5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Dog’s Kibble: Why Purina isn’t enough
A lot of the time, I assume I’m preaching to the choir. The already converted. Those of you who feed your dogs quality kibble. For you, topics like kibble enhancement , homemade diets, and raw feeding make sense. But, you know what they say about assumptions, and I am certainly an ass. If you are already fully aware of the wonders of quality pet food, this post is not for you (but, keep reading). This is for your pet owning family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, who have yet to drink the kool-aid. Actually, it’s for their dogs.
If you are still doing the grocery store thing when it comes to pet food, if you’ve not yet taken the leap to a “super premium” kibble, because “Holy Crap! is it expensive!” and “What’s all the fuss about anyway?”. I can get that. It’s been a lot of years since I bought my last bag of Iams. However, before my educmacation in all things dog food, Iams I did buy. And cheaper, it was. Sorta.
My basic policy is, was, and will always be: Feed the best food you can afford. That said, I would argue that most of us can afford better than what’s on the shelf at Safeway. Especially when you start to consider the relationship between quality and amount fed. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Without further ado, here’s why you should ditch the Purina (or the Science Diet or the Beneful or the Kibbles-N-Bits…)
1. Ingredients. Just yesterday, I had an opportunity to flip over a bag of ‘high-end’ grocery store pet food. In fact, this bag probably came from Big Box Pet Store. Technically it should be better than grocery store food. The owner who was feeding this admits to paying extra money in order to get ‘the good stuff’. Poor guy. Here’s a recap of the ingredients: Chicken Garbage (By-product meal), Corn Garbage (gluten meal), Rice Garbage (brewers rice), Soy Garbage (it was actually two soy based ingredients), and last but not least Animal Fat (when they don’t idenitify a specific protein source, very, very scary). You don’t have to know how to read a pet food label to see there’s not much real food here. In general, foods at the grocery store are cheaper than what your independent pet supply carries. I’ll admit it. (Although, the food above was quite expensive). But, you get what you pay for. Compare ingredients. Compare how much you’ll feed. Real food content = increased nutrition per kibble = less food required.
2. Sourcing. It’s not just what the ingredients are. Its where they come from. In certain situations, Chicken By Product Meal might not actually bother me (if it weren’t the first ingredient and the only source of protein) if I felt confident about it’s origin. When dealing with these major monoliths, trying to procure garbage ingredients for as cheap as possible, well are you really surprised there’s recalls? These are 3D meats – the Dead, Diseased and Dying. The animals who can’t even make it from the feedlot when everyone else goes to slaughter. Unfit for human consumption is putting it mildly. This food is cheap for a reason. And still the manufacturers are making a profit on it.
3. Longevity. “My Grandma smoked all her life and lived until she was 95″. I have seriously heard this as a justification for feeding crap food. My response: Exceptions do not the rule make. And Go Grandma! A certain percentage of the population could survive quite well on a fast food diet. That doesn’t mean they should, and it doesn’t mean you (or your pet) should try. Do you honestly think Chicken By Product meal day in and day out isn’t going to have adverse effects long term? Especially if the Chicken it came from was cancer ridden to begin with. Many dogs do just fine through the middle age on such diets. Then, they age prematurely. Just like us, a lifetime of bad nutrition will catch up with them. Far too soon. I personally, like senior dogs. I like having them around and I want them to be as comfortable as possible. Part of that is what I’m putting in their bowl today.
4. Poop & Fur. If you aren’t buying my longevity argument, let’s talk about the here and now. To be blunt: An improved diet means smaller, less odiferous poops to pick up. It means shinier coats, less shedding, and decreased ‘dog smell’. I don’t know about you but those things impact my life. Increased efficiency in digestion from those improved ingredients will translate to better poo. More essentially fatty acid content from quality sources (other than generic ‘Animal Fat’) equals less hair left on your floor, your carpet and everywhere else. Your dog will be happier. So will your pooper scooper and your vacuum. Everyone wins.
5. Corporate Sponsorship. When you buy that cheap food, who are you giving your money to? Corporations trying to pass ‘Chicken By Product Meal’ off as a viable food source. Companies who have proven time and time again that they will compromise quality (hello recalls!) in the interest of their bottom line. At the risk of your pet. That’s why it’s cheap. Any money they make on such food is too much. At it’s best, the negative effects are long term. At it’s worse,… Well, I’d spend the money to feed something I felt a little more confident in.
Let’s review: Better ingredients, from better sources, increased quality of life, less poop and shedding, and I’m not giving my money to irresponsible companies. What’s not to like? Oh, right, The Money. All I ask is you take the time to do the math. Figure out how much more it could potentially cost you. You might be surprised.
For you converts: What made you take the leap? Do you have a problem with the on-going cost? Do you have friends and family who just don’t get it?
For the never-haves: Have you done the math? Why do you feed the food you do? Do you ever consider a switch?