One of the many joys we experience at gabbi’s is helping pet parents navigate the trials and tribulations of pet ownership. When the going gets tough, so do we! Pets, like kids, don’t come with instruction manuals after all, so we are all in the same boat when figuring out our pet’s issues. Pet food choice is one such area-the market is replete with options and it can get overwhelming. Dry kibble, canned wet, freeze, or air dried raw, etc. Yikes!
It is often within diet conversations that we hear a pet parent say, “Oh my gosh, that’s way more expensive than what I’m paying now for Fido’s food. I really can’t afford that…do you have anything less expensive?”
I’ll preface the following information with this first. I recognize that most of us pet parents are on budgets, my wife and I included, so I understand the fiscal burdens associated with pet ownership. The reality of this is that a pet’s diet generally dictates pet health. Of course there are good genetics that play into this as well. However, as we say at gabbi’s, everything comes from within. By that, we truly believe that a pet’s diet shows on the outside. How so, you ask? A pet’s shiny, soft, flake free coat is a huge example. A lean, muscular stance is another. Or how about boundless energy? Clear eyes? Check. The list goes on. Point is, genetics can only do so much, the rest depends upon a healthy diet, devoid of unnatural fillers, additives, or ingredients unnecessary for proper pet health.
Years ago, we didn’t have the pet food options we are privy to now. Dry kibble was the accepted norm, so anything else was either too expensive or not understood and avoided. The internet has most certainly enabled us to research anything we want; be it good or bad, we can find jaded info on anything to justify our own opinion or belief. There is good and bad to that, obviously. If you have read any of my blogs, you’ll know I often say, “You can’t defy physics or science.” Food science, although controversial, has many solid facts than cannot be disputed. So, for the sake of this blog, let’s focus on what we know and how it affects us fiscally.
Most lesser quality pet foods contain a lot of fillers that serve little nutritional purpose (more info on these specific ingredients in my blog, “The Benefits of Feeding a Holistic Pet Food-Ingredients Explained”). These fillers are mainly used to drive down the cost of your pet’s food; as compared to a high quality, limited-ingredient diet that only contains ingredients beneficial for pet health. There are two key factors at work here which determine the benefit of the diet in general:
-Absorbability/digestibility-the amount and quality of ingredients that gets absorbed and properly digested for maximum benefit.
-Calories/Kcals per serving-the standard we use when calculating proper feeding amounts based on body weight, age, activity level, or special needs a pet may have (diabetes, G.I issues, etc.).
Okay, so I’ll compare two foods, a “budget” diet and a “premium” diet based on these factors.
Food A consists of:
Corn, meat/bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat, soybean, etc. (*DFA rating of one star)
The main protein source is corn, which is approximately 40% digestible (think of what happens when we eat corn and the day that follows), so at best, a pet retains 50% of this plant-based carbohydrate bomb. This food costs $25 for 30lb bag, which is $0.83/lb. Based on the feeding guideline of 1 ½ cups per 20lb of pet weight per day, this food costs $0.31 to feed a 20lb pet. It contains 311 Kcals/cup. Remember, too, that at 50% digestibility, a pet produces MORE WASTE and retains LESS fuel, vitamins, and minerals needed for proper health.
Food B consists of:
Chicken meal, red lentils, chickpeas, green peas, chicken fat, etc. (*DFA rating of four stars)
The main protein source is chicken meal, which is over 90% digestible, followed by a healthy variety of legumes and vegetables, which are low glycemic ingredients as well. This food costs $59 for 30lb bag, which is $1.97/lb. Based on the feeding guideline of 1 cup per 20lb of pet weight per day, this food costs $0.47 to feed a 20lb pet. It contains 455 Kcals/cup and at 90% digestibility, a pet produces LESS WASTE and retains a healthy amount of meat proteins, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
Food A will cost approximately $9.61 a month to feed a 20lb pet.
Food B will cost approximately $14.57 a month to feed a 20lb pet.
A difference of about $5.
Now let’s consider the health benefits of feeding a high quality diet:
-High quality meat proteins for healthy appetite, coat, skin, muscle growth, vitality, and stamina. High quality nutrients help to ward off allergies, G.I issues, obesity, oral problems, and hip/joint issues, to name a few. Because we feed less food to accomplish more, there’s less waste to clean up. A healthy diet keeps your pet out of the vet’s office as well, eliminating pet stress and saving money.
So, for about the cost of a mixed drink or a lunch out, we can feed our pets a high quality diet they deserve that will help them stay healthy, happy, and energetic. Let’s not forget about the whole longevity thing too. We want them to stay with us for as long as they can.
Giving up that drink or lunch is not too much to ask for our pet’s health, is it? We don’t think so, and I’m pretty confident your pet will appreciate it too.
There are a lot of foods on the market and it can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in-we’ll help you select the best food based on your pet’s needs AND your budget. We have something for everyone, that’s what we do!
*DFA=Dog Food Advisor