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Dog Food, So Many Choices…What’s the Difference and Which One Should I Feed?

The Pet Industry is GROWING!!

Pet food is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and a major industry in the US with sales of approximately $20 billion annually. Hundreds of millions more are spent on marketing these products even to the occasional detriment of the quality of the products inside the bags. Much of this marketing is focused toward the companion animal and the females in the household who make the majority of the pet food purchasing decisions.


Really, What’s the Difference?

Once you get past all the marketing, it really comes down to the quality of the product in the bag. I like to keep dog food simple in terms of how I compare brands against one another and choose the brand that best fits my needs. In most cases the first 5 ingredients make up around 85% of the total formula by weight in each bag of food we purchase. In these first 5 ingredients you‘ll usually find a protein source, a carbohydrate source and a fat source. These three key components are required for any mammal to meet daily maintenance needs and come in a wide variety of ingredients available in the industry. The remaining 15% of the formula, though, can still play a key role in the health and longevity of your pet even though the original 85% drives much of the cost of feeding.


Digestibility is a Major Factor

Let’s look at the digestibility of these ingredients and determine if they are derived from plant or animal sources first. Animal proteins are more digestible as a rule vs. plant proteins and manufacturers generally prefer to have them listed earlier in the ingredients. However, certain ingredients can be misleading due to moisture content. For example, while whole chicken sounds great, it can contain as much as 80% water vs. a chicken meal containing 12-15%. This means chicken meal can contribute 4-5 times as much protein when compared to the same amount, in pounds, of whole chicken.


Cheaper Foods May End Up Costing You More

It’s important not to base decisions on which food to buy strictly on the price of the bag. Based on the ingredients used and the digestibility of the formula, it’s often possible to save money by feeding a higher priced food because you can feed much less. For example, a $25 bag of food with low digestibility and plenty of fillers might end up costing you more than a much higher quality product that costs $40 per bag. Even worse, all that extra food provided by feeding more of the cheaper food often just ends up becoming a much higher volume of waste in your yard.


Choose a Trusted Source

In deciding the appropriate food for your pet, it’s also important to understand the company making the food. Are they interested in their greatest return in investment or the health of your companion animal? Do they use a reputable and safe manufacturing facility and processes? 


Understand Your Labels

It pays to educate yourself on labels and what they mean. There’s good information available on the internet to do your research and make informed decisions. Pet food labeling is regulated at two levels. The federal regulations, enforced by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), establish standards applicable for all animal feeds, proper identification of product, net quantity statement, manufacturer's name and address, and proper listing of ingredients. Some states also enforce their own labeling regulations. Many states have adopted the model pet food regulations established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).


Finally, Be Attentive to Your Companion’s Needs

You can usually tell by your pet’s appearance and behavior if their diet is simply not supporting their overall health and well-being. Make sure your canine companion has some say in the matter of which brand you chose to meet their needs and goals too.


We strive to provide you quality products that will keep your companions happy and healthy…from puppies to hard-working dogs, Hubbard Life and Kinetic have the pet products to meet your needs!

Posted on 3/10/2014 by Steve Ries  |  Category: Dog
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