Is it actually worth spending extra cash on premium pet food? Or is money no object when it comes to feeding your canine or feline pals?
Pets are supposed to be a part of the family – and god knows they can sometimes cost as much as having a child.
You watch them grow up, enjoying their boundless enthusiasm when they’re playful and keeping a worried eye on them when they’re unwell. You share their pictures on Facebook and they get a special mention in the Christmas round-robin.
But the costs of pet care can run into the thousands over their lifetime – insurance, vet checks, pet passports, grooming, and of course, food. And unlike children, there isn’t the prospect that they’ll be looking after you in your dotage.
All Which? members, I’m sure, are out exploring supermarkets for great deals on food, buying the great value Best Buys our taste tests have uncovered. But by the time we reach the pet food aisle, we’re tempted to throw in a tin of extra-premium, super meaty, specially-textured, well-it-must-be-good-for-them pet food (in jelly) – just so they know we love them.
So we set out to find out whether the fancy stuff is actually any better for your dog or cat.
If you have a small Labrador and feed him exclusively on standard Butcher’s dog food, you’ll be spending just under £640 a year. But buy Butcher’s Superior and you’ll be shelling out £850. So what does this extra £210 a year get you, exactly?
According to the animal nutritionist who worked with us on the pet food investigation in the June issue of Which? magazine – not an awful lot. She told us they provide almost exactly the same level of nutrition – and actually, the Butcher’s Superior tin will contain a little less meat and a little less protein than its cheaper counterpart.
We found a similar pattern with other dog and cat foods we looked at. In fact, top vets told us that any pet food labelled as ‘complete’ or ‘complete and balanced’ will provide all the nutrients they need in their diet.
Butcher’s told us that every dog is different and their range of products mean consumers have a selection of recipes to choose from. And it’s true that every so often, you might want to pick up something different for your dog (or cat) to try.
So – do you pick up premium pet food for your furry friends? And do you think it’s worth the extra expense – or does it not matter when you see them devouring it and licking the food bowl clean?
Do you think you spoil your pet?
I don't have a pet (39%, 216 Votes)
Yes - all the time (28%, 158 Votes)
Occasionally (26%, 144 Votes)
No (7%, 39 Votes)
Total Voters: 557