saving money on pet food

Consumers are flooded with so many pet food choices today that the decision about which pet food to feed a dog or cat can be quite confusing.  

Just walk to the pet food aisle of your local grocery store or mass merchandiser and you're bombarded with stacks and stacks of pet food, all dressed in packages designed to market benefits that are hard to pass up. Add to that the media advertising efforts of the pet food manufacturers, plus the millions of online pet food opinions and in-store preaching from pet food salespersons who claim their particular pet food will cure everything from skin allergies to premature death, and pet owners are tempted to hang their heads in despair.

The Dilemma

"Premium" pet foods pose a special dilemma to pet owners. Every manufacturer that offers a premium pet food claims that its brand is the best. Unfortunately, someone is lying. Not everyone can be the best. And a higher price certainly doesn't make one pet food better than another pet food. The number of pet food recalls involving so called “premium” brands that utilized less than premium ingredients in their pet food will attest to that.

Shoot, there have even been instances where a dog or cat being fed a super-expensive pet food developed a food allergy that subsequently went away when the pet was switched to a "lesser"  quality, less-expensive pet food. What gives?

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

What gives is this: If your pet is doing well on a particular brand of pet food, don't let a sales pitch con you into switching. Sure, some pet foods are better in terms of quality than others and in the long term, may provide health and longevity benefits. It would be like a person eating a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, and lean meat (or for vegetarians, no meat at all) instead of a diet based on beer, frozen pizza, and fast food. Is the former diet of higher quality than the latter? Sure. Is it a more expensive way to eat? Usually. Will it help that person live longer? Maybe. The latter also depends on genetics, environment, and lifestyle, right?

Certainly a dog or cat with a medical condition like obesity, food allergy, or urinary disease could benefit from a special pet food designed to address his/her particular health issues. But for the dog or cat that is otherwise healthy, a special pet food like this isn't really necessary.

The Answer

If you can afford to feed your pet an expensive pet food, go ahead and do it. Just be sure you do your research and get what you're paying for. Even then, you could be misled. The recent recall of a certain super-premium prescription pet food is a great example. Super-premium pet food indeed!

If you can't afford to feed your dog or cat a premium pet food, don't feel guilty. Feed what you can afford, spend plenty of quality time with your pet, keep up with his/her preventive health care, and enjoy that special bond you share with your four-legged family member. That's what it's all about anyways!

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