Editorial February 2001 Issue

Stressing On Fresh

Sometimes, commercial food has to be good enough.

Somehow, I ended up with a pet hermit crab. Do I have a “Home for Wayward Pets” sign on my back? A neighbor’s child brought it home from a carnival she attended with friends; she won it in a contest. For various reasons the neighbors didn’t want it, and didn’t know what to do with it. Okay, we’ll take it. What kind of habitat does a hermit crab need? What do hermit crabs eat?

My son and I hit the Internet. We learned that hermit crabs need to be kept warm and moist, they need some spare shells to grow into, and most importantly, they need tiny amounts of a whole variety of FRESH foods daily: meat, fish, poultry, fruit, vegetables, grains, etc. When I say tiny, I mean infinitesimal; I have never noticed anything missing from the food we dutifully place before the crab each day. He must be eating something, because he’s still scuttling around, months after he arrived.

But he’s definitely more high-maintenance than some of our other animals. Our finches and our fish thrive on dried foods; the crab needs fresh. You’d think it would be easy to come up with a quarter-teaspoon of something fresh, raw, and whole every day, but it’s not! On some days, I can honestly say I don’t have anything in the kitchen that could nourish a growing crab! I mean, you can feed a kid macaroni and cheese or pizza for dinner every once in a while with few ill effects, but I really wouldn’t expect a crab to thrive on such artificial, processed fare.

Then, on one of our frequent trips to the pet supply store, we spotted a row of jars labeled “Hermit Crab Food: A Vitamin-Enriched Food for all Land-Type Hermit Crabs.”

I’m fully aware that no commercially prepared food pellets could be as good for a crab as fresh, real food. But I sure am glad to have something to give him on the days when the groceries run out – just like I have a top-quality dry dog food to feed my dog, Rupe, on the days when I just can’t seem to get it together to buy and/or prepare a fresh, nutritious dinner.

People have asked me why WDJ takes so much space to discuss commercial dog food when it’s so obvious that we are aware “fresh is best” – we have published dozens of articles about homemade diets, and will publish many more. However, for many of us, feeding dry or canned food is a less-than-perfectly-healthy diet necessitated by our modern go-go-go lifestyles. We may not be able to feed our animal (or human!) families the healthiest food every day. But we would like to, at the very least, feed the healthiest commercial diet in the world, whether our animal companions weigh 10 pounds, 110 pounds, or just 10 grams.

With that in mind, we hope you appreciate our “2001 Top Dry Dog Foods” review. We’ll try to steer you to the very best food in bags.

-Nancy Kerns

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