|An old photo but this gives you the idea of how the White Dog Army Queen dines.|
"Why did we have to change?" she moaned. "I loved the old kibble." "How about the fact that you are the one who always gets bored and refuses to eat your kibble until I add something special and then after a few days you want things back to normal," Steve countered. "Be daring, embrace the change."
Last week when Bella saw Dr. Julia for her annual wellness exam, our vet suggested that since Sachi was having difficulty losing weight and that Bella, too, could stand a bit of weight reduction, that we might consider on of the new "diet dog foods" that are becoming available.
I had several issues with her suggestion. One, the dogs are not separated for meals so special diets for some would not be easy to accomplish. Second, I prefer a diet that is fish protein based rather than the chicken that is prevalent in those diet foods; I believe it is a healthier choice for my northern breed dogs and when pressed Dr. Julia has no counterargument especially given the state of the WDA's coat, skin, and eyesight. Third, the idea of "diet" food reminds me of the nasty concoctions and substitutions that pass as human "diet" food.
We agreed that an increase in the veggie content added to their kibble would be a good choice and that finding a kibble that split the fat content between the 19% of the current choice and the 10% of diet food would help as well. Of course we would continue to cook fresh veggies and Norwegian mackerel and lower starch proportions.
White Dog was fearful that she was going to lose out on flavor in the name of a healthier senior choice. WD was raised with the help of a classically trained culinary chef who taught her that flavor and texture are essential to well being and proper nutrition. She was not prepared to yield.
I had done my research. Zignature (a small brand out of California) produces a very healthy kibble without chicken products based on trout and salmon proteins. The fat content was halfway between what they had been getting and Dr. Julia's diet foods...and they were healthy omega fats. With the change we shave about 40 calories a serving from the WDA dinners. Zsofia was delighted to know that she would actually be getting more food as a result of this caloric reduction. It was rated 4.5 stars on dogfoodadvisor.com
White Dog can be a picky eater. Rather, she sniffs and turns away and wants you to play the "Beg Me" game, a favorite of the American Eskimo breed. Steve sat on the chair next to her and hand picked a kibble out of the bowl. "Try it," he encouraged. "WD lifted her nose. By now, all of her siblings were gathered around, volunteers should she NOT eat. "Everyone else loved it," Steve patiently continued. She took the kibble and held it in her mouth. "See it is pretty good, huh?" WD looked out of the window. He offered another piece. She took it. "Come on, eat your food," Steve said tapping the bowl. She laid down on the cushion.
"Please," Steve said looking into her eyes, "Eat. You need to keep up your strength. It is good for you." She looked expectantly, "Feed me."
"Little White Dog of My Heart, if you do not begin eating in two minutes, I will have dad take up your bowl and you will not eat until dinner...and that includes no treats." She looked at me gauging whether she should challenge me. "I mean it! Two minutes. You choose."
"I think she is serious," Steve told her. He offered a final piece of kibble which she took before bending her head to the bowl.
Guess what? Not a single crumb was left behind when she jumped down and went behind the chair, refusing to acknowledge that the new food was pretty darn good.