Pet Prepping: Dog Food or Table Scraps? |

My boy looking good

I was sitting in a restaurant chatting with an older gentleman from Iowa about a month ago and I’m not sure how we got on the topic of dog food but this is what he said: “Dog food?  What is dog food?  When I was growing up the dog ate table scraps and that was that.  Matter of fact one time we bought a bag of dog food and dad told us to take it back, either the dog ate what we threw off the table or it didn’t eat.”  His sentiments were one also shared by another of my older motorcycle buddies who had a dog growing up.  The dog ate the scraps and that was that, and the dog lived to be 18 years old.  In his words: “That dog refused to die!”  These days things are a little bit different in that regular dog food in a bag just won’t cut it for most folks.  There are all sorts of brands, styles, food mixes and very high end boutique brands which promise many health benefits for our beloved fur babies.  With all that in mind I decided to do a little research on the history of dog food, most of which can be found at this link.  A snippet here:

In 1964, The Pet Food Institute (a group of pet food industry lobbyists) launched a series of ad campaigns to convince consumers that commercially prepared dog food was the only option to feed. The campaigns were hugely successful in convincing the American public that their dogs’ diets should be kibble-based and were reminiscent of the early marketing strategies employed by James Spratt so many years before.

Once kibble had been established as the leading pet food option, advertising strategies became more niche-based to differentiate brands. By the 1980s, Hill’s Pet Nutrition had introduced prescription kibble for different ailments (like kidney and liver failure) and continued to diversify by the 1990s, producing kibble based on individual activity level for weight management.

It would appear that a heavy dose of marketing has helped to influence the public that kibble is better for your dog and although not a scientist I’d like to think that a consistent diet of various kibble ingredients is probably better than leftover table scraps.  BUT WAIT.  Did I just say that commercially produced dog kibble is better than the food we put in our own bodies?  Who knows, I suppose it’s all up to personal preference, I know my dogs would prefer bacon and steak / potatoes scraps over some dry kibble.

Next Level: How Much?

When we consider how much we love our pets consider a situation where there is only so much food left and you can: A) Continue to feed fido and your food supply runs out in a month B) Send fido to the rainbow bridge and your food supply lasts almost two months.  That’s something we all want to avoid so consider stockpiling for them as well which leads to the next question of how much?

According to Zignature it goes like this:

Adult dogs should be fed depending on their weight and level of activity. Assuming your dog has a typical activity level, toy breeds should have about ¼ cups to 1 cup, small breeds should have about 1 cup to 1 2/5 cup, medium breeds should have about 2 cups to 2 2/3 cups, and large breeds should have about 2 4/5 cups to 3 cups.

That’s definitely loose math in that my male German Shepherd eats more than 3 cups a day but it does make doing the calculations easier.  A 40lb bag of food has 160 cups which means on average it should last around 53 days.  For me that means I need 12 bags of 40 lb food at around $55 a bag, $2200 for a 1 year supply.   Seems like a lot when you consider what a 1 year supply of food for a single person costs nominally more depending on where you purchase it from.  Compound that with multiple dogs and wow, bust out the credit card.

If you’re wondering what my GSD eats, I’ve tried many brands (Taste of the Wild, Blue, Eukanuba) and he has been on Wholesomes Chicken and Rice for years now with great results.

The Bottom Line

People love dogs (and cats, and other pets but this is about dogs) and probably plan on using dogs in a post SHTF environment for a watch / guard animal or just a nice companion.  The fact is dogs eat just like we do and eat quite a bit, while this diet could be modified during a shortage if not planned for it could come down to who gets to eat in which case, dog loses every single time.  We can all work to prevent this by stockpiling a little extra every time for fido, be it some extra storage food / canned food / kibble or whatever.  I think the important thing here is to understand the math and how much you need.  Good luck!


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