Good Dog Food
I thought I'd start a new thread and share my recent experience re a topic that came up in "What Do You Splurge On?".
First let me say that having a pet is not necessarily frugal, but pets do have their uses. I have read that pet owners have lower blood pressures although I don't understand how that works. Pets are good company for the elderly and a dog that barks at everyone that comes around is good too, although annoying at times. Some dogs can be really good companions for children. Cats are great out in the country because they hunt mice. In town, though, they tend to kill birds. My cat does not choose to hunt, though she loves to watch the birds. We got a mouse in the house once and she was the first one who knew. She is 18 years old.
After reading comments about what is in the "cheap stuff", such as euthanized pets, road kill and blood-soaked sawdust from the floor of the processing plant (Ewwwwww), how brands we commonly trust are really not much better than that, and following the link to the Pets forum and reading that, I made the decision to change brands of food for my dog. He is a picky eater when it comes to his own food, but he will lick the cat's dish dry if we forget to pick it up after she's done, and he begs for any and every morsel if any of us are eating anything. I know many pet owners have strong opinions about not giving your dog bits of your own food, but it's hard not to do it when he's standing right there in front of you with those big, doleful brown eyes. He is seven years old and sometimes chews on himself.
I discovered that a feed store just a few blocks from me stocks "Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul". An 18 pound bag of dry was about $18. I got a bag and put a cupful in his bowl and he ate all of it while I was standing there. Usually he just looks at me as if to say, "Is that all ya got?"
Then we noticed the cat, who gets canned food, was eating out of the dog's bowl. This has never happened before. I posted on the Pets forum because I wanted to know if this was harmful for her. My mother fed Bolo canned dog food (cheap stuff)to a stray cat that started hanging out at her house. The cat loved the food but he developed a blockage in his urinary system, kept trying to urinate but could only pass a few drops of blood. I've had a cat that developed this as well, in the past, and it requires medication and several vet visits. The vet told me that cats should not eat certain brands of dry cat food because of this very problem. I was only feeding dry cat food but it was one that was too high in ash. I didn't discuss the dog food issue much with the vet, only mentioning the thing about my mother and I remember that he said he didn't recommend feeding dog food to a cat, but he didn't say if it was something that was in the food or something that was lacking. So what I was asking on the forum was, did this apply to the "cheap food" only and would she be safe eating the new stuff out of the dog's bowl since it's so nutritionally complete? I got lots of comments around the question, none addressing the actual question except for one that said that dog food does not contain taurine, which cats need, but lots of people said their cat ate out of their dog's dish with no problems. So I guess the jury's still out on that one.
Just to be safe, I bought a bag of Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul for the cat. They had it in cans but it was 75 cents for about the size of a tuna can and I just couldn't do that. So even though we've had problems with her throwing up big wads of fur and cat food bits when she was on dry before, I decided to try a bag of the dry for her. So far, and I may be speaking prematurely, we've had no throwing up and she seems to prefer it to the dog's food now. I really hope the dry food works out because it's a lot more convenient to keep her bowl up high where she likes to lounge. It keeps the dog out of it, it's there whenever she wants it and she doesn't have to keep coming to us and asking us to get her food out of the refrigerator.
I was among the many who thought that "any" cat or dog food was OK. I had no idea that "meat byproducts" was such an open-ended term. I thought it just meant things like organ meats and scraps from the butchering process. To think that I might actually be feeding my dog something that contains the body of another dog that was euthanized, or an food-stock animal that was too sick to qualify for human food just appalls me. Not to mention some of the other stuff that is inedible by human standards.
Once my cat and dog have lived their lives out, I don't intend to get a replacement. They are a responsibility and an expense. The vet gets more expensive every year. Last year the dog quit eating entirely and we discovered he had a bad tooth. The bill for the tooth extraction was a shock, as was the cost of the antibiotic he had to take afterwards.
I do agree that it's a lot cheaper in the long run to feed your pet the good stuff. I also understand they shed less when their food is more nutritionally complete. Since the dog sheds daily, I'm hoping that will prove to be true. That alone will be worth the extra expense. I want to thank those of you who posted the information on good food vs. cheap food, even though it was "off topic" somewhat on the thread, because you brought this to my attention and taught me something I consider to be very important.
I know some people get very upset when discussions veer off in a direction they didn't intend with their original post, but this is what I so enjoy on these forums. I appreciate what everyone has to say regardless of whether it's on-topic or not. Keep it up and thanks for sharing your opinions and experiences!