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Need Tactful Suggestion Help - Puppy On Poor Diet

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  • Need Tactful Suggestion Help - Puppy On Poor Diet

    I need some helpful suggestions on how to tactfully tell a dear friend of mine that she is feeding her puppy crap food & he clearly is not thriving on it. Or should I just keep biting my tongue?

    We clearly have huge differences in what we will do for our dogs and horses when it comes to nutrition and other health care issues. She claims I am an over indulgent owner (who feeds Orijen to my dogs & pop rocks to my horse and believes in chiropractic adjustments with proper saddle fit). She feeds her dog "swill" (in her words) Purina Puppy Chow and has a major ulcer symptomatic horse with huge white hair patches on either side of his withers. "I love my saddle, he'll deal with it." Not only is this person my best friend of many years, but we are also room mates post divorce and spousal death.

    I bite my tongue regarding her horses. I have made suggestions and get told "I'll take it under advisement." I am having a really hard time biting my tongue when it comes to the Boxer puppy. He HATES the puppy chow, especially since he smells the food that I feed my dogs. They eat in separate rooms, but he can still smell it. He is boney and a poor eater but will come tearing into my room to lick my dogs dishes like he is starving. I have made a few very tactful comments about "maybe trying another food that he will eat more readily" and she says,"He'll eat if he's hungry enough." Yeah, he'll eat, but he's certainly NOT thriving or growing well. Coat feels dry and stiff, not sleek and slick.

    I feel like whatever I say will fall on deaf ears, but it is SO hard to watch him refuse that crap, when I know he will do well on a food that is better for him and more palatable. She knows I do extensive research on any food or supplement I have my animals on, so I'm not just talking out my butt when I cite nutritional info, etc. and I'm certainly not trying to be a know it all.

    Or should I just keep my mouth shut?
    Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls

  • #2
    That's a tough spot to be in.

    While I don't think puppy chow is the best food on the planet, I don't think it's the worst either and lots of dogs do just fine on it. If he were doing just fine on it, it would be a non issue, correct? Do you think that perhaps your friend is having financial difficulty and is concerned about spending money? Feels like you're being judgmental and elitist about the food thing? (a lot of people ARE judgmental and elitist about food....not saying YOU are but there are a variety of better foods that are still less expensive than the one you're feeding.)

    Is the dog being seen by a veterinarian for routine stuff? I guess I'm wondering if there are other issues contributing to his condition?

    If he's really doing as poorly as you say, could you make a deal with your friend? Let YOU feed him for 6 weeks and see how he does?

    The pressure stuff on the horse is BS btw. That would tick me off too. She's lucky he'll deal with it. A lot of horses would toss someone if they were being pinched like that.

    To be real honest, I'm not sure I could BE friends with someone who was putting me in a situation where an animal was being hurt or not thriving in the way you describe.

    But I also understand that to my husband, his family, etc? They think I'm bat poo crazy for doing what I do for my dogs. There are varying levels of care that really are acceptable. But if it were up to them, my dog would've been euth'd years ago. <shrugs> That's not how I operate, but I understand that we are on different pages.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

    Comment


    • #3
      It sounds like you have already made suggestions and they have been ignored. Now it's time to bit your tongue and move on.

      I agree with BuddyRoo that I would have a hard time being a friend with someone who is so uncaring toward their animals. I have distanced myself from people for less...

      Comment


      • #4
        MYOB
        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Outfxed View Post
          She feeds her dog "swill" (in her words) Purina Puppy Chow and has a major ulcer symptomatic horse with huge white hair patches on either side of his withers. "I love my saddle, he'll deal with it."
          She doesn't care that she is hurting her horse, why would she care about upgrading puppy's sufficient diet (aka he's not going to die) to a better one?

          This is like suggesting a better dog food to someone who you just saw kick their dog across the room. If they don't care enough to not to knowingly harm the animal, they're not going to care about 'upgrades'.

          MYOB.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            MMOB....yeah,that's what I thought, which is why I have held my tongue for the last month. I'm NOT trying to be a food elitist, I know he's not going to die on what he's getting now. I don't care if she doesn't want to give him a 5 star dog food, just upgrade him to something more nutritious that he eats readily.

            I wish I could afford to offer to feed him for her, but I'm doing everything I can to afford my own dogs and horse's feed, supps, & care. Thankfully, I have two Beagles and a very easy keeping QH.

            Thanks for the reality check!
            Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls

            Comment


            • #7
              I would slip the pup some good food whenever I could!! My Boxer pup HATED Purina PC!!! I've changed food with him 5+ times before I found something he liked on a regular basis...and it was NOT the $35/bag stuff either...he hated that!! Do what you can to help the pup...the owner is beyond help!!! Jerk!
              www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
              Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

              Comment


              • #8
                There is nothing wrong with Purina puppy chow. I have raised many healthy, happy, long lived dogs on wal- mart 'Ol Roy' brand because I can't afford purina dog food. The problem is that the pup knows( by smell & taste) that your dogs are getting something else. Growing puppies are bony--because they are GROWING. You make it worse allowing him to eat your dogs food. JMHO.

                As far as her horse is concerned I would work on the saddle fit issue If he is sore and reacting as if the saddle is hurting him. I remember seeing many horses that had the white patches on the withers back in the days when people used one saddle to ride everything and most of them weren't sore at all. That was when saddles had a wooden tree and seemed to fit a wider variety of horses.

                Comment


                • #9
                  To be fair, my dog gets fed food of the "better" variety (Taste of the Wild), yet he tries to eat the foster dog's Iams dry food. It's something different, so it's appealing. The dog being interested in your dogs' food really doesn't mean anything IMO. It sounds more like he isn't fed enough rather than he's not being fed the "right" stuff. I can't say I disagree with the sentiment that if he's hungry, he'll eat the food provided to him. I have the same philosophy about my animals. Unless the animal is experiencing a bad physical reaction to the food (like an allergic reaction), I don't have a problem with people feeding their animals affordable brands of food.
                  "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Another way to approach, if you have not already, is by pointing out that feeding a higher calorie kibble will allow her to feed LESS and perhaps save money doing so.

                    I have no idea how what sort of kcal/cup puppy chow has (Purina does not seem to publish that on their site) but if I use their calculator for my dog, it says she would need to be eating 4 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups a day. She's right in the middle of their weight scale, so let's split the difference and call it 5 1/2 cups. 5 1/2 cups!! She's getting about 3 1/2 cups of Orijen right now. That doesn't make up for the cost difference, but Orijen is about as far from Dog Chow as you can get. Perhaps if she went with something like Chicken Soup or 4Health, the lines would cross for her.

                    Wendy has also mentioned (and posted studies, I think) that low omega 3 for puppies can cause ADD like behavioral issues. If there's one thing you can do for the dog, perhaps slipping him an omega 3 supplement would be worthwhile?

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                      There is nothing wrong with Purina puppy chow. I have raised many healthy, happy, long lived dogs on wal- mart 'Ol Roy' brand because I can't afford purina dog food. The problem is that the pup knows( by smell & taste) that your dogs are getting something else. Growing puppies are bony--because they are GROWING. You make it worse allowing him to eat your dogs food. JMHO
                      He doesn't eat my dogs' food at all. He licks their food dishes when he can. He's bony because he doesn't eat enough, not that he isn't fed enough food. He turns his nose up at the puppy chow, rarely finishing his food. I realize he will get growthy and look lean at times. He looks poor, not just bony from growing. Again, I'm not saying she has to break the bank with pricey high end foods, just find something that he seems to like more than what he's getting now so he will eat enough.

                      Hey, we all know that dogs think many things are quite delicious, either eat it or roll in it!
                      Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Millions of puppies grow up just fine on Purina Puppy Chow. If this particular one is not, he may need a different food or he may have intestinal parasites. And Orijen is extremely expensive. There are certainly decent foods available without insisting that people buy Orijen. Good for you that you feed it, but food that pricey is not necessary.

                        If you think the puppy is truly in trouble health-wise, then you need to report her; I'm sure you can do this anonymously.

                        I have a friend who has a boarding kennel and allows people to bring their own food if they like. She feeds her own dogs pretty high-end foods, but she is honest enough to say that she sees endless numbers of very healthy, well-up- into-old-age, happy dogs who are doing just fine & dandy on every brand of dog food under the sun, including generic.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Do you think she would be up for moving to another food in the same price bracket? Maybe even another line of Purina, Iams, etc. would be more palatable.

                          Also, at my local grocery store I can pick up B1G1 fish oil pills for next to nothing. The extra omega 3 should help his coat.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mg View Post
                            To be fair, my dog gets fed food of the "better" variety (Taste of the Wild), yet he tries to eat the foster dog's Iams dry food. It's something different, so it's appealing. The dog being interested in your dogs' food really doesn't mean anything IMO. It sounds more like he isn't fed enough rather than he's not being fed the "right" stuff. I can't say I disagree with the sentiment that if he's hungry, he'll eat the food provided to him. I have the same philosophy about my animals. Unless the animal is experiencing a bad physical reaction to the food (like an allergic reaction), I don't have a problem with people feeding their animals affordable brands of food.
                            We thought Iris was a brat /picky eater who would eat once she was hungry. WRONG she was literally starving herself rather than eat the food she was allergic to that was causing an upset stomach. She chows down her fish food.

                            The one argument that might work is that she is likely to feed less of a slightly higher quality more nutrient dense food and at least break even.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Whiskey did very well on Pedigree, all his vets always felt his condition was great, even food reps in pet stores couldn't find anything bad to say and were surprised when they found out what he was on

                              Remy and Kahlua, dang she has such a sensitive stomach and they both get gassy unless they are on a specific diet

                              maybe suggest another food in the same price range to see if the puppy likes that better?

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Marshfield View Post
                                We thought Iris was a brat /picky eater who would eat once she was hungry. WRONG she was literally starving herself rather than eat the food she was allergic to that was causing an upset stomach. She chows down her fish food.

                                The one argument that might work is that she is likely to feed less of a slightly higher quality more nutrient dense food and at least break even.
                                This is exactly my thought. I am not saying it has to be the highest priced dog food available. Lord knows I blanched at the price of Orijen, but I am feeding so much less of the fish even compared to the Nature's Variety Instinct that I was feeding. I simply cannot believe what a HUGE difference it has made in my Beagles in less than two weeks of me switching over.

                                This pup is simply not very interested in eating much of the PC. Adding fish oil to the chow may be at least an option. If the opportunity ever presents itself, I will try to make that suggestion.
                                Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Oh the shame of it!!!....I have 5 dogs...three of which will ONLY eat Old Roy Adult dry food. 50 pounds for $18.00. I also add a spoonful of Pedigree chopped chicken and mix it up. If she wants her dog to grow up right..she needs to feed him right. If she can't afford him as a puppy, how will she afford him as an adult??? Maybe she shouldn't own a large breed dog...or maybe even a horse if she can't see saddle sores and other problems. Not all "animal lovers" are good "animal owners". Sorry for the pup and horse.
                                  www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                                  Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    It sounds to me like this friend has you straight-armed anyway. She's already deflected your suggestions in other conversations (and who knows how that went, if she was defensive and you were offensive or if she's a POS and you're not, we don't know) What I know is you're going to have to weedle her to listen to you at this point. She could mix some good food with the bad, she could do a feed change, supplement, additions, she could do a lot of things but she's not going to try if she doesn't feel respected (not that she deserves it, just that she wants to FEEL it) and she's going to have to feel positive and reasonable about trying something new. She's your friend-if you think the situation warrants it, manipulate her into trying something new. And while you're at it, save the poor horse too!
                                    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Purina puppy chow is complete crap, but it is true that a young puppy should not be showing overt signs of nutritional inadequacy on it- that kind of poor-quality food usually doesn't affect the dog's health in any obvious way until the poor dog has been on it for several years. The biggest problem is that dry kibble, any brand of kibble- even your expensive Orijen- doesn't have sufficient omega-3's in it to support proper brain development. The pup, and all pups, needs to be supplemented with fish oil- maybe you could slip the pup some sardines or salmon or fish-oil caps hidden in liverwurst every time you see the pup?
                                      Are you sure the dog is "underweight"? boxer puppies should look very boney and thin. Puppies in general should look very boney and thin- roly-poly puppies aren't heading for a lifetime of health.
                                      I don't think selecting a dog food on the basis of whether the dog "likes it" or not is a valid way to choose a food, so you won't get any sympathy from me on that one. I use "tough love"- eat what I want you to eat or die- on my own dogs. Not one has chosen to die yet.
                                      The only way you can convince uncaring people to change their ways is to appeal to their selfish nature- what does this person care about? saving money? easing her life? you'll have to phrase your comments in such a way they appeal to her nature.
                                      Often it is much cheaper, especially in the long run, to feed a more expensive diet, for many reasons- feed less, fewer dental cleanings, lower vet bills.
                                      To ease her life- pups who aren't fed fish oil during growth are unpleasant to live with being hyperactive, difficult to train, and ADD-like; cheap diets mean more poop to clean up, more doggy farts, more doggy odors.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Wow. No one is ever going to get me to believe any puppy should look boney and thin. I have raised many a puppy in my life, sometimes litters. They should not have big round bloated bellies. They should not have visible bones. I've never had a Doberman puppy who looked boney. Overweight is not good either but boney, never.

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