Just like in humans, proper nutrition is important for the health of your dog. Dogs are carnivores and feeding your dog foods that are filled with mostly cereal grains and other fillers may not be good for him.
Dogs evolved eating mostly meat in the form of small animals and this is what their system is most adapted to. Shouldn't their dog food mimic their natural diet? The point I'm making is that the cheapest dog food may not be the best food for your dog.
A small amount of grain in their diet isn't harmful - Just don't make it the bulk of their diet.
Premium brands of dog food include brands such as Hill's Science Diet, Royal Canin, Iams, Eukanuba, and several others. These are foods you usually won't find at your local grocery store, but will find at pet stores like Swell Pets or at your veterinarian's office. These premium dog foods do cost a little more than the dog food brands you can buy at your grocery store, but they are worth the extra cost. After all, there is a reason your veterinarian only sells you the premium brands. You hardly ever find a veterinarian selling the cheaper dog food brands. Ever wonder why?
The only drawback to premium dog food brands is that they are more expensive. One reason premium dog food brands are more expensive is because they usually contain a higher amount of meat and fewer fillers than cheaper dog food brands, as well as higher quality ingredients. In general, there is usually more quality control in the preparation of premium brand dog foods than in the cheaper brands.
Most cheaper brands list corn as the first ingredient, but this usually is not the case for premium brands. For example, if you look at the ingredients on Beneful, a brand commonly found at the grocery store, the first ingredient listed is ground yellow corn. Compare this to Iams Proactive dog food that lists chicken as the main ingredient.
Can your dog live on the cheaper brands? Probably. Just like you could live on hotdogs for a time, but your health may eventually suffer. Although no one can predict the future, higher quality food may translate into better health for your dog and lower veterinarian bills.
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Collie dog photo by Narnia123 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.