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Is Expensive Pet Food Worth It?

Pet Food

It is very much in vogue right now to pamper the pets.  Wherever there is a trend you can believe there is someone (or more than one someone) willing to take your dollars for whatever you wish to spend them on.  There are pets with designer duds living in pet palaces.  Let’s face it; they live better than we do!

  Another trend is premium pet food.  The options are astounding.  A trip to the pet store may surprise you with the variety of the types of food, from vegetarian to gluten free, with added vitamins, antioxidants and glucosamine.  All at a premium price, of course.  So, is expensive pet food worth it?

What’s hype and What’s Not?

Just as with human foods, the ingredients in pet food listed in the top five are the main ingredients, anything after is found in smaller and smaller portions, some so minor as to be almost undetectable.  Despite what the label may claim (or imply) all dog food is made with the byproducts of human food production, meaning even if your dog food has chicken as the first ingredient, it is not whole chicken breasts, only the portions left after meat is removed for human food.  It is a byproduct.

Do look for labels stating the food is “complete and balanced.”  This indicates that the food meets the nutritional standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials.  In reality, foods that that meet this criteria all contain the same things, only in different ratios.  Premium dog food may have higher meat content, whereas non-premium contains more grains.  All contain meat, grains and carbohydrates.

 
 

Experts generally agree that any food that is labeled as complete and balanced is adequate for your pet.  This is not to say that some pets don’t require special food.  Some have allergies and require a different food.  Some dogs are allergic to corn, so switching to a food without corn is definitely advised, but be aware that there are non-premium store brand foods that don’t contain corn also.  A higher priced product without the offending ingredient is not necessarily better; it just costs more.

Personal Preference

There are pet foods available that are kosher, organic, holistic, etc. and if some of this is important to you, you should feel fine with going with a food you feel is better for your pet.  We don’t need steak versus hamburger, but we may want to treat ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with pampering your pet as long as you are in the know.  You don’t have to feed premium food, but you may just want to.  You work hard for your money; you should spend it however you want.  Just don’t get hyped by advertisers making you think costlier is better.

Parting Shot

The pet food business rakes in a whopping $18 billion dollars a year, and although people have cut back on many things since the economic downturn, pets are still getting a healthy slice of the family finances.  Your petsdo deserve the best you can give them, but look on the bright side, being a savvy food shopper leaves more money left over for toys!

 

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