FOX19 - Walk down the pet food aisle and it can be overwhelming - different brands, different ingredients and different prices.
Grocery and pet stores are full of products marketed specifically to the puppy market, but are foods specific to an animal's breed or stage of life really necessary?
"I think it's a marketing tool," said Didi Tremblay, who owns a dog supple store. "The percentages of calcium is present in all of the higher end foods."
Tremblay's dog Binky is an 11-year-old Chihuahua.
Instead of buying "senior" dog food, Binky eats a high protein diet, with one of her favorite meals being freeze-dried venison, mixed with distilled water.
Tremblay believes it's important to check the ingredients and the first item on the list should always be some form of meat.
"Also, you want to avoid corn, wheat, soy, brewer's rice, and bi-products, such as animal fat and animal digests, that's going to be in your lower end foods," she said. "In nature, dogs would never eat corn or grains."
Raw diets have become more popular at pet stores. Tremblay says some of those products include, "duck, goose, rabbit and venison, which is great for allergy-prone dogs, as well as surf and turf, with beef and fish."
Once you find a diet that your dog enjoys, stick to it and avoid high-calorie, high-carb treats.
"Dogs are scent reward-minded, not portion size," she said.
They'd much rather have a small piece of liver than a Milkbone or biscuit, which is full of wheat and about 178 calories per biscuit.
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