Everyday, my husband has the same question for me... "What's for dinner?" It doesn't matter if it's 8 o'clock in the morning, his mind is on what he most anticipates, "dinner!" This is reasonable since he works hard... he has an appetite and looks forward to the comforts of home. Funny too that our doggies function in the same way. The dawn of a new day brings breakfast, which Oliver is especially thrilled about (sending him into jumping and spinning fits, it's very cute,) and then after a long day of running romping and chasing... dinner awaits them too. Meal time around here is special. We love to gather in the kitchen, cooking together, (Wayne chops or grills, Jacob loves to make the salad, I cook stuff and the dogs Hoover up the droppings,) and spending time together eating. So, what IS for dinner? Well for us, and the hounds, it depends on what the meal plan has in store for the week.
See, I am a big believer in eating well! I value (especially true the older I get) quality food and healthy ingredients. With such high incidences of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and food allergies in our country... I have to believe there is a link to the food we are fueling our bodies with. Further, with these rates of disease also increasing in our pets... there must be a link to the foods they eat as well.
When Jacob (now 11 yrs old) was two, he was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. For those who don't know, Celiac Disease is a condition in which the protein in wheat, barley and rye is seen as a pathogen by the body and the body... in kind... attacks. So, basically Jacob has to avoid these products in all forms. I was so sad when I found out and I went through a grieving process for all the things he would miss out on. How can a kid live without mac-n-cheese, pizza and cookies, right? Well as it turned out there were many other people living with this condition throughout the world. Because of this... the need for "gluten free" products was quickly met on the market and Jacob had his own mac-n-cheese, pizza and cookies that didn't make him sick. One of my thoughts about his future also included our dogs. Will he ever be able to feed them without washing his hands? Will he ever decide that keeping a dog is too much hassle and never learn the love of owning a dog? Well, just as the market caught up to our needs... so too did the dog food industry. What I have since learned is that the MOST common food allergen for dogs is... WHEAT! Eventually companies like Science Diet began introducing allergen free foods, geared towards dogs with allergies. Since my dogs had no known allergies however, I couldn't justify the expense of that food. But, a few years ago a company called "Blue" began selling "gluten free" dog food. It was available at Petsmart, and because one had just opened sort of near our home, I was able to purchase my first bag! It was sort of expensive, but the ingredients were so healthful and my son could feed the dogs without worry! Blue also includes a cute dog trading card in every pack... I love that! As time has progressed, other companies have started offering gluten free dog food options to their most popular lines. Currently we are feeding Iams Naturals, with the same ingredients as Blue but with 1/4 less cost.
But aside from food allergies, our family has to consider so many other related diseases when thinking of our collective health. Cancer, diabetes and heart disease are all a part of our collective family health history. So, we try to eat a lot of fiber and anti-oxidant rich foods around here. Some of the best sources are foods such as nuts, fruits and veggies. As we eat, so do the dogs! Some of our favorite dog treats are bananas, watermelon, cucumber,apples, broccoli, almonds and cashews. The dogs love them and they offer the same cancer fighting properties for them that they do for us. Every dish of dog food is given with a heaping scoop of plain non-fat yogurt for digestion and healthy tummys. (I was surprised when I first started doing this, how even the "overall" stinkiness of the Springer went away... it's good for ears and skin too.) Ruby, who is extremely energetic gets a raw egg, (organic and fresh to reduce bacteria risk,) and the occasional scoop of natural peanut butter. Generally what is good for them is also good for us. I will say to be mindful however of the allergies that dogs have and we don't such as, raisins, chocolate, macadamia nuts, onions and grapes. And as always, you can find a list of common toxins and poisons (such as some houseplants,) at:
So, what's for dinner tonight? I still don't know... but I better figure it out soon... the hounds are hungry!