From squeaky mice and jewel-studded collars to luxury bedding and fancy chew toys, there are many ways we can spoil our pets, and most of us are guilty in indulging our furry-friends once in a while.

However, while fancy toys and treats are all very well, according to the experts, if you really want a happy and healthy pet, the best place to start is with their diet.

"The most important thing that pet owners should spend money on is good quality food," says Sarah Linehan of The Pet Experience.

"Pets are like children when it comes to toys - they often have more fun with the packaging than with the toy itself, but high quality food with no chemicals or additives is well worth the extra few pounds as it cuts down on vets bills and keeps the pet much healthier both physically and mentally."

With the current economic doom and gloom, many of us are feeling the bite of the recession and it may be tempting to try and cut corners with your dog or cat food.

However, this is one area of pet care which really shouldn't be compromised, as by scrimping in the short term, you could be left with greater problems in the long run if your pet's health ends up suffering as a result.

Many owners opt for dry pet food for a healthy and affordable way to feed your canine companion or feline friend. There a number of premium brands such as Royal Canin cat food and dog food that will provide your pet with all the nutrients they need but without breaking the bank.

However, whatever brand you go for make sure that you check the label carefully for any unwanted ingredients and additives like preservatives, salt, sugar and artificial colours and flavourings which could harm your pet's health.

Written by: Hannah