I get free dog food all the time. I don't eat it myself, but my dogs certainly do enjoy the variety. Now, you might think that it is my privileged position as editor of a dog magazine that lands me all this free pet food (along with the dog training gear, pet toys, beds (we have 10 dog beds in our house, 10!!) and all that jazz - and whilst that might certainly be true of the high value products, the launches, the press copy books etc - it's not the case with dog food. YOU can get free dog food. I'll show you how.
Would you like to get some FREE dog food?
Admit it, you would wouldn't you? OK, I'm going to tell you how - as well as show you how you can actually get more free dog food from a variety of quality pet food firms. Please, read on.
Step 1: visit Get Free Dog Food dot com - enter your dog's details, job done!
Dog food firms that tend to get rave reviews from the people who use the product benefit from a type of publicity that money can not buy. That's always a good sign. Think how different things are now when it comes to the marketing and selling of dog food. Think how it used to to be. You'd go to the supermarket, you'd be presented with a few brands (many of whom were/are owned by the same company and contain pretty much the same ingredients, just marketed under a different label) and you'd probably pick the one you'd seen advertised on TV. Maybe, because 'top breeders' recommended it? I don't know, maybe.
But it's not like that now. It's different.
This is how the dog food choice process has evolved...
"I need to try my dog on a new food. His fur is not looking good, he's losing weight and he seems to get a regular upset tummy."
^ ^ The above, posted NUMEROUS times on dog message boards, social media networks, chat rooms and all the other places where MILLIONS of people go to socialise, exchange information and generally discuss things.
"Oh, my dog used to do that. What are you feeding? Ahh, that explains it. What sort of dog do you have? How old? What sort of activity levels. OK, well I would suggest....."
Now, after 20, 30, maybe 100 people have all suggested different things, the human mind is designed to gravitate toward the brand/product/recommendation that was mentioned most commonly in good terms. I've seen this scenario play out so many times now.
And think, for a moment, how monumentally this changes things for the pet food industry.
Let's say I was happily feeding Brand X (you can buy it in your local supermarket, it's well known).
But I keep seeing one particular brand name being spoken about in glowing terms. This is my first introduction to the brand, nobody has mentioned it on TV, I haven't seen any big media campaign but so and so swears by it and in turn, I heard someone else mention how good it was the other day on Facebook.
I need to find out more.
So I Google it. (See, things are different now).
I find the company's website. The website is OK, a bit limited and a little bit boring. Hmm, not really learned much here, the company wants me to buy their food, well I kind of guessed they wood. I'm going back to Google.
Ahh, look. Perfect. I've found a forum where people are discussing this product. This is useful.
Interesting. 30 people have said it's the best food they've ever given their dog but this particular person thinks it's too expensive. I'll look some more.
Great. I've found a trusted review site. I'm going to have a look on there.
Wow. The people doing these reviews have really put some effort in. And what's more, they're not even trying to sell it. They've just given their time to give an insightful, honest review. It seems the food is VERY well thought of.
OK, who sells it?
Right. Google tells me all of these sites sell it.
New question. Who sells it cheapest and/or who can deliver it? Or, can I buy it locally, at Pets at Home, perhaps?
OK. I have learned that I can buy it online and have it delivered for £x or I can buy it at an independent retailer, about 18 miles from where I live. I think I'll order my first one online and see if it' actually any good first.
It IS good.
I now feed this food. This is 'my brand'.
Food's great, dog's happy, looking well - I'll order it online or simply buy it in large quantities from the independent retailer once a month.
This scenario is commonplace now. But look at the numbers behind it.
Brand X had my business before. They're in supermarket's and, whilst convenient and affordable, I just wasn't totally happy with the results.
In order to start the process of changing brands I did what most humans do, I found out what other people were doing/talking about/recommending. No TV campaign influenced me, but my friends, peers or trusted independent advisors most certainly did.
I am now more aware of this new brand - that has never advertised anywhere yet - I go to their site but it's not great. So I instead carry on gathering the opinions and weighing up the pros and cons based on social media trends. The bigger brands, certain Brand X who I used to feed isn't even figuring in the conversation other than to get a big of a slagging from those who also switched (Brand X is certainly not in my vision enough to see what other products they could offer me).
I make an informed choice.
I test the product. I like the product (or, my dog does).
I am now a consumer of that product.
I used to spend 1.23 per day on food for my dog and had spent, over the past 4 years, an average of 89p per day over the course of that time - give or take for inflation.
That adds up to: £1,299.94 that I'd spent with Brand X.
New Brand is more expensive. But I'm not totally focused on expense, this is my dog we're talking about. An extra 30p per day is small change in comparison to his health and well-being.
I now begin to consume New Brand at £1.73 per day.
Give or take with inflation, over the next four years New Brand gets about £2,890 from me.
Now, let's imagine I'm not one person. Let's go wild and imagine that, out of the MILLIONS of pet owners who are online now, 1,000 of them go through the same process I did (it's not too hard to imagine, it's actually happening right now!).
Let's measure it on the 4-year term again.
Brand X had their business.
Brand X has now lost 4 years worth of custom from 1,000 pet owners.
Brand X has just lost £1.29m in sales.
Conversely, New Brand has come on the scene and PICKED UP £2.89m in sales. (They never even had a TV advert!)
Not too far fetched is it?
People are using the WWW more and more to help them make major lifestyle decisions.
In terms of popularity, pet subjects are one of the most consistently searched for topics and dog food is a particular growth area. Just take a look at the chart below to get an idea of scale:
As you can see from the above, live, chart from Google, the popularity of people searching for 'dog food' has actually come in to line with the volume of people searching for 'eating out'! This is not at all surprising to me. And this is just a search for dog food, we haven't even touched on the massive growing trends for people searching on 'sensitive food for dogs', 'lifestage diets' and the hundreds and hundreds of other dog diet search terms.
With all this evidence of the evolution of pet food research, social recommendations and dog food decision making transferring to the online communities, you'd think and hope that the pet food firms are going to take notice and make sure they are part of the conversation.
The competition for your business is high - and so it should be. We've just shown how valuable a loyal, happy dog food customer can be for a pet food firm. And it is for this reason that many high quality pet food firms will want you to sample their product. If they believe in their brand and they want you to see for yourself how good it is, they should take the view that YOU ARE worth their time and attention.
After all, what dog owner is going to try a new pet food brand, see how amazing their dog does whilst being fed on it, and then just revert back to their previous brand in the full knowledge that they are not doing the absolute best by their dog? Not many, I can tell you from fast hand experience! In fact, I was recently sent a 15kg bag of trial food from a - relatively - new company and, I have to say, the change in one of my dogs has been so monumental she literally appears and acts as if she was 2-years younger.
People who know her have remarked on the change in her condition and her increased energy levels. At the risk of sounding really, really corny, if I am judging this new product based on a shiny coat and waggier tail, I think my dog has made the decision for me on what brand she's going to be on from now on! (I appreciate at this stage you will probably want to know what food it is and I really feel bad for teasing, but I made a decision some time ago to steer clear of personal recommendations on dog food brands as I think it's important that pet owners find their right diet for their own dog by using the method I'm about to give away.)
Back to the start, you want some free dog food, right?
(Quick note: The excellent dog food company Burns Tweeted us and very kindly offered a free sample for friends and readers of K9 Magazine. All you need to do to get your free dog food sample from Burns is call 01554 890482 and let them know that K9 Magazine sent you. But, don't stop there. )
You want more free dog food?
K9 Magazine has partnered with Dog Tips dot co which, as the name suggests, is a really simple, useful service where you subscribe (for free) and every day you get a dog tip. Tips range from how to get free dog food to how to get your dog to walk to heel better.
If you sign up (for free) to the Daily Dog Tips! newsletter, you will receive information on how you can get free dog food from a wide variety of pet food firms. That will be your first tip (if you wanted to, you could unsubscribe as soon as you've received that first tip - but why would you want to? It's free!!)