Pet Food Labels Suck- Part 2

In our last post “Why Pet Food Labels Suck- Part 1″, we discussed the problems with using the feeding instructions on pet food labels.  Following these can easily result in over-feeding.   Today we will examine the monetary cost of overfeeding your pet.

We will use the example that we used in Part 1 of this series.  We had a 60 lb. inactive Dalmatian who was being fed 3 Cans per day of Canidae Grain Free @ 416 kcals per can. This dog was overweight and her target weight was 53 lbs. Thus, she was eating ~1,250 kcals per day when she really needed only ~950.  (Note- the 950 kcal estimate is what she should be consuming at her target weight and activity level.  For a quicker weight loss, we would actually feed the dog 75%-85% of that until she achieved his target weight and then increase to 950).

Now let’s figure out how much this dog is being overfed each day.  Our example dog needs 950 kcals per day and there are 416 kcals per can.  Thus, assuming no treats or other food, we would need to feed this dog about 2.25 (950/416) cans per day at their target weight of 53 lbs.  Recall that in our example, we were ‘instructed’ to feed this dog 3 cans per day so we are overfeeding by about .75 cans per day. Over the course of a year that is 273 cans more than we need or more than 22 cases!  WOW!

Obviously, this is not good for this dog or any other pets’ weight and they will grow fatter over time.  A pretty common occurrence based on the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention stats!  Now let’s look at the financial cost of feeding this extra food.  Please take a seat before continuing to read.

We did a price search on the Canidae food and the price for a case of 12 cans is about $34 per case of 12 or about $2.85 per 13 oz. can.  So this hypothetical dog owner would be spending about $750 per year more on dog food than they need to simply because they are unaware (or unwilling) to serve their dog the proper amount. Yes, I agree, that is a lot of money wasted. Furthermore, overfeeding leads to health problems which mean spending more on vet visits, meds, treatments, surgeries, etc.  It get’s pretty ugly.

Not feeding your 50-60 lb. dog a premium brand like Canidae?  OK, you may not be overspending by as much as $750 per year but you are overspending.  If your brand costs 1/2 as much as Canidae, all else equal, you could still be flushing away ~$375 per year (or more depending on the caloric density of your brand) on food alone.  Still significant.

Obviously, the numbers will change based on the type and size of the pet.

Bottom line:  know how much to feed your pet and adjust to changes in their activity or their food brand.  It will save you a lot of money and your pet will be better off as well.

Steve Pelletier
Steve Pelletier VP, Food

Steve is an advocate for healthy pet food offerings.