Don’t Feed My Dog

20 Sep

Picture this:  You’re strolling down the street hand-in-hand with your kid enjoying the beautiful day when suddenly a complete stranger accosts you, gives your kid a piece of candy, and despite your protestations, continues to shovel sweets into your kid’s mouth.  Having a hard time imagining this?  Yeah…maybe that’s because this would never happen.  At least not without being a headline on the 6 o’clock news about woman tackling stranger.

So why then, is this not unheard of in the dog world?  Surely I can’t be the only one who has run into this issue–people who give your dog treats without first asking permission.   And if I say no, please listen.  And if you try to sneak him  a treat when I’m not looking?  Prepare to be punched in the throat.

Mr. T has severe allergies.  It took us several years to get them under control, and even a single treat with one of his allergens can trigger a massive response. As such, he is on a very limited diet.  When I say no to a treat, I’m not doing it to be difficult or because I am a tiger mom who doesn’t want my dog to have nice things.  I’m doing it because I need to.  Thankfully explaining to most people nicely why he cannot have that Beggin’ Strip that’s been floating in the bottom of their purse usually gets the job done.  However, there will always be those people who seem to take great offense at turning down a dog treat.  And even worse, there are those people who have literally given Mr. T a treat when I wasn’t looking. Thanks jackass. When he is up all night with diarrhea can I call you at 3 am?  Or can I ask you to pay the vet bill if he ends up with open sores from scratching his hives? No?  Then don’t feed my dog without my permission.

“I thought it would be worth it.”

*Anyone else have this issue?  Think I’m being too controlling?  Have at it in the comments*

39 Responses to “Don’t Feed My Dog”

  1. rubytheblacklabrador September 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    No I agree. My problem is Ruby has a long memory so if someone gives her treats she raced up to the and jumps at them everytime she sees them – not good. Plus she already has so much supplementary feeding I really don’t think she needs anything else:)

  2. Sandra September 20, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    You are totally justified in your reaction! I have 2 GSDs, my female on an elimination diet now, allergic to poultry. She’s an itchy, allergic mess, eats expensive food and gets injections. As my vet said, “one bee sting can kill a person, one bad food item can do the same for a dog.” One time while at our camp, someone gave her a piece of chicken, a total stranger nonetheless. I went ape shit on this person. No one gives my dogs treats or food, except for me and my husband. As you can see, I relate. Thanks for the post.

    • crystalpegasus1 September 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

      Ditto to the GSDs. We feed ours raw and only have one kind of treat we feed them. People are always trying to give them shit treats from China, you know, the stuff that you walk by in the grocery store and think to yourself, “Do you want to cause immediate liver failure in your dog? Buy THIS!” No no no darling, thank you for your good intentions but no, just no. I do try to neutralize this problem by carrying treats with me and offering them to strangers to offer back to my dogs. Seems to work pretty well 🙂

  3. Cathy September 20, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    Agreed! I used to show a Frenchie that was allergic to beef of all things! I was constantly having to tell people they couldn’t give him that piece of liver because he’d break out (almost instantly). And nothing like trying to explain to the judge that his face is erupting into bloody pustules as she’s going over because some moron shoved a piece of liver in his mouth right before I walked in the ring with him. Just because he has the constant begging look doesn’t mean he can have it!

  4. Emma September 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    When the blonde brat was younger, there was a chance he was going to end up being a service dog. As such we would take him to public events (where dogs were allowed) and train him to behave in crowds.
    At one point I was watching a boat race when I feel a tug on the leash. This old woman is grabbing at the leash trying to shove who-knows-what into his mouth!
    I snapped the leash back and patted him for being a good boy and not moving.

    The response? “Oh it’s okay I was calling him for a treat!”

    Um…..NO? He too is prone to having stomach issues. And I sure as heck have no intentions on staying up all night with diarrhea caused by someone elses lunacy

    • Robin September 21, 2013 at 2:31 am #

      That old woman calling him for a treat could have easily been my eccentric grandmother; she had some interesting thought processes when it came to animals and thought they all were at her disposal. She once took it upon herself to enter a room I had closed off to visit her fear-aggressive “granddog”. Amazingly, natural-selection was not her cause of death.

  5. Julie Jenkins September 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    Thanks for the kick to the head. I always have treats available to try to control… ummm… reward my beastie at the park and I try to get the other owner’s attention about my offer of a handout. Sometimes their dog decides to make the choice as I hand Beamer a morsel. I’ll be more reserve on the treat flinging and insistent on a response from the other dog’s people.

  6. Swolf September 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    Oh lord I thought I was the only one! I’ve gone so far as to train my dogs not to take anything unless they hear the magic words. My current dogs do not have horrible allergies (though I’ve been down that road before) but they get what I say when I say. Too many people hate bully breeds, and I can not afford my dog to take food from a stranger when working (goes against our training work).

  7. Kim September 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    Years ago, I lived in an area that was having major problems with coyotes (west Texas ranches that had sheep) so the ranchers were putting poisoned meat out. The dog I had at the the time I taught to not only NOT eat what it found on the ground, but to always ask first whether she found it or it was being offered by anyone other than me. Forward several years and a couple of moves later and a person that I knew asked if he could give her some left over steak from his dinner, I said ‘yes’ to him, but when he offered it to her, she looked to me first and wouldn’t touch it until I said it was o.k.. To say I was pleased doesn’t even cover it. When I said it was o.k., she picked it up and took it over to her corner in the tack room. I currently have a rescue that is allergic (read break out here) to anything fowl, grains, and probably more things that I haven’t found yet. I am incredibly limited in what she can have, so try really hard not to put her around people I don’t know and that are intelligent enough to back off when asked not to feed. Were I in the situation of having to take her daily, I think I would probably carry a big stick.

  8. Ellen & Ari September 20, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    I’m so happy you wrote this. I doubt the Pet Trainer that tried to give my boy a treat because he is so “cute” reads this — but she should. Instead, I felt like SUCH a bitch saying ‘please don’t feed my dog.’ And then explaining later — this is my performance dog. And I STILL felt like a pointy hatted woman.

  9. Laura @ Heartbeat-At-My-Feet September 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    SOOOO WITH YOU! Not just treats, but people food! I try very hard to get my dogs not to beg by not feeding them people food, and especially not from the table. A few years ago, we were at a Superbowl party, and I had to ask a friend-of-a-friend several times to STOP feeding my dog Doritos from the table. She thought it was hilarious that I didn’t like it and she kept on doing it. Finally, I lost it, and YELLED at her in front of everyone. I felt bad for yelling, but seriously!! …at least she hasn’t done it since!

  10. casdog1 September 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    It doesn’t matter if a dog is allergic or not. If it isn’t your dog, ask. And respect the owner’s RIGHT to say no. Quit acting like it’s some kind of personal affront that you’re not allowed to do whatever you want to someone else’s dog just because you happen to love dogs. I happen to love shoes but you don’t see me pulling them off peoples’ feet & trying them on just because I like their shoes. A lot of people love kids but it’s a crime to harass pick up & cuddle someone’s child without permission. It’s creepy & rude to touch or feed peoples’ kids without permission, it’s equally as creepy & rude to touch or feed peoples’ dogs without permission. MY dogs. No touch, no feed! Ditto for people who want to feed my goats through the fence. NO. You don’t know which plants are poisonous. You are encouraging my goats to challenge the fence. You are sending conflicting messages to my working dogs whose job it is to protect my goats from harm.

    The message is simple. If it does not belong to you, do not touch without permission. Period, end of story.

    • Laura @ Heartbeat-At-My-Feet September 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

      OK I am just picturing myself chasing people down the street and knocking them over to take their shoes and try them on!! LOL

      • casdog1 September 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

        I confess, I am sometimes tempted when I see a particularly fabulous pair. But I manage to restrain myself. 😉

  11. kristennoelle September 21, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    Poor Mr. T! People can be so rude with their selective hearing. I have one idea. It’s a weak idea. Could you carry a few treats with you? It could be dog food, a breakable biscuit or something small. I know you’ve mentioned his creativity with refrigerators. Could Boss Hog handle you carrying edibles? Would it be too expensive?
    Would this keep people from giving him the wrong treats?

  12. Theresa September 21, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Erg! I feel your pain. The vet’s wanted us to try an elimination diet for Gus’s recurring ear infections, but it’s so hard to get friends, co-workers and strangers not to “share” something with her . . . . And then some people have this bizarre attitude that all dogs are somehow “theirs” and what you, the mere owner, has to say is of little importance . . because they have a “special” relationship with all dogs that supercedes your incidental concerns… Then there was the nice lady decided to feed my dog a treat just as she saw we were leaving the park. Gus wouldn’t leave the lady for quite a while. Thanks, lady, great timing.

  13. Linda Trunell September 21, 2013 at 2:50 am #

    I totally agree with you! My dog – my rules.

  14. kkoira September 21, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    My alternative (when I was doing elimination diets with Koira to try to figure out her allergies, which ended up not food related afterall) was to tell people no, she can’t have their treat. But, if you want to give her one, here is one of the treats that IS safe for her to eat, and hand them one of the treats I have on me that I am sure are okay. People seem less likely to sneak treats or get offended when you do that versus just saying no.

    • Jennifer September 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      Yeah, but the issue is that people need to learn to respect the word “no”. Hate to keep using the kid issue, but if I had some old lady come up to me and ask if she could take my kid somewhere, I told her no, and she snuck back and did it while I wasn’t looking – that would be called kidnapping. You are not clever, nor do you win, by sneaking past the word no. You need to respect the word no, because no means no. Not “only if I don’t see you do it.”

  15. Nancy Gheldof September 21, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    I’m with you..I have at least two patients per Hospital visit with my Therapy dogs, that want to give them some kind of treat, they all say…”Here, let me find something to give your dog (mostly what they kept left over from their hospital dinner,and who knows what that may be)…or…Here, let me give your dog a cookie” (the human kind , usually a chocolate chip cookie)…are you nuts ??? NO…I have to tell them they are not aloud to take ANY KIND of treats while they are working. And I also don’t think any of “those people” are reading this.

  16. Verjean September 21, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    Far too many dogs have health issues today whether they be allergies, metabolic issues, i.e. diabetes, cushings, etc., conditions, i.e. IBD, pancreatitis, CKF (kidney issues), or just plain overweight or senior dogs, which “bad” food can really exacerbate…it is only considerate to ASK before giving treats. I carry special treats that my old Pug, who has had pancreatic attacks, can safely eat. There are other home made treats that she can have as well, and I don’t mind people “spoiling” her, but I want to know that what she is eating is “safe” and will not put her in the ER for two or three days, which is expensive for me, and extremely painful for her. If you ask me, and tell me what kind of treat you have, I’ll most likely give you permission if you treat is okay, or give you one of my treats to spoil her with. I carry them for that very purpose. We are not being mean, we are not being “controlling”, but we are responsible for our dog’s well being. Don’t be rude, and we won’t be ugly. I love that you want to spoil my dog with a treat. Let me insure it will be an experience that you BOTH will enjoy!

  17. Verjean September 21, 2013 at 4:50 am #

    CRF not CKF, Chronic Renal Failure…

  18. tideeyed September 21, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    My old girl was trained to refuse treats from others. She would walk away every time. Sometimes people would follow her around, insisting she take something. I more than once saw her take a treat *very* carefully in her front teeth, walk about a foot away, and drop it pointedly onto the floor, when people wouldn’t stop badgering her. She never had any allergies, but when we moved to the city when she was young, I just didn’t trust other people… The best way to know my dog isn’t going to be poisoned is to know that she won’t take food from others. My boy doesn’t have food issues either, but I think most people are starting to get with the program… For the most part, they ask before handing him anything.

  19. gundogmaxscurries September 21, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    I feel the same about people that fuss my dogs without asking. As one person previously posted, there I am one day, teaching my cocker to mind his own business and ignore people(instead of free for all jumping and mugging people, as previous owners had let him do) which he was very conscientiously doing, when a woman (who shown no sign that she wanted to greet my dog) just flapped at him with her hand as she walked by, trying to stroke him without stopping….it frightened the life out of him, as he was concentrating so hard on lead walking and ignoring, but he did nothing….HOWEVER had he reacted with a turn and a snap like some dogs do, I am the one who would have had a reactive dog and it would have been MY DOGS fault…not HERS….sometimes I really dislike people! lol

  20. Dani September 21, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Oooo we have the same problem in the area we live, my girl is allowed treats but I always ask if I can treat another dog and really do expect the same courtesy back (which does not happen that often) people are stupid, I have had to continually repeat myself to my family and best friend about treating with human food and from the table, I spend a small fortune on a quality food she does not need anything else.

  21. cheryl September 21, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    Our female Weimaraner has a pile of allergies and eats only grain free products. Those cheap, crappy, toxic cookies seem to be the chosen treat for crazy people walking the streets pushing them on your dog. I always want to ask them to eat one first before giving it to a dog.

  22. jdking51 September 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    This dog needs a vet !!! It doesn’t look like a food allergy. My dog has this and it is some sort of fungus and not food related. Special shampoo and pills are needed. It looked the SAME as this dog’s sores/rash too. SEE A VET.

    • TheDogSnobs September 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      I’ll see your vet and raise you a canine dermatologist.

      As in, thanks for your concern but we’ve pretty much been through it all and seen every vet ever (See all the vets!) while trying to figure out his skin issues and allergies.

  23. H. Houlahan September 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    The only consistent offenders are the cute girls working at PetStupid whose masterwork-of-speculative-fiction nametags read “trainer.”

    They have no other template for how to approach a stranger’s dog* than to lead with the propylene glycol, they are fast, they are sneaky, and they are self-righteous.

    My preferred method for handling them is now to notice the offense immediately after they have stuffed some crap into my dog, shriek “Oh my god! Did that have any corn in it?!?! Shit shit shit shit! Then I pick up my medium-sized dog and run to the store office, poke my head in, say “What is your fax number so my vet can send the bill? Oh fuck, nevermind, I’ll call later.” And then run out the door carrying the stricken beastie.

    Good times.



    • Jennifer September 22, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

      Hey, now. I got my start as a trainer at a “PetStupid”. Not all of those trainers are dumb or don’t know anything. Unlike most of those girls (and guys), *I* have actually titled my dogs in obedience – among other things. And I have a wonderful mentor who has been in the dog business for over 30 years, and she was also at a PetSmart for awhile. (While I was getting my start, which I maintain is why I have manners, intelligence, and a drive to get stuff done in the dog world.)

      I’m a stickler for manners – mostly because I expect them with my dog, so I try to live by example. (There’s actually a list about three pages long of people I’ve made cry or call corporate where my dog was concerned. No, seriously. Don’t pet my dog, give him treats, or let him out of his crate. Just. . . No.) But it’s hard when you spend the majority of the day with people who are dog dumb (so, so dog dumb) that you get used to doing things a certain way, or hearing a certain answer.

      I used to practically cry with happiness when I met people who would respond to “can your dog have a treat?” with “no, [reason].” It’s like finding a grown-up after spending 18 hours with three year olds. It’s pretty much amazing.

  24. Jo September 22, 2013 at 2:35 am #

    When we were addressing Felix’s allergies I literally had a t-shirt that said “Don’t feed the tiny bear” (Fe looks like a tiny tiny black bear). I would throw myself between someone and a treat. More than once, I’d feel like life was slow motion as I shouted “Nooooooooo!”

  25. RowanVT September 23, 2013 at 1:59 am #

    My last dog, Kumo (english shepherd/cattle dog mix) had an autoimmune disorder that seemed to be vaguely related to IBD. It would first present with lethargy, a fever spiking to 106, and diarrhea that quickly became very bloody. So his guts were super sensitive. Anything other than his dog food would spark massive diarrhea blow outs. I actually enjoyed shaming those folks who fed my dog without my permission by graphically detailing what I would be having to deal with that night, and asking if they were willing to shell out a grand if he ended up needing an EC visit. The looks of horror were almost worth the diarrhea. Almost. Not really.

    Whenever I am with a client at work and they have a friendly dog I always ask “May s/he have a treat, or do they have allergies?”

  26. kayota September 23, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    I agree with you! I hate it when people feed my dogs junk even though they can both handle it.

  27. rontuaru September 23, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    I admit, I’m a little warped. I kinda enjoy watching someone try to slip my female ACD a treat on the sly. Why? Well because she pretty much grabs not only the treat, but anything she can get her heel nippin’ mouth around clear up to their elbow. Now she can take a treat just as daintily as any other dog, but why tell that to the sneaky bastards? I’ve come to like the pained, “holy shit!” look I get from the treat-givers. I just shrug and say, “Oops … sorry ’bout that … she’s a tad food driven.” 😉 Fortunately, the only digestive problems she’s ever had were the result of a break and enter feeding frenzy of her own making.

  28. Jen September 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    I know what you mean!! I have trouble with my in laws. I more than once watche them let my dog get front paws on the kitchen counter and lick/eat what was up there and they were petting him while he was doing it!! I asked politely for them to shoo him away as I was in the living room there response “oh he is fine” made me crazy ! Since when is counter surfing acceptable!! Then Gibson got up on their lap while we were at the dinner table and proceed to lick there plates. I was mortified!!!! Again “oh he’s fine” wtf no, not really. then when I correct Gibson or tell them please don’t I am the bad guy! People just don’t listen! Needless to say it is rare when Gibson goes to grandmas anymore.

  29. Katie September 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    You’re not overreacting at all. I never feed strange dogs treats without asking, and I don’t generally ask unless there’s a particular reason. The one exception, though, is if your off-leash dog is approaching mine and you can’t or won’t control it. I will toss a handful of whatever I’ve got with me in its face. This ideally buys me time to get some distance and allows you to catch up to and leash your dog. I’ve seriously had people yell at me for doing this. If your dog has food allergies and doesn’t have a solid “leave it”, why is it off-leash?

  30. Gabby February 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    I love this post! We have three dogs, of those three our white/tan pitbull has horrible allergies. We haven’t got them under control because we live with my husbands parents and they think it’s appropriate to feed our dogs whatever they want. My father in law asked me the other day, if he could feed my dog a pickle? What the F!?! We also have an extremely pukie dog, she vomits so much(yes she’s been to the vet). I also love the whole “oops I dropped this diabetic inducing piece of candy on the floor, that is horrible for me but I thought your dog might love it”. Yuck! Can I say that I can’t stand people who disrespect my wishes and my husband won’t confront his father or grandfather because heaven forbid he hurts their feelings. It’s ok that we have spent 7392739293 dollars on “allergy cures” every month though.

  31. doughts October 1, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    This is a major pet peeve of mine, because I’ve had a shi tzu rescue and a rottie rescue with bad, bad allergies, and they scratched fur out when they got treats from people who didn’t believe me.

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