A lot has changed in the pooch world since we were growing up. Dogs were called Spot and Fido and many of them lived in a doghouse out in the backyard. Now dogs have names like Bella and Bailey, Garbo and Ginger, Harry and Hermione, Kai and Kona, and Tater and Toodles. They are lavished with fancy foods and treats, expensive beds, high-fashion collars and leashes, adorable coats and boots and for the really lucky ones, they get to attend Doggy Daycare!
We loved seeing what our customers would bring in for their pooches when they came in for just a day or especially for their long visits. One of our favorites were the tiny little bags of heat-and-eat scrambled eggs with real bacon pieces and little bits of buttered toast that accompanied a small, older Brussels Griffon. Obviously, his parents wanted him to feel right at home with the same treats he normally got at home every morning. “Don’t heat it too much, but be sure and warm it up just right”, we were carefully instructed for at least 30 minutes.
Another special guest was a dog that stayed with us for three weeks, and insisted eating her cottage cheese appetizer up front and under the desk before she would go into her kennel for her second and third courses of dog food, then a variety of treats. Miss Daisy’s mom had flown to Poland with her elderly, ailing father for his final visit there, and Daisy’s mom was absolutely worried sick that her dog wouldn’t eat while she was away. She probably wouldn’t have eaten, if we hadn’t allowed her to dine in that private place under my desk.
One customer’s order included mixing in an entire can of expensive canned yummies into the corresponding dry food twice a day for a beautiful pooch named Waconda. Her exotic name matched her unique and delicious looking diet. Her cans of food had everything from cooked chunks of bratwurst, to slices of sweet potato and turkey called Grammy’s Pot Pie, that made me almost want to try a bite of it. That is, until she brought in a can of the most putrid smelling sweetbreads that I thought had come in from our outside waste cans.
I knew you shouldn’t feed dogs any small chicken bones for fear of choking, so when she came in with a can chock full of chicken wings I painstakingly picked all the meat off and threw the bones away, so proud of myself for being extra careful. I found out later that pressure cooked chicken bones are perfectly harmless for dogs….silly, silly me.
Our customers had many special requests and who could blame them? Those pooches meant the world to them and we admired the owners who wanted the very best care for their pals. At the holidays, the lists were long with various medicines along with who was getting canned food, or food heated in the microwave, or frozen green beans or a special kind of supplement mixed in, or yogurt and probiotics, or beef and rice or pumpkin for an upset stomach. The special requests never upset us, it just meant that the owners truly cared about their pooches and so did we!
We had seen a lot of cheap multi-colored dog food in the very beginning and after doing a lot of research about the importance of feeding high quality food to dogs, we started providing educational information about the choices dog owners have. We stressed what types should be avoided and which foods were recommended by various pet food rating websites and nutritional experts. While many veterinarians thought you could feed them any type of cheap dog chow from discount stores, our veterinarian completely disagreed.
Dr. Shelly Sandel of Northfield Veterinary Hospital cares about dogs holistically, believing that proper nutrition is critical for the overall healthy development of a dog. Her dog, Ajax, also suffers from many food allergies from the cheap ingredients, dyes and additives contained in most well known pet food sold at grocery stores that have pictures of healthy ingredients on the outside packaging, but are not listed in the ingredients inside.
A poor quality food can lead to numerous health issues which an owner and their pooch will ultimately pay for in the long run with poor health, more vet bills and a lot more clean up outside. Take the time to do some research on pet food ratings, and buy the best food you can afford for your pooch. They will love you for it and you will be so glad that you took a little extra time to find out what is the healthiest way to feed your pooch. As is true with all of us, what you put in your body, is what you get out.
Always make sure that your kennel will provide that extra care with a smile on their face saying, “Special orders don’t upset us.”