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Published: Nov 28, 2011

Loving pet owners tend to want the best products for their dogs. Whether it be the most elite in bedding, clothing or dog food, the sky is often the limit for four-legged friends. Many consumers may believe that the most expensive food option is the best, however this may not always be the case.

Dr. Joseph Wakshlag, a veterinarian at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, recently told that price is much less important than what pet foods do for specific dogs.

"I've seen 'all-natural, holistic' dog foods that perform really poorly in dogs, and I've seen some dog foods that you might not want to feed your dog, that perform better," Wakshlag told the publication. "I don't think you get what you pay for."

Instead, Wakshlag urges pet parents to understand what goes into each dog food in order to pick the best option. According to the site, quality pet foods should meet the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO sets standards for levels of proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients necessary to help support dogs' bodies during all different life stages.

Owners going into the stores should first make sure the options they're looking at have the AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement which indicates the food provides complete and balanced nutrition for dogs. Then an owner should look for choices that fit their dog's taste, activity level and stage in life. Many companies have separate options for dogs of every age - such as puppy, adult, active and senior - to give each age group the specific nutritional content their bodies need. VCA Animal Hospitals reports that senior or less active dogs need less in terms of calories because they are usually less active and won't burn as many calories. Continuing to give these dogs the same food or the same amount of food that one would give to more active canines may lead to obesity.

Talk to your veterinarian about helping you navigate the possible choices for your dog and then to create a feeding plan that will keep your dog in nutritional good health.