. That and the idea of feeding RAW meat, uncooked, bloody and everything? They love it, some dogs can take a while to get use to the texture but once they do, stand back. I remember when I was a child also hearing that if you gave a dog raw meat they were turn mean and attack. It would get into their head and they would see blood, just imagine?
I like to fuel my own body with as much nutrition as I can. That means that I eat a lot of real food. Being a normal human being I also like the not so great food, donuts, chips, cake etc. When I feed my dogs I like to give them the best nutrition I can as well. Like me they also get things that are not optimum in nutrition in the form of treats or even dog food. I feed raw meat, cooked meat and dog food. I buy the best dog food that I can and use it for the times when I need convenience. I make meatloaf filled with different meats, veggies and ground eggshells. Luke is on a meatloaf kick right now and when he eats, we feed. Elsa will eat anything and is just catching on to this raw stuff, it has taken her a while.
I do not always feed out of a bowl, which is another "this is how you do it," thing that we've grown up with. I want to give my dogs the best food that I can, it is important to me. Feeding dog food simply because it say's Dog food on the bag is not enough. You need to do your research and if dog food is the way you want to go then at least feed the best dog food that you can. But the whole "people food," thing. No, it's not just ours.