My Story: Homemade Dog Treats
Durable Dog Chew
The Lifetime Cost of Adopting a Dog
Has anyone ever studied Brand Name Dog Foods? Are the generic brands just as good?
I have spent hours and hours researching dog food, as dogs are a big part of my life. I train, do pet therapy, and write for dog magazines. Generic foods are worthless. My vet confirms that he sees more underweight sickly dogs with dull coats, etc. on generic food. It is also likely that your dog would have to eat twice as much of them.
The standard name brands you'll find in the supermarket are a step up. They will maintain your dog, but not in the peak of health. Premium brands are yet another step up, but still not the best. But, if your dog is a beloved member of your family, the natural foods (Solid Gold, Innova, Abady's, Wysong, Flint River Ranch, etc.) will keep in him in the peak of health. These foods are made with human grade foods, not decaying or cancer-filled chunks of waste meat, and scrapings of grain off the floor of a brewery. They don't contain poisonous preservatives like ethoxyquin. They cost more, but often your dog will need to eat much less.
Another alternative is to make your dog's meals. Use cheaper cuts of meat, fresh vegetables, and cooked grains. Often you can use the same foods you cook for your family. This alternative will require some reading on your part before you start. But whatever choice you make, please don't feed generic.
I learned generic brands are inferior to brand names because of fillers and additives, etc. I also read in a publication that commercial dog food contains road kill and animals destroyed for other reasons. It did make national news and was confirmed by the dog food makers although they defended the practice. The processing supposedly destroys contaminants. The publication on dog food was from the Animal Protection Institute. The website is bornfreeusa.org click on "What's in dog food" streamer on the page. You can also put dog food in the search engine Google and get the same report and lots of more info on dog food.
I used to work as a vet assistant in a well-known veterinary practice. We had many pet food companies come in and give presentations on what they put in their food that makes them different from the competitors. The name brands (like Science Diet and Eukanuba) put many nutrients in their food to not only keep your pet healthier, but also to increase immunity, help dental hygiene, manage weight, decrease excrement, among other things. Buying name brand food saves you money in the long run because it has preventive maintenance working for you and your pet every time they eat. This will save on vet bills because they probably won't get ill as much as other pets.
I used to feed Science Diet & Iams to my retrievers, but due to a relocation was unable to get these at a reasonable price. So I checked the ingredients of Wal-Mart's Old Roy Lamb & Rice (not the others) is the closest match and my dogs, who are fussy eaters, love it and the price is right. I also used to make my own and for the time/price it's hard to beat.
A friend of ours has told us of a pet food company that sells all its 'leftover' dog food by the truckloads to pig farmers for around $35.00 a truckload. From my understanding, the company mixes all the dog food leftover from batches into a big bin and sells it 'as is' just to get rid of it. I guess if you weren't picky about what your dog eats, then finding a dog food company in your state and making the trip would be beneficial.
Personally, we purchase a more expensive dog food that contains no soybean. This is just cheap filler and has no nutritional value. Our dogs eat less and their 'output' is less. I also have found many recipes on the Internet for dog biscuits. I like to make my own because I enjoy baking, but baking for my family is not diet friendly. I make a batch of about 24 biscuits for about .50 cents. I get to use my fancy kitchen tools without weight gain and our dogs love them!
To add fat content into dog food for working dogs during the winter (they need more) we add about 1 tablespoon per cup of dog food. This also helps their coats.
editor's note: you'll find recipes for homemade dog biscuits at stretcher.com/stories/981130a.cfm
I have worked in pet stores for the last four years. Currently I'm working at a store owned and run by a veterinarian technician who works for a holistic veterinarian himself. I have learned that generic brands of dog food are almost completely "filler" foods.
When you look at the lists of ingredients, the order of ingredients is listed in order of how much is contained in the food. In generic brands, corn is listed almost at the very top. Dogs can't even fully digest corn, but it is a cheap, easy to grow crop so corn is used as the base for the food. Then all the "meats" or so they call them, they are the parts of the animal that have been rejected, such as the skin, ground bones, etc. Then you may ask, "Why is my dog so attracted to the generic brands?" Because the cheaper food companies spray the food with a "meat spray". They take a paint sprayer gun and spray the hard food with the scent of meat and juice, which attracts the dogs because of the smell.
Also the cheaper foods contain tons of preservatives which are very unhealthy. That's like us eating nothing but processed, freeze-dried foods while trying to stay healthy. For suggestions of good foods, I recommend first and foremost "Natural Balance" dog food. It is reasonably priced and full of nutrients. It is for all life stages - puppy, adult, and senior, which makes it even better because you don't have to switch foods as they grow. Other excellent foods are "Innova", "Wysong", and "Healthwise."
For the cheaper price, you compromise quality significantly. One last thought is that just because you see the food advertised and recognize the name, or even when they say they are "Veterinarian Recommended" it doesn't mean they have any quality to them. These big companies spend all their money on marketing research and advertising, not on improving the quality of their product. And vets that endorse this stuff? They are paid to say they recommend the foods.
Take the Next step:
Sign up for our free eNewsletter Dollar Stretcher for Parents.
Looking for an answer to a frugal living question? Click here to ask a
Dollar Stretcher Stretchpert!
Copyright 1996 - 2013 "The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." All rights reserved unless specifically noted.
Contact the Dollar Stretcher at:
PO Box 14160
Bradenton FL 34280
"The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." does not assume responsibility for advice given. All advice should be weighed against your own abilities and circumstances and applied accordingly. It is up to the reader to determine if advice is safe and suitable for their own situation.