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They Are What They Eat

Man, what to feed your dog is a complicated matter.

When we adopted Wiley, she was too timid to eat much for a few days, but once she settled in, she became quite the chowhound. I like that, because she’ll work just as hard for kibble as she will for high-value treats.

Because she was rescued from the streets of Oakland, I just assumed she’d have a cast-iron stomach, but instead she has a sensitive system. She’ll eat just about any kind of treat, and she always licks clean her bowl, Kong, or puzzle. But far too often if I allow something new to enter her diet, it throws her intestines for a loop. So I stick with what I know works and fill in the poopy times with boiled chicken and rice.

This month, Bay Woof invited a number of canine food and treat experts, purveyors, and makers — including Kasie Maxwell of SFRAW, Greg Major of EcoPawz, Nicole Matos of Wizzos Pup Treats, and Dr. Jennifer Strasser of SAGE Veterinary Clinics — to talk about canine nutrition. They cover a wide range of topics, from understanding confusing pet food product labels and the ins and outs of ketogenic diets to why real whole foods matter.

Real whole foods are what two dog food companies — Oakland’s NomNomNow and Southern California’s Just Food For Dogs — are putting into the products they are turning out for today’s dog bowls. This stuff looks delicious enough for humans to eat, and the recipes use restaurant-quality ingredients. Read some basics about both companies in “What’s Your Dog Eating?” on page 11. Wiley has sampled recipes from both companies, gobbling them up with gusto. Gut issues followed. We haven’t made a transition, and I’m almost ashamed to admit she eats kibble.

Greg Major, whose EcoPawz company makes Wiley’s Treats, understands the appeal of kibble: It’s like fast food, he told Bay Woof, so of course dogs love it. He firmly believes in varying his Westie’s diet (whose name is also Wiley and also has a sensitive stomach) and rotates in trusted products from others. He takes a common sense approach to feeding and simply advises this: People should feed their dogs food. Period. 

Main article photo by: Courtesy NomNomNow