There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. —Ben Williams
Nothing beats puppy breath. It’s one of the sweetest smells in the world.
Except maybe for coffee.
Dog breath on the other hand, is not that appealing. Especially if you’re feeding Rover less than ideal noms noms.
What can dogs eat? We’ll get to that in a minute, but first…
The Benefits of Having a Dog in Your Life
Dogs are the best. Cats are awesome, too. But nothing beats a little pooch lovin’ when your ego has taken a knock or you’ve had a horrible day at the office.
If you want to master the art of loving unconditionally and living in the moment, these guys will teach you. They’re all in.
Science agrees. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania proved that being in canine company can have profoundly positive benefits on your health and mental wellbeing.
But then, you already knew that.
It’s impossible to remain angry or agitated when you’re stroking your furry friend. It’s why emotional support dogs now enjoy the same status as other service animals.
The benefits of having a dog are numerous. But it’s important to remember that sharing your life with a pooch (or any other animal, for that matter) is a two-way street.
There’s a lot of focus of what animals can do for our emotional wellbeing, but what about theirs? Weirdly, people still ask if animals have feelings or if they can express emotions.
I know, right!?
Seriously? You just have to look at videos like this one to see that they clearly do. I mean, just look at that face.
In The Emotional Lives of Animals, Marc Bekoff shares extraordinary stories of animal joy, empathy, grief, embarrassment, anger, and love.
Backed by scientific research, the book confirms what common sense and experience have long implied. Animals do feel. Deeply and profoundly.
Getting a pet isn’t just a nice to have. You’re not acquiring a possession, you’re inviting another living being into your home and more importantly, your life.
You have a responsibility to take care of them just like you would another human. Better, actually, since they can’t open the fridge and make dinner for themselves.
Which brings me back to my original point.
What Can Dogs Eat?
When we were pet sitting, Sporty and I were fortunate enough to work for people who genuinely cared about their dogs’ nutrition.
One lady, for example, fed her two pooches a combination of Vondis and raw food. While trying on our vegan constitutions, it nonetheless pleased us immensely that nourishing them properly mattered to her.
None of our clients ever resorted to low grade kibbles. However, a few did think the ‘vet’s choice, premium grade’ variety they’d invested in was benefiting their animals.
That’s marketing for you.
A lot of experts are of the opinion that it’s entirely acceptable to feed your dog a pure kibble diet. I disagree.
I’m neither a vet nor an expert, but common sense tells me dogs need more than dry biscuits —regardless of how ‘nutrient-dense’ they are— in order to thrive.
Dogs Naturally Magazine suggests adding things like raw eggs, milk thistle and coconut oil to ensure a healthier lifestyle for your dog. This makes sense.
Animals in the wild naturally forage and eat accordingly to what’s available. It’s nature’s way of helping them get variety in their diet.
Humans used to do the same, but then we began importing food from all over the world.
Domesticated animals rely on us for that variety. Feeding them nothing but kibbles is not going to give it to them. I don’t care how fancy (or expensive) those kibbles are.
If you have budgetary constraints —let’s face it, the cost of owning a dog nowadays is pretty steep— simply adding some cooked veggies to their meal will make a world of difference. But if money isn’t an issue, the ketogenic diet for dogs is sure to get two paws up from Rover.
The combination of raw and organic meats, healthy fats and vegetables will provide a tasty and balanced meal that’s also been proven to help dogs fighting cancer. Winning.
A Minimalist Approach to Pet Care
There are plenty of arguments for and against feeding your dog a vegan diet. Like I said, I’m not an expert, but I do think taking the time to cook Rover a wholesome meal from scratch is better than dry dog biscuits made from meat.
It’s more time-consuming than popping in at the vet and picking up some kibbles, but I think it’s worth the effort. Your canine friend gives you so much, the least you can do is make a little effort with his meals.
On the subject of health risks. A lot of folks believe in taking a more holistic approach to their pets’ healthcare. Sporty and I agree wholeheartedly.
One of our pet-sitting charges was an elderly lab with creaky joints. A daily dose of coconut oil and MSM powder soon had her trotting about like a pup again.
Like anything, it’s vital to do your research before diving in. More often than not, animals require a much lower dose than humans. We made sure to check this beforehand.
A lot of times, something that’s safe for humans might be toxic for dogs. Essential oils falls into that category. This ultimate guide from Petworshiper does a great job of explaining the difference.
A minimalist approach to pet care is one that facilitates good health. It’ll make your pet happier and healthier (yay!) and it’ll save on vet’s bills, which means you’ll have more money to go on adventures with Rover.
If you are planning a trip, make sure you do your homework beforehand to avoid any potential mishaps. Going on holiday isn’t the same as going to the dog park, there’s a lot to think about before you head out.
Overlandsite’s guide to travelling with pets has some great tips. I’m not not a fan of crating, but aside from that the information is super useful. Definitely check it out.