Tierce is a selfish little beast who would disdain Mother Nature with the same callousness that he disdains the recall. According to this article by Alanna Mitchell in the Globe & Mail, that’s exactly what he’s doing. However, when you read the article, it seems to focus not so much on pet ownership, but on overconsumption.
You think he’s eating dog food, but he’s really eating Mother Earth.
Overfed pets are a big focus of the article. Besides making your dog fat, overfeeding can exacerbate any other health problems and speed up your dog’s shuffle off this mortal coil. Most people are relatively cognizant of this fact. However, Mitchell points out that there are people who believe that overfeeding and the pet food industry itself are responsible for a significant portion of resource wastage.
Tierce would happily eat his entire bag of Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Bison in one sitting if I let him. His last weigh-in showed him at 31 pounds, about 6 pounds heavier than he really should be. (Since he has been coming to daycare regularly, he seems to have lost some sag around the middle, so I’m going to have to weigh him again). DogFoodAdvisor.com lists this food at 3 stars, due to the lower protein count and plant base of the food. However, according to the above article, this is not necessarily bad:
Yet most commercial foods contain double or triple the protein that studies show animals need. It’s the protein – whether it comes from carbon-intensive fish, lamb or beef – that is the biggest contribution to the environmental footprint.
Hm. The Merck Veterinary Manual states that the AAFCO minimum protein requirements for puppies and pregnant/lactating bitches are a minimum of 22%. For adult dog, the minimum protein requirements are 18%. Tierce’s current chow is 20%.
In order for a dog’s food to be ‘double or triple the protein’, they would have to bottom out at 36%. And some do. EVO’s Turkey and Chicken Formula is a cool 42% protein. Canadian-based Orijen Adult Dog is 38%. Another Canadian pet food, Acana, is a little lower in protein; the Pacifica is a good example at 33%.
(But, do you trust the official recommended guidelines for dog nutrition? Aye, there’s the rub. Anyway, moving on.)
Meat requires a lot of land and feed for production, which uses up space and resources. This is the main argument for reducing our pets’ usage of meat and meat products.
There’s the other argument that has to do with killing other animals to feed our animals, but since I like my hamburgers as much as the next person, I’m not really equipped to take on that particular thorny issue. Although, I will say that watching animals getting slaughtered may well put a damper on your next hotdog. I’m not advocating a vegan diet for dogs – don’t believe in ’em unless the dog has a medical issue. However, the point about overfeeding pets is well-taken.
It’s like you don’t want Shibas to have toys.
The article also mentioned overconsumption in relation to pets that can put a strain on our resources. Ouch. While I don’t buy cutesy little outfits for Tierce –
– his toys are overflowing his toybox. Yes, the dog has a toybox and every so often, he decides he wants a toy out of it. The bottom toy. He’s learned how to take his toys out of the box, but he hasn’t learned to put them away, the slob.
How do we stop our Shibas from chewing up Mother Nature?
Well, putting your fatass dog on a diet is a good first step. However, despite the CVMA’s support of commercial diets (to be fair, I think they have a point when it comes to cost and convenience and certainly a commercially prepared diet is better than a homemade diet that is not balanced properly), dogs have existed for thousands of years off the scraps from human tables.
If one was really serious about reducing their pet’s pawprint, a homemade diet might well be best. Of course, to be optimal, it would follow that the human diet would have to be equally free of commercially processed junk foods. Win-win?
Other advice from the article indicates that perhaps limiting your Shiba intake to several rather than the hundreds we all long to possess is a responsible thing for our planet. There goes my plan for that Shiba sled team. I weigh [COUGH] pounds, so I’d probably need about 25 of the little buggers just to get me and my sled down a gentle incline.
And, of course, buying your Shiba expensive hats and coats is totally out-out-out. Unless you’re attending the Shiba Prom. A formal outfit once a year for a good cause is, in my opinion, not too much to ask our fair planet to accommodate.