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Healthy Food Dogs and Kids Can Share
TREAT them both right
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Feed them well.

You want to give your dog the best. You want to give your child the best, too. No one advocates feeding your child dog food. But how about giving both of them … salmon steak?

 

Sharing food with your dog seems radical, but it’s merely a return to the way dogs were fed for millennia. The human-animal bond developed partly because dogs and humans could eat the same foods, and the act of sharing reinforced this intimate connection.

Shared food isn’t novel compared with “dog food,” which was invented only 150 years ago when Spratt’s Patent Meat Fibrine Dog Cake hit the market. With this biscuit, dog food distinct from human food was created. After World War I, canned horsemeat joined biscuits as dog food, and after World War II, better living through chemistry brought on the golden age of processing: kibble for dogs, TV dinners and Tang for kids.

 

Nowadays, few of us would feed our kids a 1950s classic like baked ham slice slathered in mustard and garnished with maraschino cherries, a triumph of color over taste. Nor would we feed our dogs a mid-century meal of Gaines-Burgers, a triumph of marketing over nutrition. Instead, we are rediscovering the benefits of unprocessed, home-prepped, whole foods for our kids and dogs.

 

Michael Pollan’s best-selling In Defense of Food warns us not to eat anything our great-grandmothers wouldn’t recognize as food. A complementary principle applies: Don’t feed your dog anything your great-grandmother’s dog wouldn’t recognize as food. What they would both recognize is the same: simply food, not a “Food, Inc.” assemblage of processed factory ingredients.

 

The best food for dogs and kids is organic, whether meat, produce or whole grains. Too expensive? You can still prepare healthy, sharable meals. Look for sales in your market’s meat section. Chicken and beef can be cheaper per pound than kibble, canned food or packaged treats, and their nutritional value far exceeds that of dog food, whose first ingredients often include by-products and nutrient-poor, agricultural-grade grains. Dog food gives you less for more; shared food gives you more for less. Read unit prices!

 

Shared food is as fast as “fast food,” as convenient as “convenience food.” Give your kid and your dog carrots instead of potato chips and dog biscuits. Think freshness and simplicity, not complexity and trendiness. A dietary dividend: Kids are more likely to try new foods if the dog’s enjoying them.

 

Enrich your perspective on shared food with the TREATS system. Named for what dogs and kids both enjoy, TREATS stands for:

 

Taste over Image

Read Labels

Eat Local, Fresh, Organic

Always Flavor It Yourself

Tooth or Dare

Sporting Life

 

Taste over Image: Don’t buy the succulent-looking chicken plumped with saltwater, pumped with antibiotics and fed pesticide-laced corn. Buy organic or at least “natural” chicken. It tastes better and needs no artificial enhancement.

 

Read Labels: The packaging depicts a cornucopia of ripe fruits and vegetables, but what’s really inside? Only the manufacturer knows for sure, but you can learn a lot by reading labels. Note the number and incomprehensibility of ingredients in processed food. A whole food has one ingredient: a banana contains banana.

 

Eat Organic, Seasonal, Local: Patronize a farmers’ market or farm stand. Be brave—if the First Lady can commandeer a plot of White House lawn, you can grow a victory garden. At least set up a window box and grow herbs to …

 

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Submitted by Laurie | November 11 2009 |

What a fun and informative combination!! I like the way these ladies think! Can't wait to see the entire cookbook. What a clever premise that's a win/win for everyone, including the cook!

Submitted by Lindsey | November 11 2009 |

It's common sense! Everyone knows health begins with a varied diet of fresh foods - this applies to pets as well. People have been so brainwashed to think pets can only survive on preformulated dried up cereal or glop in a can infused with vitamins. Thank you for a great reminder that FOOD is FOOD and fresh is best!

Submitted by Z Kripke | November 12 2009 |

What a very sweet idea, having people and dogs share foods appropriate to both. It's the perfect way to help children see animals as fellow creatures. It's been true through human history that breaking bread together binds people in special ways and now we can add our pets, and not just by giving left overs but by inviting them to share with us.
Z Kripke

Submitted by Rebekah Peterman | November 12 2009 |

I'm excited to hear that more people are changing their children and pets' diets to healthy more nutritious whole foods. Articles like this are going to bring the good news to the masses....keep up the good work gals!

Submitted by Joyce | November 14 2009 |

Very good advice! Would love some recipe ideas that incorporate the spices mentioned in the article.

Submitted by Pam | November 14 2009 |

Great advice - thanks!

Submitted by Sandi | November 14 2009 |

My friend just emailed this article and said I had to read it...

Finally, someone that makes sense. Thanks 'fur' writing it...

I've always been an advocate for feeding my dogs 'regular' food. We really eat almost the same things.
While I don't have kids, I'm sure they would eat the same way as well.

I don't often tell people that my dog eats 'human' food because I always hear the same comment. 'Your dog is spoiled'... arg.

My dog had an eating problem as a puppy. I tried everything, I mean everything... he wasn't interested in food. I resolved the problem by giving him organic goats milk, and now at over 3 years, he's normal. I also just discovered he loves raw spinach. I often chop it up and mix it with his 'human' food... you would also think that since he eats regular food, poop time would be abnormal, it's not.

I think if our dogs won't eat what's in front of them, there's a good reason. I still might put a handful of organic kibble in his food for the vitamins, but guess what? He eats everything and most of the time leaves the kibble. Try experimenting with different foods, you'll have a happier, healthier dog. There for sure are no no's on what not to feed.. got that covered. Read the dog food and treat labels, mostly junk..yuk.

Keep up the encouraging work!

Aside from the Goats Milk and raw spinach, here's a list of other foods my dog likes:

Meat (occasional)
Chicken breast- sometimes a little skin
Duck jerky
Chicken Gizzard/heart- package from Foster Farms
Vegetables: sweet potato, zucchini, broccoli, peas, (won't eat carrots)
Banana muffin, corn bread
Noodles, he'll eat tomato sauce (very small amount)
Olive oil
Few strips of 'natural' bacon crumbled up
Cheese/ pat of natural organic Butter on anything :)
Brown rice (occasional)

and the list goes on....

For chewing, he likes Bully Sticks.

Submitted by Suzy Royds | November 16 2009 |

I have noticed when I'm cooking that the dogs do like it when I toss them the bits of fresh vegetables (broccoli stems, carrots, even garlic!) I have always saved our left-over meat - I notice that the Salmon and eggs really makes my Collie's coats shine! But, I AM going to get some Turkey neck-bones for a treat - it's that time of year to be Thankful for our devoted dogs!

Suzy Royds
Collie & Jack Russell Fancier!

Submitted by Anonymous | November 17 2009 |

This is a fun and interesting article!!I am a dog lover myself, and only want the best foods for my Bernie. I would enjoy to read more articles just like this one!

Submitted by Anonymous | November 17 2009 |

Love the article! It was fun and extremely interesting! thank you for the great advice.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 17 2009 |

This was a fun and very educational article! thank you so much for educating me on the necessity of feeding our pets organic foods!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Suzanne | November 18 2009 |

I have always given my dogs and cats proper "human" food. This article reaffirms what I have known for a very long time. I refused to feed my animals store bought products after becoming educated about pet food ingredients. I do a homemade diet based upon the correct percentage of protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate for dogs & cats recommended to me by my holistic veterinarian. I also mix my own supplements to put on top of their food. When I initially switched to a homemade diet, you should have seen their coats--they were plush, needed very little brushing, and smelled of their own perfume. I also noticed a change in their behavior. Now there are some great human grade pet foods manufactured in the USA, which I have incorporated, in addition, to the homemade diet.

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