Is Gourmet Pet Food Worth It? - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Is Gourmet Pet Food Worth It?

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Pumpkin, banana, peanut butter, and ginger -- all sound like pretty healthy ingredients for pretty tasty snacks.  But they're for the dogs... And cats, and more.

Americans spent almost 22 billion dollars on pet food last year -- increasingly at higher end pet stores -- as owners focus on their pet's health -- like their digestion, or even allergies.  

But, most of these items come at a premium compared to what's available at grocery stores. What can budget-conscious pet owners do? 

Veterinarian Robyn Johnson advises finding a price point that's comfortable.  Johnson says, "I usually try to tell owners, you want to feed the best that you can within the price point you set." She adds, "yes there are foods that are better than others, but realistically, owners can afford only so much for some families."

Part of making the right choice at any price, is knowing how to read labels, regulated by the FDA. Products labeled "natural" cannot contain artificial or preservatives.  Products labeled "organic," must adhere to the same USDA guidelines for human food. And labels like "premium," "super premium," "holistic" and "gourmet," are just marketing terms -- not requiring any higher nutritional standards.

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