Just like human food, it’s more expensive and less nutritious.

Anyone who eats out regularly knows it - fast food (junk food) is ridiculously expensive. It’s convenient and quick, and more often than not I’ve got a stomach ache afterwards. Perhaps one meal isn’t a bank-breaker, but after a month of eating out more often I was stunned to see that the amount of money I’d spent on food had *doubled*.

The same goes for dog food - easy, convenient, quick and sometimes deceptively “inexpensive” dog food ends up being more costly. Not to mention far less healthy. And, just like human food, dogs and cats can become addicted to this junk food - which often leads to illnesses like obesity and diabetes. That means trips to the veterinarian, possibly very expensive prescription food (which is another blog post unto itself), and a dog or cat who is unhappy with the entire situation.

So what is “junk” pet food? Used to be it was easy to pick out the questionable stuff but these days the advertisers have gotten trickier. Today I’m going to compare two of the more common wet foods that pretend to be “healthy” and “good”. Not only are they made with junk ingredients, but they are also far more expensive to feed.

Beneful Chopped

At first glance, this food seems fairly reasonably priced - $9.97 for 6 10oz tubs. The food is made to resemble chopped beef and veggies and the first ingredient after water is actually beef! But let’s break it down a little bit. After “beef” comes wheat gluten. Other offensive ingredients include meat by-products, artificial and natural flavors, soy flour, and added color. A single 10oz tub is enough to feed a 10lb dog, making the daily cost to feed about $1.68/day.

Cesar Classics with Beef

Geared towards very small dogs, Cesar’s dog food is in a small foil tray and is a mere $.70 for 3.5oz. What a deal! Except a 10lb dog should be eating 3 little trays per day, which costs a whopping $2.10. For that price you should be getting great ingredients right? Wrong. The ingredients include Beef By-Products, Animal Liver, Meat By-Products, Chicken By-Products, and Added Color. 

So how does this stack up against “expensive” dog foods? 

Dave’s Stewlicious

Like the Beneful Chopped, Dave’s Beef Stewlicious looks a lot like human food with chunks of meat and veggies. Each can costs $2.69 for 13oz. The ingredients, however, read far more like a human food label: Beef, Beef broth, Vegetable broth, Beef liver, Dried egg product, Natural flavor…followed by a ton of different veggies. A 10lb dog would eat half a can a day - 6.5oz of food - which makes it $1.34 to feed per day.

Nutrisource Grain Free Chicken

For $2.19 a can, this food may still seem pricey, although it works out to cost about $.17 per ounce - roughly the same as a tub of Beneful. The ingredient list, however, lists “chicken”…followed by supplements and probiotics. A 10lb dog would eat half a can which means this food would cost $1.10 to feed per day…by far the lowest cost.

If you have a super picky dog who only eats Cesar’s food you’ve got a dog who really enjoys eating his Happy Meal. Of course he loves it! It’s wonderful and terrible and I dream about those stupid fries. But in the end, it’s going to cost you more to feed those “cheap” foil trays even as you’re compromising your pet’s health. 

It might be hard to make your pet make the switch. Believe me - your pet and your pocketbook will thank you!

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