Now, you might read that and think we’ve gone bonkers…we haven’t. What we mean by that is just why is it that dog owners get fixated on a specific dog food brand? Yes, there are some reality TV shows that look at bizarre addictions (one of which is a dog and cat food), but what we are going to consider is why human dog owners decide to feed their dogs a single brand.
The answer is quite simple: Clever marketing.
Most dog food manufacturers can explain that their foods are nutritionally balanced and contain “tasty” and healthy ingredients. A dog may even seem to love the wet and dry kibble they are fed. The problem with this is that dogs become addicted to certain foods for many of the same reasons humans crave certain junk foods – it is tasty ,and satisfying…but it is not healthy.
After all, in the United States, humans count on the FDA to create guidelines that ensure the foods we eat are handled properly and safe for our consumption. Labels must be accurate where things like nutrient content and ingredients are concerned. With dog food, though, there are not such strict rules to follow. Additionally, the actual formulations for dog food are not required to be reasonably healthy either.
As a simple example, look at a label on food you eat and it will tell you things like serving sizes ,and the number of nutrients are in that food for the RDA or recommended daily allowance of specific nutrients. This is to help us figure out how much of certain foods to eat and remain safe and healthy. In dog food, on the other hand, proportions of ingredients should be balanced to a dog’s needs. These are not as general as they in humans, though, and vary based on a dog’s age, health, size, weight and overall level of fitness.
So, a lot of the information on a label is far too general. You then have to think about the ingredients and how they may seem tasty to a dog but are unlikely to be healthy. By-products, fillers, and artificial flavors are not good for dogs, yet they can be quite filling and have a strong taste that a dog likes.
Just as people can develop a preference for deep fried foods, fatty and low-quality meats, sugary sweets and things that are heavily processed, so too can dogs. Instead of sticking with a brand because your dog seems to love it, try to consider what it is they are eating and go for foods with natural ingredients, no by-products and without fillers. If you are in the Gainesville area, you can stop by Earth Pets to peruse their assortment of healthy, tasty and nutritious foods. Your dog will notice the difference!