Please…No Diamond In The Ruff (pooch)

It’s one of the most important decisions a sportsman/pet owner can make.   I’m talking about the food stuffs you put into your pet.   In fact, aside from choosing the right breed for your hunting needs and the best trainer…perhaps no other decision is nearly as important to a canine companion as to deliver the proper nutritional health to your four-legged friend.

In recent weeks, however, this particular topic has really hit home with me.   Maybe you heard about the Diamond Pet Foods recall of tainted dog food.   Certainly this has the makings of some bad news for dog owners…and if you haven’t heard about it then listen up.

I’m not going to go into all the details here…but suffice it to say that a controversy seems to be brewing as to when the pet food company knew there was a problem and IF it continued to sell the dog food after this awareness.   But that’s a topic for another day and likely complex enough it will need to be settled in the courts.   For more information on a brewing lawsuit, link here.

I’m saddened because up until this incident I have always had high regard for Diamond dog food.   In fact, it is the only food my soon to be 7 year old dog has ever eaten.

It all began back about 7 years ago when I was searching for a new puppy.   I read everything I could and searched out all the information I could absorb to do everything right with this dog.   Part of that research brought me to a friend, Karla.

You see, Karla was the manager of several large independently-owned pet stores and knew more about dog food than I could ever possible learn in this lifetime.   She explained to me the importance of choosing the right food, especially since I had planned on bringing home a new black lab puppy to the household.

I had never heard of such a thing, but Karla cautioned me on the importance that the diet of large-breed puppies (such as the lab) need a vastly different ratio than many smaller-framed dogs.   The appropriate protein, fat, and calcium levels for large breed puppies must be delivered at specific ratios to ensure bones develop strongly and properly.   It made sense at the time…so I followed her recommendations.
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Karla laid out a feeding plan for me that started my new seven week old puppy on adult dog food from the get-go.   Her choice…none other than Diamond Premium Adult.   She explained that Diamond was a quality food for the money and most importantly, as a pet store manager who could feed her own dogs whatever she wanted; she had no qualms about recommending Diamond over most other brands.   As I recall, the only two other brands at the time that even compared to Diamond was IAMS and Science Diet, both good premium dog foods in their own right.

Now it’s important to understand that Karla was not giving me this advice as a sales person looking to make a sale.   Nope, when I discussed this with her she had just quit her job as pet store manager and was going back into her nursing career.   She had no vested interest in what or where I purchased my pet foods.

Over the years I have turned lots of folks on to the Diamond brand of dog food.   In most cases it was usually $10 to $15(or more) cheaper than the previously mentioned brands.   Karla explained that Diamond gets by with this because they do not spend the millions on advertising such as the other big two.   Still, the quality of the food is certainly comparable…at least until this recent incident.

Even though my state (Minnesota) does not fall within the recall list of states served by the Gaston, SC Diamond facility…I’m feeling a bit perplexed these days and my anger is slowly building.   When I shell out $25 for a premium bag of dog food I expect the product to be wholesome and nutritious.   I certainly don’t anticipate my dog growing sick from the food and warranting a trip to the vet.   More importantly, reports are that perhaps dozens of dogs have died to date possibly as a result of eating this tainted dog food.   How sad.

Diamond Pet Foods, even though the food I am serving my pooch (and have served her for nearly seven years) was not on your recall list…my confidence in your ability to provide a quality product has now been shaken.   Believe me, when I must stop at the pet food store within the next two weeks to purchase another bag of food…for the first time in years I will likely not be looking exclusively for the Diamond brand.   What a shame.

As a sportsman who loves his canine partner and strives to give her the best…I’ll be watching closely how you handle this current crisis.   More importantly, if someday its proven that some bad judgments were made by your company you need to make it right with the dog owners who were directly affected.   I’m not sure what actions you will need to take to accomplish that difficult task…but you better get creative and do it sooner rather than later.

And let this be a lesson, not only to the Diamonds of this world…but to all manufacturers of pet-related products.   When sportsmen and dog owners perceive they have been taken advantage of in some manner…we’ve learned to speak loudly and effectively by keeping our pocketbooks closed when contemplating future purchases.   Somehow I already sense that Diamond corporate is well aware of this growing PR nightmare.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.