The days of choosing your dog’s food based on the biggest bag at the cheapest price are long gone—
if the makers of natural dog food have anything to say about it, that is. Natural dog food does come in those giant bags we’re used to—just at twice the price.
Somehow though, a 30-pound-bag of dog food feels a whole lot heavier on the shoulders when it costs $60 as opposed to $38.
So why the reason for the bank breaker?
-Natural dog foods will usually list meat as the main ingredient, (chicken, beef, etc.), meaning they used only edible parts of the animal to make the food.
-Non-natural dog foods tend to use a meat by-product, (chicken by-product, etc.) meaning they used the edible parts and inedible parts of the animal, (teeth, nails, etc., yummy), to make the food.
-Natural brands also don’t usually use things like corn or wheat in their food as opposed to non-natural, which can get pretty carb-heavy.
-Non-natural dog foods can also contain chemicals, (like Propylene Glycol, which helps the food hold moisture), whereas natural foods should not.
The pressure to purchase natural dog food is everywhere it seems— TV, pet adoption clinics and pet stores.
Commercials boasting about the benefits of natural food for Fido’s face seem as common as the car insurance ones. Some bad-mouth non-natural kibble, some challenge viewers to compare the food they feed their dogs with the natural brands.
In an email interview, Petco Vice President of Natural Dog Food & Treats, John Sturm, shared his idea on the future of dog food, “The demand for Natural is clearly growing faster than the demand for non-natural. We believe we will only see more and more growth in Natural.”
He did add however, brands that are not technically classified as “natural” may still have a chance—as long as they are science based.
“As innovation in human health accelerates, many of the breakthroughs from that research will also be applied to pets. We have seen some amazing genomic research that is being used to address pet obesity,” Sturm said.
Obviously we want to feed our dogs well. If we eat natural and organic food, why shouldn’t our furry friends get the same opportunity? But, unfortunately that isn’t the only question we face while scanning the options in the dog food aisle. There’s also the issue of whether our wallets can even afford the cost of these high maintenance doggy diets.
Sturm offered some insight, “Generally, better quality foods have more caloric density so customers can feed less per serving.”
Still, it appears not everyone is sold on the natural dog food trend.
“Because Natural food is made with the best ingredients, it costs more than entry level pet foods. There will always be a segment of the population that only shops on price and that will generate demand for non-natural, non-premium food,” Sturm said.