When it comes to your pet’s food choices and their mysterious labels, fancy marketing claims and eye-catching bags might lure you to buy pet foods that aren't as they seem. The reality of what ingredients a pet food actually contains might be very different than that of the name.
To feed your pet a diet that is ‘nutritionally complete’ search for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) label which states, ‘(Product name) is formulated in order to meet the levels of nutrition set by the AAFCO (Cat/Dog) Food Nutrient Profiles.’ Remember that just because an item meets minimal nutrition standards doesn’t mean it’s always the proper selection for your pet.
Search for named meats (salmon, beef, chicken, turkey) and named meat meals within the first 1, 2 or 3 ingredients, and whole grains within the 3rd, 4th and 5th areas.
Lesser quality ingredients are going to involve soy, corn, by-products and glutens. Avoid a pet food where these ingredients are at the top of the list.
A pet food’s name has meaning, according to the Food and Drug Administration. For instance, if a food can is labeled as Chicken for Dogs the can has to contain, at a minimum, 95 percent chicken -- exclusive of the water that is added for processing. Also, it must be the initial ingredient on the label.
As a food is labeled with words like nuggets, entrée, dinner or formula, the food has to contain at least 25 percent of the named ingredient (before water is added). If a product name has the term ‘with’ like "Cat Food with Beef", it must contain only 3 percent beef. Only 3 percent!
As calories are listed upon the label they have to be listed as, ‘kilocalories per kilogram.’ Calories and kilocalories are the same. Both of them mean 1000 calories.
Compare the kilocalories on all bags of food you’re considering, as well as the corresponding feeding directions; you’ll discover a lot of differences.
Essentially, the rule of thumb is to look out for your pet's diet the way you'd look out for your own, or your family's diet. If your pet is part of your family, treat them as such! Just because cats and dogs will often eat... well, just about anything, it doesn't mean you should feed them just any old food!