Alton Brown says there’s going to be less of Scabigail and that’s a good thing, interview

Alton Brown and Scabigail for Hill's Pet, photo provided by Alton Brown
Alton Brown and Scabigail for Hill's Pet, photo provided by Alton Brown /

When Alton Brown speaks, people listen. Although the Food Network sage might have captivated audiences with his knowledge on Good Eats, Brown is more than the encyclopedia of food facts. Over the past several years, Brown has given people a glimpse into his world. From Quarantine Kitchen to his witty social media posts, the man behind the food is quite engaging. And, anyone who follows him knows that Scabigail, his beloved dog, can steal his limelight.

But, Brown just shared that there will be less of Scabigail. Before anyone worries that the adorable pooch is going on sabatical or lost her Instagram account, there is a good reason why there will be less of Scabigail, and it’s for her health.

Dogs, like their human parents, can struggle with weight. While people can understand that the late-night trip to the freezer for ice cream can lead to a little extra jiggle around the belly, the idea applies to dogs, just in a different way. Just like that ice cream can bring a smile, giving our beloved dogs a treat or two makes them (and us) happy. Unfortunately, all those extra treats can cause a little too much “extra” on the scale for dogs.

Recently, FoodSided spoke to Alton Brown regarding his and Scabigail’s partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition. According to Dr. Karen Shenoy, Hill’s US Chief Veterinary Officer, “Even a little extra weight on a pet can have a big impact on their overall quality of life.” While people might understand that concept of their pants no longer fitting, equating it to their dogs is not quite as simple.

For Brown, he admitted that he was one of the pet parents who did not realize that there was a weight issue with his beloved dog. In his home, Brown and his wife noticed that Scabigail started snoring more. With a little internet research, he found that snoring can be related to pet obesity.

After taking the body assessment tool and consulting with their vet, Brown formulated a plan to get their beloved dog on a smart eating path. Just like people understand the concept of a balanced diet, that idea applies to dogs, too.

Brown commented, that pet parents need to think differently about feeding. Specifically, “It’s not about when they’re hungry that we care about. It’s when we train them to eat.”

In their household, Brown found that he was overtreating Scabigail. While he wasn’t necessarily “overfeeding her” at meal time, but it was all those extras during the day.

As Brown said, “giving an animal treats feels good. It makes us feel good.” Given that she is in a test kitchen all day, it is easy for her to get that extra treat or even sneak an item that might have mistakenly hit the floor.

In a way, it wasn’t just retraining Scabigail, also it was retraining Brown and his wife. Now, Brown has pre-portioned treats for the day. It isn’t about taking away something that makes everyone feel good. Instead, it is about finding the right way to incorporate it into a balanced lifestyle.

Truthfully, one of the biggest take aways from the conversation is not just changing the feeding habits for the dog, but changing the mindset of the pet parent. As Brown commented, Scabs might love that piece of cheese, but that small piece of cheese might be all the calories she needs for the day. Just like a person wouldn’t just eat one bowl of ice cream for an entire day, dogs can overeat just on the treats.

Beyond the weight issues, a balanced diet helps to offer a more robust life. From strong bones to good hair, it really comes down to the science. Even if it might be convenient to let that pampered pooch hoover the ground, the long lasting impact is not as humorous.

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Any pet parent can head Hill’s website to do a pet body assessment and visit their vet to have a discussion about a pet’s ideal weight. Then, choosing the right food, based in scientific research, can help that four-legged family member get on the path to having their best life.

As for Scabigail, Alton Brown said that people might be seeing a little less of her. While she isn’t disappearing from the screen, her new svelte figure has her feeling good for the year ahead.