CASPER, WY - Americans are spending more money on pet food these days and they're willing to pay more for premium brands. With all the varieties, how do you know whether your pet is getting the nutrition it needs?
Experts say to check the ingredients and be more aware of what you're feeding them.
"The ingredients really make a difference. A candy bar you can get to a certain nutritional value, but that’s not what we’re supposed to have. That is not the necessary nutrition you want," said L & C Pets and Gifts Owner Lisa Detweiler.
Local pet experts say not all pet foods are taking the right approach to your pet's nutritional needs.
"If you have to have a 28% protein, AFCO doesn’t tell you have to use this to get to that so you can get protein out of vegetables, you can get it out of corn, you can get it out of soy. There's all kinds of places you can get protein," said Detweiler.
Fatty foods are a part of your dog's diet but watch what you're giving them.
"The problem with animal fat is when it doesn't state the source. It doesn’t say chicken fat, beef fat, buffalo fat, lamb fat,” said K & M Pet Products Co-Owner Megen Schafer. “If it doesn’t tell what that source of fat is it can be anything."
Some have gone to the all raw diet for their pets to embrace natural foods.
"The boney cuts of meat, the organ meat, things that people wouldn't necessarily want to eat is good for dogs and they love it. My one dog used to refuse his food all the time and he hasn't done that once," said L & C Pets and Gifts Co-Owner Cathy Anderson.
Most pet owners agree it's best to go as natural as possible.
"Raw is really and truly the best. Just like the fresh vegetable are the best. The less processing you have for a food the better it is," said Schafer.
Experts say to try out several types of pet food and change it out if your pet has unusual digestive problems, ear infections, or is licking their paws excessively.
Last year total pet food sales reached $21 billion and nearly half of those sales were from premium pet foods.