How Dinner Music Makes My Dogs' Day
Who doesn't love a little dinner music? I'll tell you who definitely does: my five rescue dogs. Twice a day, I start singing the special songs I've made up to pair with their meals — like a foodie might pair a wine with a fancy cheese — and they go wild.
Three of the author's five dogs, Chloe, Dexter and Abbi, enjoy their mom's singing before dinner.
Photo Credit: Kerri Fivecoat Campbell
In the morning, it might be the "Chick, Chick, Chicky" song if they're getting a little splash of low-sodium, organic chicken broth on their kibble. In the evening, it's "Peanut Butter, for Peanut Butter Heads!" when they get a little natural PB as an appetizer. A couple of times a week, it's "Easy Cheesy" or "Canned Food Delight."
My original songs won't send me down the red carpet at any award shows, but they enhance my furkids' meals. We humans think a lot about our dining experience, from where we eat to how our ingredients were grown. I think my pups' mealtimes deserve a little special something, too. After all, I spend a lot of time making sure my pack has the right food, so I might as well make eating it an experience.
Finding My Song
I've always loved music. When I was in my 20s, Angel, my Maltese, loved it when I would pick her up and sing and dance to music on the stereo. If I turned on music, she would come and jump on my leg, wanting to dance.
When she grew old and became ill and I had a hard time getting her to eat, I began singing to her, which seemed to help inspire her to eat. That's when it clicked. Music turns simply eating into the pleasure of dining, whether you're a human or a dog.
Providing Finer Dining for My Pups
Each of my dogs reacts a little differently to the tunes that accompany their little pre-meal treat. Sweet Sade Sue doesn't like peanut butter, so she's less enthusiastic during that song, but Abbi loves it, so she comes running. Sade and Chloe know the cheese song will yield their favorite treat, and every dog comes running during "Canned Food Delight."
I recently got more confirmation about the power of my dinner music when my husband fed them dinner while I was at a party. When I came home, Abbi came running over and sat by the peanut butter cabinet.
"Didn't you give them their peanut butter?" I asked my husband. He had, but Abbi wouldn't budge until I sang the song. Once I sang to her and gave her a bit more, she went and laid down, contented.
Mealtime for our pups is definitely an experience in our home. I get to share my love of music with them and it's our little thing we share together. It makes our bond stronger, and it gets them excited to enjoy their meal, almost as if I'm handing out a big T-bone in a five-star restaurant. All because of a little song.
What type of mealtime routines do you have with your dogs that helps enhance their dining experience?
*A special note from Big Heart Pet's Dr. Leslie: A little indulgence doesn't have to be harmful so long as you are responsible with snacking. Healthy snacks for dogs means only feeding 10% of your dog's or cat's daily calories from treats and snacks. As a general rule, a five-pound dog can have up to 20 kcal per day in treats, a 15-pound dog can have up to 30 kcal per day in treats, a 20-pound dog can have 40 kcal per day in treats and so on. Treats can be healthy snacks such as Milk-Bone® dog snacks and Milo's Kitchen® treats or healthy human foods that are safe for dogs, such as baby carrots (5 kcal each), air-popped popcorn (31 kcal per cup), or watermelon cubes (46 kcal/cup).
Avoid foods known to be toxic to dogs such as avocado, macadamia nuts, chocolate, grapes, garlic, onion or anything with artificial sweeteners. As for when and where to give treats, make sure the time and place you offer treats is where you'd want them asking for more. Offering treats from the table or food preparation area may instill some bad begging behaviors and could contaminate a healthy eating space.*
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