I've always had dogs and when I was younger I didn't give too much thought to their dog food. I always bought a reputable brand, mid priced, and assumed I was getting a dog food that, on the whole, was good value.
In the past few years trying to be especially money conscious without sacrificing quality, I have started to pay more attention to detail and here is what I found. Dog food that is more expensive per kilogram, can be less expensive in the long run and be much better for your dog. Here is why:
- The amount of "fillers" in a dog food affects how much your dog needs to eat to be nutritionally satisfied. Corn is a popular "filler" and offers no nutritional value to your dog. If a dog food has corn high on the list of ingredients your dog is going through the food faster, meaning you have to buy it more frequently, thus reducing the value. I avoid foods that have corn listed on the ingredients.
- Special additives like glucosamine and chondroiten are becoming more popular and are seen more often on dog food packaging. Of course you pay extra for these "beneficial ingredients". According to one veterinarian I spoke with though, most foods don't have enough of the additive in the food to be of any benefit to your dogs health. If your dog needs an added supplement such as glucosamine, take a look at how much is actually in the food or avoid the additive altogether and ask your vet how much your dog should be getting and deliver it in a seperate supplement.
- What goes in must come out. A good quality dog food with fewer fillers and more of what your dog needs means less to clean up in the back yard. Need I say more?
- A good quality dog food will be beneficial to your dogs overall health which, hopefully, means fewer health problems and lower vet bills. Skin conditions and rashes, sensitive digestion issues, even allergies are health issues that can affect our pets just like they affect us. While some may not be life threatening they are still very uncomfortable for your dog and may be costly to have treated. Ingredients that help with a shiny healthy coat, and good digestion are just some of the things to watch for.
- Next time you consider changing your pets food go to an actual pet food store and talk to someone who knows the differences between the foods or talk to your veterinarian.
- One last piece of advice. When you switch your pets food it should be done gradually to allow your pets digestive system to adjust. Allow 5 days to a week at least to decrease the old food and increase the new. If for some reason this isn't possible adding some pumpkin or sweet potatoes to the food will help ease the transition from one food to another.
For a review of various foods and how your food rates visit one of these sites: