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Dog Food: 5 Stars or Brand X?

By Thomas J. Stanley on Apr 19th, 2011 in Mentor's Corner

Some of the assets that you own are priceless.  So it is with my very best friend, Lily, 72 pounds of Golden Retriever joy.  Every morning after breakfast she begins herding me and pointing me towards the door.  Lily takes me for a long walk every day.  She is always cheerful and more than willing to play Frisbee, etc. 


Lily deserves the best of treatment.  Up until a few months ago, we thought that we were in fact providing this.  But then I noticed that her coat seemed to be dull and her skin flaky.  I thought that perhaps her dog food might be the culprit even though it was positioned by the manufacturer as highly nutritious.  Along these lines, as mentioned in Stop Acting Rich, I once gave up my Cheerios for an expensive, designer labeled cereal.  Shortly thereafter, Consumer Reports said that it would not support the growth of laboratory animals and that Cheerios was top rated in nutrition. 


Given my experience with breakfast cereals, I researched dog food brands to determine how independent experts ranked the various brands.  I Googled a variety of key indicators such as rankings and ratings of dog food, 5-star rated dog foods, etc.  To my shock and disappointment, the brand that I had been feeding Lily was given just 2 stars (5 being the highest).  After thoroughly examining the long list of 5 star foods, I consulted with an animal nutritionist.  He concurred that what I had found had validity. He did warn me that most of the 5-star dog foods were more costly than the lower rated ones.  When it comes to Lily’s health, I am insensitive to variations in price but very sensitive to nutritional content. 


Today Lily has regained her shiny coat and her dry skin has disappeared.  Could this be related to her new, delightful diet of the Blue Buffalo Company’s Wilderness Duck Recipe? I guess if she could speak she might say, “You call yourself a researcher; it took years for you to find out that your very best friend was eating Brand X!”

6 responses to “Dog Food: 5 Stars or Brand X?”

  1. Katie says:

    This post rings true! My husband and I are extremely frugal – with the exception of our cats’ food. We researched food a few years ago and settled upon a highly rated, but expensive, choice. One cats previously persistent health issues have disappeared and her sister’s coat is more shiny than it’s ever been. We’ve saved money on vet fees but more importantly it’s clear that our cats’ quality of life has improved. Worth every penny!

  2. Ford says:

    As a fellow Golden owner, I was feeding our girl a “recommended” brand by an associate at the local big box pet store. Our pup was getting heavy with the lamb and rice blend of filler and “other ingredients”. A family member recommended to me that duck is a leaner, higher grade protein source. Today, our pup is stronger and leaner than she was when I was feeding her a cheaper brand or as you say…Brand X!

  3. Rhonda says:

    I always fed my dog brand X and thought I was taking care of her very well.Last year my parents came to visit for a few weeks & brought their dogs.They fed their dogs a 5-star brand & insisted my dog should eat their 5-star as well.I temporarily switched to 5-star & she did fine,but after they left I fed her regular food again. Immediately she could not keep the food down & started having seizures.When I bought some 5-star she was fine.I won’t go back to brand X again.

  4. Mick says:

    I have a 19 year old Dachshund mix named Stella. Throughout most of her life, she has suffered from incessant itching. She scratched and bit of herself resulting in terrible hot spots and dull, thin hair. I experimented with a variety of dog foods as well as vet prescribed steroid shots, pills, potions and shampoos and yet she still suffered. About 5 years ago, I heard an ad on AM radio about a product one adds to his dog’s food called Dynovite. I had nothing to lose except perhaps a few bucks, but since I had already spent a small fortune to try to improve her condition, I decided to give it a shot. Her condition improved dramatically within one week and ALL her symptoms including scratching, biting and hot spots were completely gone with in 2 weeks. They have stayed away too! Now her coat is full and shiny.
    I recommend this product to anyone who will listen. It is a small price to pay for my best friend. I cannot say enough good things about it. I wish I would’ve known about it when I first got her from the SPCA back in 1992!

  5. Sean H says:

    A few years ago I was doing research on dog foods for my puppy and stumbled upon a dog food rating website. Blue Buffalo wilderness was top ranked and I haven’t turned back. It’s expensive, but worth it. I also buy blue buffalo natural treats too.

  6. A. Lynn says:

    Yes, even though we were strapped for cash and sometimes couldn’t feed ourselves, we STILL did the research to find out what a cat should be eating and settled on a brand that was in our budget but still worthy of our little monsters.

    It makes sense though right? How often do cats and dogs get a hold of compacted rice and grains in nature? Why shouldn’t they eat something that looks like the meat they eat in the wild?

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