Beneful Dog Food in the Shopping Cart
As a staunch proponent of the many benefits of using quality, healthy food to keep a dog healthy and happy, I often cringe when I walk down the pet food aisle in the grocery store. I realize that I am generalizing a bit with my next few statements, but I will say them anyway. Looking at the dog foods that are available for sale in most big box, chain grocers makes me want to cry! The reason is simple. For the most part, all I see are bags of food that contain fillers, artificial colors, preservatives, and the like. And I know that virtually everyone who puts one of these bags in their shopping cart is doing so without really knowing what is in that bag, and how it could have a detrimental impact on their pet’s health.
Pet Food in the Grocery Store
This past weekend, while in my local grocery store, I happened to walk by a man pushing a cart with 2 large bags of dog food, one of which was a Beneful brand food. I wanted so badly to stop and talk with this pet owner, to explain a bit about how to read a dog food label, about the folly of including multiple artificial colors (some of which are linked to serious disease), about why dogs are not meant to live on wheat and corn products, etc. Although I chose not to open that discussion with a stranger in the store, I did realize that I have never had a similar urge to stop and talk with a shopper when I notice their shopping carts full of questionable human food. Like the ‘cheese’ snacks that contain no cheese or the cereals that are virtually neon colored by their artificial colorings.
And then it hit me, no, not for the first time, but for the first time in the grocery store, as to why I was so upset. It is because pet owners are the stewards of their pet’s health and the decisions that pet owners make regarding food (and exercise) will have an impact on the pet’s life, not the pet owner’s life.
It is one thing if a person chooses to live on a diet full of artificial ingredients and other relatively unhealthy foods. They make this choice and their bodies will pay the price, even if only in the longer run. It is a lot different when these same folks choose poor quality pet foods for their pets, either due to naivete, frugality, or just plain stupidity. In this case, the pet is not making a choice, rather the pet is forced to live the consequences of the pet owner’s choices. And that just bothers me. If we humans are responsible for our pet’s health, than it seems fair to ask, in this day and age with all the information available to us, that we make better pet food decisions for our pets.
What Should I Do?
I am well aware of the recent lawsuit against Purina and its Beneful brand and the angst I experienced this weekend has nothing to do with that. The result of this suit notwithstanding, Beneful and many other foods that are on the typical grocer’s shelves, can hardly be called species appropriate food. I have walked down an entire pet food aisle of one of my local grocery chains and couldn’t find one single food that I would feed my dogs!
So what should I do when I see a pet owner getting ready to bring this stuff home to their pet? Should I keep quiet, even though I know that the pet is being served inappropriate food? Should I engage in a conversation, even though I might unwittingly insult or otherwise hurt the pet owner’s feelings?
I would love to hear your point of view on this. What should I do the next time I witness a similar situation? What would you do?
We're joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol's Notes: