VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Earlier this year, several companies recalled pet foods because they were found to contain a drug that is used to put down pets. There are other stories of pet foods that contain parts of other animals.
Stories like that are causing many pet owners to treat their pets like they treat their own bodies.
Cheryl McKee, the owner of DoggStuff in Virginia Beach, shows off her shelves stocked with what we may call organic pet food, but she says is more accurately described as holistic.
"We have quality ingredients. There's no chemical byproducts, no chemical preservatives, no antibiotics, things that we know that are going to cause that dogs to have problems down the line," said McKee.
A staunch advocate of giving pets food with natural ingredients, she says many big box stores sell foods that are dangerous.
"It's their leftover trash. In my opinion, I wouldn't sit down and eat a plate of chicken feathers... but there's one dog food company out there that seems to think that chicken feathers are the best way to go."
According to market research company Packaged Facts, natural pet food sales reached $8.12 billion in 2016, and grew at a rate of 12.1 percent between 2012 and 2016.
McKee says brand new customers are coming in and walking down the aisles of her store every week with the health of their pets in mind.
"The better the quality the foods that you feed your dog, cat, bird, the longer they're going to live, the happier they're going to be and you're going to feel more comfortable knowing that you're doing that best you can for them."
As for pricing of holistic pet food, McKee says there isn't much of a price difference between what she says and the non-natural foods that you can find at other stories.