My friends Marianne and Julien are the sweetest, kindest people you’d ever like to know — and they are devoted to their darling rescued mutt, Sammie. They are both brilliant retired college professors, so I was astonished to discover that their ideas about canine nutrition and wellness were stuck in the Dark Ages! They had been giving Sammie only one meal a day, and feeding him pretty much nothing but the same kibble for years!
Those of you who have heard my radio shows over the years — or read my blogs — know how passionate I am about canine and feline nutrition and “myth busting” and high quality ingredients and thinking independently for our individual circumstances. So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to keep a smiling expression and calm tone of voice when I said, “WHAT?! One measly meal at 5:00 PM?”
I really didn’t mean to make them feel bad about what they thought was “the right way” to feed a dog, but it amazed me that they hadn’t come across more enlightened ideas about how all dogs do best with two meals a day. They digest better… it lowers the risk of (life-threatening) bloat… for smaller dogs it prevents the low blood sugar issues that happen when a dog has to fast for 24 hours… and for most dogs it makes them less frantic about food, generally. Beyond the actual dangers of leaving a dog’s stomach completely empty for 24 hours, imagine how incredibly hungry a dog would be having to go from morning throughout an entire day with only that one meal at teatime.
I also had to explain to Marianne that feeding only dry food — which is the most processed version of dog food — doesn’t give a dog the more complete and fulfilling nutrition that comes by substituting about half the kibble with cooked or canned meat, chicken, fish, scrambled eggs and/or cottage cheese. There are also many fine dehydrated foods containing protein, vegetable, fruits and fiber to make up some of the calories, too. An essential point is to change up the protein in all the forms of the foods so that, over time, the dog gets a wider range of nutrition sources by switching up kibble made of fowl, fish or meat with each bag and rotating the proteins that you cook yourself or get from a can.
I recommended Halo foods to my friends because of the company’s philosophies of humane practices that are good for the planet as well as our pets — which is why I’ve been giving their different kibble to my girls, Maisie and Wanda, for their whole lives. Their pal Sammie is now gratefully getting both breakfast and dinner. He’s started his first bag of kibble with Halo Holistic Wild Salmon and Whitefish Recipe and — because Marianne is a vegetarian — some Halo Holistic Garden of Vegan Recipe canned food along with a scoop of cottage cheese.
Life is good for Sammie — his people are so happy to be giving him the very best — and I hope anyone else only feeding one meal a day to their dog will read this and quickly change their ways.
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.
Tracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.
Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.