High Quality Dog Foods vs. Large Chain Store Dog Foods


by Katie Allan (http://www.agirlandherhusky.com)

If you have ever walked into a quality pet boutique that offers premium products, you have probably noticed a big difference in what brands you can find there and what large pet chains sell. You may wonder what makes these pet foods “higher quality” and “premium” when compared to something you can find at a grocery store or large pet chain. The short answer to that is their ingredients. Here at The Puppy Pantry, we are dedicated to helping you find the best food for your pet. The foods at The Puppy Pantry contain no corn, wheat, soy, artificial dyes & preservatives, or by-products.

Why does The Puppy Pantry choose to carry brands that exclude these ingredients?

Corn is not easily digestible and has a high glycemic index compared to other dog food ingredients. Some dog foods contain corn because it is cheaper compared to other ingredient options, such as more meat or better grains like oatmeal or brown rice. Corn and other grains also raise the protein percentage in the food, however meat is a much more nutritious protein source for dogs. You should look for a food with more meat rather than a “filler” like corn.

Corn, wheat, and soy are also all common allergens for dogs. While The Puppy Pantry does carry grain inclusive foods, all of the grains in the foods are healthier grains with lower glycemic indexes and easier for dogs to digest.

Artificial dyes do not add any nutrition content to dog food. The main objective of coloring dog kibble is to trick humans into thinking that the food is better for their dog. If we see green and red and brown in the kibble, we are inclined think that the food must be more balanced or have real meat and vegetables. However, a quality dog food would not need to trick you into thinking their food is nutritious, so artificial dyes are not needed. Your dog does not care what color their food is. If you see a dog food with bright, multicolored kibble, you should wonder why that company feels the need to try to trick you into thinking their food is healthy.

Several artificial preservatives used in dog food have been found to be toxic and be possible carcinogens. Feeding your dog kibble that contains artificial preservatives can take years off of their life. Some of the most notable preservatives to watch out for are ethoxyquin, BHT, and BHA. Ethoxyquin is not only used as a preservative, but also as a pesticide and to harden synthetic rubber. Australia and Europe both do not allow Ethoxyquin as a food preservative. BHT and BHA are both listed as cancer causing compounds. Some other artificial preservatives to watch out for are propylene glycol, TBHQ, and propyl gallate. So how do the high quality dog food companies preserve their foods? Through natural preservatives containing Vitamin E and Vitamin C. You will see these listed as the actual vitamin, tocopherol, ascorbate, or in extracts and other natural sources like rosemary.

Lastly, the dog foods sold at The Puppy Pantry do not contain any by-products. The biggest issue with by-products is that you do not know what you are getting, even if the animal is specified (i.e. chicken by-product or beef by-product.) Animal by-products are what is left after all the meat for human consumption is taken away. While there is nothing wrong with feeding certain organs and bones to your pet, it is important to know what exactly it is. A by-product could be anything from the animal’s feet to the stomach or undeveloped eggs. When the specific animal source is not listed, by-products are even more dangerous. An unspecified by-product could come from any animal source, including diseased animal carcasses and road kill. An animal by-product can also include meat that was deemed not fit or inedible for humans. Legally, there are no rules against dog food companies using these by-products in pet food.

Any one of these things are reason enough to not buy the dog food at the grocery store. I like to tell people that feeding your dog a food with these things in them is like a human eating fast food for every meal of their life. If we ate fast food for every meal, we could expect to live a much shorter life and have numerous health issues. Many people argue that their dog likes the food or that they haven’t experienced issues on those brands of food. Well, the same could be said for the fast food example. The food tastes good, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily good for you. You might not see any health issues in your dog, but feeding them a healthier food could add years to their life and could help them become even more fit and healthy than they already are. When I switched my dog Gracie to healthier food, she became more alert and her coat was noticeably healthier. She was diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy over 5 years ago and her seizures have also become more mild and now occur less often. I think I can thank better quality dog food for Gracie’s better health!

So now you know why you shouldn’t feed the food from the grocery store or large pet chain, but what makes the foods at The Puppy Pantry exceptional?

The Puppy Pantry offers dry kibble, canned food, and raw options. All of the kibble is meat based and naturally preserved. There are both grain free and grain inclusive options to match the needs of your individual pup. They have single source protein foods (only one species of animal used in the food) and multi source protein foods (multi species of animals used in the food.) The single source protein options are particularly good for dogs with allergies to certain meats. Chicken, Beef, Lamb, and Fish are commonly seen meat allergies in dogs. However, the multi source protein foods typically have a higher meat content and give your pup a little more variety than just one meat. All of the canned food options at The Puppy Pantry are easy to digest and follow the same criteria as the dry kibble. Because canned food is easier to digest than dry kibble and have a high meat content, The Puppy Pantry suggests trying their high quality wet dog foods either as a meal or mixed in with your pet’s dry food.


photo provided by The Puppy Pantry

The Puppy Pantry considers raw the most nutritionally beneficial way to feed your pet. There are many benefits to the raw diet. Some of the benefits include improved immune system, healthier skin and coat, cleaner teeth and healthy gums, and a possibly longer life span. Raw can come in many forms- freeze dried crumbles and patties, frozen crumbles and patties, grinds, and whole prey. The Puppy Pantry offers various brands and raw options at their stores.

Wonder how your current dog food would rate on The Puppy Pantry’s grading scale? The Puppy Pantry has created a dog food quality grader to help you determine if your dog’s current food matches up to their standards. If you would like to try one of The Puppy Pantry’s high quality foods, visit any of the three store locations in Buford, Braselton, and Flowery Branch and their friendly staff would be more than happy to help you pick out a food that matches your dog’s individual needs.


I hope you have been able to learn the differences between a quality dog food and a low quality dog food. We care about our dogs, so we choose to feed them foods packed with nutrition to help them stay healthy.

What grade does your dog’s food get on The Puppy Pantry’s scale?

Thanks for reading,

Katie (Plus my two pups, Gracie and Echo!)

Disclosure: This honest review by A Girl and Her Husky is sponsored by The Puppy Pantry. All images are property of A Girl and Her Husky- please do not use without permission.

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