By Lorie Huston
A few days ago on BlogPaws, there was a blog post that talked about pet peeves. The first pet peeve spoken about was this one:
“For me, my number one pet peeve is people who think that because I feed my dogs and my cat grocery store food I’m a bad pet parent.”
I’d like to take a few moments today to talk about grocery store food and pets. Most of this is my opinion and you may not agree. That’s okay. You’re certainly welcome to have your opinion and I know this is a controversial subject.
Are You a Bad Pet Parent if You Feed “Grocery Store” Food to Your Pet?
I have to support the blogger that wrote that post. Feeding grocery store food does not make you a bad pet parent. In fact, the vast majority of my veterinary clients feed grocery store food for their pets and many of them are what I would consider excellent pet owners.
Are there other alternatives to grocery store food? Of course there are. And if you are so inclined, there is nothing wrong with pursuing a different avenue and feeding your pet a different diet, whether that be home-cooked, one of the “gourmet” type services that produce a customized diet for your pet, or another type of diet. That’s your right and, as long as your pet remains healthy on the diet, no one can fault that choice.
Can Your Pet Stay Healthy on Commercial Pet Food?
“As long as your pet remains healthy on the diet, no one can fault that choice.” That same thing can be said for commercial pet foods also. And I have to say that I see a lot of pets, both dogs and cats, that are healthy and thriving on these diets.
People make choices about the food they purchase or make for their pet based on lots of different factors. Granted, your pet’s health should be at the top of that list. However, convenience, affordability and availability also need to factored into the equation.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that feeding a low-quality food to your pet is okay. It’s not. What I am saying is that I do not believe that all commercial pet food is low quality. Yes, you need to know what to look for. And you also need to know how to look past marketing gimmicks because there are many of those and they don’t all come from the “big” pet food suppliers either.
Are Pet Food Companies Only Interested in Profits?
One commentor on the BlogPaws article left a comment expressing concern that pet food companies do not have your pet’s health as their primary concern, that their primary concern is making money. Okay, yes. Pet food companies are businesses and they need to be profitable to be successful, just like any other business. However, that does not necessarily translate to not caring about the health of your pet. In fact, if your pet’s food does not keep him healthy, you’ll likely stop buying that company’s product and probably tell all of your friends and family to stop buying it also. That is certainly not in the best interest of the pet food company.
In addition, Yvonne noted in another comment that she “knows for a fact that several big brands that produce grocery store pet food are extremely interested in the health of the animals as much as profits.” She goes on to say that she knows this because she’s spoken to some of the veterinarians that work with the brands on nutritional studies. I have to agree with Yvonne on this point because I’ve spoken to some of them also. In fact, perhaps we’ve spoken to some of the same ones.
And just to clarify, before anyone says “But vets aren’t well-trained in nutrition”, these are veterinarians that are trained in nutrition. Most of them are considered experts in their field.
I’ve had cause to speak to staff veterinarians at major pet food companies on a number of occasions. In fact, veterinarians on staff for Hills, Purina, Iams and Royal Canin have been instrumental in helping me treat some of my veterinary patients and returning them to a state of health. Without exception, these people have always been incredibly helpful and generous with their time as well as being extremely informative. They’ve always made themselves available for consultation as well as followup. Those are not the trademarks of people who do not care about pets.
Many Pet Food Choices Available
Another thing to consider is that in today’s market, there is a vast array of choices when it comes to pet foods, even in the grocery store. Pet owners can generally make a choice that reflects the desired level of care for their pet. For those that want grain-free diets or choose to feed a specific protein source, they are readily available commercially now although for some of these choices you may need to visit your local pet store instead of your grocery store.
As I said, this is my opinion. If you prefer to feed your pet differently, I do not criticize you. In fact, if I had the time to cook for my cats, I might very well consider a home-cooked diet for them. But I barely cook for myself so that’s not going to happen anytime in the near future. However, I am able to keep them healthy and fit with carefully chosen commercial foods with no problem, as are many of the pet parents that visit my veterinary hospital.
Please feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on pet foods and feeding. I promise I won’t bite, even if you disagree with me. All I ask is that all comments remain respectful, to me and to other commentors.
About Lorie Huston, DVM
Lorie Huston is a veterinarian, pet health and pet care expert, professional writer, blogger, social media and blogging consultant, and SEO strategist.
Originally from: Pet Health Care Gazette