If you have ever watched a dog, off-leash, and free to investigate the great outdoors, you know that, besides running and frolicking, most dogs will eat an array of really disgusting stuff off the ground. This ranges from insects to excrement and dead rotting animal parts. Just this week I have wrestled a maggot-covered deer leg away from my dog, as well as verbally discouraged her from eating another dog’s excrement. Still, I spend top dollar when it comes to my dog’s everyday food, and have sourced out a dog food company that is reputable and environmentally responsible. In addition, I provide organic dog treats and frequently give her probiotics to keep her system balanced and healthy. I do all this knowing full well that my dog electively eats dead things off the ground. Cognitive dissonance? Maybe.
Still, as conscious consumers we know that conventional dog food is basically a receptacle for all kinds of substandard scraps and filler, and we can’t help but wanting something more wholesome for our dogs, even if they would willingly eat putrid slaughterhouse scraps. There is a new development to bring the kind of farm-to-table ethos to the dog food sector, it is called, what else, Farm-to-dog. This premium mix can include anything from fresh from the farm vegetables to leftover meat scraps from locally sourced and pastured animals. As reported by NPR earlier this week, many producers offering farm-to-fido dog food say it’s a healthful option for pets that also helps farmers and ranchers while cutting down on food waste. It can also help the environment. For instance, the product Wendy is developing is made from wild blue catfish, an invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay. But unlike the 30lb bag of dog food that lasts your dog 6 weeks and costs under $40, some of these options cost $10 per day, not for the fixed income animal lover to be sure. There has been a growing trend around raw foods (particularly raw meat blends) for pets, but this more custom model brings in meat, veggies, and a generally more healthful profile for both dogs and cats as well.
Is this just another thing for gullible pet owners to waste their money on, or is it a healthy food option that makes sense for both animals and the larger environment. Feel free to weigh in.