What My Girls are Eating Now

Maisie and Wanda

What My Girls are Eating Now

I am a pretty devoted Dog Feeding Mom. I think we’ve established by now — with over 14 years in the pet field and nearly 650 consecutive shows of Dog Talk® on NPR – that I have decided that there are nutritional supplements that enhance the health of dogs (and people, by the way) and that a variety of ingredients in the diet is the path to the best quality nutrition. I care a lot about what my girls eat, and like the proto-typical Italian Mama, I always have a little voice in my head saying, “Mangia, Mangia, buon appetito!” I feel happy and secure when I know their diets are tip-top and they are looking and feeling good themselves.

People are often curious about what Maisie and Wanda Weimaraner eat, and sometimes I hesitate to rattle off the whole list because I don’t want to put pressure on other dog owners to think they have to measure up, somehow. However, on the other hand, I don’t mind being an example of just how creative and health-conscious you can get by varying your dog’s diet with some truly wonderful pet and human foods.

So here goes: the girls get a combination of these foods at every meal [ingredients much more carefully sourced than most things I eat myself]: The Honest Kitchen, Evermore Pet Foods, Merrick lamb kibble.

Tracie's Dogs

The Honest Kitchen is human grade dehydrated food that “comes to life” with warm water added, and Evermore Pet Foods  are human grade meats, gently steam-cooked and shipped frozen. Both companies source humanely-raised, pasture-fed, hormone and antibiotic free animals and organic fruits and vegetables. And I’ve switched to Merrick classic kibble because I trust the company — which has been committed to protein-first kibble, a commitment to transparency, and thirty years remaining based in Hereford, Texas, where Garth Merrick is still part of the company he started, spinning off from his family’s cattle business (I even interviewed him for an hour when I was first researching The Dog Bible, and he was helpful and forthcoming in educating me).

To those three foods at every meal, I add cottage cheese, yogurt,  Iceland Pure fish oil, and Platinum Performance Plus supplement — the second two of which reduce inflammation and improve joint health as my girls get into their middle years.

cottage cheeseMeanwhile, there are caring, intelligent dog owners who still believe that feeding a kibble-only diet is a good choice, the best choice for their dog’s nutrition — even when common sense would tell them otherwise. Would we give our two-legged children nothing but a bowl of the same cereal, day in and day out,  if we were told it supplied all the basic nutritional needs? I think we’d figure out that a variety of sources of many different foods would be the most pleasing and healthful — both short term and long term.

I would like to urge people who just put down a few bowls of dry food for their dog and call it a day — that they really should reconsider feeding nothing but a highly processed carbohydrate-heavy food. That is not really balanced nutrition, in the truest sense of that word. Foods that are gently processed, and made from human-edible ingredients, are digested differently and have a different range of health benefits. The other pet foods (or human foods) may be more expensive, but you’re paying for that high quality — and they do not have to be the only thing a dog eats. Try including them as a valued component of a whole meal, as I do.

No doubt, a dog can get balanced nutrition from any kibble — whether the least expensive dry dog food, or the most costly (which usually has higher quality ingredients, especially the meat protein element) but why not live it up and make every meal a feast?!

—Tracie Hotchner

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Evermore Pet Foods and Iceland Pure are sponsors on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.