Chow hounds wanna be part of Super Bowl party, too
A Super Bowl bash can turn anybody into a party animal. Same goes for your pooch - the scent of 6-foot subs, hot dogs and pizza might make 'em a crazy chow hound.
So before Ben Roethlisberger barks signals, before any four-legged Leonberger scrambles for table scraps, a quick timeout to review the playbook for Sunday's football feasts.
''Make your dog part of everything you do,'' encourages David Frei, the longtime TV host of the Westminster Kennel Club show. ''Just don't let him eat too much, just like your cousin Bob.''
''And remember: Nothing covers a fumble faster than a dog,'' he said.
Odds are, the finger food will be in play well before the Green Bay Packers and underdog Pittsburgh Steelers kick off.
A few handfuls of plain popcorn are OK for your pet.
''Not a Flozell Adams-sized buttered bag,'' Frei advises. Leave that for the Steelers' massive lineman, if he wants. And nuts, no way.
Other bowls are always popular at the Big Bowl.
''You can't help but toss your dog a chip,'' Frei says. Smaller pieces, with fewer jagged edges, are better.
''And just try to keep them from the dip. That's the first place he'll stick his face,'' he said. That's especially true when the mix has onions or garlic - they can be poisonous to dogs in large quantities. Same goes for eating lots of grapes or raisins.
Moderation, in general, is a good gameplan.
''A piece of salami affects a 12-pound cavalier King Charles spaniel differently than how it affects a Newfoundland,'' he says.
Or a good-sized dog such as a Leonberger, with its lion mane and new to Westminster this year. Bigger than a Finnish spitz, smaller than Packers lineman Jason Spitz.
Veggies, go ahead. Raw carrots and green beans are fine, provided your dog is chewing, rather than swallowing them whole.
''Look at a dog food can. A lot of that stuff is already in there,'' Frei says.
Including the family pet at a Super Bowl party is no problem for Frei. Be it a pooch or pooch punt, he's in his comfort zone.
Frei worked for the Broncos, when Denver made it first Super Bowl appearance in 1978, and the 49ers. His late dad, Jerry, coached Dan Fouts and Ahmad Rashad at Oregon, then earned five Super Bowl rings with Denver, Tampa Bay and Chicago.
With Westminster coming up Feb. 14-15, Frei has a heavy workload this weekend preparing for the telecasts on USA Network and CNBC.
He says when it comes to heavier food for dogs, go light.
Cold cuts tend to have a lot of salt. Pizza and bready stuff should be limited. A cocktail wiener or two is all right. Hold the mustard and ketchup. ''Dogs don't care,'' Frei says.
Wash it down with water, skip the alcohol. Even though Spuds MacKenzie made his debut during a Super Bowl commercial in the 1980s, suds aren't such a good idea.
''A lot of people think it's cute to see a dog take a lick at some beer, but it's not productive,'' Frei says.
Sweet treats best be avoided. Particularly chocolate - it contains the chemical compound theobromine and can be toxic to canines in large amounts. A fumbled M&M might hit the ground and be scarfed up, but try to limit those turnovers.
And remember: Despite an owner's best prevent defense, a dog might finish the fourth quarter with an upset stomach. What then?
''Small doses of Pepto-Bismol might be OK,'' Frei says.