A Match Made in Puppy Heaven
You remember the day that you met your beloved Fido like it was yesterday. In fact, it may have been just yesterday when you locked eyes with your new best friend and vowed to be the best owner that your pooch could ever wish for.
So, you dutifully paid all the purchasing fees, held his paw through shots at the veterinarian’s, and have done your best – if at times in vain – to potty-train your canine baby. Yet, even with all the research you did beforehand, you find yourself in the pet food aisle staring at what feels like a mountain of packages, unsure of which one to buy.
You wonder what the big deal is anyway. The packaging may be different but the contents are more or less the same, right?
The Ugly Truth of Cheap Dog Food
Unfortunately, PetMio Chief Veterinarian Dr. Arlianne Velez says this isn’t the case. She says, “unlike with food for human consumption, foods labeled for pets are not as regulated, and governing laws change from state to state.”
As a matter of fact, while the FDA ensures that pet food ingredients are safe for consumption and have a suitable purpose for inclusion, some ingredients such as meat and grains are not required to be inspected and approved prior to becoming available on the market. Further, components like minerals, vitamins, preservatives and processing aids are generally recognized as safe (FDA website).
Simply put: this means that there could be less-than-satisfactory foodstuffs lurking in your furry sidekick’s bowl which could cause problems for your dog as time goes by.
Velez reports that in her line of work poor nutrition has resulted in her patients developing:
High blood pressure
Anal gland issues
Kasra Farsad, Chief Food Scientist at PetMio, also warns that there may be more subtle symptoms that arise slowly over time from consuming cheap dog food.
Because our pets are unable to communicate how they feel, it is our job to watch their behavior closely, monitoring their visual cues for any negative changes. He recommends paying close attention to any reduction in energy levels, hair loss, or poor coat condition in general, as these symptoms could manifest prior to the more serious ones mentioned above.
Evolving Needs Require Evolving Nutrition
Another disadvantage of typical cheap dog food is that as pets age, their dietary needs change dramatically. If you consider that our needs change as humans from one life stage to the next, it makes sense that our dogs’ needs change as well. Therefore, when we keep them on the same bag of food for years, we may be ignoring important needs that could help lengthen lifespans.
Farsad affirms that macronutrients, such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are noticeably different for a pet that is growing, versus an adult or older pet. Considering the average pet owner changes his or her pet’s food about three times during a dog’s lifetime, it would seem our dog might be missing something.
The best dog food solution would be made with high-quality meats, grains, and other ingredients, and mature as your pet’s needs do.
While there may be a temptation to save a few dollars per month on dog food, the reality is that a cheap dog food diet can become quite costly over time in vet bills alone.
The Saving Grace
Luckily, there are pet food manufacturers, and companies like us, who aim to provide your favorite pooch the nutrition that they need and the food they want to eat.
Still unsure of which foods to buy? Velez suggests educating yourself by reading credible sources online, learning more about USDA and FDA regulations and certifications, and by speaking with your vet about your canine’s diet during your next visit.
After all, who will care more about dear old Fido than you do?