Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving for Dogs

Photo credit: Thanksgiving 2008 by kmazz
It's that time of year when we unwittingly torture our canine friends by preparing and eating (in front of them) an inordinate amount of rich, savory, gravy-coated food while they stare at a bowl of the usual old daily kibble. Well, actually, our dogs ignore the kibble entirely and just stare at us as we eat. They watch every fork-full move from plate to mouth. That is, until we tell them to stop begging and lay down, which they do, begrudgingly.*

We have never fed our dogs food from the table, but that doesn't stop them from trying. They instinctively know how to pour on the pathos, beaming at you with those large, soulful eyes and an expression that says "I haven't eaten in months." Who knows, maybe this year a gullible guest won't know the house rules? (I think Baxter still remembers our friend in Southern Oregon who would "accidentally" drop bits of food as she ate...one Thanksgiving he didn't leave her side for several hours.)

Given that we count our dogs are among the beings on this planet we are most thankful for, it hardly seems right to let this holiday go by without doing something special for them. Yet (and we know this from experience) feeding our guys certain "people foods" can wreak havoc on their digestion. The trick is feeding them the right foods. As Heidi Biesterveld explains in her great "Dog-friendly Thanksgiving" blog series on The Bark:
"...think of your pet as a lactose intolerant celiac with high blood pressure (i.e., needs to watch his or her salt intake) and with allergies to onion and garlic."
She shares some great info on what not to feed your dog and, in several subsequent blog entries, she provides recipes for delicious-sounding, gluten-free foods that are good enough to serve your human guests and are also suitable to share with your canine friends. It's worth a look.

Another option -- for those of us sticking to more conventional human fare -- is to plop a bit of Merrick's Thanksgiving Day Dinner canned dog food onto our dogs' usual food. It's something special, they love it and it's entirely grain-free, so it doesn't usually cause any digestive distress. Merrick also makes a Grammy's Pot Pie that gets rave reviews (read: gone in 5 seconds) from both Baxter and Kirby.

Once they've wolfed down their special dinners, I'm sure both dogs will maintain their table-side vigil until the last crumb of pumpkin pie is gone...

*Yes, they've perfected the art of begging from a prone position. Oh that look... I must be strong.

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