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Sauce up your dog's life

Manufacturers are now offering dog sauces in such flavors as pot roast, bacon and country chicken -- enough to get the mouth of both you and your dog watering. Manufacturers are now offering dog sauces in such flavors as pot roast, bacon and country chicken -- enough to get the mouth of both you and your dog watering.
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By Jennifer Viegas, Studio One Networks

When the kidneys of Laura Alderman's elderly dog began to fail, a veterinarian advised the San Antonio resident to encourage her pet to drink as much water as possible. This was no easy task until Alderman had a lightbulb moment: Her dog loved gravy. She watered down some commercial dog sauce, offered it to her pooch and the liquid was gone in no time.

Enticing your dog to drink its water is just one of many uses for dog sauce, which is now prepared by leading pet food manufacturers. Here are five other ways you can incorporate these savory and nutritious mixtures into your dog's life and diet.

No. 1: Enhance meals

Lisa Peterson, a well-known dog breeder and spokesperson for the American Kennel Club, says for some dogs, "Eating cold food out of a can is comparable to eating cold canned tuna straight out of the fridge: filling, but not very satisfying." To turn a ho-hum meal into a mini masterpiece, simply add dog sauce to dry or wet dog food and microwave until just warm, or for about 30 seconds.  

No. 2: Add variety to your dog's food

Changing foods, and even flavors, can be tricky, according to Peterson, who advises that all such switches should incorporate a transitional period because dogs, not unlike humans and other animals, can be creatures of habit. An easy way to maintain your dog's diet while still adding a bit of new zip? Top your buddy's food with sauce. Manufacturers are now offering dog sauces in such flavors as pot roast, bacon and country chicken -- enough to get the mouth of both you and your dog watering. (But it goes without saying that dog gravies are especially formulated for canines.) 

No. 3: Sneak medicine into the gravy

Your dog may go to great lengths not to take prescribed pills, but accepting a spoonful of yummy gravy is another story. "Just put a pill in the middle of a spoon and pour some gravy over it," Peterson instructs. "Your dog will probably lap it up in one lick."

No. 4: Supplement your dog's nutrition

While quality commercial pet foods are formulated to include just the right amount of nutrients, dog gravy can supplement them without disrupting regular mealtimes or adding too much fat. Look for pet gravies that contain 3 percent or more protein, 1.5 percent or more fiber and moisture not exceeding 90 percent.

No. 5: Incorporate dog gravy into training sessions

What's better than a dog biscuit reward? A dog biscuit that has a bit of gravy on it, says Peterson. Canines can connect rewards to positive behavior, as can humans. Humans note the quality and size of the reward; for example, if a friend does a minor favor for you, you may reward him or her with a little gift, but if your friend really goes all out, you may offer an even bigger gift. Use this psychology when adding gravy to dog biscuits during training, saving the extra yum-o factor for when your dog earns an A+, or in this case, a biscuit plus sauce.

The Dos and Don'ts of Sauce for Dogs

Don't ever feed your dog gravy meant for humans. It often contains too much salt and could include ingredients, like onions, that are toxic for canines.

Do select a sauce for dogs that is appropriate for your pet's stage of life. Sauces are often made specifically for puppies, adults and mature dogs. Check labels to make sure you choose the right one.

Do store sauces for your dog in the refrigerator after opening. They will generally last for up to a month.

Don't ever substitute dog sauce for an actual meal. Like salad dressing, sauce for dogs is meant to be an addition to food and not a replacement for it. Once you start using sauces for your dog, however, you'll likely find that they're a handy staple. Alderman keeps a stash in her refrigerator, for both her elderly canine and her younger dogs, which now crave a bit of gravy goodness each day.

Copyright (c) 2009 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

About The Author: Jennifer Viegas is the managing editor of The Dog Daily. She has authored more than 20 books on animal, science and nature topics.
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