Kavi likes M&M’s. In fact, all our dog’s like chocolate. Chocolate glazed donuts are their favorite.

Yes, there is a myth about chocolate being deadly for dogs. Some dogs have sensitivities to chocolate, just like some people can’t have peanuts, chocolate, salt or any variety of other things. There are also chemicals in chocolate that if taken in sufficient quantity are toxic to dogs, and people. An allergic or toxic reaction is no joke for those who undergo it. But the reality is death by chocolate is primarily a myth. It takes a lot of the responsible chemical theobromine and even caffiene in chocolate to make any difference to the average dog. We have big dogs and it takes even more to affect them since it is a body weight issue. They’re not going to get that much chocolate – I want it! Our dogs have eaten a lot of chocolate over the years so I know they’re not allergic or toxically affected.

Same goes for eating chicken bones, pork bones, etc: another fine myth. Our dogs eat chicken, duck, pork, mouse and other bones all the time. Sometimes they even dine on coyote bones. Raw, cooked, baked, fried and broiled it’s all good from their point of view. Heck, I watched one of our bitches swallow a whole chicken – python like. Then an hour or so later after it was properly marinated she spit it back up for her pups. They piled on and devoured it totally. Now there is a National Geographic moment…

So what’s the basis of these myths? Some dogs are allergic and some dogs do have a problem with bones. A vet I talked with said that on the bones it is the smaller toy dogs, the basset hounds, the beagles and such that he sees problems with. They simply no longer have the strong constitutions and digestive acids their ancestors had to deal with bone. He said that big dogs who are closer to their wild forbearers are less likely to have a problem and more likely to be fine eating bones. After all, they eat bones in the wild and have evolved for tens of thousands of years stealing burnt bones from our fire pits.

Note: I’m not telling you to go feed your dog chicken or pork bones and if it does choke it is not my fault. Nor am I saying to give your dog chocolate. But ours do fine on them, contrary to the myth. I suspect the vet is right that this is one of those size and breed of dog issues.

But back to the M&M’s: When I give Kavi one he takes it and sets the candy on the floor where he examines it. Then he picks it up and eats it. What was he doing? Checking the color? I can just imagine: “Phew…” he thinks, “It wasn’t blue. I hate those blue ones…” Yes, I know dogs aren’t supposed to be able to see color but why is he looking at it each time?

This brings up another myth: that dog’s can’t see color. Actually, they can see color, it’s just dichromatic – that is to say two rod color based.[1, 2] We have three rods and see more colors. They do see color, just differently and in a more limited spectrum than we do. Likewise, we see color in a more limited spectrum than birds and some other animals.[1, 2, 3] Compared with them our view of the world is dull.

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Daily Spark: Isn’t what you can do but what you can do with what you’ve got.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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11 Responses to M&Ms

  1. sgl says:

    stumbled across this, and thought it is the type of quirky bit of info that you and your family just might enjoy, with a touch of local interest due to the “vermont” label:

    “Why is House Vermont Curry called Vermont Curry? If you’re unfamiliar with Vermont Curry, it’s the most popular brand of curry roux in Japan (according to the manufacturer, House Foods). ”

    maybe just a curiosity, maybe of use as homeschooling example of marketing or history, or motivation to learn about other cultures or other foods.


  2. mellifera says:

    We tried to keep them out of it, but my mom had a whole series of mini wiener dogs that ate more chocolate than a 5-lb dog ought to. (Several chocolate chips or a square of chocolate.) They didn’t ever get sick from it.

    Also, did some field research once in Far Outer Boondocks, Polynesia. (Maupiti.) There was a boat that came once a week with supplies from overseas and they sure as heck weren’t going to spend precious cargo/grocery store space on big sacks of dog food. There were several dozen pet dogs on the island and they all ate the trash left over from cleaning fish– their diet was basically fish bones with whatever meat was left.

    A lot of the dogs were still the old Polynesian dingo type with the curly tail over the back, but people were starting to switch to smaller miniature types a few years ago once they found out how much less food the small ones eat. No problems with those choking on bones either that I heard of. Not having neutering capabilities (they didn’t have decent medical care for people, either), I’m pretty sure they kept the dog population in check by eating most of the females and only keeping males for pets. At least I only remember seeing one female dog over the course of 3 months, and dog was a popular item at barbecues. Just putting two and two together there.

    Also, you may find this of interest- it seems like every single family had one big pig named “Chakata.” I helped eat two Chakatas….

  3. mellifera says:

    I will abstain from stating that “I lived among them, spoke their language, and they adopted me as one of their own” ’cause in Polynesia, I didn’t have any social skills and I think everyone was kinda glad to see me go. ; )

    But everybody ought to live at least once in a strange place alone, even if it’s just for a couple days. Vacations don’t count because there’s an entire hotel staff to make sure you’re comfortable. In a strange place, perfectly competent adults turn into four-year-olds: no way to say what you want or even evaluate if what you’re asking is reasonable, and none of your skills matter anymore. (Or at least mine didn’t… I knew how to write papers, not gut fish.) It’s a sobering experience. Gives a whole new level of respect for people who come here from abroad.

  4. Susan Lea says:

    I had a dear little ferret named Precious who was an absolute chocolate fiend. She could ferret it out anywhere! My husband had chocolate kisses from one of his students, and over time she pilfered almost all the kisses and stashed them in her treasure trove. Our daughter brought expensive chocolate home from France to give as Christmas gifts, and when she pulled the bag out of her suitcase, every single gourmet chocolate bar had pointy little teeth marks in it. She had also gnawed into every Rocher to get to the middle. The chocolate didn’t kill Precious, but my daughter nearly did! :)

  5. Jay H says:

    Hi Walter and everyone else who follows your blog! I really enjoy reading and checking up on your blog now and again as I have learned a ton of information about pigs and everything else you tend to share. I have been following your blog for a wee while now but my first time commenting. I live in a small, remote Pacific Island of Polynesia called Niue. There are about 1500 people living here and the land area is about 260 square kilometres. Most people haven’t heard of it. Alot of people back here grow their own food and raise their own pigs also for food. That’s how I guess I stumbled on your blog when I was after some information about raising pigs. I can’t thank you enough for all the valuable information you have shared through the years from your knowledge and experience. Where I live is way different to where you live. We don’t have mountains or snow. We only have the hot season and the cool season. No dramatic weather changes. The coldest it gets around here would be about 14 degrees celsius and it doesn’t happen that often. I really like how you raised your pigs free range. That is something I wish I could do over here as it would benefit our soil as well. The main obstacle from doing that for us is the lack of resources and finances for fencing a large area I guess suitable for raising pigs free range style. We mainly feed pigs here with dry coconuts and are all kept in pens. I feel sorry for my pigs compared to yours as I wish one day I would be able to raise them free range.
    Thanks once again for your good work. Keep it up!
    Enjoyed mellifera’s post above as it is true. See it happen over here all the time. But then again when we from a remote place like that travel over to countries with big cities we tend to get lost as well. I guess our fish gutting skills then would be of little value in a big city. Driving through thick traffic would be a task and a half if we even dare! Ohh well, such is life! Have a good one everyone and thanks again Walter to you and your family!

    • *grin* Welcome to Vermont virtually, Jay. The cities are very overwhelming to us. Perhaps you can make a rotation of pens and then grow some fast growing food that likes nitrogen and phosphorous behind the pigs in the rotation. Five pens on a one week rotation each gives enough time to break parasite cycles. Do you have chickens to rotate with them? That is part of what we do which makes it work – the chickens free-range. Now I’ll have to go look up and read about Niue!

  6. Michelle says:

    Mellifera, what made you decide to go to Polynesia? I’m assuming you are from the US. How long were you there? It sounds very interesting!

  7. Marsha says:

    I think Kavi is willing it to divide and multiply, but then he gets too impatient and just eats it!

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