I was flabbergasted when I read the advice of a prominent veterinary nutritionist that dog owners should do themselves a favor and “stop reading the ingredient list” of their dogs’ food. The basis of this suggestion seemed to be that ordinary dog owners are just too likely to favor foods that sound delicious but are not nutritious over less delicious-sounding products made by more reputable companies. Which, if you continued to follow along for a definition of “reputable,” had enough qualifiers as to include only the largest companies in the country, if not the world.
Well, I have faith in our readers; after all, you seem to be able to feed yourselves! Jokes aside, it’s absolutely true that there are companies that are using every marketing trick in the book to sell more dog food – by stacking the ingredients’ lists of their foods with trendy ingredients, giving the products colorful names (such as “Cowboy Cookout,” “Love at First Bark,” “Pacific Stream”), and making liberal use of bright photos of ripe fruits, fresh vegetables, and glistening steaks (even when the corresponding ingredients are actually powdered fruits, dried vegetables or pulp, and meat meal). And it has worked! Many of these products have gained significant market share by appealing to dog owners’ appetites.
But with a little guidance, we’re confident that you can learn to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. We’ve given you tons of direction about the notes you should bring with you when you shop, what to look for on the labels, how to identify low-quality products, and more. Plus, our “approved dry foods list” contains dozens of companies that make good foods; you’ve got this!
Also in this issue: Don’t miss “Dogs in the Workplace” which contains advice from a dog trainer who works in the office of a dog-related (nonprofit) business about bringing your dogs to work. A long-time contributor to WDJ, Stephanie Colman’s training and dog-management advice is always very clear, positive, and effective. This is a helpful article for those who would like to bring their dogs to work – or for those who would like to give some friendly advice to a co-worker who brings naughty, unmanaged dogs to their workplace.
And finally, a groundbreaking piece from our Training Editor Pat Miller, “Socially Conscious Sheltering.” Miller explains how the historic models for rescue and animal shelter management are dysfunctional, and introduces a progressive new model that can save dogs’ lives and keep the public safe from dangerous dogs, too.