Premium Diet vs. Inexpensive Diet
Unfortunately there are many different types and quality of dog food available. Much of it is equivalent to ‘junk food’. We recommend feeding your dog a high quality dog food. Premium brands are the Purina, Hills Science Diet, Iams, and Eukanuba. The level of quality then drops to the intermediate pet store brands, brand name foods from the grocery store, and lastly, cheap foods. With pet food, you get what you pay for. Labeling can be very deceptive. The best way to compare food is to compare price to amount (pounds). If it is much cheaper than the quality brands, then the label and advertising are false. At our hospital we sell the Purina and Hills Science Diet foods not only because these are premium diets, but also because they have fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6) in the diet to help with the hair coat and all natural preservatives. Our doctors feel that this is very important because of all the skin problems and allergies that we see in this area.
One misconception is that the premium diets are too expensive to feed. The cost of feeding a premium diet compared to a cheap diet is very similar. With cheap foods, the pet actually has to eat more amount to get the same nutrition available in the more expensive foods. The better quality diets help with muscle and skeletal formation, hair coat quality, and internal growth.
We recommend that puppies be fed set meals 2-3 times daily. Puppies under 10 pounds should be fed more often (4-5 times daily). When they are adults, we recommend feeding twice daily; it is better for their digestive system.
There are two reasons why we recommend feeding set meals as opposed to leaving the food down all day. First, it will help with the house-training. In addition, if the puppy is sick and not eating well, it will be noticed a lot sooner than if the food is left down all day. Nutrition is such an important part of a growing pet that its importance cannot be over-emphasized. Also, it is extremely important to discuss proper nutrition for your pet with the veterinarian as your pet ages. There are special diets available for pets with heart, kidney and liver problems, just to name a few.