Standing in line at the grocery store watching customers purchase dry, bargain brand cat or dog food is very hard for me. All I want to do is grab the bag and start explaining the health risks they are taking home to their companion.
I’ve stopped myself from handing over a business card on a number of occasions, recognizing I would not appreciate their store employees soliciting my customers. But am I abandoning a good opportunity? Do good intentions grant a waiver of poor business manners?
Me: “Pardon me, are you aware the dry food you are purchasing may be causing or can cause your cat urinary problems? “
Customer: “But he loves this stuff! And my vet says to feed him what he’ll eat. “
Me: “You do realize it’s flavored to addict him? Manufacturers have to because the ingredients are the opposite of what a cat’s natural diet would be. You know, like mice and birds, high in meat protein?”
Customer: “I won’t let my cat outside, that’s why I give him this indoor food.”
Store Cashier: “Ladies, you are holding up the line.”
Me: “Your cat is still a carnivore, an animal who requires high meat protein and the food you are holding probably only contains 20% meat.”
Customer: “See, it says, ‘Made with real chicken meat’.”
Me: “Misleading. Read the ingredient panel on the back.”
Store Cashier: “Please, you two need to move on. (To me) Ma’am, this customer is trying to leave. Do I need to call a store manager?”
Me: “No. It’s just difficult when I know so many pets can become ill because of bad diets.”
Store Cashier: (To customer) “Don’t forget your litter.”
Me: (Gasp to myself . . . it’s scented litter. No, no, no, no, no!)
Is it budget concerns that make customers reach for an economy store brand or is it lack of knowledge? Are customers aware of the potential costs to their animal’s health with inappropriate foods? Do owners understand there is a difference in ingredient quality and manufacturing practices? All pet foods are not the same and good pet food does not have to be expensive. There are okay foods in the grocery aisle, you just need to know your pet’s dietary requirements and how to read a label to help your companion on its way to better health and nutrition.
You might also save me from holding up more grocery checkout lines!
Previously published in PetSage blog, 6/21/2013.
© Terri Grow, 2020
Terri Grow writes and speaks on pet health and welfare, working with veterinarians, trainers, shelters and manufacturers to empower canine and feline health through diets, herbal therapies, supplements and environmental adjustments.