To know what it is really costing you to feed your dog you must take two things into consideration:
The Sticker Price AND
The Recommended Feeding Rate
Most dog owners choose a food they can afford based on the Sticker Price and never realize the Feeding Rate could more than double what they are really paying to feed their dog.
Buying dog food without knowing the Recommended Feeding Rate is like buying a new car and not knowing what its MPG rating is.
A LOWER Recommended Feeding Rate lets you:
- Feed Premium dog food for less than cheap food with grain and potato fillers.
- Know for sure which dog foods are the most nutritious.
- Stop feeding your dog the foods with grain and potato fillers that can damage their health.
For example, compare the Recommended Feeding Rate on two bags of dog food - one costing $64 and the other costing $110
AMERICAN JOURNEY BROTHERS
American Journey @ $0.71/cup @ 2 ¼ Cups /Day for a 25 lb dog =
Brothers @ $1.17/cup @ 1 Cup /Day for a 25 lb dog =
The cost to feed the $110 food is LESS than the $64 food, because you have to feed over twice as much of the $64 food to supply the dog with adequate nutrition.
This is why it is so important to check the Recommended Feeding Rate and use it!
It can save you a lot of money and give you a healthier dog.
If you do not take into account the Feeding Rate you will usually spend more than a high quality food costs, and only get a mediocre food with a lot of carbohydrate fillers in it, which is NOT what you want.
Manufacturers dumb down the food and dilute it with grain and potato to get the sticker price lower because they know most customers ONLY look at the sticker price and do not consider the Feeding Rate. Now you can buy the highest quality food for the same price as mediocre food.
Paying an inflated price for a less nutritious food is not the only problem.
Those extra high-glycemic carbs that are added to dilute the food and lower the Sticker Price are detrimental to the health of your dog and are the primary reason over 60% of dogs are overweight these days.
Many veterinary nutritionists, and mega-manufacturers of dog food, claim dogs have developed an increased ability to metabolize carbohydrates, (which is true), and that means carbohydrates are healthy for dogs to eat in any quantity, (which is not true).
The fact that the body can metabolize a carbohydrate does not imply that it is completely healthy to do so or it can be done in any quantity. Children can metabolize candy bars but no mother alive thinks it is healthy to feed their children 50% to 60% of their calories in candy.
That is an extreme example to make a point. The fact that dogs can metabolize carbohydrates better than their ancestors, does not mean it is healthy for them to eat up to 60% carbohydrates.
To say that because a dog can metabolize carbohydrates better than their ancestor means it is healthy to eat them in any form and in any quantity is pure rubbish, but that is food for another blog article coming soon.
If you look at the chart below you will see that even the high priced foods use the same strategy of diluting the food, lowering the Sticker Prices, and doubling the Recommended Feeding Rate.
The chart above shows how the Recommended Feeding Rate affects the COST PER MONTH to feed a 25 lb dog and compares the high quality food on the left, with three price categories (averaged from 100 dog foods).
The vast majority of dog foods out there are about the same level of poor to mediocre nutrition, dressed in glowing words and pretty pictures, but there are exceptions that you can uncover by paying attention to the Feeding Rate.
On chewy.com and other Online retailers they show the Sticker price of each food but do not show the Feeding Rate next to it. It is listed in another place and you have to go looking for it.
The overall goal, which they have been very successful at, is to get the customer to focus on the Sticker Price alone and ignore the impact the Feeding Rate has on the cost of feeding that food.
The COST per Cup and the COST per Month
When you pay attention to the Feeding Rate and learn how to figure the cost /cup you will better be able to interpret the nutritional value of a food and start feeding your dog a more nutritious, healthier food for less than it was costing you to feed the mediocre food.
Here are directions to figure out the price per cup for your food and compare the actual cost /month to any other food. The Feeding Rate in this example is for a 25 lb dog but you can figure it out for any size dog.
1) Multiply the weight of the bag by 3.75 (to get the number of cups in the bag).
- American Journey (24 lb bag x 3.75 = 90 cups /bag)
- Brothers Dog Food (25 lb bag x 3.75 = 94 cups /bag
- American Journey ($64.12 /90 cups = $0.71 / cup)
- Brothers Dog Food ($110 /94 cups = $1.17 /cup)
- American Journey ($0.71 x 2.25 cups /day = $1.60 / day)
- Brothers Dog Food ($1.17 x 1 cup /day = $1.17 /day)
- American Journey ($1.60 x 30 days = $48 /month)
- Brothers Dog Food ($1.17 x 30 days = $35 /month)
HEALTH CARE COSTS
In hundreds of dog foods that I have researched, the average Feeding Rate across all price ranges is just 2 cups /day for a 25 lb dog. A concentrated, healthy food would be in the 1 to 1.1 cup per day range.
You know from experience that if you are offered something too good to be true, it is usually too good to be true.
No one is in business giving you gold for the price of tin. If the food only costs $64 for a 24 lb bag then it is not filled with $110 worth of quality protein, healthy ingredients, exceptional additives, and balanced nutrients.
It is an immutable law of economics that you cannot get something for nothing.
The only thing remarkable about dog food that requires you to feed twice as much of it, and in the end costs more to feed than higher quality food, is the way it is marketed to keep you from understanding that in the first place.
The food is advertised as complete and adequate - but the fact that you must feed twice the amount of it to provide adequate nutrition for your dog is “hidden in plain sight”.
Knowing what is in it, I would not recommend feeding your dog a food that costs less than $55 a bag.
Your dog is much healthier eating half as much of a very nutritious dog food than twice as much of a mediocre, grain and potato filled dog food.
Eating, digesting, and eliminating food uses from 45% to 55% of a dogs energy, so the less food the dog processes to get the energy it needs, the more energy is left for growth, body repair, the immune system, and exercise.
Eating twice as much food with 50% to 60% high-glycemic carbohydrates is not a great idea. Your dog can handle a certain percentage of carbohydrates (usually about 30% on a calorie rated basis) as long as they are not high-glycemic carbs, but the 50% to 60% carbohydrates that are in most dog foods these days, is simply too much for an animal that has no dietary need for carbohydrates at all.
They may be able to metabolize more carbohydrates than their wolf ancestors but too many high-glycemic carbs upset the balance of their system in other areas, such as overfeeding the bad bacteria in the gut, which can cause Leaky Gut and Systemic Candida; something either not considered or not realized by the nutritionists who claim being able to metabolize carbohydrates means it is healthy for a dog to eat any amount of them.
See Article on Leaky Gut
We have fifteen years of experience observing our customers dogs, the food they were being fed, and hearing the stories of the Veterinarians bills they paid along the way. We know excess carbohydrates were the problem because in the hundreds of cases each year, where our customers switched to top of the line healthy, grain and potato free, nutritious food with less than 30% of calories from carbohydrates, and carbohydrates that were not high-glycemic, the problems went away and did not return.
The best dog foods are packed with high quality meat and nutrition, minimal carbohydrates, precisely balanced nutrients, and important additives like prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics, and digestive enzymes, and their Feeding Rate is about half the feeding rate of the average mediocre dog food.
Unfortunately there are some very expensive foods out there, usually sold under the guise of Veterinarian Formulas that are not much better nutritionally than mediocre, and a few are downright poor, so be sure to read the ingredient list and check the Feeding Rate.
If it’s really nutritious then a 25 lb dog should not need much more than 1 ¼ cups a day. When it gets up above 2 cups a day there are usually about 50% to 60% carbs in it.
The average cost of Veterinary care over the life of a dog ranges from $7,000 to $15,000 depending on the area of the country you live in, so by buying the best, highly nutritious dog food, rather than the food with 50% to 60% carbohydrates and potato in it, will save you a lot of money in the long run.
If I can share one piece of advice that I absolutely, unequivocally believe to be true, and will make the biggest difference in your life with a dog, and the dogs quality of life, after 15 years in our dog food store, witnessing first hand the negative effect of mediocre, carbohydrate loaded food on a dogs health, and the profoundly positive healthy results that exceptional quality food had on their lives, it would this:
Quality of life is dependent on good health and for your dog that means feeding the most nutritious food available. By making use of the Feeding Rate you can now feed your dog the best food for the same price you were paying for carb loaded mediocre dog food.
In a future blog article I will go into more detail on the whole controversy about all the high-glycemic carbohydrates being put into dog food, how all carbs are not equal, and why that makes a difference. I’m planning on calling it “Carbohydrates - the good, the bad, and the ugly”
Written by Richard Darlington, CEO
Brothers Dog Food, LLC
May 4, 2023