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Home / Articles / Columnists / Dog World with Tina /  Food is NOT Love!
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Tuesday, March 6,2012

Food is NOT Love!

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  
Growing up, I hated meat; my sister despised veggies. We’d swap under the table—until we got busted. Did you ever hear, “You can sit there all night, or finish your meal, now!” I recall staring down a slice of pork roast, visualizing aliens zapping it up. Why were our parents so hard on us? Amazingly, these may be the same people who purchase pet treats/food without considering the ingredients or offer unlimited portions. Double standard, wouldn’t you agree? Cold turkey, I gave up my afternoon diet soda, and started being more conscientious of what and how much I was eating. I discovered I am a social/stress eater. Knowing I am making positive changes which will enhance my own health and wellbeing makes it easier. What about our pets’ health and well-being? Could you imagine Fifi saying, “Does this harness make me look fat?” Can you feel your dog’s ribcage? Look at your dog from the side, while she’s standing. Is her tummy tucked up? From above, view your dog’s back while he is standing. Is there an indentation between the ribs and hips? No, to one or more? Your dog is most likely overweight. At a recent pet event, I met a very meaty bulldog. I asked what and how much he feeds. While I was delighted he feeds the same holistic food that I do, I audibly gasped at the portion size. “But he looks so hungry, and he loves his food,” he stated. If your human child refused to eat anything except candy, is that all you would offer? What would his skin and teeth look like? How would his bones develop and internal organs function? If he got sick or injured, how fast would he heal? Food is NOT love! There are many better ways to show your pet—or your child—love (your precious time and attention). Obesity can cause strain on joints, make the heart and organs work overtime, and lead to diabetes, even reduce the life span. Do you really want THAT on your conscience, or can you live with the “Feed me, I’m starving” face? What is an appropriate portion? Do NOT just go by the back of the label. Consider the ingredients; if your pet is under or overweight; age and activity level. People rationalize, “But that’s all Fido will eat,” “The commercials are so compelling,” or “Bella just loves those x-eroni.” Mostly everything found in your pet aisle contains corn, wheat and/or by-products; these are all basically junk food and allergens. Anything on a shelf can be six to eighteen months old – meaning they are chocked full of preservatives. Check the batch date, and educate yourself on what you are REALLY putting in your pet’s bowl. Your dog won’t eat anything but xxx? When she gets hungry enough, the standoff will end—she will eat.

Pets like routine, and are often hesitant to change. You can ease this by changing out a third of the old food with a third of the new, for a few days, then half and half, for a day or so; then all new (healthy) food. Do you free-feed (allowing them to nibble 24/7)? Trainers and behaviorists affirm this is not a good practice. Offer your pet an appropriate portion for twenty to thirty minutes in the morning. Whatever is not consumed, cover, put away, and offer at dinner time. We hold vital keys to our pet’s health and happiness: the care we give them and what we serve to them. As pet parents dedicated to our fur-children’s health, safety and well-being, don’t we owe them the same care, diligence, and attention we received as growing children? No more double standard ~ be the pack leader!



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