21 July 2021

Pet food: are 'premium' brands worth the money?

Are the claims made by pet food manufacturers really the cat’s pyjamas?

Member comments

Get access to comment

10 Apr 2022
Disappointed with the negative comments.

A bit disappointed with the negative comments below.
This is a very basic overview questioning cost effectiveness.
Obviously there are a bunch of other factors, fussyness, excersise, medical conditions etc. There isn't a silver bullet.

My experience backs up what consumer hinted at, which is check the labels because price doesn't necessarily make it better.

My example it that my vet recommended a low sodium, low protein food for my cat & recommended a specific Hill's product that they could sell to me ...... after a bit of research I found the a Smitten brand available at Countdown was basically the same, only 85% cheaper.

01 Mar 2022
Poorly written and researched article

Very disappointed in this article. There is no mention about the nutritional differences between baked kibble, air dried, freeze dried or raw. There is also no consideration given to the amount of recalls done by Purina, Hills, IAMS etc. The fact that the author considers Eukanuba as a premium brand shows that very little actual research was done for this.

I would urge anyone who is reading this article to either check out the Pet Fooled documentary or the Forever Dog book for some actual science based information.

Kelli I.
21 Dec 2021
Pet Fooled - Netflix

I love the responses show that pet owners are doing their own research, I personally could not stomach this article - apologies, I don't mean that to be critical.

When I got my puppy he wouldn't eat purina, which he was feed before I got him. I had to hand feed him to get him to eat, obviously that couldn't go on long term.

When I researched, yes Googled, I discovered that dogs could actually have intolerance to the fillers you (or the American agency) say are 'a nothing' .

Finding the right food for my puppy, without those fillers, and finally seeing him eat enthusiasticly was worth all the cost. No I do not buy his food from the supermarket.

I feel that is important too for our own health to that think over. Do "they" actually care, or is it the bottom line.

Be horrified by the doco 'pet fooled' if you care to.

Lynette S.
26 Oct 2021
pet food

I was hoping to get a review of types of cat food available in Nz to compare them so I can get the best for our senior cat, but sadly there is nothing here that I can use. Very dissapointed .

08 Oct 2021

What's with the lazy research coming out of consumer these days. You'd get better information free from the web.

Premium foods generally mean less waste out the backend i.e. you pay for premium.

Sadly, unlike a lot of consumer reporting these days. 😜

lynda S.
21 Dec 2021
I agree with others here......

that article really told us nothing (or very little). I too, would sure not put Eukanuba up there anymore as a premium food. At the end of the day, you have to find what suits your particular dog. I have 2 small dogs. One had pancreatitis badly 2 years ago, so I have to be VERY careful about what she is fed. She was on RC Low Fat ID food (biscuits & cans) so other dog was also put on that to save mucking about with various foods. Then the pancreatic dog also presented with struvite crystals in urine. Yes, there IS a RC Urinary health dog food but it's fat content is through the roof at 17% (which not ONE vet had picked up - I had to figure it out myself) and the biscuits seemed to make it worse (probably may not have been drinking enough). So now she is on the RC wet food totally, with Urinaid tab each day & I cook up chicken frames & keep the water & use that each day to ensure she drinks enough. She's not perfect re the crystals issues, but all controllable. Sorry for the long-winded post, but I know how difficult it can be with pets.

Wendy W.
05 Aug 2021
Premium cat food?

This article doesn't really compare with a premium cat food but compares two supermarket foods. Purina is a mid range cat food - which I buy from the supermarket for my cats. It is not premium pet shop food like Hills, eukanuba, Royal canin, black hawk, etc (plenty to choose from) so curious why were one of these not used?

Bevan W.
26 Jul 2021
Great article except for one glaring mistake!

What's a Green Lipped muscle? lol

Ben - Consumer staff
28 Jul 2021

Not sure either Bevan! Thanks for letting us know, we've corrected that now.

Your Highness
24 Jul 2021

Some of these pet foods sound really tasty and nutritious. A cheap way to feed the family too...

Robyn B.
24 Jul 2021
Raw food warning

We had to take one of our cats in to the vet because s/he was being sick. The vet found nothing wrong but asked us were we feeding them X (I can't remember the name but it's a raw meat product stocked at Pak n Save and comes in a plastic container). Yes was the answer. Apparently they see a number of animals who've been fed this brand.

Geoffrey H.
24 Jul 2021
Keep it natural

I’ve always been impressed by the health of farm dogs most of whom get thrown a piece of home kill each day, and plenty of water. Are we missing something? The answer must be yes! The pet food industry is a first world affectation designed to fleece pet owners, who if they had any courage would by some off cuts from a local butcher and be sure Fido had plenty of water.

J W.
28 Jul 2021
Reason for healthy farm dogs

Unhealthy farm dogs have a quick consultation with mr 22 and suddenly cease to be unhealthy. Most people with companion animals wouldn't countenance this remedy.

Matthias O.
24 Jul 2021
Danger of cat food out of cans

Consumption of canned cat food is considered a risk factor for the development of feline hyperthyroidism, especially cans that have a lid to lift up. An in depth study had been done at the university in Munich, to find out why this illness did basically not exist in cats prior the 1980's.
Also the Consumer comparison between cheap and more expensive food lacks to compare other ingredients, like artificial colourings and flavours. Besides my own cat, I have seen others that reacted with regular vomiting eating cheap cat biscuits or food.

10 Apr 2022

Funny my cat developed hyperthyroidism, so I put her on canned food. Before that she was biscuit only.

Jane P.
24 Jul 2021
Raw food debate

Our dog, a young Jack Russell, became sick on and off and was eating both raw meat - chicken, land and mostly beef - some of it cooked plus Eukanuba biscuits. We were concerned that he may have been developing pancreatitis as he had all the symptoms. He particularly couldn't handle too much fat of any kind, but, stupidly, we had been feeding him titbits of toast etc from the table...and he was an indiscriminate eater. My sister recommended Raw Essentials and so we tried it and he is now a total convert - no biscuits, no or very few scraps, and definitely no toast! He is a healthy, lovely dog now, a year later with no more stomach upsets. He even loves their raw tripe and the food is frozen in cubes, so very easy to feed.
I do wish you would listen to a range of vets as our vet says she doesn't know if raw us better or cereals are harmful to some dogs...and that it's very much about a lack of real research. The vets are also selling all the cereal based diets so most are probably not that impartial! I think you need to take a better, longer look at particular raw diets that use a wide variety of specially sourced meats and also advocate the use of bone broth and non-pork related chews etc. I don't think your studies are giving the whole picture at all!

Karen S.
24 Jul 2021

I agree, there simply isn't enough research, so we are left to rely on our own anecdotal evidence. I also note that many humans are moving away from certain grains in the quest for better gut health. We've had dogs as part of the family for over 20 years now. Our old Staffie sadly just passed away at 15+ years. When he was young he had persistent skin conditions which were completely cleared up by switching to grain free biscuits but mostly a diet of a variety of raw food. No more vet visits and he lived to a good age (for the breed). Our other dogs also have great health on similar diets. Even though its treated as a premium brand by vets, the 'premium' brand used in this Consumer comparison, 'Eukanuba' is not a pet food I would ever feed to any of my dogs. It may cost more but its not much different to cheaper supermarket brands in my experience.

Kevin H.
22 Jul 2021
Best value dog food

For years my wife and I have used Purina One 3.63 kg. From Labradors to our current Border Terrier.

Normally around $28 to $31 at Supermarkets, but the shrewd shopper waits until it is on special ( anywhere between $18-$24) and buys several bags.

Trina B.
24 Jul 2021
Good tip thanks

Gosh we owned a lab and now considering a border terrier, I would be so interested to hear your views. Also great tip on the Purina thanks.