Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth?
If you are like many dog owners, you have probably either purchased, or considered purchasing gourmet dog food. You may see it advertised at the office of your veterinarian, or in local pet stores where gourmet brands are available. However, there are several things to consider when planning to buy food of this kind for your pooch, such as the actual definition of gourmet dog food and more importantly, whether or not the food is really more healthy for your pet than the traditional brands found on the shelves of your local supermarket.
Something that surprises most dog owners when they complete research on gourmet dog food is that the latter is almost always made from the exact ingredients used in basic pet foods. In many cases, the price is the only difference. Such food is usually made from the same ingredients, preservatives and additives found in even the cheapest brands.
You probably think of your dogs as members of your family, as do most animal lovers. For this reason, you want what is best for your pooch and are willing to pay more if you think that is what you will be getting. Most manufacturers are aware of this and know that dog owners are usually willing to pay extra money if they think that one brand is better than the next. Some companies tout their dog food as far superior to its competition, when in reality it contains the same ingredients found in generic foods.
This may lead you to wonder how certain brands can be advertised as “gourmet,” the latter of which naturally sounds more nutritious to most dog owners. Unfortunately, any company can advertise their products as gourmet, regardless of the ingredients found in the formula. The reason for this is the fact that there are no regulations in place regarding what can and what can’t be advertised as gourmet food. Essentially any manufacturer can use the term and there are no set requirements concerning what the food must contain. Therefore, prior to purchasing your next batch of dog food, you should research what your dog truly requires, as well as what you are actually purchasing when you choose a brand advertised as gourmet.
A few tips that will help you choose the best food for your pooch include searching for brands that state they are made without the addition of something called “by-products.” The latter, unfortunately, sometimes include ingredients that are not even food. The term by-product can refer to fillers, chemicals, preservatives, and even parts of an animal such as cartilage or skin. Such substances are often used to expand the volume of the food and make it look like you are getting more for your money.
Label reading is the best way to choose pet food. The information you find on the label should always be regarded far more seriously than any vague claims made by the manufacturer, such as “100% natural” or “gourmet”: many ingredients are considered “natural,” but this doesn’t mean they are good for your dog. Look for specifically named meats, such as lamb, beef, chicken, or duck. Avoid foods that list corn or grain products as primary ingredients, as such fare is difficult for a dog to digest and not necessary to its health. Most dog owners want what’s best for their pets, and you are probably no different. However, don’t be fooled by advertisements and fancy wording on packaging. Simply
familiarize yourself with your dog’s specific needs and read the ingredients on the label in order to make the healthiest choice for your pooch.