Odd/Dangerous Food Request?

asked 2019-06-03 18:45:50 -0600

Greetings fellow sitters! I'm going on year three with my Rover sitting business and for the first time have run up against a strange client feeding request. I have a 13 year old Yorkie mix staying for two weeks. when the owner dropped the dog off they came in with several bags of food for a 12 pound dog (if that). In the bags were Beneful canned food for small dogs and 10 lb s. of Oscar Mayer deli turkey. They told me the dog gets a half pound of turkey every morning followed by the canned beneful. Of course this immediatley raised my eyebrows but I didn't say anything to thje client and intended to follow their request. But looking at the deli meat I noticed it has 500 grams of sodium per 2 oz serving--for 8 oz, that's 2000 mg of sodium. They said the dog drinks a lot of water (I wonder why...). I did some reasearch and its recommended that dogs are not supposed to have more than 100 mg. of sodium per day. The dog has liver problems and is on meds. The owners told me that they can't seem to get his liver problems under control. The dog acts much older than its age. So I am having a moral dilemma, do I follow the feeding instructions knowing that they are probably contributing to its poor health? Do I bring it up to the owner and risk getting a complaint about meddling and bad feedback? Do I call their vet and ask if the vet has recommended this diet? Thanks in advance for your comments/advice.

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answered 2019-06-03 19:35:56 -0600

I am biased, because I have a pretty strict "no people food" policy, but a half pound of turkey every day on top of dog food for a 12 pound dog is excessive. I wouldn't change the dog's feeding routine while the pup is in your care, and I wouldn't contact the vet without owner's permission, but I would notify the owner that you think the turkey may be contributing to the pup's health issues. I think there are ways to approach owners about their dogs' health without sounding preachy, and if you demonstrate you really just care about the dog, it should be well received. If they then instruct you to change the diet, then that's excellent!

Perhaps something like..."This morning I went to feed Fido his turkey and noticed that the sodium content for his portion is nearly 2000mg. It's wild what companies are able to sneak into food these days, I had no idea there was that much in turkey! I know the recommended daily intake for humans is around that much, so perhaps it is contributing to his thirst. Would you be open to me trying just the dog food for a day or two and see if it helps?"

Also- I generally don't keep deli meat for 2 weeks... eat it in a week, maybe 1.5, then toss it!

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answered 2019-06-05 17:46:52 -0600

Changing the food of boarded dogs is a controversial subject, I think at one point or another, sitters have been faced with the issue of questioning what a dog is fed. My take on it is that unless it is immediately dangerous, leave it be. The dog is 13, and I'm fairly confident that at least one person (including the dog's vet) has counseled them on what their dog eats.

Is it healthy? Not at all! However, the same could be said for many of the dog foods on the market.

I would not suggest to the owners otherwise however. I believe the best way to avoid situations like this is discussing them at the Meet and Greet. I ask what the dogs eat/how often/circumstances fed. If it's something I can't accommodate I'll tell them (like I won't free feed).

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Deb A.'s profile image Deb A.  ( 2019-06-05 18:35:57 -0600 ) edit

My personal fav is raw feeding, but I'm not a fanatic about it. Which works well, because 99% of my clients are kibble feeders :D

Cindy & Stephen G.'s profile image Cindy & Stephen G.  ( 2019-06-05 18:57:15 -0600 ) edit
answered 2019-06-20 00:55:28 -0600

When you get a request you "don't like", you discuss everything with the owner immediately. You always need to have a direct conversation about everything, in order to avoid situations like that. You feed the dogs what the owner to tells you to feed them. You do not switch their food just because you believe in different feeding. If you are unable to feed the dog as requested, you just tell them you're not a good fit for their needs.

I personally DO NOT feed commercial kibbles to my own pup, because I find it dangerous and nasty, but I do feed my clients' dogs kibbles if they bring their kibbles.

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answered 2019-08-15 13:00:58 -0600

I had a request that was worse than just feeding a pet something (subjectively) deemed to be unhealthy. One owner said their "spoiled" pet eats cooked chicken thighs every day, bone in. I was told the dog would choose to starve rather than eat anything else. For other reasons, I did not end up caring for the dog, but I couldn't have fed a dog chicken with bones for fear of the dog choking to death! I'd love to know if the Rover guarantee covers this if you are following owner's feeding instructions!

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If you do not feel comfortable with the request, you don't accept this sitting, and let them know you are not a good fit for their needs.

Lenka L.'s profile image Lenka L.  ( 2021-05-27 19:07:14 -0600 ) edit

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