Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Spoiled Rotten Raw Feeder

I have it soooo good in San Diego when it comes to buying food for my dog. Even if I didn’t work at Dexter’s Deli I’d be able to shop there, and at several other stores around the county that stock a variety of prepared raw diets for dogs.  I could find whatever I needed within a reasonable drive.

I am not so fortunate here in central New Hampshire. I start out by using the “store finders” on the company websites, and at first I thought “great, look at what’s available!”

You should be aware, when using a company’s store finder online, that there is no indication of which products from that company are being sold at the store. I got excited about Primal being available, but the only reliably available items were the bones. In other cases it’s that they carry only one or two foods from the line, and often in the largest (most economical) formats. When traveling with one moderately sized dog (who can’t eat chicken, the most likely meat in stock) and little freezer space, that can end up meaning feeding something your dog doesn’t really do well on as a substitute. 

Right now I’m buying most of my food from a shop that only sells dog supplies tangentially; it’s really a flower and plant shop. They have one freezer of raw, and a little bit of high-quality dry, canned, and treats, along with a smattering of accessories. Very New Hampshire, to have odd couplings in retail.

At least that place keeps the food properly stored. The pet store that is actually closer to me has some raw, but it is in terrible shape (icey, freezer burned, looking like it might’ve thawed a bit at some point, yuck!).

This area is a summer travel destination, so you’d think that buying, say, a weeks-worth of raw food would be easier.

I think this is mainly due to the lack of marketing and education being done for raw foods. Store owners I talked to said that the lack of raw sales led to their reduced stock. Of course.  But what I noticed was the lack of marketing, the lack of educated staff ready to sell raw food, the lack of support in general for not just the product, but the philosophy. I can’t help but make the comparison to Dexter’s, where I work in San Diego.  Dexter’s sells a ton of raw food because there is belief in it that is communicated to the staff and the customers. Raw food doesn’t just sell itself, not at the prices that are charged for it, nor with the “ick” factor that most people need to get past when introduced to it.

Of course some of that responsibility lies with the company reps for the area, who don’t seem to be trying very hard to open the market to raw foods.

Another problem is that stores have to buy whole cases of raw food. This means that they only want to buy what they can sell easily, because it’s not easy to store and doesn’t last well like dry and canned food. For a customer like me that means I can’t special order either, unless I can take a whole case.

Yes, I could make some DIY meals, I have a few times. But when you’re not at home it’s harder, and I’d like the convenience of at least semi-prepared food.   The meat here is either typical grocery store meat (yuck!) or locally raised meat you buy at the farmers market (expensive!), so unless you live here it’s tough to do. I’ve even considered doing some dry and canned food meals. I think I’ll be going online to buy some dehydrated food (no Honest Kitchen in these parts either, just some overpriced Sojos), along with more powdered mushrooms.
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