Rachael Ray’s Pup-Up Truck

Now, anthropomorphosis has rolled on into marketing tactics with Rachael Ray’s Pup-Up Food Truck for Dogs. In the latest example of anthropomorphizing animals, Rachael Ray has converted the food truck concept into a Pup-Up truck that dispenses samples of her new dog food, Nutrish. It’s a great tactic that supports a great cause. Ray donates her portion of the dog food proceeds to animal welfare organizations.

While I love the tactic and support the cause, it reminds me of how much pet owners tend to overvalue nutrition in pet health and undervalue vet care. While people’s appetite for buying expensive pet food grows unabatedly, they tend to complain nonstop about their vet bills. When vets offer vaccines or new preventive-care medicines, pet owners tend to question the vets’ motives: “Is this medicine good for my dog or for the vet’s cash register?”

Take a look at these 3 Word Clouds for vets, pediatricians, and mechanics:

Sadly, the synthesis of the online conversations into these Word Clouds reveals that people feel there is more in common between vets and mechanics than vets and pediatricians, particularly around the emphasis on “cost” and “expensive.”

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As a 3-dog household and owner of a pet-friendly agency, I find this shocking. My vet is a valued healthcare professional who offers me preventive ways to keep my dogs healthy (particularly challenging in the case of my 12-year-old blind, deaf, and arthritic pit bull mix, Nellie). He provides me with a wide spectrum of vaccine options. Based on each dog’s situation, we pick the ones they need. For example, our house backs up onto a deer-filled, 2,000-acre park, so the Lyme disease vaccine is essential. Additionally, we never board my dogs, nor do they come into contact with other dogs, so the flu vaccine is less essential.

As a big foodie, I do believe the right food is essential in maintaining health (both in humans and pets), but not to the exclusion of proactive and proper vet care.

What do you think?

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