The Dog Diet has whole chapters of information on what really goes into your dog's food and how it affects them physically; allergies, whiffy-ness, obesity, dental problems and all manor of jolly, and totally avoidable problems. I know it sounds like a right barrel of laughs but there is a lot of humour in the book, plus tips, happy stories and bags of useful information.
I hope you like it as much as the first one, Top Dog.
Download for Kindle here and Nook etc here.
Why we feed our dogs the way we do
Your dog lives, on average, to be 12 years old. You feed her twice a day. That's 8760 meals her lifetime. To avoid wasting money, and so as not to upset our dog’s digestion, once we find a food our dogs like, at a price we are happy to pay, 90% of it bought from the supermarket, we like to stick with it.
Somewhere along the line, it has become acceptable to feed our dogs the same meal, day in day out, for years. It’s then the pet food marketers’ job to get us to deviate; to try and ensure that making sure as much money as possible goes into Pedigree's pocket (owned by Mars) opposed to Baker's (owned by Nestle).
The psychology around what makes us buy one packet of dog food over another,; and how we choose to feed our dogs throughout their lives, is quite complex. Feeding the dog triggers a powerful emotional and nurturing response in us. We want the best for them, of course we do. We want to get that happy wagging tail by the food bowl and feel we’ve done our job well. Marketers know this and use these responses and desires to stack the odds against us you.
So you we don’t choose what to feed your dog all on your lonesome. We have help! Sadly, what we told is often not what we actually sold. Put another way, the food you choose to feed your dog might not be as healthy as you have been led to believe it is. Words like ‘natural’ and ‘hypoallergenic’ are widely abused and can be misleading. Marketers know they need to get you early.
Research shows that once an owner commits to a pet food brand, they are likely to stick with it – through thick and thin, or should that be thin and thick? So new owners are particularly vulnerable. They Because you don’t have the first clue about what to feed a puppy when they get one, so they will probably go for a brand they’ve already heard of, or for one recommended by their breeder and guess who provided that information?)
So you’ve got your favourite pet food brand, and you dutifully add it to your shopping trolley every week, safe in the knowledge that it’s come highly recommended, it’s always gone down well and certainly hasn’t caused any noticeable harm. But then you start to notice that your dog’s putting on weight, and has that unique doggy whiff about her, and you’re so confused you start in on the pet forums, seek help from the vet (who’s on a nice whack from a multinational like Mars) or other dog owners, and we always have an opinion.
All this just melts your brain. But don’t worry, Marketing Man is here to support you. In fact Marketing Man is ubiquitous and he’ll have you up and running on ‘the right thing’ in no time. Silly woman, (yes, it is more often than not women who buy the dog food, so the message is tailored especially for us). There, there, make us a cuppa while I slide a 12kg bag (with 2kg extra free!) of I Can’t Believe It’s Actually Dog Food (with added happiness) into your trolley.
One pet food consultant I spoke with says he feels very sorry for dog owners. Manufacturers know to play to our emotions and so very few foods have nutrition or our dogs at the core of what they do. ‘They don’t get me so easily’ I hear you shouting. Yeah? Then ask yourself these questions; : why do you buy the pet food and treats you do?; Of what benefit do you think they are to your dog?; Do you buy it for their health or for your convenience? Are you swayed by claims on; the packets such ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘natural or ‘grain free’?’ This doesn’t make you an idiot, it makes you a human being with a conscience and Marketing Man loves you for it.