Monday, March 3, 2008

Dog's Health

(This blog originally posted on 11/22/2005.)

The other day, on a long cross country flight, Ms. X found herself thumbing through a copy of Men's Health Magazine abandoned in the seat back by a man in presumably perfect health (but why did he buy the copy in the first place? maybe he thought it said "Men's Wealth"...
oh, never mind).

On page after page she read promotions for vitamins and supplements; each sure to reduce your chances of having strokes, colon cancer, Alzheimers or this or that ailment. Each one had research supporting it's claims.

Now Ms. X has taken salmon oil supplements ever since Miss X announced her intentions many years ago. So her salmon oil lubricated brain flows thoughts along at a slicker than normal rate. And a question flowed by as she studied Men's Health.... Where's this kind of information for dogs?

Ch. Super Super Dog's breed club sent out a flier: "Send us five dollars and a quarter inch of dead puppy dog tail and we'll guess at how many genes you have to remove from Fido's gene pool to cure heart disease forever!

IF you ignore our request, or throw it in the trash you are a Bad breeder!"

Wouldn't it be easier to give Fido a salmon oil capsule every day?

"Our kibbles are 100 percent completely nutritionally balanced! Do Not Supplement!" Bark the dog food manufacturers.

And the breed club sends out another flier: "The Scientists of Top Dog Food Company present - 'Dangers of a homemade diet' at next months BIG SHOW. (If you don't come you're a Bad breeder!)"

So we have a catch-22.

The dog food manufacturers are interested in meeting minimal nutritional standards and maximizing profit. The breeders are interested in funding gene research, because they feel empowered to think they could eliminate a disease merely by selecting against it. After all, breeders have no control over what's in the kibble. And the kibble manufacturers want to control profits.

So Fido is caught in the middle, unable to read Men's Health. Maybe the geneticists could work on curing canine illiteracy. Ms. X might even donate a few whiskers for that, but the tails stay here.

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