Throughout centuries, dogs have become a huge part of human culture. Because of the huge role dogs play in our lives, advertisers and marketing executives put a lot of effort into exploiting our relationship with dogs. When you’re faced with ads selling dog supplies, it’s important to keep a few simple facts in mind.
Remember these three things when buying dog supplies:
Dogs Aren’t Wolves
We hear it all the time: “Dogs are descended from wolves” or “Your dog is a wolf at heart.” These statements are not quite true. Dogs and wolves are actually both descended from a now-extinct ancestor species. They share the same percentage of DNA that humans share with chimps and bonobos (roughly 98%). Dogs have been genetically changed by their close, domestic relationship to humans. This includes both behavioral and metabolic differences from wolves. Even dog breeds that look similar to wolves have the same genetic mutations that enable our domestic friends to metabolize starches. Dogs have also been scientifically proven to think and socialize much differently than wolves. So, the next time you see an ad telling you that your dog’s “inner wolf” really needs these dog supplies—whether it’s food, a training method, or a special collar—that’s a red flag that the advertiser is trying to sell you something under false pretenses.
Dogs Aren’t People
This seems like common sense, but it can be easy to forget that a dog’s needs are different from a person. While we do have some common needs—like proper nutrition, exercise, hygiene, and mental/emotional stimulation—our dogs don’t understand much of what we think of as important. Eating the same food every day may seem unthinkable to us, but a well-balanced formula made especially for our dogs’ needs is important for their health. While it’s okay to love our dogs as a part of the family (more than okay, really), it’s important to remember that they’re a different species with their own needs, language, and limitations. Don’t let all the type of advertisers tempt you to buy into dog supplies that might be better left to human consumers.
Dogs Aren’t Objects
Every dog is a unique, sentient being. While one dog may enjoy the extra attention that goes along with wearing a cute sweater, another may hate the feeling of confining fabric. There is no such thing as a product that is “perfect for every dog.” Just because a certain product worked wonders for your best friend’s pooch doesn’t mean it will do the same for yours. Even if your mom’s dog loves getting a massage at daycare, that doesn’t mean yours will. It’s okay. Not every dog will love every new trend that becomes the “thing you should do if you love your dog.” Spend time with your dog and learn what s/he loves and needs—then spend your hard-earned money on those things, instead of the dog supplies that advertisers try to sell you. Your dog will thank you!