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Is Direct-to-Consumer Dog Food Worth the Money?

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Illustration for article titled Is Direct-to-Consumer Dog Food Worth the Money?

Photo: Dvorakova Veronika (Shutterstock)

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a major expansion of products now available directly to consumers. We can now buy razors, toothbrushes and tampons through subscription services that promise not only higher quality, but lower prices. These direct-to-consumer (DTC) products also include dog food, though those companies tend to focus on offering high-quality food, rather than promoting a substantial cost savings. There are plenty of DTC dog food options out there, but are they worth the money? Here’s what to know.

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What’s the deal with direct-to-consumer dog food?

Like other DTC products, part of the appeal of having a subscription is not having to remember to purchase something you need on a regular basis. But, as NBC News reports, in most cases, DTC dog food is more about indulging your pet with “higher quality,” more nutritious food, rather than convenience or saving money. These products aims to fill the gap between affordable dry dog food and the really expensive, high-end stuff (probably sold in a refrigerated section of your local grocery store). Brands and services include: Sundays, Tailored, Jinx, Nom Nom and The Farmer’s Dog.

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Is direct-to-consumer dog food actually healthier?

These DTC dog food companies are banking on the fact that people with dogs are willing to pay more for their furry friends’ food if it’s higher in quality and better for them. But is that really the case? Some veterinarians, like Dr. Kristin Neuhauser, DVM, of Noah’s Ark Animal Clinic, see kibble as an important part of a dog’s diet. “For dogs, the main benefit to being on a commercially-prepared dry dog food is that they are eating a complete and balanced diet,” she told NBC News.

The most important thing to consider when selecting a dog food, according to Dr. Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, a professor of Sections of Clinical Nutrition and Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornel, is to make sure that it meets nutrient standards set by organizations like the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). “If not [complete and balanced] then there’s vitamins and minerals that need to be added,” he told NBC News. “I, as a veterinarian nutritionist, feel much more comfortable [knowing] a product has met AAFCO specifications.”

That’s not to say that DTC dog foods don’t meet those standards—it’s just important that you check that they do, instead of simply assuming that higher cost equals higher quality.

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Is direct-to-consumer dog food worth the price?

In short, it all depends on your priorities. If your dog is perfectly happy eating kibble that meets AAFCO nutrition standards, then it may not be worth the extra money to upgrade to a more expensive DTC plan. But in cases where your dog may not be eating enough or getting the nutrients it needs, then it could be worth splurging on high-quality human-grade food.

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“If you want to feed your pet human-grade foods it will be more expensive, but if your pet finds it palatable and really enjoys their meals, I think it’s worth the extra cost,” veterinarian Dr. Hunter Finn, DVM, told Fast Company. He also only recommends dog food brands that employ a full-time veterinary nutritionist and are open and honest when answering your questions regarding research, manufacturing and nutrient profile studies.

So ultimately, it’s up to you—but as long as your dog is enjoying a complete and balanced diet, don’t feel as though you need to shell out the extra cash for human-grade food.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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