Lying to Dogs

Could you lie to this dog?

I am looking at a box of “premium dog treats” that my sister gave Rugby, my Jack Russell Terrier. (All right, she gave the stuff to me to give to Rugby.) The box says that they are “ridiculously delicious.” I have just offered him one of the “natural wellness nuggets” because we are temporarily out of regular dog biscuits and he is clamoring for his afternoon snack, driving me crazy in the process. You don’t want to be in the room when a Jack Russell clamors.

He refuses to touch it. In the past, he has spat them out; occasionally he will throw them around the house like an Olympic discus thrower would do if he had no arms and could only use his mouth. Clearly, Rugby doesn’t believe the damn things are edible.

The other day, my sister, a relatively new dog owner, confessed that her Havanese puppy won’t eat them either, and that dog will eat anything, and I do mean anything. This means, I think it is fair to say, that the “State of Mind Natural Wellness Nuggets” taste worse that the worst of those anythings she will eat, and it shouldn’t require too much imagination, Dog Lovers, to guess what that might be.

So how dare the company that makes this crap declare it “premium” and charge $11.99 for a box of dog treats that has less than half the contents of a box of the standard dog biscuits that dogs will actually eat? This is the perfect scam. Since “ridiculously delicious” can only be confirmed by a dog, since the stuff is allegedly dog food,  the company makes a false claim that cannot be challenged or confirmed. How would any human being know how objectively delicious a dog treat is to a dog? The box lies, the dog owner takes the claim at face value, and the dog gets fed something that tastes worse than, well, you know.

Is there any defense for this despicable conduct—lying to dogs through their caretakers? Let’s see…perhaps “ridiculously delicious” is truthful, because it means “not delicious unless your definition of delicious is ridiculous.” No, that’s a stretch. Perhaps the company assumes that when a reasonable consumer reads that a box of dog treats contains oats, apples, cinnamon and flax oil (among other things) and costs twelve bucks for about twenty, as this one does, he should realize that the treats were really designed with Kirstie Alley in mind, and not a Havanese.

Or do you suspect it’s just dogs in the extended Marshall Family that don’t appreciate these things? Tell you what: send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I’ll send you and your dog the rest of them, except for one. If your dog doesn’t spit them out, I’ll eat it.

[No, the puppy in the photo isn’t Rugby, but it looks a bit like he did when he was younger.]

12 thoughts on “Lying to Dogs

  1. I trust your dog.
    A long time ago I read what goes into dog foods and became ill. After that, despite the vet’s warnings, I made sure my dogs received ‘people food’ (left overs) along with their favorite dog food consisting of almost all vegtables. I’ve been castigated for my weird beliefs but my one dog was just put down that should have passed years ago. Nobody can say I mistreated my dog (dogs) considering the long life span. Their weights were always within normal and health was great.
    For thousands of years dogs subsisted on people’s scraps, but now we’re supposed to believe it’s okay to feed dogs the products of cancerous animals among a host of other things because the animal food producers sterilize more than required for people food? Sorry, I don’t believe it. Dogs are smarter than many people.

    • I suspect that the problem with feeding dogs human food has everything to do with the quality of the food commonly consumed by modern humans, with canines merely suffering the consequences faster than we do.

  2. My mom got our German Shepard “Beggin’ Strips” for Christmas last year. He takes one sniff and gives her this “What the Hell?” look before walking away. And we all know how those advertise.

    On topic, I generally use a rule of thumb that works for dog treats AND human food. If their main advertising shtick is their health (“State of Mind Natural Wellness Nuggets”? Really?!), walk away. They don’t have anything better to advertise.

  3. But who cares about the animal ?.. except those very few humans capable of unconditional love… .
    Isn’t it all just for profit?
    No surprises there in whatever the dog food industry ” dishes” out to them!

  4. Let’s see…perhaps “ridiculously delicious” is truthful, because it means “not delicious unless your definition of delicious is ridiculous.” No, that’s a stretch.

    I’m surprised the treats didn’t say they were breathtaking.

  5. My experience with my dogs is they like the cheapest brand dog food and love scraps from the table. I had a Husky/Shepard cross who would refuse to eat potatoes unless they were slathered in butter, gravy or both. She snuck half a pizza one slice at a time once. She lived to 18yrs. My toy poodle also preferred the cheap brand food and table scraps, she also lived to 18yrs. Whenever we tried the more expensive brand or veterinary brands we have always ended up donating them to shelters and returning unopened cans/bags. I currently have four dogs, all from rescues that providing nothing unforeseeable happens like being poisoned by a neighbors kid, cancer or whatnot are expected to live long healthy lives, hopefully until they are 18 or older as long as they are comfortable.

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