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Can Dogs Help Us Eat Better?

From ancient times dogs have benefited human beings.   They participated in hunting;  they guarded, protected, carried and fetched.  

Dogs still do all these things, plus they guide the blind, alert the deaf to noises, warn of impending epileptic seizures, assist the crippled, comfort the ill, depressed or institutionalized, diagnose melanoma, locate people buried in avalanches, earthquakes or bombings, and find contraband such as drugs, explosives and illegally transported agricultural products.  On farms they guard the sheep, round up cows, eradicate vermin, herd and guard.   Dogs like to work.

For most of us, however, dogs fulfill more mundane responsibilities:

  • Dogs are natural bootlicking sycophants, therefore making sure someone adores you.
  • Dogs do a lot of disgusting personal hygiene, therefore allowing us to get shouting out of our systems.  ("If you're going to do  that, do it outside!")
  • Dogs alert us to intruders.  ("No!  No!  That's the refrigerator repairman.  Come baaaack!")
  • Dogs help us get up early.  ("Nooooo, not yet.  Hold it for a while, please!  Oh, darn!")
  • Dogs help us get to know our neighbors. ("Don't get so hot under the collar!   I'll be right back with the pooper-scooper.")
  • Dogs bring us things, therefore adding decorative tooth-marks to items like slippers and the newspaper.
  • Dogs alert us to the presence of nasty things in our yard. (Phew!! What did you roll in?)
  • Dogs are always there for us.  ("Do you always have to lay in the doorway?   Moooooove!")
  • Dogs help us budget our money.  ("The vaccinations and worming cost how much?")
  • Dogs help us eat a healthier, tastier diet.

Wait a minute!  How in the world can dogs help us eat better?

Here's how:                                   

  • When you exercise, you enjoy your food more and can eat more of it without gaining weight.  Dogs are always desperate to play and are a perfect vehicle for exercising.
  • You can (sometimes must) take dogs for a walk or run, whereas, when by yourself, you may encounter muggers, acosters, comedians ("Hey, see that fat lady running!"), the terminally curious, etc.   See previous point about exercise.
  • One reason many people overeat is to comfort themselves.  Next time you inappropriately get the munchies, do an experiment.  Talk to, pet or play with your dog instead.  The resulting endorphin high may be a satisfactory substitute, helping to control those unhealthy eating urges.
  • Dogs need to be watered regularly, reminding you of your need to drink more fluids for good health.
  • Dogs are always trying to lick your hands, therefore encouraging you to wash up more often, which leads to more sanitary food preparation.
  • Dogs, except for the best behaved ones, will steal food that's left out unattended, therefore reminding you to store food promptly, avoiding food poisoning.
  • Dogs clean up things you drop on the floor, like eggs.  If you drop things a lot, you can train one to do sentry duty, keeping your kitchen floor from getting slippery while you cook.
  • Dogs love leftovers.  Forget cleaning your plate to save starving children in some foreign country (never worked that way anyhow).  Scrape contents of plates, pans and serving dishes into a refrigerator container to later add to your dogs' dry food.   They love leftover bread, salad, vegetables, egg, rice, pasta, sauces, almost anything.  Avoid a lot of fat; just as it's not healthy for you, it isn't good for them either.
  • You can enjoy many healthful choices like beans, cabbage, peppers, cauliflower and   broccoli, and then blame any resulting flatulence on the dog whether or not it's true.  (Note #1)
  • Dogs love meat trimmings.  You should trim all the visible fat and gristle from your meats, and may be more likely to do so thoroughly if you know it won't go to waste. (Note #2)
  • Well trained dogs will lay quietly at a respectful distance from the dining table or underneath it, where you can slip them morsels of skin, fat and gristle (Note # 3).  The sight of those sad eyes telegraphing "I'm staaaarving" will help you avoid eating these yummy bits yourself to the detriment of your health.

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