These days, the choices in dog food are almost endless. There are wet foods, dry foods, semi-moist foods, complete foods, complementary foods, organic foods, natural foods, gourmet foods, premium foods…

Each manufacturer claims to sell the best food for your dog, yet the prices of the different brands vary dramatically. Some position themselves as low budget costing a few cents a meal. Others as high-end luxury meals costing $2 or more.

Most owners are willing to spend big on their pets and the makers of dog food know it. The pet food market is massive. A recent study by the APPA estimated that American’s would spend $21 billion on pet food in 2013.

Naturally, every dog owner wants their pet to live a long and healthy life. But is buying an expensive brand, really giving your dog a healthier diet, or is it money wasted?

You probably do not know this, but the FDA labeling guidelines on dog food that all makers must comply with, do not actually state that any pet food labeled as premium or gourmet has to be any different from a standard brand. So, when deciding what food to feed your dog, whose advice can we trust?

A veterinarian will tell you to ignore the advertising. They recommend you read the back of the packet or tin instead. In particular, look for the amount of protein the dog food contains. If the protein content is between 18 & 20 percent, then that is ideal. Any less is not a well-balanced diet, anymore, and you are wasting money.

Another sign of a good, well-balanced dog food is that it meets the AAFCO standards. If the food complies, there will be a statement to that effect printed somewhere on the packet or tin. Obviously, if the vet has recommended your dog’s diet for health reasons, then you should not change it without asking. However, the rest of us could save a lot of money by resisting the expensive premium, and gourmet brands, and use the simple, low cost, economy recipes instead.

Are Expensive Dog Foods Really Better For Your Dog?

When you go into a supermarket, the choice in pet foods can be bewildering. Go to a good pet store, and the choice of different foods is even bigger.

Once, everything was much simpler – dry vs wet. Now you get dry kibble, wet canned, fresh cooked, fresh raw, and more. In addition, these foods can be natural, holistic, organic, grain free….
And, when you start to compare prices….

It’s no wonder owners are always looking out for tips to make savings. So, when you buy one of the more expensive foods, are you getting value for money, or are you the latest victim of clever marketing? If you like many, are finding the different choices available confusing, here are five tips that may help you make the right choice:

All dog food you buy must have the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) stamp of approval. It is not always obvious, and you may have to look hard for it, but it must be printed somewhere on the packet. If it isn’t then put the food back on the shelf and leave it in the store.

Don’t make the mistake of applying your own values to food to your dog. Just because you wouldn’t dream of eating liver and lungs, doesn’t mean your dog won’t enjoy them.

Watch out for products that claim to be better for your dog because they are corn or grain free. Most simply substitute the corn or grain for rice or potato and charge you more.

Look for foods that are mainly made of protein, fats, and carbs. If you want your dog to eat fruit and vegetables, add them yourself. You then know how much is included.

Don’t be afraid to try different brands and types of dog food. Also, ask other dog owners what they recommend. Find a brand and type of dog food your dog likes and you are happy to give, then stick with it.

The choice of food you make for your dog is a personal one that works for you and for your dog. Just because a particular brand or type of food is right for another dog, doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for your dog.