Nearly half of us own pets. They're a huge part of our families, but for many of us, making sure they're fed is making a huge dent on our wallets.
But, have you ever given food for thought about your dog's food?
Walk down any pet food aisle and you'll find regular dog food, organic dog food, certified organic, and frozen dog food. The prices are all over the place.
"These days there's a pretty big trend toward feeding our pets the way we feed ourselves," said Allison Wara, a veterinary nutritionist at the University of Missouri.
Some vets say price point and presentation don't mean as much as what's on the bag.
“On the back of every label you should find a nutritional adequacy statement, and that statement will say whether or not the pet food is complete and balanced,” she said.
Pet food in the U.S. is regulated by FDA. The FDA representatives serve on the AAFCO, or the Association of American Feed Control Officials, board.
“Complete” means the product contains all the nutrients required.
“Balanced” means the nutrients are present in the correct rations.
Otherwise, Wara says, it’ll say something like "intermittent," or "for supplemental feeding."
Other experts say measuring your pet's food is key.
But do pets really need organic, certified organic or completely raw?
Most experts agree that’s a want and not a need.
A study by Consumer Reports finds higher prices can mean better ingredients and better quality control during manufacturing.
The same study shows pets can still thrive on inexpensive food or become sick from pricey food.
Bottom line: if your pet is active and healthy, then no matter the price point, the food is doing its job.