Walking down the pet food aisle is honestly one of the most overwhelming experiences of all time. Slim down your choices a bit and look to the bottom of the shelves for the bargain brands. It’s OK, pet mama, bargain brands are actually more awesome than their pricey competitors… and here’s why.
1. It’s all made with the same stuff (kind of)
Just as you would do when purchasing your own food, you need to know about your dog’s chow before tossing it into the cart. Regardless of price or brand, there are a few key things that you should be analyzing and looking for prior to feeding it to your four-legged best friend. You don’t want to feed your dog with unnecessary additives or by-products.
A few potentially harmful ingredients include:
- Propylene glycol: This ingredient is also found in antifreeze and can prove toxic if ingested in large amounts over time.
- Ethoxyquin: Veterinarians have found that dogs that consume this chemical preservative over time are more at risk for various cancers.
- Corn and soy: These ingredients don’t have any real nutritional value for your dog and can prove harmful over time.
- Most grains: These products are used primarily as fillers, and while some are OK, your dog is a carnivore and should have a diet consisting primarily of protein.
Speaking of protein, your dog needs real meat, not meat by-products. Look for foods that include chicken, beef, lamb — not poultry or chicken parts. A one-word ingredient typically means that’s what is really in it. If you see a filler word, then it’s likely your pet food has fillers in it. A “meat meal” is relatively OK as it is still something that your dog needs nutritionally. The meat should also come first in the ingredients list. Just like human food contents, the ingredients listed are weighted from greatest amount (listed first) to the least. Veggies and fruits are the next most important nutritional sources to look for.
2. Bargain brands don’t sell to your vet
Picture this: You get a new puppy and take him for his first vet visit. You’re a loving pet parent, so you ask your vet what food is best for him. You leave the office with three to five sample packs of dog food. Do you know what your dog needs? Nope, but you do have a brand! Don’t use it. Instead, when you take your dog to his next check-up, ask for ingredients rather than brands. That way you know what to look for when walking down the pet food aisle.
3. It’s inexpensive
Let’s be honest, the best thing about bargain dog food is that it’s a bargain! Not only are you saving money, you’re also saving time. It’s located where you regularly shop, and it allows you to spend more time and funds on your furry friend instead of his ridiculously expensive chow.
Great bargain brands to consider:
These brands use protein as their primary ingredient and use minimal fillers, such as by-products and grains.
Brands to watch out for:
- Old Yeller
- Ol’ Roy
- Gravy Train
Unfortunately, these brands list corn and fillers as their primary ingredients and, in many cases, include meat by-products rather than real meat.
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