My Dog, the Would-be Vegetarian

mugsyblog2I don’t know about you, but I grew up believing that dogs were carnivores, like lions and wolves. Either I was led astray, or my dog is the exception to the rule. Knowing Mugsy as I do, I suspect the latter is more likely the case.

Mugsy’s favorite food is broccoli. Raw. Mushrooms (again raw) are a close second. The only vegetable so far that I’ve been able to determine he does not adore is scallions. He will, mind you, eat raw Vidalia or red onions. He also loves fruit. Apples, berries, bananas, pears… I haven’t tried oranges yet, but I don’t foresee a problem there. In fact, he’d probably even eat the peel. The truth is, he pretty much inhales anything you put in front of him and even what you don’t, and I do not qualify that as anything edible. He regularly consumes my socks. From what I’ve seen, there is nothing, except the aforementioned scallions, that Mugsy deems unfit for consumption. You get my drift.

This is not to say he doesn’t desire his “prescribed diet” of dog food when it presents itself, which contains not entirely meat, but a fair degree of meat (again, misconceptions from a dogless childhood: dog food is made from ground up meat.) In actuality, dog food is made from meat byproducts, which I have concluded means ground up bones and skin and whatever is left hanging on between the two, and things like corn meal, peas, carrots, potatoes… you know, vegetables!

I asked my neighbor Alice what her dog Sarah likes to consume in the way of human food. Sarah, in spite of her mixed breed heritage, is very regal in features and stature and behaves with the utmost decorum at all times, giving one the impression she could be descended from royalty. To be perfectly honest, I was expecting Alice to say something along the lines of, “Oh, you know, cucumber finger sandwiches and cavier with sour cream on toast.” She surprised me, however, by scoffing at my suggestion that Sarah would ever come in contact with human food in the first place. “Don’t you know,” she said, wagging a finger at me, eyebrows knitted together in consternation, “that people food is bad for dogs???” That was the end of that conversation, as I tucked my tail between my legs and slunk home. Of course I know this! Don’t we all?? But to be fair, it’s not like I feed Mugsy Doritos and Hostess Twinkies. I mean, really, how could a little broccoli be bad for him??

Which leaves me wondering if dogs were carnivorous to begin with, and those wily, scheming dog food producers figured out if they substituted a portion of vegetables for meat, not only would they make a healthy profit but the dogs would learn to like it over time; in fact, have evolved into a state of omnivorism as a result…Or have dogs always been omnivorous and I just didn’t know it? OR, are dogs vegetarians at heart, and we just won’t let them be true to their nature?

In Mugsy’s case, I blame it on his environment. He is, after all, living in Ashland. While I myself have resisted the pressure to ‘go vegan’ here, most people don’t have my strength of character. It is through sheer willpower that I don’t succumb, and shun everything that has any connection to anything that grazes, pecks, browses, or stands still while you squeeze its mammary glands without benefit of courtship. Mugsy, clearly, is more easily influenced by his environment.

It’s okay, the truth is, I find that if I give him little samples of raw vegetables as I’m preparing a meal he’s more responsive to my directions, like come, sit, and stay.  This is good practice for other facets of ‘real life.’ Now if only I could be fast enough on my feet to whip out the broccoli when he snatches my socks out of the dryer and takes off running.

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4 Responses to “My Dog, the Would-be Vegetarian”

  1. I still hate Mugsy!

  2. As do I… but he still loves you!! He misses you. “Where is that Bindo? He fed me the best vegetables!” he says. I try to console him as best I can, but you know, he just ignores me. He says your broccoli was better.

  3. My dogs love veggies, too. Of course, they’re not fat, so like yours, they’ll eat anything. But, FTY, a dog trainer I used once suggested veggies as a dietary addition. He said dogs (or their ancestors) in the wild are omnivores and that eating raw veggies is good for their digestive system.

    And for dieting dogs :-), a low cal treat.

  4. Just as I suspected… thanks Pamela.

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