Last year, when I heard the news that Petco was pulling all foods and treats with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives off their shelves I couldn’t be happier. There’s been a visible movement to change the way we feed our animals in health-conscious brands like Ollie that’s made a clear difference in the health and life-span of our furry friends. Still, pet parents struggle at the aisle with the common dilemma on how to best nourish their beloved animals. Premium and traditional dog foods are on two polar ends of a spectrum, both marketing themselves as the new best thing. It can be hard to understand whether paying more makes a difference in your dog’s health.
One thing’s for sure. What started as a coy apprehensiveness on the horrors of the traditional dog food industry has boiled to an outright uproar. The jaw-dropping truths revealed on what some pet food companies put in their dog food are unforgivable. It leaves us as pet owners to take matters into our own hands, do our research, and make better decisions on behalf of the lives of our pets. Before purchasing your dog’s food, make sure the formula does not contain questionable ingredients that may be harmful to your dog’s health. Keep reading to learn more about how to make the best long-term choice for you and your dog.
If you care about your dog, you want him or her to eat and feel as good as you do. Just as your diet can change your health, your dog’s food can make a significant impact on the health of your dog.
Premium Dog Food
Premium dog food companies like Ollie pride themselves on using higher quality ingredients in their mix than generic dog food companies do. Premium dog foods are typically formulated to meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials standards. These standards ensure that dog food marketed as “complete and balanced” actually fit the AAFCO’s nutritional guidelines. However, in a largely unregulated market, where do you draw the line between trendy and healthy? Finding the right premium dog food for your dog will take some trial and error. You’ll have to sift through brands and read carefully to determine the ones that have ethically sourced ingredients, vet-formulated recipes, and an important mission to improve the well-being of your dog.
Traditional Dog Food
The endless variety of generic dog food choices can be pretty intimidating. Grain-free? Standard or light? Chicken or beef? Wet or dry? Soft or moist? These options help pet owners feed their dogs with ease. Easily storable and transportable, commercial dog food makes it easy for dog owners to live their lives as well as care for their pets. Commercial dog food is undoubtedly convenient. You can find a large selection of brands slammed bag after bag on the shelves of your local pet store. However, even with the AAFCO safeguards identifying potentially dangerous chemicals and fillers, commercial dog foods contain unnecessary ingredients and byproducts.
Companies may say one thing, but customers often say another. Here’s a snapshot of what pet parents have to say about premium and commercial dog food.
Premium Dog Foods
Pros: Customers love how their dogs enjoy and digest more nutritious premium ingredients from ultra-conscious brands like Ollie. Premium dog foods contain no artificial flavors, growth hormone, antibiotics, fillers, synthetic colors, or preservatives. Premium dog foods often also contain ingredients that may boost the health of your pet. Reviewers also believe that a healthier diet may lead to fewer medical issues making the premium prices a meaningful investment in dog health.
Cons: Premium dog food woes are in the wallet. It’s expensive, and there’s no getting around it. Also, some customers complain that paying for organic dog food is a waste of money. Beware of purchasing from companies that source from farms that mistreat their animals and try to skimpily pass the USDA requirements (only 95% of the ingredients are organic). Organic doesn’t mean made in the USA either. In other words, the label USDA organic isn’t transparent. You’ll have to do your research to find out exactly where your dog food’s ingredients originate. While we’d like to think an organic label represents a strict set of ethical guidelines that uphold responsible farming practices, it’s now become an excuse to slap an extra fee on anything labeled organic.
Traditional Dog Food
Pros: There’s a smooth convenience that comes with purchasing commercial dog food. There’s nothing easier than stopping at your local pet store for a bag of kibble. Dehydrated kibble or cans of wet food are easy to transport and store. Generic dog foods are easily stored reducing stress and worry. Not only are these foods perfect for travel, but they also stay fresh longer once the packages are opened. It’s easy to refrigerate an opened can or warm up leftovers in the microwave.
Cons: The truth is in the label. Commercial dog food contains highly processed ingredients that are dangerous to pet health making its ingredients and culture comparable to fast food companies. Although palatable and travel savvy, single-serving pouches of commercialized dog food hold high levels of salt and sugar. Packed with fillers and chemicals to help improve shelf-life, traditional dog foods contain hazardous ingredients that are not suitable for human consumption. This leads to irritability in the stomach, leftover meals, and irregular bowel movements. Customers find their dogs can distinguish the texture, size, shape, moisture, and palatability of their food.
In a perfect world, we would purchase only the best food money could buy. However, with limited cash, comes a higher responsibility to buy only the most meaningful and useful products.
Premium Dog Food
Premium dog foods are more expensive than commercial brands. If you’re buying a premium brand, make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. Although premium dog food companies contain fewer chemical preservatives and higher quality ingredients, unfortunately, there are many manufacturer’s marketing themselves with fancy ingredients that do less than bring proper nutrition to your dog. Don’t let the bright colors and packaging fool you and make sure to read the nutrition label. Just as we carefully navigate the human shelves of marketing, we must also do the same for our dogs. We know healthier food leads to less medical bills, so it’s essential to pick brands like Ollie that deliver on what they say.
Traditional Dog Food
Generic dog foods are cheap. Since familiar brands include fillers and preservatives in their formula, you’ll be able to store your dog’s meals for more extended periods. However, since commercial pet foods are cheaper, there is a sacrifice in the quality that may be detrimental to the quality and length of your pets life. Studies show that nutrition plays a significant role in the lifespan of animals. Beware of brands that use human garbage in their mix to make a profit in the commercial pet food industry.
All in all, it’s up to you and your dog. On the one hand, premium brands can provide incredible health benefits to your dog, while commercial brands can offer you convenience and savings. Reading nutrition labels to avoid shady additives can help protect your dog from ingredients he or she doesn’t need. Thanks to ethical brands like Ollie, things are taking a turn for the better in the pet food industry. It’s changed my perspective on not only the food my dog eats but also his mental and physical activity. The moment my dog hears me taking out his meal, his ears perk up. It only takes seconds to prepare which is a win-win. His weight has improved, and his energy has never been higher. He always licks the bowl clean and never leaves a spec. It reminds me of when he was a little puppy. It makes me think; I can’t believe I’ve been feeding my dog fast food for years.
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