WhichDogFood.co.uk is, I hope, a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in their dog's diet. It includes the world’s first dog food search engine, the first dog food directory and the first dynamic dog food comparison page. Our comprehensive feeding guide, dog food FAQ and direct nutrional support also give dog owners access to a huge amount of impartial nutritional advice and best of all, it's all free!
My name is David Jackson and I am the proud creator, designer, developer and researcher of WhichDogFood.co.uk. I have been a canine nutritionist for 10 years, working with some of the UK's leading dog food providers and collaborating with many of the country's leading dog experts from vets and behaviourists to dog groomers and breeders to help hundreds of dog owners to make the right dietary choices for their four-legged friends.
But it's not all about nutrition. Over the last decade I have been in the unique position of working in all sorts of secondary roles within the pet food industry - from product formulation, manufacturing and quality control through to marketing, graphic design and sales. I know how the pet food industry really works, from the farmers that make the ingredients all the way down the chain to the dogs themselves. Most importantly, I know how to see through the smoke and mirrors of the packaging to what is actually in a dog food and I know how those contents are likely to effect the dogs that eat them.
WhichDogFood.co.uk went live on March 10th 2012. The site is constantly changing as we strive to improve the layout and keep our information as up-to-date as possible so if you have any suggestions or if you notice any inaccuracies, please be sure to let us know.
The big question - how are we funded? Briefcases of money changing hands on park benches? Sadly not. The truth is that the site is barely funded at all but of the money that does come in, most comes from the 'buy online' links you can find on some product profile pages. Any company that is able to provide home delivery for a product we feature can sign up for a 'buy online' link. To ensure fairness, we charge a flat (and very small) monthly fee which is the same for all products, no matter what their rating or how many clicks they get. The adverts, like the one on the right of this page, also bring in some money but we don't allow any direct advertising of any of the products or brands we review. In time we're also hoping to charge pet food retailers for premium listings on our store finder page but at the moment we are giving premium listings away for free.
Fortunately, by doing everything myself, and I do mean everything, the site's costs are very low. Still, if it was just about the money, the site would not exist. In fact, if it wasn't for a secondary (unrelated) day job supplementing my income, the site could not exist. I do, of course, have ambitions that the site will, one day, make a good living but in the mean time, as unbelievable and as foolish as it sounds, even to myself, I am happy just to make a difference.
I want to change the world. I accept that this probably comes across as a bit delusional but nevertheless, through little nudges, I believe we can all make a big difference. With this site, I hope to change the way people buy their dog food, which will change the industry and make our dogs' lives a whole lot better. Brace yourselves, it's about to get a bit philosophical…
For so long, pet food manufacturers have been able to get away with producing, frankly, awful foods for our pets. Somebody once said "don't blame the player, blame the game" and never has that been more appropriate. The game here is corporate capitalism and there is only one rule - make as much money as possible. The corporation players have grown into multinational giants because they know that minimising costs while maximising income is the road to success. Unfortunately this means that the most successful foods in the UK all have two things in common - low grade ingredients and elevated prices. The four biggest corporations now have such a stranglehold on the British pet food industry that most consumers simply aren't aware that alternatives exist and the health problems that low grade foods often bring are so widespread that many pet owners simply disregard them as a normal part of a dog's life. So many dogs are living short, problem-filled lives and nobody's blinking an eye.
But things can change.
As with any game, the key is understanding the rules. Making as much money as possible depends on selling products which makes the consumer, that's you and me, king! By unveiling the enormous variety of foods out there and by letting people know what makes one food different from another and what effects those differences might have on their dogs, dog owners will, for the first time, be able to choose what's right for their dog instead of what's right for corporate profits. And as more and more people change to better foods, the entire industry will have to move to catch up and before we know it, British dogs will be as healthy and as happy as they deserve to be!
I have always been an optimist.
If you have any questions, comments or criticisms, or if you would like to contribute to WhichDogFood.co.uk in any way, please get in touch here.