With around 8.5 million pet dogs in the UK, it’s pretty safe to say that we are a nation of dog lovers. However, owning a dog does bring with it a lot of responsibility, and one of the most important decisions that we are responsible for is choosing what to feed our four legged friends.
A recent tv advert from Pets at Home* has brought to light the fact that a lot of the dog food that’s out there is actually not as good for our pets as we’d expect. So, this got me wondering, how do we know if the food we are feeding our dogs is good and also how exactly is our dogs health (and also our bank balance) affected by the food we choose to feed them?
Check the Ingredients
The best way for you to know exactly what it is that you’re feeding your dog is by understanding the list of ingredients on the back of the packaging. Here are a few tips on how to understand the ingredients list.
- The first ingredient that’s listed is the main ingredient that they use in the food, so taking note of what comes first on the list will help you to decide if that particular brand of food is right for your dog.
- Animal derivatives and unnamed meat is as uninformative as it sounds. As they don’t name a specific meat or protein, these ingredients can come from any part of an animal carcass, including the organs, and they can also contain a variety of different proteins, so you can never be sure which proteins you are actually feeding you dog!
- Unnamed derivatives from vegetables can be a number of things such as cereals, vegetables, oil-seed and legumes. However, it is hard to know whether these are of a high or low quality.
- The named % of poultry/fish lets you know how much of the total meal is actually your chosen dish. For example, if you choose chicken as your meat of choice, then this will let you know how much chicken is actually in the food, whether it’s 20% or 4%
It is worth noting here that we are looking at dry food, not wet food in this article.
How Much Can You Afford to Spend?
So, now that we have more of an idea of what we’re actually looking at when we read the ingredients, we can make a more informed decision as to what we want to feed our beloved dogs. But we would be kidding ourselves if we thought that the decision is really that easy. No, there are a few more factors that we would have to consider such as the price. We obviously want to give our dogs the best food that we possibly can, but how much can we really afford to spend on dog food?
Prices can vary quite drastically, for instance, you can pick up a 2kg bag of dry dog food* for as little as £3.00 or as much as £15.00 depending on where you are shopping and what brand of dog food you choose to buy. So, taking the time to do a bit of research will be well worth your time and effort, to make sure that you are happy not only with the quality of the food that you are giving your dog but also that you are happy with the effect that it will have on your bank balance.
The Real Long-term Cost
When considering the quality of the food vs the cost, it is also good to remember that choosing the cheapest option might not actually work out to be a financially smart move overall. This is because in the same way that our own diet has a profound effect on our own health, a diet lacking the necessary nutrients that your dog needs will also affect their health. Which could possibly mean that you will have a few vet bills to pay that could have been avoided if you’d have spent a little more on buying the right dog food.
I really hope that our tips on how to understand the dog food ingredients list and also what you need to consider before choosing your dog food has made, what could be a very confusing decision, just a little bit easier. If it has then please do share this post with your friends. 🙂