What is the difference between premium and cheap dog food

Is there a difference in quality between cheap and expensive dog food?

Poochon happy and excitedYou want to make sure your dog is getting the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrients but should you be buying pet food from the supermarket, or should you be feeding your dog premium quality dog food? Just what is the difference between premium and supermarket dog food anyway?

As with most foods, human and pet food alike, a quick peruse of the ingredients label will reveal all.
When next your browsing the supermarket pet food aisle check out the ingredients on the back of the packaging to see the truth about what you are feeding your dog. Cheaper pet foods will have lots of grains, grain by-products, and meat by-products. The higher up the scale you go in terms of quality will see fewer grains and by-products, with more quality meat content and even quite a few extra premium foods including whole vegetables.

Supermarket vs Premium food

There are a few advantages to buying supermarket quality dog food but they are not necessarily in the dog’s best interests. Of course, they are cheaper and more convenient but that’s where the advantages end if you want your pet to have the best quality food. Just about all supermarket brands use lower quality ingredients with lots of non-nutritional fillers such as cheap grains or even feathers to keep costs down! What’s even worse is that the ingredients can change from batch to batch, causing poor old Fido no end of stomach troubles or allergy problems.

Poochon Jumping upPremium quality dog foods are a little harder to find but still not difficult as pet food stores can be found just about everywhere. There is also the fact that many stores allow you to order online and have their products delivered to your door. While the cost may be higher on a kilo for kilo basis, premium pet foods also pack in more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This can help offset the cost somewhat, as you should be able to feed your dog less than you normally would with a cheaper product, due to the quality over quantity principle. The difference in price can be very little on a weekly basis if you have a smaller breed such as a Poochon.

Health issues

If your dog is suffering from skin conditions or allergies, other than a visit to your vet, the next thing you should consider is taking them off a supermarket diet and putting them on something a little more premium. Unfortunately, many of the additives used in supermarket foods can cause problems with a dog’s physiology so a premium pet food for a dog with special dietary needs may be all that is needed to clear up that rash.

The fact that a premium quality dog food will also keep your animal in premium health should also go a long way towards convincing you to switch, simply because fewer visits to the vet are always good for the bank balance.

When to change from puppy food to adult food

First a little bit about feeding your puppy

Puppies eatingA growing puppy should only be fed a formula which provides enough nutrients for their rapidly growing body. While it is important that they have access to plenty of food this should be controlled and only given to them at feeding times. Feeding times for most puppies over 8 weeks old will be twice a day, with larger breeds needing feeding at least 3 times a day while still young.

Leave the food out for 10 minutes only and then remove it, and wait for the evening meal before you feed the puppy again. Puppies will learn quite quickly that their food supply is limited and that they should eat their fill when it’s available. As the food quantity is being controlled by humans there is no danger of the puppy overeating. This feeding schedule should carry on throughout the puppy’s life as it also reinforces the humans as dominant, in charge, and in control of all of the food.

Allowing a puppy to overeat can be habit forming, and may eventually lead to weight and health problems as the dog gets older, such as skeletal disorders, obesity, and diabetes. If your puppy needs vitamin and mineral supplements it should only be supplied on your veterinarian’s orders.

So now you know the basic do’s and don’ts of feeding your puppy, but at what age do you transition them to an adult diet?

Cavachon puppy in basketThe general rule for transitioning your pup towards an adult diet is when they reach about 80 to 90 percent of their adult weight. This is a guide only and changes depending on the breed of dog. Another rule of thumb is to wait until the dog is 7-8 months for smaller dogs such as Cavachons, 8-10 months for medium sized breeds, and at least a year for the biggest breeds. Larger breeds are prone to skeletal diseases if they don’t receive enough nutrients during their growing stage which explains the longer time frame.

When it is time to wean your dog off puppy food don’t just start immediately as this abrupt change may lead to diarrhea and stomach cramps – leaving the poor puppy feeling quite miserable. Instead, do it gradually over a period of two weeks or so. Mix in 75 percent puppy food with 25 percent adult food to start, and over the next few days gradually increase the ratio until the adult food makes up 100 percent of the meal.

Remember, puppy food is very rich when compared to adult dog food, so continuing to feed them puppy food well into their adult life is not doing them any favors, as it will eventually lead to health problems.