With money still tight as the effects of recession continue to hit consumers up and down the country, many animal owners are opting to cut down on pet food costs by switching to a cheaper brand.

However, these products often contain a minimal amount of meat and feature a large amount of 'filler' such as wheat gluten, as well as excessive levels of preservatives and sweeteners.

Regularly feeding your dog low-quality food can result in a number of health conditions and ailments, prompting many pet health experts to urge dog owners to invest in premium dog food.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, dog training behaviourist Sarah Linehan underlined the importance of a healthy diet.

"Diet does not only impact on physical health but psychological health and behavior," she told the news provider.

"It works the same way for children and adults, if you are eating rubbish it will impact on you physically and mentally."

Ms Lineham advised consumers to only purchase dog food which clearly outlines what types of meat and other ingredients were used in its production.

"People think dog food is dog food, but there is a massive difference," she added.

"A good brand will say 'chicken breast meat'. If it says 'chicken flavour' it only has to be four per cent chicken - and that will be scrapings from the abattoir floor."

Vet Marc Abraham, of Grove Lodge Vets in Sussex, agreed with Ms Lineham's assertions and also emphasised the importance of ensuring your dog gets sufficient exercise to help keep them happy and healthy.

A healthy diet and exercise plan will also ensure that your dog is less likely to develop serious health problems such as obesity and heart failure, diabetes and arthritis.

Another option available to dog owners who wish to keep track of their dog's diet is to create delicious homemade meals once a week for their pooch.

The Daily Mail recently revealed that Border Terrier owner Henrietta Morrison began making dishes consisting of meat, vegetables and herbs for her dog after realising that its skin condition was linked to her diet.

Written by: Hannah