What Every Pet Owner Should Know

The book “What Every Pet Owner Should Know”, written by  Doc Halligan, was featured on The Bonnie Hunt Show today.  I haven’t read the book, but found some of the discussion topics on the show interesting.

First, they talked about commercial dog foods vs. homemade.  If you read this blog regularly, you know I tried putting my dogs on homemade food.  I think they did better on it, but I just didn’t have the kind of time it takes to prepare their meals every day.  (I rarely even cook for my kids!) 

Doc Halligan stated that she has a problem with most homemade diets because although they generally are better than commercial dog food as far as including lots of protein, homemade diets don’t usually have enough vitamins and minerals, so the dog ends up malnourished.

She recommends commercially-made dog food that carries a stamp of approval from the Association of American Food Control Officials (AAFCO).  This stamp indicates that the food meets their guidelines for vitamin and mineral content. 


Further, Doc Halligan states that the first two ingredients listed on the bag should be animal protein-based.  Proteins are highly digestible, meaning that more of the nutrients stay inside the dog to nourish him.  As a side benefit, less of the food ends up in your back yard as waste.

Also, check your dog food labelfor preservatives.  BHA and BHT are artifical preservatives which should be avoided.  Vitamin C and Vitamin E are excellent natural preservatives.  However, they do not keep the food fresh for as long as the artificial preservatives, so be sure to check the expiration date of the food.

Make sure there is contact information for the manufacturer listed on the food bag.  There should be either a website or phone number where you can seek information about the food and get advice about any problems you notice while you are feeding your dog their products.

They also covered foods that are toxic to dogs.  Most of these are well-known, but some of the things on her list surprised me.  The complete list is available on Bonnie Hunt’s web site, but here is a partial:

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure.

Chocolate is always bad.

Bones can splinter.

Rawhide can cause choking – the dog swallows part of it, but part of it is still in his mouth.  (Have you ever had this happen with spaghetti or stringy cheese?  I have – it really hurts!)

Dairy products should be avoided, especially cheese which is too high in fat.

Onions and garlic break up red blood cells, causing anemia.

Macadamia nuts are especially harmful – as few as 6 can kill a dog!

Also, on the show today was American Chopper’s Paul Teutul, Sr.  I may have to add him to my top ten list of dog-loving celebrities.  He took in a dog, had it for only 3 days before it developed parvo.  He spent $18,000 on an experimental treatment to save the dog’s life!  My hero!

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!

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