Instead, let's take a look at a far more important topic: Motherf****** dog nutrition.
Why was I worried about this on a lover's weekend? Let me recap (apologies for the length). Quick note: None of the following is meant to give anyone a guilt trip about what you feed your dog. Feed them whatever you want. Except kittens. That would be double-sad.
I took Bailey (my chiweenie, for new readers), to the vet last week for his booster shots, which, if you think about it, are kind of a sham because you have no idea what they are injecting. They could be injecting H1N1 for all I know and charging me $90. At that point, the vet pointed out Bailey's teeth look how Keith Richards feels. Rotting. Discolored. Diseased.* (* Clarification: Bailey's disease is probably gingivitis; Richards is probably chlamydia).
As this is one of the rare times in a vet visit in which the owner can physically see that yes, there's a problem and yes, it makes sense to fix it, I've made a follow-up appointment for Bailey to get dental work. Do they do doggie veneers? I can make him a Bailey Seacrest.
That all coincided with Capricorn coming across a blog post on one of her favorite fashion bloggers, LoveMaegan, whose pug had 13 (!) teeth pulled recently (feel better Bebop). She also saw a related, older post Maegan had about the lack of nutrition in most commercial dog food (it's akin to reading Fast Food Nation, basically, without the Super Size Me movie spinoff)
That led to Capricorn and I thinking about what we feed Bailey and Leo (also a chihuahua, unless you ask Capricorn, who believes Leo is a dog version of Jesus Christ, as he is sinless).
Like most people, we
Have you ever had someone who owns a dog talk to you about what you're feeding your dog in that condescending manner? "Oh... so you're feeding them (fill in the blank basic store brand)? I feed MY dog only the best- fresh chicken, organic vegetables, recently beheaded cows..."
Usually I see this coming ahead of time, and I just say I can't remember what brand it is, but that I'm about to get a better brand soon because otherwise I must hate my dog. "Ha ha, right-o, jolly good!" they reply (in these scenarios, the people sound British in my head). But I never did switch, because I figured I wasn't feeding the dogs Ol' Roy like I'm Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation. How bad could it be? Bailey hadn't yet appeared emaciated and in need of sponsorship for just 10 cents a day, and Leo never filed any complaints in the complaint box located next to the food dish.
For the first time, I decided to take a look at the ingredients on the Pedigree bag. It was kind of like seeing how they make hot dogs- once you know, you're not sure you could feed one to somebody again. Here are some of the top ingredients in Pedigree:
Ground Whole Corn, Meat And Bone Meal, Ground Whole Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (preserved With BHA and Citric Acid), Wheat Mill Run, Chicken By-product Meal.
So as not to gross everyone out, I won't detail here what "meat and bone meal" is, but let's just say it's not a euphemism for oral sex. And, from what I learned during extensive research (when I research something, I research the shit out of it), dogs can't process corn, so having corn as some of the primary ingredients is as silly as a subprime mortgage. Chicken by-product may be good enough for my chicken nuggets (I kid), but common sense is that doesn't sound too great, either. Hmm. (Learn all about this stuff at dogfoodchat.com and dogfoodanalysis.com, where pretty much every brand you could get at Wal-mart receives the worst score possible. It was so eye opening my eyelids are a scarf now).
That's when Capricorn and I decided we're going to be "those" dog owners. The kind that feed their dogs the good stuff, except we aren't going to be pretentious about it. We just want our dogs to live until they are 113 (in human years, or 729 in dog years).
Armed with a list and a Google-plex amount of knowledge, I went to a small pet store chain to check out a few specific brands. You can't find the really good stuff at big chains like PetSmart, PetCo or the like, evidently, because they are the devil, according to the manufacturers.
It so happened a representative from one of the dog food brands was there giving samples and chatted me up/tried to coerce me. After a good talk about the benefits of found-in-nature food sources and having meat be the primary source of protein in a dog's diet, she told me how one of her dogs eats her other dog's feces. I'm not sure if that's what she meant by found-in-nature food.
So I left that store, having only bought some all-natural, berry-tasting doggie snacks that
Beside being a highly-rated brand, here are some of the top ingredients:
Turkey, chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, potatoes, herring meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, egg, apples, tomatoes
That's basically better than I eat. WTH. It's got so much protein The Situation might eat it before he does his Gym-Tanning-Laundry.
Downside: It costs about twice as much as Pedigree. But then I remembered that the serving size is about half as much, since there's much less filler, so the cost will eventually even out. And, as another bonus, it's name is Evo, which sounds awesome and makes me think of the name of some Fast & Furious character-to-come.
Now we're down to the final part: Taste-test. You can't just switch your dog from non-organic to organic food in one move. That would be like you eating nothing but pizza and McDonalds, and then becoming a vegan overnight. So we mixed in some of the Pedigree with the Evo, and added a little rice on top.
Bailey and Leo ate around all the Pedigree like peas on a child's plate. Who knows if all of this will pay off in dogs that are healthier and happier, but I have to think this will work out. That is, unless Bailey and Leo reallllllyyy prefer the old diet of detached chicken heads and feet.
Am I crazy for trying all this out? Have you ever thought about your pet's diet? Is there a reason Bailey and Leo eat better than I do now?