Advising a Food Switch?

Dog Food Advisor Forums Canine Nutrition Advising a Food Switch?

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  • #32884 Report Abuse

    First off: I’m not concerned about my own dogs’ nutrition, they’re on a diet that works well for us and them.

    A friend, on the other hand, thinks he’s giving his two 7y.o. GSDs the best and spoiling them (I don’t know how, but even his vet said their diet is good…). I’ve once told him about Nutra Nuggets, how it’s pretty good for its low price…he’s still convinced his dogs do great on their diet. Okay, what does he feed them? Beneful dry and Alpo/Pedigree canned…

    It makes me sick whenever I go over there to feed the dogs, then I look at the ingredient label….ugggggh, how do those even qualify for ingredients?!? I was rather disappointed when he wouldn’t switch at least to Nutra Nuggets, since it’s a bit better quality AND it’s $25/40lb instead of $26/30lb… I was just kinda thinking “ahh it’d be a win-win in quality AND affordability!.

    Anyway, he’s not really like me as far as studying out the premium nutrition/price, so I don’t really want to show him any articles that are super long. He’s also much much older than me, so it’s not like I’m just telling my pal to switch foods or anything… Most of all, I really don’t want to come across like “sir, you’re feeding your dogs garbage, get them off please!!!”

    Any ideas to advise a food switch in the nicest, most respectful and sensitive way possible?

    (Again, I really don’t need food-brand suggestions, as I already know the foods we do/don’t have around here, and the rough pricing of them…plus, getting him to switch to about anything will be better than Beneful and Alpo!)

    #32944 Report Abuse


    I wish I had an answer, but I just want to comment so I can see if anyone else does, as I am in a similar situation.

    Our (my fiance and I’s) roommate calls himself a “dog whisperer” and believes that he knows all there is to know about dog behavior and health. He advises his friends with dogs to shy away from foods containing by-products, which is great, but THIS is where his knowledge of good and bad dog foods ends! He has been feeding his hound mix Hill’s Science Diet all her life, she is going on 4 years now, and I am seeing some signs of cow hocking in her hind feet. I have been burning to shove this website in his face and give him solid facts on why what he feeds his dog is bad, but he is the type of know-it-all that would not even look at it, even if I tie him to a chair with this website on. He is just convinced that he is feeding his dog the best food out there. At least he has switched her between the lamb and chicken flavors a couple times, for protein’s sake… But still… It’s the Science Diet crap…

    So, long story short, I don’t even know if a food switch would help his dog’s legs at this point, but I would be curious if anyone knows how to subtly tell a person that they don’t in fact know it all and that they should research what they feed their baby… Although I can see how it can be a VERY touchy matter (i.e. “don’t tell me how to care for my dog, you’ve only had yours for 6 months and I have had dogs all my life” – which he has said to me once before).

    Side note – even his vet recommends this site, and brands other than the Science Diet (I saw his dog’s annual check-up sheet, which thankfully, she seems in good overall health so far), but he still wouldn’t look into another food. He can TOTALLY afford top notch brands too.

    #32946 Report Abuse

    After adopting my dog from the shelter, the first vet I took him to told me it’s fine to feed Beneful, and raw feeding was just a hype.

    Of course, that was the first and last time I saw him. I looked for a new vet right away!

    Some vets just don’t care what you feed your dog. If your friend was feeding bad food, and was being supported by his vet, it’s going to be very hard for you to change his mind.

    If you gather some info on how Beneful is making dogs sick, or how often they get recalled. Your friend might listen if you have data to back you up.

    #32949 Report Abuse

    I agree with GizmoMom. I was watching a friend’s dog last summer and when I went over there the first time I saw a bag of Beneful. It absolutely killed me to pour that crap into her dog’s bowl. When I left her house I immediately came home and printed out stuff about how bad Beneful is. I also asked people on here to recommend a better food that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, because money is a concern for my friend. Well, I went right away and bought a better food and took it to my friend’s house and took the bag of Beneful with me and threw it in the closest garbage can. Her dog liked the food better, and it didn’t cost much more than what she was buying, so she has since kept feeding her dog the new food. 🙂

    Good Luck to you!

    #32957 Report Abuse

    Thank you for the advice. I’m not sure how I’ll phrase it to him, as I really don’t want to come across as basically calling him a bad/uneducated owner for feeding his dogs that, because he’s one of the best dog owners I know!

    I will probably end up just sending him the link to this site, and say how surprised I am about how high (or low) quality some foods are….maybe he’d get curious and check his food out.

    I’m definitely going to ignore the canned food for now. Honestly, it’d be incredible if he kept them on Alpo canned, but switched them to a 3-4star dry food. I think one of his biggest issues is the fact that he probably doesn’t really want to make time to go to a feed store for better food (Walmart and grocery stores are all we have around here other than the feed stores that sell dogfood – PetCo/Smart/Costco are 50+mi)

    Any extra moral support would be great though, because this guy is…well, he’s more like a second grandfather to me than anything, so there’s a high amount of respect to get through.

    I’ve already told him about a great deal on joint supplements, I told him the cost on this is about 1/4 what we were paying on regular supplements. He said he’ll probably do it when they start showing signs of joint problems – they’re 7y.o. Now, so it’s really the perfect time to get em started /before/ the signs come. I just told him I’m getting my 6yr boy on it… Trying to avoid saying, in any form, that I know everything about dog health (because I DEFINITELY don’t)

    Thanks again guys, I will keep you posted on any updates, that’s for sure!

    #32963 Report Abuse

    My experience has been that when people are not ready to hear what you have to say, it doesn’t matter how you say it. When they are ready, they will be asking questions and researching for themselves. Maybe if you mention noticing something about their pet that might be food related, you could get them started thinking, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. We’ve all seen the posters that want to tell you what to think but don’t want to listen to what you do think, and certainly wouldn’t bother to check out what you had to say, because it couldn’t possibly be right.

    #32967 Report Abuse

    That’s a tough one. I used to work as a pet sitter and 90% of dogs were fed some type of colorful mystery blend, most likely beneful or kibbles and bits.
    I would probably say something like ” I’ve been watching the news and there’s been an incident of multiple dogs getting sick on Beneful. I looked closer at the ingredients and found out that they use propylene glycol (aka anti freeze) as well as carcinogenic preservatives in their food imported from China. I’d hate to see your dog get sick from eating it, have you thought of trying a better quality, AMERICAN MADE food? ”

    Sometimes when you show genuine concern about the wellbeing of their animal, they are more likely to listen to you.

    #32970 Report Abuse

    I really would like to find some pages about dogs getting severely ill on it, but I’m sure he’d mention the fact that his dogs have been on it all their lives and haven’t been sick yet.

    Patty, I was afraid an answer like that would come along. I will just have to keep dropping little hints here and there, I guess.

    #32983 Report Abuse

    Never give up, never surrender!

    #33007 Report Abuse

    Yes unfortunately a lot of people never consider food switch until their pet gets sick and then it could be too late. I think a lot of people have a mentality of “dont fix what aint broken”, the problem is that majority of those people don’t know what a healthy dog looks like. They think if the dog is running around and eating/drinking normal, they are healthy. Things like excessive shedding, dandruff, greasy coats, bad breath, ear infections, weight issues are brushed off as being part of a dog. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen dogs with these symptoms yet 90% of the owners are oblivious to it.
    The best you can do it keep trying and hopefully at some point it’ll click with them.

    #33014 Report Abuse

    Yes, I will just have to keep dropping hints without sounding mean or annoying, LOL! Did I forget to mention I’m terrible at wording things nicely? XD

    His dogs are still energetic, and have healthy weights, but they smell AWFUL (he thinks it’s since they’ve never been bathed in their lifetime…but my girl gets hardly any baths, but she smells fine), yep they shed, their breath is smelly… Ears are good at least.

    It took me quite a while to realize smell comes from diet, not hygiene. I thought our Lab’s foul/sour smell was from #1 she’s an oily water-dog #2 she has a skin condition. Once I switched her food finally and noticed her smell was virtually unnoticeable within a month, I was severely a strong believer that food changes everything! Now, I can bury my nose in her fur and smell nothing but cedar-bedding and occasionally that slight dog smell (call me weird, but I find it to smell almost ricey, and sometimes kinda good… I know, I’m pathetic)

    #33015 Report Abuse

    Can I vent on Beneful a little more, guys? I saw another commercial for it… They seriously know NOTHING about dog nutrition! They said “with wholesome dog-friendly ingredients like soy, wheat, chicken, and egg!” Then the pictures of grains is right there on the bag… I mean, heck, it looks good to people – must be good for my dog, who cares absolutely nothing about how fancy the picture is, what shape the Kibbles are, or what color the food is – right?

    I wish people would somehow be forced to read even a paragraph on the basic NO-NO’s of dog nutrition. I’d bet Beneful would go outta business after that!

    #33020 Report Abuse

    There has recently just been a programme aired in the UK called the truth about your dogs
    food! Perhaps you could get him to watch the programme… It might get him thinking.

    #33106 Report Abuse

    One thing you can do is to make him seem like he influenced you first.

    You: I saw that you were feeding your dog X, and since I know you know a lot about dogs I thought I would look into feeding my own (your dog’s name) X. My dog has a sensitivity to certain ingredients (you don’t have to say “to crap”) so I cross-checked the ingredients on a great dog food resource called Dog Food Advisor, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Anyway, I was pretty surprised by what I found so thought I would share it with you to get your opinion. (Hand him a print out)

    Good luck.

    #33112 Report Abuse

    Lilyh: do you realize you’re posting this on the dog food advisor’s forum?

    #33116 Report Abuse

    It appears to me that she is giving Shasta220 advice on how to get a friend to switch dog foods without being rude.

    #33122 Report Abuse

    Crazy: oh! Lol, oops.

    #33124 Report Abuse

    Thank you, lilyh… That might be a possibility of how I word it. 🙂

    #33128 Report Abuse

    I think you have gotten some good ideas. I know that you have to be sensitive with your friends when you try and “help” them with dog food. I’ve been successful at switching two off Beneful, but others have no interest in what I have to say. It’s funny to me that it can be such a touchy subject. Good luck!

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