The Trick to a Healthy Hound

Variety+CoolerKeeping your dog’s diet healthy during the summer can be a difficult task. After a long, hot summer day, it can be tempting to just throw some kibble into a dish and let your dog dine on dry food alone. Louisville’s Karla Haas understands – and wants to share some of her expert tips on keeping your pup healthy and happy throughout the summer heat.

When her dog Rudy Green was struck with a bleeding ulcer, dog mom Haas started to cook special foods to help him heal. She quickly realized how much healthier and happier Rudy was, so she started Rudy Green’s Doggy Cuisine to share her expertise and natural dog snacks with the rest of the dog-loving community. And after you heed a few of her tips, your pup will almost certainly want to give you a round of “appaws.”

Add Variety

“Cooking a full meal for your dog can often be cost-prohibitive and too time-consuming,” Haas asserts. However, she suggests that just adding a few bites of your dinner to your dog’s kibble regimen can go a long way. “If you and I ate nothing but tofu, oatmeal and broccoli every day, we’d be missing something,” she compares.

“So if you’re grilling chicken breasts, steaming rice or steaming vegetables, add a few pieces to your dog’s dish,” she suggests. Just be sure to avoid heavy seasonings, fats and foods like onions or raisins – lean meats, most vegetables and grains are great for your pup to eat.

Haas also notes that just like us, dogs have a personal sense of taste, so they’ll love some foods and reject others. The next time you’re cooking your favorite meal, give your dog a piece, as long as it’s safe, and see if it might be his favorite too!

TMC bowlUse Real “Human” Foods

Haas knows that most dogs live off kibble but also that dry food is typically processed and cooked at 600 degrees. “Basically, you’re giving them cardboard,” Haas contends. The oil covering your dog’s kibble is really where the flavor and nutrients come from, and many dogs don’t absorb those artificial nutrients well.

Adding in some natural foods – like the aforementioned leans meats, veggies and grains – can help your dog to get the vitamins and minerals he needs to stay healthy and happy. “You wouldn’t feed your kid a Cheerio meal every day of their life,” says Haas, “so why would you feed your furry kid on cardboard nuggets?” Just like for humans, chemical preservatives and intense food processing techniques aren’t terrific for dogs, so adding in some meat that hasn’t been heated to 600 degrees can really make dinnertime a happy occasion for your pup.

Rudy Green’s Doggy Cuisine makes gently cooked “human food made for dogs.” It’s the only pet food company in the country that makes human-edible food in a USDA and FDA monitored facility – that means that by law, a human can eat Rudy Green’s too. Haas suggests adding Rudy Green’s products as a topping to your dog’s dish, or saving them for a special treat.

Karla Haas with recent rescued lab pups.

Karla Haas with recent rescued lab pups.

Don’t Forget to Fetch!

Haas finally notes that it’s important to get your dog outside and moving. Even older dogs need to get outside at least once a day for a short walk. Just watch out for the heat since your dog’s pads can burn on the hot pavement, and be sure to give your dog lots of fresh, clean water. Fresh water is important for both humans and dogs in the same way fresh food is, so be sure to refill your pooch’s water dish if it’s full of leaves or has been sitting out for a while.

Haas remarks that “dogs’ lives are much shorter than ours, so everything in their environment affects them much more intensely – everything they consume and everything to which they are exposed.” So every daily walk, filled water bowl and bite of fresh food means that much more to your dog. “After all,” Haas says, “we’re talking dog years here!”

And your dog will surely thank you for following Haas’ tips. To keep your pup healthy and happy, nutrition is key. Just like us, they’re responsive to good nutrition and lifestyle choices. Haas reminds us that “they can’t make the choices, but we can – and the response that you can see in them is amazing, not only in their health but in their joy as well.”

This summer is the perfect time to add a little variety and some real “human” food into your dog’s diet. With Rudy Green’s on your side, keeping your pup healthy and happy isn’t far-fetched at all. VT

Story by GRAHAM PILOTTE

Photos courtesy of Karla Haas