Confessions of a cheapskate dog owner
With my first dog, the best brindle boxer who ever lived, I bought the most expensive food I could afford -- usually Purina One.
But a lot has changed since Brutus passed away -- we have now 3 daughters. When you're on a budget that's stretched buying food for a family of 5, that giant bag of cheap food lurking on the bottom shelf looks tempting.
Vader, our black and white mutt with a heart of gold, seems healthy and happy, but I sometimes worry that by buying cheaper food, I'm endangering his health -- and racking up significant vet bills down the road -- just to save a few bucks.
However, there's more to dog food than price, and price and quality don't always go paw in paw, says Dr. Valerie Parker, DVM, an assistant professor -- clinical, at The Ohio State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
"Paying more for pet food absolutely does not guarantee that it is, in any way, a better quality pet food," says Parker.
In fact, pricey "gourmet" dog foods can easily contain less of the nutrients a dog needs than cheaper, mass-market foods, Parker says.
Confusing, right? Vague labeling, industry doublespeak and the complexities of pet nutrition can make deciding what to feed your dog a little hairy. Here's what to know.