Domestic animals have enjoyed the luxury of commercial food since 1860, when a gentleman named James Spratt made a dog biscuit after seeing how much dogs loved some of the rations the sailors had on the docks. By the 1900’s the idea of feeding a pet commercially made food was flourishing and by the 1960’s companies were pushing that feeding animals table scraps was, indeed, detrimental to their health. This has struck several controversial debates as to what, as a whole, people should feed their pet. Which food is really considered the ‘best’?
There are two categories of foods, and from there sub branches. Commercially made food, which can be considered anything that one hasn't actually made at home, such as dry food, wet food and even commercial raw and BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diet food. The FDA isn't as strict in regulating pet food as they are human food and this has led to some severe medical complications for many people’s beloved pets.
In addition to commercially made food is home made food. Arguably this has caused heated debates amongst animal enthusiasts across the world. What constitutes table scraps versus an actual diet made specifically for the animal?
Which food is better? A lot of veterinarians will say commercial food, specifically dry or wet is better for a pet over any type of raw. A lot of pet owners feel trapped into commercial food because of time constraints, as well as funds. Choosing to spend more on higher end pet food, which still can be arguably less than making pet food at home.
Commercial dog food, for instance, ranges in price from $20/kg bag to $90. It has been generally accepted throughout the masses that dog food that costs less, will obviously, be less healthy for a pet. Key ingredients to make sure the food has are of course meat first. If one is able to pick up a dog food with at least two meats within the first three ingredients, the dog food generally is healthier than some alternatives.
Of course commercial food has a dark secret, in lights of the newest recall people are wondering if it really is worth saving the money on food, compared to taking the sick pet to the vet after eating contraindicated foods. Some of the health risks from eating commercial food are obesity, commercial dog foods have a higher daily feeding amount than most dogs require, causing them to become obese. Tooth decay and gum disease also have been linked to commercial food, natural bones tend to brush a dog’s teeth, the same can’t be said for kibble. Shorter life spans due to illness, such as cancer, and food poisoning are also some of the risks owners must look at when choosing commercially made food.
The key to being able to make an informed choice about food is ultimately up to the owner. Finding a vet who is knowledgeable in all variety of feeding methods is the first step in making sure a pet has a healthy life.