Now, I'm not a nutritionist, canine or otherwise. But, as I described in What's For Dinner? , I do try to be right by Elka, in feeding her a high quality kibble. I also try to make sure her treats don't have sugar or creepy dyes in them, and give her veggies (which she loves, mysteriously!). You might imagine, then, that occasionally I'm in the store near somebody with a giant bag of Pedigree, or Kibbles 'n' Bits. What, then, do I do?
My cowardly answer is that, for the most part, I actually do nothing. I tend not to open conversation with strangers, in person. Online is different, obviously. It's hard for me to do nothing, when I see the Kibbles 'n' Bits, and Ol' Roy, and things like that get tossed onto the belt, especially if I'm in a place like Tractor Supply, holding the bag of Elka's good quality kibble. Because then I know that the dog owners is making that choice based on price tag, or habit, or what they think their dog will tolerate. Taste of the Wild is pricey, that's so, but a bag lasts Elka around 2 months, at around 3 cups a day. She loves it, is visibly healthy, with no coat or skin problems (though I do occasionally give her olive oil on the food as well, to prevent dry skin). I've also heard rumor that a healthy dog is less likely to have parasites or ticks or the like (Was that on Kol's Notes? Yup, it was the January Blog the Change entry that mentioned it.)
I've had the dubious pleasure of disillusioning a library buddy who reads my blog (thanks for reading!) Apparently, this individual thought that the dog and cat food being purchased was of a good quality; I believe it was 3 stars on Dog Food Analysis, and I can see how 3 out of 6 stars can be shocking and disappointing. It's still better than Ol' Roy, I'm willing to wager.
The one time I did "talk to a stranger" on this topic was when I was ahead of him in line at Aldi (I love food shopping at Aldi. Just so we're all clear. I'm pretty much 100% happy with the products I get there, and can overlook the behavior of the other clientele). He was getting a bag of the dried chicken jerky (Which I don't get anymore for a variety of reasons; one, it's hard to find a brand that isn't treated with irradiation, and two, a lot of dogs have been getting sick over that in the past few months). He then looked at me, and looked at the cashier, and said "oh, I need to get the food, I'll be right back." He'd made eye contact, and I couldn't help it, I said "Please don't buy dog food at Aldi." He smiled and said "Oh, it's okay, I use it with beef broth to make gravy that I pour over the Pedigree. I tell you, this dog is spoiled." I paid, and left. He mant well, and thought he was doing well, and I just couldn't push myself to engage further.
So, really, it's a hard decision to make. On one hand, it isn't my business at all what people feed their dogs. On the other, I could be doing them a service and educating them in a topic that they would appreciate. If a dog is loved and treated well and still fed Purina, that to me is less bad than being fed a premium kibble and jerked around by a choke chain and hissed at. If you can get both? Well, that's even better.