Not all pet foods are created equal with regards to how nutritionally wholesome and balanced the kibble varieties are for your pets. Veterinarians have said that the food a pet eats at home can be linked to some health concerns such as skin problems, hot spots, infections, worms, and weight gain. Since good health begins with good nutrition, it’s important to recognize the differences between great and gross pet food.
Talking with your vet and researching quality pet food brands is a must, but to help you get started, continue reading to uncover the pitfalls of cheap kibble.
Beware Pet Food Filler Ingredients
Pet kibble that is mostly filler – typically grains or unspecified meat by-products – is not an ideal option for your pet, regardless of the brand’s popularity and advertised promises. Ultra or super premium, premium, gourmet or high-energy labels are just terms used by pet food manufacturers to attract business; they don’t signify anything genuinely good about the food in the bag. Some manufacturers really do make top-quality kibble, but the only way you can tell these from the cheaper products is to actually read the ingredient list and research the brand on sites like Pet Food Ratings or Dog Food Advisor.
Carbohydrates in Pet Kibble
Cheap kibble typically has a high percentage of carbohydrates in the form of grain and corn, which provide a lot of bulk in the mix. However, they oftentimes have little nutritional value because they’re used primarily for increasing the quantity – rather than quality – of the food.
Once your pet consumes grain-heavy foods, especially dry kibble, the food swells up in the stomach and digestive tract. While it does make your pet feel full initially, it provides little of the required nutritional value. While carbohydrates offer some nutritional benefits for cats and dogs, animal nutritionists recommend that you seek out food brands with more protein content and some, but not a lot of carbohydrates to avoid common health concerns caused by carb-overload.
Could Your Dog Be Allergic to…Beef?
While grain-free kibble varieties also exist for owners concerned about carbohydrates, don’t assume this is the best diet out there. Many pets have no problem digesting grains, but struggle with another common pet food ingredient: beef. Veterinary research has found beef is the most common allergen for dogs, so this may be the culprit for your dog’s digestive problems, too.
How to Find Quality, Affordable Pet Kibble
To find a diet that will fulfill your cat or dog’s nutritional needs without breaking the bank – either from expensive pet food or veterinary bills caused by cheap kibble – start by understanding pet food labeling guidelines established by the FDA. This can help you avoid clever branding strategies that don’t tell you anything about the pet food itself. For instance, the FDA points out that, “the term ‘natural’ is often used on pet food labels, although that term does not have an official definition.”
Additionally, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about affordable pet food varieties. They can help you determine what type of food and how much would be appropriate for your pet to help you avoid health-related concerns in the future.
What kibble do your pets currently eat? How did you decide on that brand specifically? Let us know in the comments below!