When I was attending Texas A&M I had a dog and had gained a minute amount of wisdom and good sense over the previous 15 years, so I talked to the vet and opted for a "premium" brand pet food. You know which ones I'm talking about. The ingredients aren't much different than the more pedestrian brands, but they make claims like:
"Preferred by champion breeders." and "Recommended by more veterinarians..." Blah,blah,blah...
Upon leaving college, I spent the next few years re-learning all about life from experience, rather than textbooks and the learned knowledge being spewed forth by others. And through a combination of logic, reading and conversations with other passionate pet owners I decided that raw food was the only way to go if I really cared about my furry buddy. Wolves, wild dogs, coyotes and other carnivores at raw meat, so why the heck shouldn't my dog? It was a bit messy, I occasionally made my own and it required a significant amount of freezer/fridge space. But the results were apparent almost immediately. My dogs lost any hint of that typical American doggy flab, their coats were radiant, their teeth were outstanding, they ate less and (an unforeseen benefit) they pooped exponentially less than their can & crunchy eating counterparts.
Over the past decade there have been numerous investigative reports revealing that not only the bargain brand food manufacturers, but the premium people as well, were feeding our animals downer livestock, roadkill, all manners of chemicals and additives that neither dogs nor people should EVER consume. You can read all about the various pros and cons regarding pet food by searching the Internet or talking to folks like I did...OR...you can now find just about everything worth knowing on the subject in a wonderful book recently published by good food champion, Dr. Marion Nestle. The book is called Feed Your Pet Right and is available from Amazon.com and fine book dealers everywhere. You can read more about the book and all sorts of enlightening human food related topics at Dr. Nestle's blog, Food Politics.
Even if you don't purchase the book, PLEASE consider changing your pet's diet if you're feeding them the type of food you purchase at the supermarket, warehouse store or discount megamart. And if you can swing it, consider the raw diet for your four-legged friend. My best buddy is sixteen years old this past March and I contribute his amazing health and longevity in large part to his raw diet.