Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Going to the Dogs

About 62 percent of all American households have a pet. Dogs come in first at 40 percent, followed by cats at 34 percent. We love our pets, we take care of our pets, we look after their needs.

Last year Americans spent $55 billion on pet foods, including “human grade” pet food. Walk into a PetSmart or Petco store and look at the number of natural and organic products, some that sell for up to almost $7 a pound.

You can find vitamin-infused, mountain spring water for dogs (more than $3.00 a bottle). You can buy pureed vegetables, canned organic pumpkin and canned organic sweet potato (purportedly safe enough to make a pumpkin pie for your family). Keep looking and you’ll find labels that tout organic, free-range, grass-fed and wild-caught. You can also find pre-packaged serving sizes for pets with weight problems. (I have to ask what would happen if pets were fed less and maybe we took them for a longer walk?) Wait, that means we would have to walk further too.

Here’s a thought . . . do you pay more attention to what you feed your pets than what you feed yourself or your family? Do you check the label to see if you are buying grain-free food to avoid fillers and unreliable ingredients? Do you choose a pet food that contains complete and balanced nutrients (necessary nutrients in proper proportions)? Do you buy the cheapest food on the shelf, or do you look for age appropriate foods, or foods designed to meet special nutritional requirements? Do you feed your pet the recommended portion size?

Now the kicker—how does this stack up with the thought you put into your own food choices?

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