TRACIE HOTCHNER: PASTA FOR POOCHES

Recently there was a question that came into the HALO blog wondering if it was okay to cook pasta for your dog – because the person had seen spiral pasta in the Halo Spot’s Stew canned chicken dinner. Dr. Donna Spector, who answers medical and nutrition questions for the company, said that pasta was fine to give to dogs, although it did depend on how much pasta and “how much dog!” When considering pasta for pooches, you have to factor in that dog’s calorie needs, his body condition (slim, “just right” or chubby), and his exercise level and lifestyle – as well as what else is going into his bowl.

I just want to say that I have been a big fan of pasta for dogs for a long time and was thrilled to see it in the Halo food. I spent part of my childhood in Italy and lived there several times as an adult, and I was always fascinated by the big bags of pasta made especially for dogs, made from unbleached (whole wheat) flour. I spent quite a bit of time in Italy with my dogs (named, appropriately, Roma and Amalfi), and I loved cooking up batches of “dog pasta” for them and adding various vegetables and then meats in a can (which made for a more balanced meal, although I also gave vitamins to make sure there was a proper balance of nutrients). The dogs really loved the pasta – and it seemed to satisfy their hunger, even if I didn’t give much of it.

My Italian canine diet was the beginning of my understanding that a dog does well on a varied diet with ingredients from all the food groups – in moderation, and in balance. When I researched “The Dog Bible” I discovered that in the veterinary school textbooks discussing proper canine nutrition, there were recipes in the back for dogs that were both well and ill and they included very few ingredients, but always included a starch. In “The Dog Bible” and on my radio shows I refer to including and rotating a starch like rice, potatoes or pasta to balance out the meat and vegetables.

There is nothing inherently fattening about pasta (for people or dogs) if the portion is small. All in all, I say, Buon appetito! Dig right in.

You can also read “Halo’s Philosophy on Grains for Dogs and Cats”.

Tracie Hotchner, author of The Dog Bible and The Cat Bible, guest blogs here every Thursday on healthy, natural choices for pets.

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