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Diet pet food: the good brands aren't cheap

Updated on April 8, 2011

Rotund or pleasingly plump?

Quality pet foods: are they worth it?

My vet made me put my cat on a diet. I feel like such a bad mother. He's fat, and it's not healthy. Dr. M. says kitty needs to lose 10 pounds. Ten?! I need to lose ten pounds, how can my cat be that overweight?

I never thought I'd be buying expensive lo-cal food for my cat, but I am. I feel like a sucker but he has lost weight. Not enough. 3 pounds so far. Yes, I have stooped to weighing my cat.

My local vet, Dr M., he likes to talk. He's a great guy, straight-shooter kind of small town vet that reminds me of Mr. Haney from Petticoat Junction or maybe Andy Griffith. Marcus Welby? Dr. Kildaire? All of them but better. He probably spent an hour telling me why dry food from the grocery store is bad. He knows his stuff.

On another visit, he spent about 20 minutes explaining the difference between worms and anal polyps and the potentially explosive results. Oh were you eating lunch? I'm sorry....

But he apparently went to some pet-food seminar and so he's a wealth of information. I always thought dry was better than the mushy kind, it was better for their teeth, contained less ash and other icky ingredients. My previous vet told me that, come to think of it. Not so, Dr M. said.

There have been lots and lots of stories and class-action suits against some of these brands, Science Diet being one of the brands. Some people have sued because they think the claims of being "better" or "healthier" or "veterinarian-recommend" are bogus. Some claim that brands made their pets sick. A nationwide suit lists nearly every brand I can think of as a defendant. It pays to shop around, and if something makes your pets sick, then stop feeding it to them fercryinoutloud.

Anyway, according to Dr. M, one of the best is Hill's Science Diet. There are different formulas for different conditions. But the weight reduction kind is one that does what it's supposed to do, in his opinion. . It's meat. Cats are designed to eat meat––mice and other rodents, not carbs in little pellets flavored with meat. Makes sense to me. Hill's also offers dry food and he gave the half-way thumbs up to those.

He gave me a run-down of the typical high-end brands, which are best and why. Eukanuba is also a good choice. Nutro and Iams are second tier, but at least Iams is available in most grocery stores. The others are either at Petsmart or through vet's offices. There's a feed store near me, but we're talking feed not food; horses, not housecats. So I buy Science Diet from the doc.

People aren't ashamed of treating their pets like children, and lo-cal pet food seems a little indulgent to me. But my kitty doesn't resemble a a basketball when viewed from the back when he sits down now. I chase him around the house and garden. He galumphs up the stairs and jumps at the laser pointer. And hopefully he'll be healthier and avoid any potentially problems that fat pets develop. Better ingredients also means that you can feed them less and they'll still be satisfied, although its a good idea to reduce the quantity gradually.

Anyway, apparently not all organic and heathful pet foods brand are made equal. It pays to ask you vet what's good for Fluffy or Fido next time you take your pet in for shots. Read labels, ask questions, a vet should know these things and hopefully isn't just trying to get your money. I just have to block out extra time to listen to an explanation of how to perform a quality cat hysterectomy next time I visit Dr. M.


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    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great hub....we have two golden retrievers....which if we keep their wait is so much better for bad people do not think that way

    • Taylorwise profile image

      Taylorwise 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      You sound like a good mom to your girl!

    • Katharella profile image

      Katharella 6 years ago from Lost in America

      Yeah I do think people food is fine for pets. My vet even said to give her the skin if I bake the chicken because dogs aren't like humans when it comes to heart disease, she has a dry skin problem and rather than put chemicals on her for it, I'd rather let her go ahead and have the bits of fat from chicken (and the dark meat on nit because it has a lot of fat) but it helps with her skin. :) Ah, I think we take good care of our pets! As long as they don't get into stuff they shouldn't they're fine! I taught my girl what was hers and what is mine from the git-go and not once has she so much as torn up a shoe. :) When she was a pup though, she would bring me my shoes when she wanted to go for a walk. Old gal don't do that much anymore though. My back yard is about an acre so she gets plenty of running around back there when her back isn't achin' her! Keeps her moving and that's the important thing! :)

    • Taylorwise profile image

      Taylorwise 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      My cat will lose weight, I promise! He will not manipulate me! I will be strong! Ha!

      People food for pets makes sense, dontcha think?....Seems like chicken for dogs is a popular choice. Glad your Rottie is healthy.

    • Katharella profile image

      Katharella 6 years ago from Lost in America

      Great hub, except Fido is a pet Zombie, but I know a lot of people don't know that.

      My doggie had to get a full hysterectomy after I found one of her tata's was big hard crusty feeling. I rushed her to the vet, and it was cancer. That was almost 3 years ago, and since then she got the doggie-hysterectomy, a toe amputation, and with all that she'd lost weight because she had to wait for mommy to bring her, her cooked food. (She loves grilled chicken, but will still eat it if it's cooked other ways)

      So, since her cancer and me INSISTING on a full body ex-ray, she is not only cancer free, she's really healthy for a Rottweiler who has lived past their normal 9 year Rottie-doggie life. She too, still springs up and down like your kitty (I had a cat named Kitty too btw)

      I actually had someone scold me on NOT feeding my dog Iams! Because I feed her people food! I was told she'd die quick! HA to her! I do give her that ucky Pedigree on occasion, but she munches a few I just think for the crunch factor because she doesn't tend to over eat, and besides, maybe to her it's like us having a bowl of ice cream! Not good for us, but I'm not going to deny her a treat either! And that's the only store bought food she'll eat. Ah, I love being right LOL! Great hub! I love animals, and am trying to gather photos of my friends pets to post! I wish we could post photos to each other so I could show you that plate of food my friend makes for her dogs so she can get veggies in them without them knowing it! At least a click on thumbnail. Ah well, maybe I'll drop it in a suggestion box! :) V-up and awesome! Kitty is a Kutie! :)

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I loved the bit about, "Sorry. Were you eating your lunch?" There are few sights more sad than seeing an overindulged cat or dog plodding along because it can't run any more.

      Galumphing? You read the same books as I do.