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May 17 2016

Are expensive dog foods better for my pet?

I recently heard a conversation on the radio regarding a couple arguing over the price of their pet’s food.  It made me think that, just like other things, we naturally believe that something that is more expensive is better quality.  While this may be true for cars and clothing, it is not necessarily the case in dog food.

I did a quick comparison of some popular brands of dog food.  I looked at how much each brand sold for (I tried to go with a middle range of various online prices) and what size of bag, then looked at the recommended feeding schedule for a 50 pound dog.  I also learned that 1 pound of dog food is approximately 4 cups of food, just in case anyone wishes to double check my calculations.

I’ll start with the three brands of food that are recommended by the veterinarians at Grafton Animal Hospital (and I will note that we sell some products of all three of these brands in the clinic.)  I compared a basic adult food for dogs 1-6 years of age.  I did not choose any special diets, grain free, breed specific, small bites and I chose the basic chicken and rice formulas when available.  I tried to compare apples to apples.  I learned that it would cost about $.85 per day to feed my 50 pound dog Hill’s Science Diet Adult Advanced Fitness or Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Chicken and Rice Formula.  Royal Canin came in a bit higher at $1.13 per day for their medium adult dry dog food.

But, to be fair, many people want to purchase their pet’s food at the grocery store that is more convenient.  So I asked both veterinarians at Grafton Animal Hospital what brands they could recommend.  Dr. Raiff recommends Iams adult food which comes in at about $.66 per day.  Dr. Frost recommends Purina One which works out to be about $.76 per day for a 50 pound dog.  All of these products, both the veterinary formulas and those found in grocery stores, have had extensive testing done through independent food trials.  There is plenty of research available to show the food’s quality.

One brand of food that we usually do not recommend at Grafton Animal Hospital but seems to be very popular among pet owners is Blue Buffalo.  This may be a great dog food, but because the company has not conducted any independent food trials on their food, we just don’t have enough information to recommend any of these foods.  It would cost you $1.30 per day to feed your 50 pound dog Blue Buffalo Adult Chicken and Brown Rice formula food.

Of course these are standard adult dry dog foods and should not be fed to your pet if your pet has certain allergies, medical conditions, or if your veterinarian has recommended a prescription diet.  Please always follow the recommendation of your veterinarian.  But in the basics of pet food, the most expensive is not always the highest quality.  If you have any questions about what food your should feed your pet, please call any staff member at Grafton Animal Hospital at (757) 898-8433.

croaker1 | Uncategorized

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