A good dog is a terrible thing to waste. Feeding your pooch on the cheap can often end up with certain gaps in their dietary requirements (i.e., vitamin or mineral deficiency). Also, lower-grade dog foods are often rife with useless carbohydrates, additives, and artificial components. For a happier, healthier dog, the first step is starting them on a diet of premium dog foods. Remember, you are what you eat.
Super Premium Dog Foods
Merrick Grain-Free Real Chicken
Containing only stuff you could find in the aisles of your local grocery, this premium dog food has all the stuff your dog could need, and then some. Made with real deboned chicken as its major protein source, this blend is as close as your dog is going to get to raiding the coop. Also full of good stuff like sweet potatoes, peas, apples, and blueberries, this kibble will give your pup the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they need to keep them shining.
Taste Of The Wild High Prairie with Roasted Bison and Venison
This here dog food will transport your pup back to the days when the soil was rich and the game was aplenty. This quality crafted kibble is made with nothing but the best -- from bison, venison, sweet potatoes, chicory root, tomatoes, and blueberries. This grain-free, highly nutritious, and preservative-free formula is sure to make your pooch howl at the moon.
Dogswell Nutrisca Dry Dog Food
This grain and potato-free dog food have all the protein and vitamins your dog could need, without any of the filler. Made with cage-free, no hormone chicken as its primary protein source, this food is high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, and is a great source of amino acids. This uber healthy blend of chicken, chickpeas, fruits, and veggies is guaranteed to please.
Spot’s Stew Original Wholesome Beef
For those of you who have dogs that refuse to touch anything that doesn’t come out of a can, here is the answer to all of your premium food queries. Made with only the highest quality proteins, meats, grains, and veggies, this meal is not only nutrient-rich, but good for dogs of all ages and sizes, and has a taste no pooch can turn down.
Evanger’s Dry Dog Food
Made without any corn, wheat, or soy fillers, this high-protein kibble was specifically designed to meet the nutrition profile set by the Association of American Feed Control Office (AAFCO). This food guarantees that your dog will receive all the necessary nutrients, and then some. For high-quality food that isn’t lacking in anything, Evanger’s is the food for you.
When Is Premium Pet Food Worth It?
Naturally, you want only the best for your furry companion. Since the diet is a major component of their health, you would like to offer your pet the best food possible. However, often the perceived “best” of any product correlates to “most expensive,” which can be tricky when you’re working on a budget.
Is premium pet food any different from normal pet food? If so, how should a pet parent sort through the hype?
What a Better Diet Can Do
Commercial pet food has to meet certain basic health standards to ensure no deficiencies are created when a pet eats it as their primary food. The importance of a higher-quality diet for most dogs and cats is debatable. A lot of dogs and cats live long, healthy lives eating nothing but budget kibble. However, some individual animals have allergies, food sensitivities, or other problems that require special diets.
There are also many vets and animal experts who believe that all animals would have a higher quality of life on a better diet. The thinking is that a diet with balanced nutrients and higher quality ingredients means the animal’s body doesn’t have to work as hard to get the most from the food, so overall health may be better and the dog or cat might have fewer chronic health problems. Anecdotally, some people report miraculous recoveries from crippling diseases for pets on high-quality diets.
Sifting Through Advertising
However important an excellent diet is, premium pet foods do not always deliver that diet. Words like “holistic” and “premium” are not tightly regulated, or regulated at all, meaning a pet food company is free to use them simply for advertising purposes.
And no matter what ingredients go into food, the means by which they are processed, or even the nutrient value in the same ingredient classification, can be different. For example, the word “byproduct” on a label could mean more internal organs (good stuff for pets!) or more whole necks (lots of bone and ash — not as good).
The sad fact is that without doing research or preparing the food yourself, there is no way to be sure exactly how good the pet food is. So in reality, trial and error tend to be the best way to find out which foods work well for your furry friend.
So, Is Premium Pet Food Worth It?
A premium label does not, all by itself, mean the food is any better than standard, and standard food at a premium price is clearly not worth it. A high-quality diet, on the other hand, is worth it, especially if your pet has specific medical needs.
What Do I look for?
To ensure that you are actually getting high-quality food, you have a few options — you can cook for your pet yourself, you can ask a trusted vet for their recommendation, or you can use a commercially prepared food as a base and build it up with supplements (also asking your vet about which supplements to include).
Preparing food for a pet isn’t any harder than cooking for yourself. Most veterinarians can recommend a good home-prepared diet, or you can find one on your own, but beware that over half of the home-prepared diets on the internet or in books may not be considered complete and balanced by the standards set forth by the National Research Council's essential nutrients for dogs and cats. A knowledgeable veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist can help if you have concerns.
Or, if home-cooked food isn’t an option, just make sure to do your research before buying a “premium” dog food.
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