WAIT! Just what’s really in that food your about to feed your best friend? The most important thing for a pet owner is knowing how to read a dog food label and understand what it means.
WHAT MUST BE INCLUDED ON THE LABEL?
- Product Name
- Brand Name
- Species for which the food is intended (dog, cat, hamster, etc)
- Net Weight
- Guaranteed Analysis
- Ingredient Statement
- Nutritional Adequacy
- Feeding Directions
- Name & Address of Manufacturer
WHAT DOES THE NAME MEAN?
- If the name states “chicken”, “beef”, “seafood”, etc it must contain at least 95% of that item
- If the name states “dinner”, “entree”, “platter” (chicken dinner, beef platter, etc) it must contain 25% of that product
- If the name states “with” (chicken, beef, seafood, etc), it must contain only 3% of that product
- If the name only states “flavor” (chicken flavor, etc), there is no minimum requirement for that product
WHAT IS BY-PRODUCT?
- The term “by-product” is very broad, but includes animal parts like liver, stomach and kidneys
- These are actually pretty nutritious and good for your dog, so don’t let the term put you off 100%
UNDERSTANDING THE INGREDIENTS
- Ingredients must be listed by descending order of weight, but it’s important to understand that this is weight BEFORE processing.
- Chicken or Beef may be listed as the main ingredient, but when raw they contain a lot of liquid that is lost in the cooking process
- To keep your dog in shape, it pays to follow the portion recommendations on the label
- Calories per ounce can vary among different foods, so a cup of one brand might be half the calories of a cup of another