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Natural Food Can Be Affordable for a Happier, Healthier Pet

Updated on January 22, 2018
Catherine Stolfi profile image

Catherine is an independent research consultant at NASA Langley with degrees in English, Biology, and Environmental Science (M.S.).


When it comes to keeping your pet happy and healthy, why wouldn’t you always try to give them the best? One of the biggest misconceptions about natural pet food is that it’s much more expensive; this is simply not true. I’ll give you some tips for shopping for healthy pet food, listening to your vet and how to read those labels that can be confusing for a loving pet owner.

Studies have shown that all natural food leads to a longer life for your pets, not to mention a healthier one overall. Many pets can develop bad habits when eating food with fillers. There’s a chance that if your vet ever recommends a special diet, that they will be less likely to eat it. This is because the lower cost food can be like candy to a pet and is not nutrient full. These foods that have meat substitutes and that aren’t natural can also be harmful to your animal, especially cats, which have notoriously sensitive stomachs and intestinal issues, as they get older.

For those that shop in pet chain stores, you may have noticed that the natural food section has grown quite considerably. The expansion is due to us knowing more now about the benefits of feeding our pet natural food than ever before. The natural food industry has grown over the years thus so has the competition, driving the cost of these foods way down. Larger chains, like PETCO, also have membership perks and becoming a member is FREE. You get $5 back for every $100 spent as a member and can often receive coupons in the mail ranging from $5 off a $25 purchase to a FREE can of cat food or treats bag.

There are many other popular pet store item chains where you could easily find a coupon to clip in the Sunday newspaper or online. It’s just a matter of keeping an eye out for those savings. Stores like PETCO have deals when buying in bulk. You can buy a large package of canned wet food on their website and if you set your account to have monthly shipments there is a percent discount. Each week there is always a natural pet food brand on sale if you buy, say, for example 10 cans or more you receive 20%, etc. This could also be another to save big for this necessary item for your pet.


And now the topic you knew was coming… meat-by-products. This ingredient is found in the lower end foods and what truly drives the natural food market. You won’t find any type of by-products in natural food. The canned and dried foods that have meat-by-products also typically have fillers such as grains and rice, which provide zero nutrients and are often meant to just fill up your pet. All growing animals (same as humans) need protein, especially if they are kittens, puppies or are pregnant. These fillers do not provide the necessary nutrients for your growing pet.

It’s always important to listen to your veterinarian when it comes to the well being of your pet. Many veterinarians have the same educational background as most pre-med students and their schools are more competitive than most medical programs. If your vet suggests a particular type of food, you should listen. They see many ailments during their career. Foods with fillers and by-products often lead to obesity that can prompt issues like diabetes, stomach problems and intestinal tract issues. 

Now, it’s not to say that foods with whole grains and natural vegetables are bad for your pet. They actually can be good as well given the amount relative to the meat in the food. It’s always a better option then those meat-by-products and chemical heavy foods.

Reading the label is always an important part of choosing what you eat; it should also be the same when choosing food for your pet. Just as you wouldn’t buy a food that has an ingredient that you can’t pronounce, you wouldn’t buy food for your pet if there is an ingredient you don’t know. The label list should include ingredients like "Chicken, Turkey, etc…" Any label that lists "meat by product" with a rice or grain directly after it, it’s an unhealthy food for your kitten, cat or puppy.

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