With 63 percent of all United States households owning a pet of some kind, it is no wonder that there are so many different types of pet foods. From dry to canned, organic to age-based, there is a cornucopia of options for nearly any type of animal you can think of. Navigating myriad pet food options can be a daunting task for a cat or dog owner looking for what is best for their pet.

Canned vs. Dry

While dry food is easier to store and less expensive than canned food, many pet owners still prefer giving their animal canned food. Most veterinarians advocate using canned pet foods to augment dry food, as canned food may simply too expensive as the main staple of the diet. Furthermore, a diet of only canned food can lead to gum and tooth problems in a pet. Canned food does have some advantages, however, as it generally has a higher meat content and less preservatives than dry food. There are healthy options for both canned and dry foods. It is up to the discretion of the owner to decide what is best for an animal.

Price and Quality

The difference in price and quality between premium brand pet foods and low-end brands is not as evident as it may seem. While premium brands are often quite a bit more expensive, they often contain far higher meat content and also can require less food per serving. Make sure to check the packaging to see what the serving size should be—while it may seem like a designer dog food brand is far more expensive the price difference may not be as drastic as it would appear. Generally, high quality, high meat content foods really are better for you dog or cat.

Raw or Homemade Dog Food

The popularity of feeding dogs homemade food has increased greatly in recent years. Many experts advocate feeding dogs as close to a “natural” diet as possible. This means feeding dogs raw meat, vegetables, and grains, rather than processed dog food. Others advocate cooking homemade dog food. There is no overall consensus when it comes to making your own dog food. Owners who plan on taking this route should consult with their veterinarian to make sure the food being given to the dog is safe. There is quite a bit of debate going on concerning the subject of raw foods, so make sure to research the subject before throwing your dog a whole chicken to eat every day.