For years, we tried to gently talk customers out of sending their own dog food. In this post, I will explain why we don’t want your dog food and why we are now, as of Fall 2021, banning customer dog food, except for medical issues.
Some people makeup meals at home and put the meals in individually wrapped plastic bags. This is quite touching and sweet. I admire the devotion and understand the concerns. But… let’s think about this again.
Here are the problems with customers sending dog food:
- Home food dogs sometimes lose weight. Sometimes the dog prefers to eat our food. Sometimes a dog comes to camp and has to eat the same old food from home and isn’t happy about it. The neighboring dog in the next area seems to have something yummier, and then the dog with home food will pine away. This can lead to weight loss.
- Home food dogs don’t get to play as much. When the customers send their dogs with food, the dog has to come in and get ready to eat while the other play. When we get ready to feed them, they are out and about, exploring, playing, and having a nice time. We pull the home food dogs out first, and put them somewhere alone (a kennel) or something, and get them all lined up to eat. Meanwhile, the camp food dogs are still out playing. I have often walked past a lovely, nice home food dog, who gives me sad “why can’t I go out and play” eyes and I have to just keep walking… The dog wants to play, but we need to get them ready and isolated.
- Storage and logistics are difficult for us. Here we have to have systems for tracking and storing food – and we do – but I often think… why? Is this food really so much better that we have to have a spreadsheet with food lists and containers crowding up the washroom and office space?
- Waste. When we have multiple varieties of food, and some amount does not get eaten, it’s a problem. We can’t really give it another dog later, as we aren’t sure about the ingredients, allergies, problems.
- We want the flexibility to eat different items if they reject certain combinations. That way we can keep their weight up.
In 2021 we have been feeding dogs CANIDAE Under the Sun Grain-Free Lamb Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food along with canned food as needed to get them to eat well (SmartBlend Tender Cuts in Gravy Variety Pack Wet Dog Food). We feel that these brands are good dog food. Your dog can eat something different from what they eat at home without any issues.
When you go to camp, you eat the food at camp. Some kids come home complaining about the food, some love it. But you don’t send your kids to summer camp with home-packed meals for two weeks, do you? Why should your dog at camp not get the full camp experience and just eat the food that we serve at camp?
So, your cooperation with our new policy is appreciated. If you insist on sending food, and claim medical issues, you probably can get around our policy against home food. But… please don’t. Give camp food a shot and work with us on this.