How to shop for the best pet food in 2023
First of all, with pet foods, as with most other things, you get what you pay for. The first thing to check on the bag of food is the price. Cheap dog and cat foods use cheap ingredients, have poor quality control, are not well digested and may have excesses or deficiencies in vital nutrients, which can harm your pet. When analyzed in a laboratory, many generic and store brand foods do not actually contain the level of nutrition stated on the label. Discounted food may also be old and stale. Certain nutrients, such as vitamin A, degrade over time. So, to get the nutrition you are paying for, choose a well known brand name and don’t purchase something that costs $7 for 40 lbs. on sale, no matter how good the company is.
Pet food manufacturers must adhere to many regulations that govern what goes into the food and what goes on the label, which we’ll explain in a minute. However, pet food companies spend outrageous amounts of money on advertising and labeling, to make you think you are getting more than you paid for, while skimping on what actually goes into the food. The pet food industry is also not well policed. Chances are good that many small companies cheat on their labels, because they know that no one is checking up on them anyway.
So, it is best to try to choose a diet based on logic, science and the reputation of an established company, rather than on what looks good to you or has the fanciest ads. Companies that are not well established rarely have the resources to have their foods properly analyzed and tested and they are likely to cut corners. Their full color brochures and fancy packaging may conceal a big rip off.
It always surprises us how many people are feeding their pets sub-optimal diets while at the same time wanting good care for the pet in other ways. Spend a little more for the food and you’ll have a healthier pet. On the other hand, some expensive pet food brands don’t provide very good nutrition, either. At least as many clients paying too little are paying high prices for nutritionally inadequate or unproven diets recommended by untrained pet store employees.