About half a year ago, many of the trainers at TK9 changed their dog food for their competition dogs, including myself, to Canidae. I have to say we had been thrilled with the product up until a recent shipment arrived at Tarheel Canine. We were informed of a change in the formula. Every one of our dogs began having blow out diarrhea. It was initially attributed to the change in food, however, no matter what we did to facilitate the food change (primarily feeding more but smaller meals) the diarrhea continued. Mind you it continued for every one of the dogs on the food. We discontinued feeding and sent back the remaining bags that TK9 had in inventory to the distributor. I looked at the internet, and there are boards everywhere with the exact same complaint, and I cannot understand why Canidae is alienating its entire loyal customer base.
I sent an e-mail to complain to Canidae about this, and here is the letter I wrote, and the response I received. I post it here because it is frustrating that the product which we were all doing very well on changed, and the company seemingly refuses to believe its customers. This is a lesson in corporate hubris that is well worth learning.
Original Message to Canidae: August 27, 2008:
Tarheel Canine Training
230 W. Seawell Street
Sanford, NC 27330
All 5 of my trainers including myself were using your old formula for our competition dogs. All of these dogs experienced severe diarrhea upon using the new food formula. We know how to transition. The internet is LOADED with the same complaint.
Are you seriously going to invent yourselves out of an awesome dog food? This is like the “New Coke” of the 80s. Listen to your customers. We sent hundreds of dollars worth of this food back to our distributor.
Canidae’s reply to me: August 27, 2008
Unfortunately, with the advent of the internet, forums and blogs, institutions and individuals can make anonymous claims which can be both true and false. We thank you for intrusting us for the facts.
Our quality of raw material as well as quality control has actually increased not decreased. Yes we have diversified our complex carbohydrates as rice continues to climb and high quality availability decreases. Our products are better than ever and more consistent. Our economy is facing some challenging times and we are being proactive in offering you the highest quality products, yet affordable enough for our consumers to purchase. We are not sure about other companies and their plans for change or their reasons in the past, however we feel we are being open and honest about our changes. We are getting a lot of positive feedback from our customers that are also feeding their pets our improved formulas.
We thank you for your comments, and hope your pets continue to receive the benefits of CANIDAE Pet Foods.
So, from this, what I was able to glean is that they have cut the quality of some ingredients, and switched away from expensive rice formulas in order to save money to keep it more affordable for their customers – however, if your customers drop your product like a hot rock because it makes the dogs poop their insides out, I don’t see the value on changing the formula in the long run.
Basically she started out the e-mail telling me not to believe the internet postings. I find that funny because every one of the people posting said they were happy with the product, that is why they were using it, and were now unhappy after the formula change, just like we were. But should I ignore the effects on our working dogs, every single one of them? I don’t think so. It isn’t a huge population of dogs for statistical significance, but it is enough to make sense.
I find it incredulous that they are receiving praises for the new formula when it seems clear that a vast group of formerly happy, loyal customers, is now running away from the food like it was on fire.
Live and learn. We are looking into switching to Eagle Pak at this time. This means I would have to completely change food distributors. So Canidae has cost my present distributor all of our business – over $1200/month in food purchases. Maybe the distributors should start complaining too!
I will be surprised if Canidae is still in business a year from now if they don’t switch back their formula. If any of you have had problems with this food, or good experiences with the formula change, I’d like to hear it!
Tarheel Canine Training Inc.