When you write about dogs, you get tons of questions about everything from grooming to training to the best jackets/collars/treats/Halloween costumes. But the number one question I get over and over again is this:
What should I feed my dog?
I used to hate this question.
This is one of the many areas of pet care that is highly contentious, and some people are extremely passionate about their preferred method of feeding. Plus, I’ve always felt like this is one area where pet lovers judge each other, often unfairly or harshly. As someone who gets very uncomfortable with confrontation, I would strive to avoid this discussion altogether.
Well, not anymore!
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I now have a new answer that I stand behind!
Someone: “What should I feed my dog?”
Me: “Calculate your monthly budget, and figure out exactly how much you can and are willing to spend on dog food each month. Then, buy the best food you can for that budget.”
Yep, it’s unspecific. But here’s the deal that I’ve come to embrace in many facets of pet care: Whether someone chooses to feed their pet raw, homecooked, organic kibble, or grocery store brand chow… the important thing is, they’re feeding their dog with love. No, it may not be what you would choose for your family. And that’s okay.
We need to step away from the “OMG, you buy brand X for your dog? I would NEVER! Here’s why it’s bad” or – even worse – “If they can’t provide the healthiest food then they shouldn’t have a dog.” Those sentiments are rampant across the internet, and at best, they make people feel bad about doing the best they can do. But at worst, those judgments and admonitions could deter someone from adopting a pet from a shelter. (“Well, I can’t afford $74.99 for a bag of dog food, so I guess I shouldn’t get a dog.”)
For the record, I feed the big dogs this kibble and, because of Cooper’s allergies, he gets this, which is why we don’t go to the movies and our monthly date night is at Jimmy Johns. But that’s my decision for us and our budget. The food you choose to feed your dog needs to work with your family’s budget.
I’d love to know your thoughts. As a super savvy bunch of pet people, I’m sure you get this question and have this debate frequently. What do you think? How did YOU decide what to feed your pets?