mf816Recently, I was asked about diet suggestions for a dog with leptospirosis. (Leptospirosis is infection with a bacterium called leptospira, lepto is the common name. Lepto causes kidney infection which can be transmitted to humans; often, dogs are assymptimatic carriers of lepto. We’ve discussed lepto before – read about it here.) Today’s post is not about lepto infection, it’s about something the dog’s owner said: she said her dog was spoiled. That’s what I’d like to discuss.

Her conventional veterinarian had recommended a prescription kidney diet, since lepto infects the kidneys, but the dog, a gorgeous Coton de Tuléar, refused to eat the food. Therefore, her mom said she was spoiled. Like – a spoiled dog won’t eat dog food.

This little Coton has grown up eating balanced real food – meat and veggies from the kitchen. Now, switching her to a “prescription” diet, she refused to eat it; presumably this is evidence she is spoiled.

Let’s look at the first seven ingredients to see what the real issue might be: Corn, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Brown Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Natural Flavors, Dried Plain Beet Pulp. First, I’ve had clients who worked at feed mills – they know exactly where the ingredients come from – rotten, molding, waste from the feed mill that is no longer acceptable for livestock feed gets shipped to pet food. Second, four of these ingredients sound like horse feed. Third, where’s the protein (read the label – it’s only 10% protein – that means almost 70% of this diet is carbohydrate!)? Fourth, what is a natural flavor? I would think a good natural flavor for a dog would be chicken, rather than a chemical synthesized to stimulate the taste buds.

So, this little cutie won’t eat the putrid horse feed and the societal guilt trip says her mom spoiled her.

That’s like saying I spoil my daughter when I feed her chicken and green beans. I’m pretty sure spoiling my child is when I let her eat donuts instead of a balanced diet.

It’s an interesting guilt trip that’s been developed in the pet food industry: feeding healthy food spoils our animals. Of course, this is illogical; in truth, we are providing for good health when we feed food made of healthy ingredients.

So, next time someone in a position of authority insinuates feeding real food spoils our pets – ask why you should feed inferior ingredients that increase inflammation and chronic disease.

BTW: Spoiling our dogs, when we feed healthy food, means a nibble of bacon. (Lots of bacon might be tough on the intestines or pancreas – but a nibble is usually ok.)

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