Human food trends are influencing pet food

10/24/2012

Famous chefs are getting into the food business for canines, and vegan and gourmet meals for Fido are replacing kibble.

An article in the Huffington Post reports that pet food is being influenced by human food as more bars and restaurants welcome dogs with their human owners, offering canine-friendly menus and "yappy hours."

Websites such as bringfido.com and dogfriendly.com offer guides to thousands of restaurants around the world that welcome dogs and include dog food menus.

Just as health and wellness is driving human food innovations, pet food is as well with a trend toward raw, organic, and home-prepared food.

The hottest diet for dogs is based on raw foods. Called BARF–Bones and Raw Food or Biologically-Appropriate Raw Food–it's equivalent to the human Caveman or Paleo diet.

The article reports that high-end butchers sometimes cater to BARFers, with the daily diet for a Golden Retriever consisting of 12 raw (of course) chicken necks, an egg or yogurt, pureed raw vegetables with oil, plus weekly supplements of uncooked organ meats such as tripe or heart.



Chefs are getting into the pet food business, with Rachael Ray promoting home-style pooch food. There's even a cookbook called The Culinary Canine: Great Chefs Cook for Their Dogs and So Can You! that features famous chefs and their recipes for dogs.

On the other extreme, as more people go vegan or vegetarian, so are their pets. "Besides vegetables, vegan dogs eat rice, lentils, soy products, and spaghetti with tomato sauce, reported to be a doggie favorite even without the meatballs," said the Huffington Post.


And what would dogs wash this gourmet food down with? Today's dogs have drinks that are just as elaborate, everyting from bottled water in Toilet or Gutter flavour, Puppuccino served in barista-style cups, to specially-brewed Bowser Beer.

The Post reports there's even a doggie wine and scotch, which is reported to taste like liquefied turkey products.

When it comes to desserts, pets can indulge in red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing and foie gras-flavoured ice cream, rawhide waffles with baked-in syrup and popcorn that tastes like bacon.

Some of the doggie desserts are shaped like bones, others look like bagels, donuts, or martinis.

There's even new tableware to make it easier for dog to eat like humans. A wine glass and plate, by Alice Wang for Pet Plus, is specially shaped for dogs to dine with their owners without making a mess, while other new dishware for dogs include talking bowls that encourage dogs to finish their meals, an interactive feeder that sharpens dogs' brains by making then solve puzzles to get their  food, and a drinking fountain that encourages them to stay well-hydrated.

For dogs with health conditions, there are special foods. And for canines packing on a little extra weight, there are even low-carb dog foods and treats, low-fat dog chews, bowls that control portion size, plus canine treadmills.


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