Healthy Eating for Dogs: What Are You Really Paying For at the Register?



When you purchase your pup’s food at your favorite pet store, are you paying for quality ingredients that are good for your dog – or are you paying for marketing?

Click here to learn more about Three Dog Bakery.

One of the most high-profile cases regarding the pet industry most recently was the lawsuit against Blue Buffalo in 2014 for false advertising. Blue Buffalo, which spends roughly $50 million annually on advertising, claimed that its dog food did not contain meat by-products. After being sued by Purina, Blue Buffalo later admitted in court that its pet foods do in fact contain meat by-products. Class-action lawsuits ensued and in 2015, Blue Buffalo was ordered to pay $32 million dollars to individual Blue Buffalo customers.

The lawsuit found that Blue Buffalo clearly misled its customers about the integrity of its pet food through advertising and consumers were angry because they paid more for Blue Buffalo, believing its advertising claims that it was a better choice.

“The reason this lawsuit was so important was that Blue Buffalo had spent millions in marketing comparing their brand to others and claiming that theirs was the only natural one with quality ingredients,” explains Leslie Kessinger, co-owner of Three Dog Bakery in Franklin. “Clearly, their marketing was misleading because their ingredients were no different from the other brands.”

Kessinger says this lawsuit is representative of a major trend in commercial pet food, with some of the worst offenders spending millions of dollars a year on advertising that depicts, “…healthy, happy dogs running around in the sunshine with actors talking about the importance of wholesome ingredients.”

“Marketing is being used to give customers the impression that they are buying the best product for their pet. The truth is that marketing covers up a wealth of sins: fillers, by-products, compromised ingredients, poor quality meal and poor food safety standards” says Kessinger. “More light is being shed on the pet food industry as lawsuits arise, stories of horrible dog illnesses appear, and recalls become standard operating procedure.”

To protect your dog, the most important things a pet parent can do is to do research, ask questions and pay attention to your pup’s behavior. “An educated seller of dog food should be able to tell you the basic merits of one food versus another. There are specific reasons we recommend certain foods for certain dogs at Three Dog Bakery, and we know exactly where the food is coming from and how it’s made,” says Kessinger. “If the store you purchase food from can’t answer these questions, and if Google can’t tell you those answers, it might be beneficial to look for a new food.”

Your pup’s behavior can provide you with important information about the food he’s eating. Signs that something may be awry can include: abrupt changes in behavior, rashes or excessive itching, digestive issues and changes in weight.

Three Dog Bakery has two locations in Middle Tennessee: 1556 W McEwen Dr #112, Franklin, TN 37067 & 1982 Providence Pkwy #102, Mt Juliet, TN 37122.

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If you have health concerns about your dog, consult your veterinarian. This article is not meant to substitute or act as medical advice for pets.