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Did you know premium pet foods can actually save you money?
The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ applies to pet foods as well. We explain why feeding your pet a premium food can actually cost less than so-called cheaper supermarket brands.
What is a premium pet food?
Firstly, you won't find premium pet food brands in your supermarket. This is because they are only available from your veterinary clinic, or specialist pet food retailers like Petpost.
Take a look at the bag or tin - a premium food will have the AAFCO label. This means it been tested by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), to make sure it provides a complete and balanced diet for a healthy dog or cat.
How is it different from supermarket brands?
One of the main differences with premium pet foods is their higher digestibility. For instance, a premium pet food might have an 80% digestibility - compared to say 40% for a cheaper brand.
This means that for every 100gm of premium food fed and eaten, 80gm is digested and only 20gm ends up as poop. The same amount of the cheaper brand would end up with only 40gm digested and 60gm of poop.
If you do your maths, you can see that you would have to feed twice as much of the cheaper food to keep up, and would then end up with 6 times as much poop in the process (a significant fact if you have lawns and kitty litter boxes!)
The digestibility is affected by the type of protein, meat and ingredients in the food. Cheaper foods tend to have cheaper cuts of meat and more grains acting as fillers.
Better nutrition & consistency in diet
Premium foods also have more constant levels of protein and vitamins - and they clearly state what their protein content is derived from. If they state chicken, for example, that is what your pet gets. This is important to know if your pet has allergies or may react to certain proteins.
Many cheaper brands will only claim ‘animal proteins or by-products’, so it's a gamble as to what you may get from one can to the next.
But perhaps most importantly, you'll notice a difference in your pet when they switch to an improved diet. The higher quality and level of vitamins and minerals will usually give them a noticeably glossier coat, healthier skin and higher energy levels.
Most premium food brands will provide a money back guarantee. So if your pet won't eat it, you can return your bag for a full refund.
Another advantage is that while cheaper foods tend to be 'one size fits all'; premium foods are carefully formulated for your type of pet. There are premium foods especially formulated for your pet's age (e.g young, adult or senior); their size (e.g small dog versus large dog); their weight (e.g calorie-controlled diets); and even your specific breed of dog (such Eukanuba's breed range).
Combining wet & dry foods
While premium dry foods provide your pet's complete dietary needs, some people choose to supplement the dry diet with some wet foods. The main reason is to provide variety in their diet, by offering different tastes and textures. However, it's important to remember that not all wet foods are created equal. A supermarket can or pouch may not be the best "treat" in terms of your pet's diet. For best nutrition, it's recommended that you choose premium food in both wet and dry.
So to sum up, premium pet foods mean: better quality products, usually less cost per feed than the lower quality brands, less poop and gas, and healthier happier pets.
Changing your pet's diet
Once you make the decision to switch to premium foods, it's best to introduce it slowly. It takes a pet a few weeks to adapt their digestive system to a change in their diet - even if it's a change for the better. For this reason, don’t make any sudden changes to your pet’s diet. Use the ¼ at a time principle. Start with ¼ new ¾ old for a few days, then ½ and ½, then ¾ new ¼ old and after 1-2 weeks you can make a complete change. This tends to avoid stomach upsets.