Dog food has become a multi-billion-dollar industry.
If you're like most dog owners, you want to give your pet the best. But at what cost?
Tonight, Beth Ward looked at whether it's worth it to pay the premium price, or if the less expensive choice just as good.
Duck, lamb, gluten free, grain free, limited ingredient, and at those prices it's fair to think your pets may eat better than you do.
“People think of their pets as their children these days, which is great, but they're always trying to improve their nutrition for their kids and their pets,” said Greg Smith.
Greg Smith owned a pet store for decades and didn't see all of this on his shelves even 5 years ago.
Way at the back of the aisle are the more affordable options.
“Dogs are omnivores, so they can eat anything,” said Bryan Severns.
Bryan Severns is a food program manager. In their kitchen, they cook up, break down, and analyze pet foods and treats.
Severns said that because things like dog food are more regulated that ever, even that cheap stuff has to be nutritional.
“Is it possible to have healthy dog food that has grain in it? Yes. Corn? Absolutely. Chicken meal? Sure!”
But he said more and more, the case is that if you're not eating that, then neither is your pet.
“The humanization of pet food. If we eat a certain way, our pets are going to eat a certain way. That to me is kind of crazy.”
That doesn't mean anything goes.
Severns said that certain foods are made for food allergies and age specific food.
That may be worth a little extra money. Also, he recommends checking out the labels. Look for a source of protein, and other basics.
“You want to make sure there aren't a lot of unrecognizable fillers. Cellulose is just there to bulk it up. It doesn't have any nutritional value. Just there to pass stuff through.”
He said that the bottom line is that you don't have to spend your entire paycheck on pet food.
“First thing you have to have in a dog food is you have to be able to afford it.”
Smith agrees and said it's also important to know there are options.
“There's good quality moderately priced dog food. I think super cheap level dog food-- you're getting what you paid for.
And you want to make sure your dog food is made right here in the USA. It’s hard to tell if you get your dog food from out the country that its regulated.
Regulatory requirements, smith said, varies greatly outside of the United States.
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