Wagasana, greeting the day with gratefulness and curiosity!
Have you had a doga moment today!
Nutrition - all living beings need healthy nutrition to thrive ... it looks yummy, but is it?
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Intakes should be taken, with a complete history and wellness check, in collaboration with your Primary Veterinarian or a qualified nutritionist/practitioner to determine optimum choices during various stages of your dog's life / well-being.
Our dogs have been subject to human engineering and experimenting for decades. Revenue (toys, food and fashion) has reached an all time high (billions). We love our dogs and that's inspiring. Do you ever feel like it's getting out of control? Me too, especially when advertising implies that I'm dumb or that my dog needs this or that or will be sad. I know dogs experience emotions, but I don't think dogs care if their toy is an old knotted sweat shirt sleeve or an expensive pull toy made in a foreign country by sacred hands.
Advise ranges from feeding our dogs the same diet for a lifetime to feeding them like their ancestor, the Wolf (Canis Lupus). Dogs are DNA Wolf. Humans are DNA Chimpanzee. Evolution is always in progress (Darwin - Dawkins). We do not swing through the jungle, consulting Charlie Chimp on how to eat, although fresh, raw (bananas) vegetation IS good for us (live enzymes).
Our domesticated dog has evolved. Although the system is the same, with three feet of intestine and a strong, acidic pH, they are conditioned to eat differently then us. Whether it is good or bad, right or wrong, is a matter of perception and choice. And, we have plenty of opinions/choices to decide upon don't we? Take a deep breath and let it go. You will know what to do.
Let's keep it simple, because if we don't, we'll freeze up, like a bulging eye cartoon. What happens to our bodies when we get titillated by commercials aimed at buying is that we either cease to breathe or breathe so fast we escalate into a panic attack. Centered breathing would give us a moment to digest what we are hearing, process it, and then make a decision based on calm, common sense. What does my dog (me) really need, at this time in our life?
My heart-centered advise after many decades of reading, connecting with experts, workshops and most importantly, learning with my own pets, is to get educated, take a deep breath, and stay balanced. Knowledge is empowering. Trust your intuition. Be polite and professional to those offering advice, but you don't have to follow it unless it makes sense for you, your family, pet, lifestyle, and capability (time, finances). Build yourself a strong, trusted network, without going crazy.
Did you try something and it didn't work? GOOD!
Mistakes are learning opportunities that teach us what not to do again, and the wisdom to know the difference in the future.
Did I mention that l LOVE DOGS? Dogs do so much for us (hearing, guiding, rescuing, therapy, companionship and fun). They listen when no-one else will, but this does not suggest that we should cry in their fur, expecting them to process our emotions for us. As their advocates and friends, it is our responsibility to make sound choices about dogs as a species, which is very different than human.
Ever notice how some people seem to know what's best for your dogs, even when they don't have any?
A collaborative and integrative effort is the best approach for optimum health, wellness and nutrition. I trust my dogs. Age-appropriate glistening eyes and coats, energy levels and well-being are observable. Dogs can and will hide illness and disease. A good integrative (allopathic and holistic) Veterinarian will take the time to listen and ask questions, while observing your dog. Specialists and alternative practitioners can assist in treating/balancing our dog's energy / health.
I have had dogs since I was a child-- living, learning and training. The longest living dogs were mixed breeds and those fed table scraps. That doesn't prove much except that maybe these dogs, in that time frame, had less opportunity for disease than they do today. They were smaller. They didn't spend time with lots of other dogs. They may have received better nutrition through variety (rotation diet), my diet of choice! It's seldom boring, and my dogs enjoy eating, like me! I have skipped many stones across the stream in my attempt to avoid confusing conflict. Asking my dogs along the way, "is this good for you?" has guided me. I am a dog parent, but they are my teachers.
I need to be their advocate by setting boundaries. They may want pizza, roast beef, candy and ice cream every day, but they aren't going get it. They are lactose intolerant, so ice cream isn't good for them. Through experimenting, they have taught me that there is a huge satiety difference between dry kibble, as opposed to a variety diet that includes fresh, ground veggies, non-fat yogurt, sardines, rotating healthy oils (EVOO, Salmon, Flax) a variety of fish or meat, and a six-month rotation of a premium, no grain kibble and cans.
Want to see your dog have an orgasm? Put two dishes down, one with cooked, delicious meat and another with kibble.
Mine always choose the meat whether cooked or raw. They eat, take off into the family room, lie on their backs and moan in gratifying, nutritional pleasure.
With an insatiable curiosity, I explore the Internet, attend workshops, read and review marketing trends that are launched over night and die as quickly. I'm optimistic that most of us know that dogs do not care what color or how nutritious a bag looks. They don't eat the bag if it is kept in a safe place! Dogs don't open the bags, refrigerators or cans unless we teach or allow them too. I'm not impressed about trends or listening to someone who stands on a soap-box saying that if my dog doesn't eat raw then I'm a bad dog parent! Is that absolutely true?
As we become more educated, it gets even more exciting. We have hundreds of choices-- ad nauseam at times-- making our heads spin! For first time puppy owners, it can be overwhelming and scary. Off they trot to one of the big chains that offer one stop shopping only to become even more confused. Who has time to read 300 bag labels? It's a challenge!
What does your dog's poop look like on the poop-o-meter?
What goes in and comes out makes a difference! Explore your dog's poop. Everyone has a different normal, but usually it is a solid log. On the poop-o-meter, our Greyhound ranges from medium solid to slightly mushy, and that's normal for her! If it isn't bloody or have something moving in it, don't panic. If it does, calmly and immediately go off to the Vet with a sample.
Pearls of Wisdom: Get educated, read ingredient labels, know and observe your pets to discover what works best, and then make intuitive, informed choices based on that. I say this with joyful gratitude to have lived with some amazing dogs. I lost a dog to hemolytic anemia (vaccination induced), one to Osteosarcoma, and more pleasantly, several to old age. It’s better that way. During the experience, I've withstood some peculiar interactions/interventions from experts, wondering at the time, if I was on another planet. For example: being told to not feed my dog grains after being diagnosed with cancer even though the clinic sells grain based dog food. Confusing? You bet. Have you been there? Ask yourself, "are they walking the talk?” If it seems like they are pretending or guessing or overly confident while they look at the floor, then they aren’t sure. Thank them for their insight (because they love that), let it go, and move on.
There are so many books and links on nutrition for dogs (pets) and for us that it makes my head spin. Books and links are to respected pioneers who are making a difference are who I latch onto, not whimsical fads.
For example, in France, rabies vaccinations are given every 5-years. Why aren't we doing this in the USA? Rabies Challenge Fund.
Through Daily Doga, I will gleefully share my experiences, negative and positive. I know this will have a positive trickling effect, encouraging others to join this collaborative effort, contributing their life experiences and stories. Collectively, we can make a difference for our beloved dogs. We can grow together in harmony (mind like water-flowing, balancing stress, increasing dog's well-being, ego put aside).
Yum, Yum, Yum says the fake dog on the
“gotta have bacon” commercial ...
Don’t Believe what you see ...
Garbage in garbage out ..
Eating in harmony does not come naturally for all dogs. It requires human prevention and management.