Dog Eating Hot Dog

The True Cost of Cheap Pet Food


You may think you are saving money by purchasing less expensive food for your pet, but in the long run it will end up costing you more money in vet bills and health problems.  Protect your furry member of the family by giving him or her a long, healthy life.  Here are a list of common health problems associated with poor quality pet food and the costs for treatments.

Pet MD Weight Matters

Obesity: 54% of pets are obese.  This can be avoided by measuring your pet’s food properly and monitoring the fat content of the food.  Obesity is a serious problem because it causes many other health problems like diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure.

Allergies:  The food your pet eats is a major factor in your pet’s allergies.  We have customers come in all the time with pets that have itchy skin or diarrhea.  Almost 100% of the time they are feeding their pet food with subpar ingredients (non-specific proteins,  poor quality grains like corn gluten meal).  Allergies are often genetic and triggered by factors in the pet’s environment like antibiotics (poor quality meat is often injected with antiotics) or constant exposure to a certain ingredient.  Like people, dogs can develop allergies to a food they are fed constantly.  Allergy shots can cost upwards of $150, and to test your pet for allergies can cost up to $300!

Diabetes is a disorder caused by a lack of insulin.  The cause is unknown, but there is a direct correlation to obesity and foods with high sugar content or glycemic index.  Genetics may also play a role.  Medication can cost upwards of $140 a month!

High Blood Pressure is usually the sign of a more significant problem like diabetes or heart disease.  The exact cause is unknown, but it is known that obesity is a common factor.  Blood pressure medicine can cost anywhere from $30-$100 a month depending on the severity.

Anal Gland Issues/Constipation:  Poor quality food can cause constipation and anal gland issues due to poor ingredients not digesting properly.  This can lead to impacted glands, anal glands that have become clogged, or an abscess, which are glands that have become infected.  Impacted glands need to be expressed.  A vet will typically do this for around $15-$30.  At Abracadabra we express anal glands with every bath or groom or you can have just the anal glands expressed for $6.  If your pet is having more severe anal gland problems, we suggest having a vet do it.  They do an internal expression of the glands that is more thorough.  You should have external expressing of the glands done regularly by a grooming shop or do it yourself to prevent more severe problems like an infection or abscess.  Abscesses must be taken care of by a veterinarian and treated with antibiotics.  Further problems can lead to incontinence, the inability to retain stools.  Removal of the anal glands can cost around $400.

Nutrition Imbalance/Malnutrition: Nutritional imbalances from poor quality food can cause many other serious problems. Your dog’s coat will not be as healthy, and hair may start falling out more.  Rashes can develop, and the overall demeanor of your dog will change.  You may start to see them become more lethargic.  Malnutrition is a very serious problem that can leave your dog emaciated.  You should seek help from your vet if things have gotten this bad.

Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.  Symptoms usually include vomiting and diarrhea.  It is usually caused by infections or parasites, but can also be related to medications or foods.  If your pet is vomiting after recently changing their food you may want to reconsider that food.

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints.  Arthritis makes it painful to walk.  Ingredients in your pet’s food can cause allergic reactions that cause inflammation in joints.  Also, obesity can cause arthritis due to the way your pet is forced to walk from the excess weight.  Make sure you are feeding your dog age-appropriate food because each line of food is formulated to give your dog the necessary nutrients for their stage in life.  Common treatments for arthritis are glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, steroids, and NSAIDS.  Arthritis medication can cost around $15-$30 a month depending on the severity of the pain that needs relieved.

Periodontal Disease is when bacteria causes the breakdown of your pets gums resulting in loss of tissue and in severe cases bone.  The early signs are hard to detect, but if you start to see bleeding gums, loose teeth, or excessive plaque build-up, your pet probably has gum disease.  A lot of quality dog food manufacturers claim that their kibble helps prevent gum disease, but nothing substitutes brushing your pets teeth or having them cleaned by a professional.  You can have your pets teeth brushed as an add-on to a groom, or ask us about our professional deep cleaning services.  We never use sedatives and our prices are much cheaper than your vet.

Cancer: Many foods use chemicals as preservatives like BHA and BHT that are known carcinogens.  Some, like Beneful and Kibbles n’ Bits, even use propylene glycol, which is also known as the active ingredient in anti-freeze.  Cancer treatments are easily in the thousands of dollars.

If you think you are saving money by purchasing cheap dog food, consider these health issues.  The cost of health treatment is more expensive than the money you save on cheap pet food products.  Food like Beneful Originals has a 1 star rating from for having dangerous chemicals and poor quality ingredients, yet it still costs 95 cents a pound.  You can buy quality food from us like Fromm’s Adult Classic for the exact same price, or Evanger’s Chicken & Brown Rice for just 20 cents more per pound.

Pet happiness and health is our #1 focus at Abracadabra. We hope these tips help you and your pet enjoy a long, healthful live together.  For more help selecting food for your furry family member check out our dog food pricing guide.