While it may be that in Japan, 7% of dog owners eat dog food, that number in Italy rises to a steep 100% of Italians. In fact, the figure includes all Italians, even those who don’t own dogs.
That’s because, in Italy, dogs eat pasta. Not exactly DeCecco or Barilla, but, walk into any supermarket, and you will find enormous bags of cute twirled pasta -- for dogs. In the Japanese survey, 50% bought dog food based on tastes a dog likes. Let’s be clear: did Fido actually tell them what he truly likes? Because, if it were up to him, the flavors on offer would not be beef, chicken or turkey with vegetables. If our dogs could choose, it’d be more like squirrel, pigeon and fox varieties (that’s especially for Setters in the UK).
But what kills me is that in the end, each population chooses what they, themselves eat. I had an aunt who made her little dachshund a breakfast of eggs, toast and sausage every single morning. Needless to say, he died of hardening of the arteries. But, aside from those who give their dogs human food, the Italians will have you convinced that it's okay for dogs to eat pasta...But ask any Vet stateside, and they'll tell you pasta expands in the stomach and the carbs aren’t good for them. I'm sure the ones promoting this feature are the same ones backing the 'no swimming after eating' rule, too.
Back in Japan, dog food contains that seaweed you find wrapped around your sushi. I’ve tried feeding sushi to Trevor, who takes one whiff of that and literally runs and hides. Perhaps he’d be more turned on by the new Japanese fad for using excess whale meat in the food. Certainly he’d fare better than the dogs in the U.S. or China who are getting poisoned by the melamine in their food.
And so it is, each night, you not only have to prepare pasta for the family, but for your furry friends as well. Perhaps with the cost of basic pasta going up so much, even regular Italians may start to turn to those huge bags of pasta-for-dogs in aisle 9.