Golden Retrievers Speak: Summer Fruit!

Jeter:    Daddy has been bringing home some fruit from the farm stand lately!  I guess it is that time of year again!

Alanis:   Nothing beats fresh fruit, Jeter!

Jeter:  Well, except for sniffing each other’s butts, biting at each other’s legs, going for walks, going for rides, eating ice cream..

Alanis:  OK, we get it Jeter – you have interests beyond fruit!

Jeter:   Oh, shut up – you are the one that barks at anything that moves, and even stuff that doesn’t don’t be telling me that I have bizarre interests!

Alanis:   Barking is what dogs do!  Duh!  Woof woof woof!  Something you never have been able to do with any consistency!  You just let out little “puffing” noises!

Jeter:  When I bark, it means SOMETHING.  When you bark, the humans have to guess whether it means something because you ALWAYS DO IT!  “Time for a walk!”  WOOF WOOF.   “Time to eat!”  WOOF WOOF.    “Time to jump off the couch!”  WOOF WOOF.   “Time to breathe air!”  WOOF WOOF.

Alanis:   Wasn’t this supposed to be about summer fruit?

Jeter:    The people at the farm stand like Daddy.  That is only because they don’t have to live with him.

Alanis:  True, that!  Today, we got BLUEBERRIES!

Jeter:   We love blueberries!   Of course, they have to feed them to us in moderation for the time being – too much of a good thing can have us running outside a bit more than we would want to, if you catch my drift.

Alanis:  We couldn’t get the blueberries out of my bowl!

Jeter:  I don’t know why we couldn’t figure that part out.    They came out of my bowl so easily!

Alanis:  It was annoying.   That was hours ago, and I bet if Mommy didn’t help us, we would still be trying to get them out!

Jeter:    Nothing beats a true New Jersey Blueberry!   So good, and so good for us!

Alanis:  Yep!  People sometimes buy these treats for us – our parents do too! – but stuff like blueberries makes us just as happy as a Beggin Strip.

Jeter:  We don’t get Beggin’ Strips….

Alanis:  Daddy is a meanie, that’s why.

Jeter:    Why don’t we get anything else from the farm stand?  Apples are good for us, too!  Some vegetables can be incorporated into our diet as well.   But we usually get stuck with the blueberries!

Alanis:  Ask daddy.  My guess is that he saves everything else for himself,  because he is selfish that way.

Jeter:  Just ask Mommy about that – he only buys stuff for himself.  We are lucky we don’t just get stale bread.

Alanis:   He would probably take that for himself, too.

Jeter:   We should demand more variety!  More than just blueberries!

Alanis:    Yep.   How about some liverwurst from time to time?

Jeter:  That isn’t a fruit, you idiot.

Alanis:   Well, it should be.

Jeter:  Why do I bother?

Me:   Dogs can get the same benefits as us humans can from fruits and vegetables, but remember that there are some that dogs are not allowed to have.  For example, grapes are toxic to dogs and should not be given to them under any circumstances.  Onions are also a bad choice, but humans also don’t typically sit around the table eating raw onion.

A full list can be found here.

Dogs don’t really care what they get for treats, so giving them something “healthy” doesn’t ring a bell to them like it does to us humans.  Sometimes, when we are presented with a choice between two scoops of ice cream vs. an organic fruit smoothie, we take the ice cream!  Our brains are wired that way.  Dogs?  They don’t care if they get the smoothie, the ice cream, a rice cake, or a blueberry.  They will eat it all.


Golden Retrievers Speak: Food!

Jeter:   Gosh, when it came to food, no dog in history will ever have Josh beat – that dog was obsessed with food.  The funny thing about Josh was that he had this great ability to tune people out – especially Daddy – but once that cheese wrapper was opened, he suddenly became the most alert dog you will ever find.

Alanis:   In general, we are all food driven – but Josh was indeed one of a kind.   But you have to admit Jeter that you have become worse and worse as the years have gone by.

Jeter:  No argument here.  I used to be a bit more tame when it came to food – would wait to be called.  Wouldn’t take it without permission, etc.  Now?  As soon as Mommy and Daddy get up out of their chairs, I assume food is coming my way.

Alanis:    I am terrible when it comes to thinking that everything is food.  Jeter never gets into any mischief by eating random things on the floor.  Me?   I have tried to eat paper plates, cinnamon capsules, leaves when we go for walks – anything and everything that I think can fit into my stomach.

Jeter:   And we both eat the bird seed that Mommy throws on the deck.  I think it gave me some stomach upset one day – but, since logic isn’t a part of my life, I just ate it again anyway.

Alanis:     Yeah, the bird seed is really good!   We always regret eating it later, but we all can use an indulgence every now and again.

Jeter:    Notice how we have not yet talked about our kibble…

Alanis:  As Daddy likes to say, what people feed their pets is something that can create major debates.

Jeter:   Right now, we eat Rachael Ray.   We have gone through many foods in our lifetimes.     Just like a box of Macaroni and Cheese may not be the best thing for a human to put in their bodies, some kibble is not ideal for us to put inside of our bodies.

Alanis:   This is true – Daddy’s mantra has never really changed:  You should get your dog the highest quality kibble that you can reasonably afford.    Driving yourself crazy over this is just not worth it.  If a zealot wishes to criticize you, just tell them to go bark up their own tree.

Jeter:   Indeed.  Meanwhile, I am going to continue to eat whatever those darn humans wish to give to us.    As we all know now, life is precious – live it up a bit.

Me:    I never like to even entertain debates on dog food.  Look at any online message board on dogs, and you will find an ugly debate on dog food, and whether you should even feed your dog kibble.    Dogs have lived forever on kibble and Mighty Dog.    I agree completely that you should feel your dog the best food you possibly can, but the most important thing is that they are getting FED.  That’s it.

As for foods to avoid, I documented some of that here.     I have gone as far as not getting onions on any sandwich that I order because I know I am likely to give a piece of roast beef to the dogs.     Keep cabinets closed, and foods sealed.  If you are unsure whether your dog should have something, contact your vet or look around online.    

Goldens Talk Around the Christmas Table

Josh:   A topic about FOOD?   Now you are speaking my language!   Pass the chicken livers!

Jeter:    I love the holidays – of course, we typically get “extras” every day anyway.  But on the holidays it seems we get even MORE!

Alanis:  How much more did you exactly get, Jeter?   I think it should be told that our parents took JETER to the family get together this year while Josh and I stayed home.

Josh:   I don’t go for rides any more, due to my age and immobility – I am content with just hanging out at home, protecting the house like I have always done.

Jeter:  I only received a few meatballs and Milk Bones….

Alanis:    While we were here, suffering in our hunger…..

Jeter:  Dramatic much?

Josh:  WIll you two stop?  Pass me the beef jerky.

Jeter:   I love these treats for dinner – typically, we get dry dog food and….

Josh:  STOP RIGHT THERE!  The three things we do not talk about around the holiday table are religion, politics, and dog food!   Humans are weird when it comes to debating dog food!  I just want to eat…

Alanis:   I do like the Earthborn….

Josh:   STOP!  Just please stop before you cause The Doggie Apocalypse.

Jeter:  I wonder what Santa got us for Christmas this year……

Josh:  Duh!  Treats and toys!  Have you not figured this out yet?   I am of the age where I am the Grandfather that goes right to sleep after dinner.

Alanis:   I love Christmas gifts!  Especially if they are the type I can instantly tear into a million pieces.

Josh:   Did anyone see the chocolate?

Jeter:  NO CHOCOLATE, Josh!   Remember, those pesky humans have a list of things we shouldn’t eat around the holidays!

Josh:  I know, I know.  I just wish I could sneak a Kit Kat every now and again…..

Alanis:    Milk Chocolate isn’t as bad as the darker stuff….

Jeter:    True, but once we get the taste of chocolate in our brains, we are more apt to want it and crave it.   So, they keep all chocolate from us.

Josh:  Well, not really – they have like 10,000 pieces of chocolate sitting there in the dining room that we were trained to not touch….they are tempting fate.

Jeter:   I am content with cheese, hot dogs, pieces of biscuit, and whatever else they decide to give us.

Alanis:   It still isn’t enough!  (WOOF WOOF!)  I want more treats!  (WOOF WOOF!)

Jeter:  STOP THAT BARKING, diva!

Josh:  Annoying.  Very annoying.

Jeter:  OK, I am done here – everything was good, as always – though strangely, most of it tastes the same.

Josh:  We have about 8,000 less taste buds than humans..but we smell things much better than they do!

Jeter:   Dork.

Alanis:  Why don’t we have a Christmas tree?

Jeter:   Because everyone knows you would likely destroy it five minutes after Mommy decorates it!

Alanis:  OK, OK, enough of this!   Time for presents!   And Josh to take another long nap!

Jeter:  I hope Santa remembered the tennis balls…..

Me:   If you get five different dog owners in the same room, you will receive five different opinions on how you should feed your dog.   I am no fan of the “Dog Food Police”.   I have a simple rule that I think everyone can easily abide by:   Get the best possible food you can that you can reasonably afford.   Criticizing people on what they feed their dogs is pointless – dogs have lived long, satisfying lives living on Mighty Dog and Alpo.  I agree that it is possible those dogs may have lived even LONGER if they had a better food, but that is true of us humans as well.   Don’t drive yourself crazy over this.   If you are interested in dog food ratings, you can try the Dog Food Advisor.    Pay attention to dog food recalls.   Some people like to mix things up from time to time with different brands and what not.  If you do this, do it slowly.  Mix in their old food with the new food to give your dog a chance to adjust.   Currently, my dogs are on Earthborn, Rachel Ray Delish Dish (Mainly Jeter, who also gets her “wet food” once a day), and recently Dr. Foster and Smith.   We have used Wellness, Blue Buffalo, Solid Gold, Nature’s Recipe, and more in the past.  They are all good foods at different price points.   Costco’s house brand also gets praise at a very reasonable price.    I have never done the “raw” diet before, so I can’t comment on that.   As for the holidays?   Use common sense and your dogs will get through them just fine.   Most dogs don’t bother Christmas trees – but use common sense.  Monitor them.  Put a gate around the tree, if necessary.    Most of all, have FUN with your animals during the holiday season – as they say, every day is Christmas for a dog!