The array of pet foods on offer in the average pet shop is staggering. There are shelves full of different types of diet. Age related, breed specific, grain free. Diets to help coat, joints, teeth, weight. Raw food diets, different types of protein, different types of carbohydrate. Organic, made in the UK, made with calming herbs.
It’s all too much! To put this in perspective, while I advise people about diets and feeding pets at work, I’ve also had to witness a lady doing an impression of her dog scooting across her living in room to take a toffee from her husbands mouth, with its tongue. While we know what you should be feeding your dog, we also know very few people stick to that 100% of the time.
Trying to choose which diet is best is very difficult for pet owners. I know. I’m a pet owner too. I might be a vet nurse but I’m very much the client when it comes to caring for my pets. We’ve been trying to get Hollie onto a decent diet for a long time. She’s very faddish with food and we’ve been along the shelves and tried most of what’s on offer. I can sympathise when an owner says they aren’t sure what to feed their dog.
It wasn’t a huge surprise when James Wellbeloved released their research that 78% of pet owners say their dogs’ nutrition is as important as their own. Yet, only 19% would say they feel confident choosing the right pet food for them.
This is sad as we know we show our love to pets with food – often treats (toffees not recommended). Perhaps if we could buy a food we feel shows love to our pets then we could be happy that treats are needed a bit less. I use a James Wellbeloved senior biscuit as a treat for Hollie – she thinks it’s a treat and I’m not going to tell her otherwise. Using a portion of normal food as a treat is a good way to ensure extra calories don’t creep into your pets diet.
How do we give confidence to our clients? Is it to stick to our food we sell in practice or is it educate on nutrition – even just a little?
I think it’s a combination of both. We can’t judge what a client will pay for food. That is their choice. You may also find clients like the idea of heading to a shop to choose a food. Rather than buying at the vets. It makes them feel like they are giving more to their pet and sometimes the presentation of non-vet based food is more appealing. We know the brands we would choose for our pets, so use the knowledge that has led you to that choice and help owners with your information.
Sharing is caring, just not with toffees.