A recent article circulating on-line offered advice on how to prioritize spending on Fido when money is tight, discussing what should you splurge on and what to hold back on in lean times. The choices espoused in this article are frustrating and the reason why over 50% of Americans and their trusty canine companions are unhealthy, overweight and/or obese. To cut costs, the article recommends feeding “cheap dog food” in lieu of more expensive specialty pet foods. This advice is contrary to current research and logic. Although many of us need to budget our expenses, we also must be mindful of the ultimate outcomes of our choices.
Junk In = Junk Out
Poor food choices, combined with sedentary lifestyles, lead to unhealthy beings. You are what you eat! And, the same holds true for dogs. The adage, junk in is junk out, rings true for humans and dogs. Just as humans need to be aware of their nutritional intake, we also must be mindful of our dog’s nutritional intake. Being overweight or obese can negatively impact so many aspects of one’s life, aside from what is reflected in the mirror.
They Are What They Eat
One of the most important facts about food consumption is that providing higher quality foods at the front end typically reduces costs at the back end by enhanced health. This applies to dogs and humans. The front end costs include increased prices for higher quality dog foods, while the back end costs are vet bills and, more importantly, your dog’s deteriorating health. After weighing the positives and negatives, paying a little more each month for higher quality dog food is less costly than vet trips and decreased longevity caused by disease.
Currently, pet food isn’t regulated like human food, and probably never will be regulated. However, that should not stop anyone from choosing higher quality foods for pets. Although studies proving that premium foods are healthier for your pets may not be extensive, early scientific evidence supports the fact that healthier diets produce healthier beings. In fact, a brand new TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talk, with pet nutrition author and blogger Rodney Habib, published in June 2016, explains how the quality of dog food combined with lifestyle are linked to canine health, longevity and diseases, including cancer.
The Lose-Lose Situation
By paying a few bucks less for cheap food, your beloved dog’s health may be compromised and lifespan may be shortened, ultimately costing more than you had ever dreamed. By feeding high quality foods, a lose-lose situation becomes a win-win for everyone. Exercise regularly and feed your pups high quality foods. Both you and your dog will be thankful.
Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is and evolutionary biologist and a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) with Lucky Dog Training Asheville and has over 30 years of training experience. The Dog’s Perspective is a training philosophy based on how dogs think.