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February 17, 2009


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This is probably one of the craziest things I've ever read. And I think that with all the salmonella, maggot stories and other disgusting dog food headlines I've read in the past year, I'll spend the extra $5-10 per bag to buy my dogs something that comes from a plant with quality control and is fortified.

BTW, a lot of crappy wet food has "animal byproduct" in them. It's not good for your pet. Cheap pet foods use chemical preservatives, too. So again: I'll pay the extra 50 cents for the can of food that has real meat instead of chicken bones and feet in it.

I understand that some people just couldn't care less about pets and can't understand the value of having one (or many), but I'll tell you right now, poverty or none, I'd feed my dogs people food before I fed them dog food that you can buy for 25 cents a can. You get what you pay for.

"Note: All but one have received some funding from the pet-food industry."

Interesting note, wonder what brands bribed, I mean funded them.

Sadly most of the nutritional information about what is good for your pet tends to come from sponsored seminars. Want to guess who sponsors those seminars for the vets to go to?

This story is borderline crap.

I'll give you one of my cats, a bag of Wal-Mart generic cat food and a bag of Science Diet Light. If you are anything other than in a coma or stoned out of your mind you will easily be able to tell if one is better within a week. Hint: Its the one not giving the cat diarrhea.

CheapER pet foods might be okay for my kitty, but if I was to buy strictly based on the price per ounce I would be doing my cat a disservice.

Hmm ... I don't have any problem with my healthy cat eating store-brand pet food. I figure that if I can buy store-brand food for my family then my cat can have it too. If I experienced health problems with my cat I'd be sure to switch but that's not the case.

We don't buy our animals super expensive food but we do buy them brand name food. Both their foods are formulas built for their particular needs. Having talked to several vets they will give you this warning: generic pet foods (especially the Sam's brand) are super high in fat (used as a filler) and will cause weight gain in your pet. So while you may not need the extra wet food or you may be able to not buy the super high end stuff I would not want to just go buy any old generic pet food. Probably the best thing to do is talk to a vet or try and get the actual nutrition information for the store brand you are considering.

Well, I could say a lot but lets just start with what is required for a dog food to be certified by AAFCO and get there "complete and balanced" sticker.

8 animals are fed the diet for 6 months, and only 6 have to make it through the trial while 2 can be dropped with no explanation. After 6 months they can lose up to 15% of their body weight. So that is what he means by "There's no scientific evidence that any food is better than the next"!

My wife is in vet school and is often horrified by the exact kind of thinking professed by Dr. Wakshlag which is not uncommon (And frankly, she says this even sounds out of context). But it is really based on weak science, and heavy convenience. It is convenient to tell clients all their food is "complete and balanced"no matter who makes it (thus the nice shot at home made diets in there).

But just think about it, all dog food is the same? Old Roy is amazingly bad dog food. It will make your pet smell, and ill. Other dog food is not just old roy stuffed into a foil package!

One more insane thing, dry food does nothing for dental issues. Dental kibble does.

And MF, I really wish what you are saying was not true. But it is. It is changing, but slowly.

When we adopted our 4-7 year old 85 lb black lab 7 years ago we started with Purina Dog Chow. After our first visit to the vet about 6 months later he weighed 98 lbs. The vet recommended we switch to something like Iams or Science Diet. He said the big difference we would notice is the size of the manure piles he leaves because the Purina is full of high fat fillers. He said we could feed our dog half the volume of a better dog food and he would still get all the nutritional value. The proof would be in the size of the droppings.

The vet was right. We walk our dog twice a day and the volume of his manure is much, much less with Iams, within a few months his weight went back down to 85 lbs and he's now an 11-14 year old dog that is very healthy and happy. Purina bad, Iams good.

But I do agree dry food is the way to go.

I've been told to buy the cheapest food that doesn't cause health problems for your pet. In other words, the cheapest stuff probably isn't good and the most expensive stuff is probably overkill.

My cats eat Iams because my older one got an allergic reaction to Purina. In the 5 years since he was sick I'm sure I've paid well over what that vet visit cost in higher pet food costs but at least my cat isn't sick.

Ah, no. My cat's previous owner fed her Iams. Horrible gas, diarrhea,etc. We switched her to Wellness. Her coat is noticeably softer and shinier, especially when compared to my dad's cats that get generic cat food. She became much more active on the better food, too.

Wellness is human-grade food that contains non of the fillers that are so bad for cats. It's the difference between going to McDonald's and cooking a nutritious meal at home.

My cat would drive me crazy if I stopped feeding him his supplemental can of "wet" food daily. He has dry food out in his dish all day, but when I get home, he bugs me until I give him a half can of "wet."

Our cats are completely dependent upon us for their nutrition and care, and that's a responsibility I agreed to when inviting them into my life. Fillers and byproducts are not food. My cats eat Wellness and Rad Cat raw, and I don't begrudge them a penny I spend on their well-being. I'd rather do without myself than go cheap on cat food.

When we adopted our dog at 3 years old, she was on a diet of Iams. We switched her to Purina because it was quite a bit less, and we saw no difference in her health. We decided to try Old Roy (Walmart brand) because it was a couple dollars cheaper. We had to use twice as much because she kept acting hungry and she gained a lot of weight. This is all with dry dog food. I guess you have to do your own experimenting as to what works best with your pet.

My husband and I don't buy name-brand food for ourselves, but our dog needs it, and we saw that for ourselves. We don't grudge her for the extra couple dollars per six months, but we aren't going to go hog-wild if we don't have to. We've taken responsibility for her, and we'll take care of her to the best of our abilities.

It is really a pet by pet basis that a person needs to determine what their pet's needs are. I tend not to get the absolute cheapest food I can find in the entire city for myself, so I won't do that for my pet. I love our mutt that we adopted, but I won't act all high and mighty about what I will and won't allow her to have. She has gotten a steak when one fell off the grill, and she immediately acted like she hadn't been fed in days. Animals handle food differently just like humans do. If there is a problem, change some variables, just like people do for themselves. But if you can't afford a super expensive bag of science diet, you may want to look at an alternative.

Our cat, that we got as a stray, developed diabetes on the cheap dry cat food we fed her. She is an outdoor cat, so she had lots of chances to supplement her diet. For a while, we switched over to the expensive, vet-sold, high-protein wet food, while we were giving her insulin. I did a lot of research online and found that wet food has a higher protein content than dry. And brands differ a lot, as do their various dishes. Long story short - she's off insulin and we stuck with regular wet food.

PS. While insulin is pretty cheap for a cat, all those vet bills aren't.

My girlfriend worked at a petfood store for a few months.
From what she was told, and what we have observed ourselves with our two cats the general thinking is that;

a) Cheap pet food is the equivalent of "junk food" for humans. It's stretched with fats and salts and the pets generally love it and will scarf it down all day.

b) Expensive "nutritional" pet food is more like steamed broccoli and fish. Not necessarily the tastiest meal around, but good for you and you'll eat until you're full.

Our cats eat less food when we feed them the good stuff, so while it is more expensive, it's not as much more expensive as it initially appears just based on price per pound. Plus in the long run it will save you money in nutrition/obesity related vet visits.

One 17lb bag of the $30 food lasts us a month, where as we could go through two 20lb bags of the $10 stuff in a month before. Yes, more expensive, but It's not as bad as it seems.

I think the point of the article is really that simply paying more for food doesn't make it better food. Less expensive food isn't necessarily bad and more expensive food isn't necessarily better.

I would say in general though that if you go out and buy the absolute cheapest pet food you can buy that its not likely to be very healthy and you'll end up getting what you paid for. On the other hand going out and buying the most expensive food is not particularly likely to ensure a healthier pet then buying a decent medium price brand.

To me this seems kind of similar to generalizations about human food.

while i wouldn't doubt the findings of consumer reports, it was a study in vein. pets are usually everything to people, members of the family just as important as the next. people have already made up their minds and want the best for their pets, just like they want the best for their kids and spouses or any other member of the family. you really can't tell people the foods are equal so go buy the cheap stuff. i'd sooner buy generic brands for myself than my pup.

For cats, it is beneficial to feed them some wet food because of the moisture. One of the most common problems cats have is with their kidneys and one of the best ways to prevent it is...more water. :) It will also make kitty feel more full, which could help with overeating problems.

I always refer people to this website about dog food:

Once Nutro was bought by Mars my dog started having bloody diarreah (google it... peoples dogs have gone from perfectly healthy to death in quick succession).

Changed her over to Natural Balance and she has been fine since.

They are about the same price... a few dollars difference.

Definitely a difference, caveat emptor!

I don't skimp on the cheap cat food. But I do buy in bulk. The largest bag that pets mart sells is only about $5-$10 more for almost twice as much food. The key is to keep the food in an air tight container. The pet stores have these containers for about $30-$40 each. But I have found that this is over kill. I went to walmart and purchased one 5 gallon paint bucket w/ snap top lid for $5 and one 1 gallon container with a screw top lid for $2. I feed them out of the 1 gallon container and refill the 1 galon container from the 5 gallon bucket. Works well.

I think pet food is like a lot of things such as a mattress or even people food, you don't want to get the cheapest but you don't need the best either.

When I first got my cats, I spent a lot of time reading every nutritional label in the pet store. I knew I didn't want by products and I wanted a protein listed as the first item, but I also wanted to be frugal and the most expensive food is not necessarily the best. I ended up going with Nutro. I can see the difference in both their coats and in their poo. While I do feed both wet and dry, a money issue change that.

That report is absolutely ridiculous, and I will be complaining to Consumer Reports directly. No one wants to reduce their expenditures more than I do (I promise you that I have far more animals than you do), but you can't take this as a "get of my responsibilities free" card. Just read the ingredients label for crying out loud. Cats are obligate carnivores. To feed them only cheap dry food - ie: corn and floor scrapings - is to condemn them to diabetes/kidney problems, and a guaranteed reduction in life span. Yes, you pay extra for glossy heavily advertised products, but that doesn't mean that that is ALL you are paying for. I have bought thousands of pounds of pet food in my life and I swear to you that there are dramatic differences in quality between them. Use your head, or find a better home for your pet. Your comments are irresponsible, and your exitement makes me a little sick for your pet.

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