Pet Parents Splurge on USDA-Grade Dog Food

NBC 7’s Gaby Rodriguez decided to taste the treats herself – during a live newscast – just to see what dogs like her own Luna are eating

Most pet parents will do anything for their four-legged family members including the latest trend in pet care: USDA-grade, gourmet dog food.

According to the American Pet Product Association, consumers spent $67 billion on their pets in 2016 – including $28 billion on food.

“I prefer the foods where quality proteins are at the top of the list because if you look at animals in the wild, they eat a largely protein-based diet,” said Patricia Ungar, DVM, a veterinarian at Kensington Veterinary Hospital. “They get a little bit of carbs; if they’re a hunting dog or hunting cat they’re going to eat what they catch. It’s going to have mostly protein and whatever their protein’s eaten before they got it.”

Ungar told NBC 7 USDA-grade pet food is taking off because some pets have health complications in large part because of poor breeding standards.

One company selling USDA-grade dog food is California-based Just Food for Dogs, which recently opened its 10th store in the state in Del Mar. The company prepares all of the meals in the store, with a focus on high-quality ingredients and balanced, whole foods.

A 7-ounce bag of dog food there can run around $4 to $5, and the portions depend on your dog’s weight.

But, if that price per meal is a tad steep, don’t fret. Ungar said some dogs can eat anything and live perfectly healthy lives. It all depends on your dog’s health conditions, and if their health might benefit from a cleaner diet.

NBC 7’s Gaby Rodriguez, accompanied by her pup, Luna, tried the gourmet dog treats herself during a newscast. She said the treats weren’t bad, including one that tasted like unseasoned chicken.

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