Two days ago I discovered something that I never knew to be possible. Two days ago I learned that a company was able to break my heart.
I was browsing through Facebook as I do multiple times a day when I saw the announcement on the Zuke’s Pet Performance Pet Nutrition page: We are very excited to announce that Zuke’s is now part of the Nestlé Purina family.
I stopped scrolling. I read it again. And again. And again.
Still stunned, I shared the post on my own wall with the comment that I would never purchase their treats again. I have been a loyal customer to Zuke’s for at least three years, recommending them to every other dog owner I could, ordering from their Colorado location in $100 orders to save on shipping and ensure that we were never without the blueberry and peanut butter treats or the soft peanut butter or salmon flavored soft treats. I have fed thousands of their small training treats to Jackson and now Tinkerbell as they have gone through the constant training that shapes a puppy into a great dog.
I am not always this loyal to a brand, but after the terrifying recalls of treats over the last several years, I found this company to be safe and reliable. I also loved their quality ingredients, that they were made in the US and that they believed in an allover healthy lifestyle for pets. I loved it that they donate to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund.
Zuke’s selling to Purina is a kick in the stomach. It is shocking, appalling, disgraceful and more negative words than I can fit into one blog. The entrepreneurial part of me understands that perhaps this was the only way to keep their business open. Maybe there were financial woes that I am not privy to as just a customer. Unfortunately, hooking their car to the Purina train puts them in a category with me where they might as well have just closed shop and gone under. As part of Purina, they are no longer an option for my hard earned funds.
This is a similar feeling to being cheated on by a bad boyfriend. I want to tell them that I hope those new customers are worth it. I hope those new customers will be as loyal as the former customers as they grab a pack of Zukes off a shelf from Walmart along with their Beggin Strips and Beneful cookies and toss them into their cart. I hope those new customers donate some funds to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund like the old customers did when they shopped on the actual Zuke’s site.
I have had several friends very kindly offer suggestions on their favorite treats and homemade treats. It is very sweet and it will be easy to find a new brand. I will go to my locally owned store and browse their plentiful shelves full of similar products to Zuke’s and purchase other brands for my dogs. My world will go on and my complete and utter disrespect for Purina will continue. The only difference is that Zukes will be lumped into the Purina mix of products whose ingredients show zero regard for healthy pets.
I know there are varying levels of atrocious Purina products, some like Beneful and Alpo that are at the bottom of the food chain and others that are marginally better. I also understand that there are beloved dogs in good homes where the owners simply have blind faith in the well known brands of pet food, that they love their dogs as much as I do but have never done the research to find out the ingredients. I know and feel for owners who simply cannot afford a more expensive food. I do not judge my friends who feed Purina although I am always happy to help them find a more healthy option. I actually used to feed Purina Pro Plan as recently as four years ago because it was recommended by a former veterinarian and I simply had not learned what I know now, before I found my beloved Canine Caviar to feed to my dogs.
I am often asked why I despise Purina so much. It is simple. For a company to include animal-by-products and animal digest is all I need to personally feel that they care nothing about animals. Their ingredients are not fit for my dogs to consume. Period. I don’t care which champion breeders or respected veterinarians feed their food to their own dogs. Purina is despicable and I have no respect for them. To include animal-by-products and animal digest, as well as the controversial menadione is a deal breaker that cannot be undone. For Zukes to join such a company is a deal breaker as well, regardless of whether or not they continue to produce their treats in the same location with the same ingredients. They sold their soul at the crossroads and I will be headed out to find some new treats as soon as my current supply runs out.
Want to read more about the ingredients I’ve mentioned? Check out some of my favorite Dog Food Advisor links: