Can’t find a certain food on our “Approved Foods List”?

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It happens every year: In our February issue, we review dry dog foods, and list the companies that make the dry dog foods that meet our selection criteria in our “WDJ’s Approved Dry Dog Foods” list. We list the foods by company, because if we listed them by the name of the food, we’d have to repeat the company information for some companies many, many times. Companies like Diamond and WellPet, for example, have four lines of approved foods each. So instead, we put all the lines made by each company under the companies’ names, like thus:

Diamond:

– Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
– Premium Edge
– Professional
– Taste of the Wild

WellPet:

– Holistic Select

– Wellness Complete Health

– Wellness Core

– Wellness Simple

We also say in the text: “The foods that we like and that meet our selection criteria appear on the chart under their maker’s name. These companies are listed alphabetically. So, for example, please don’t freak out when you don’t see Orijen under the O’s; it’s listed under the name of the company that owns it: Champion Pet Foods.”

I almost always use the example of Orijen and Champion because I get the most letters from people who are upset that Orijen wasn’t on our list and WHY? Orijen ALWAYS IS ON OUR LIST UNDER ITS MAKER, CHAMPION!

This year is no different, however. I have already received dozens of letters asking why Orijen is not on our list (it is) as well as Taste of the Wild (it’s listed under its maker, Diamond) and why have we de-listed Prairie (we haven’t; it’s listed under its maker, Nature’s Variety).

The list of approved foods already takes up 7 pages of the magazine; I am loathe to make it even longer by repeating some of the company information several times so that the list can be ordered alphabetically by product name rather than company name. But a needlessly long, repetitive list is not the only thing that keeps me from reordering the list in this way.

In order for someone to be concerned that they didn’t see a certain food on the chart that is actually there, two failures had to occur. 1.) The reader had to fail to read the article that accompanies the list – which spells out exactly why we have put some foods on our list but not others, and which explains that the foods are listed alphabetically by company. 2) They failed to either see or understand that the list is ordered by company, or to know the name of the company that makes the food they wondered about. And I worry terribly about those failures.

It’s far more important for me to educate people in the article about how their dogs’ food can be evaluated, and some of the critical factors they might want to consider when choosing a day-in, day-out diet for their dogs, than it is to list the ones that meet our selection criteria. I’d rather people know and understand why the foods that are on the list are on the list, than to give them the list itself. The worried inquiry about “Where is Orijen??” tells me that someone only cares that “it’s on our list” and no more. It shouldn’t be enough to be on our list; it should meet your own and your dog’s own criteria, too. 

Also, every dog owner should know the name of the company that makes their dog’s food! It’s simple when you feed Canidae; the name Canidae appears above the name of each of its foods. You’d have to read the fine print on a bag to know that Orijen is made by Champion . . . but you need to read the fine print on each bag of food you feed your dog!

Anyway, as my husband says, that’s my rant for the day. Let us know if you have any comments or suggestions that would solve our annual dilemma and forestall confusion. Should I just give up and list “what’s in” and “what’s out” and no more?

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