Read the Dog Food label. We have been mislead by advertisements that dry dog food is the best source of food for our four pawed pals. In fact, manufacturers are using devious nuances in the title and label and we truthfully do not know the actual component of its material. Pet food labeling is just regulated on a federal and respective State basis with limited criteria set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Therefore, we need to be more vigilant in reading and understanding the labeling process.
Here is some example that we have overlooked or never really understood before.
- Chicken: If chicken is the first word in this label, and is not combined with any other words, this is containing at least 95 percent of chicken.
- Turkey and Chicken: If the label says turkey and chicken and no other additive, then. you can be relatively certain that this dog food is made up of 95 percent turkey and chicken combined. Chicken content will be slightly less than the turkey because turkey is listed as the first ingredient. The label is listed in a descending order. The predominant component of the food is listed at the top and then each ingredient is named in consecutive order by the weight. Pay attention to the top four or five ingredients from the top to pick the right dog food according to your dog needs.
- Chicken Nuggets: The word nuggets mean that the chicken in the dog food is going to be less than 95 percent but must be at least 25 percent. Some manufacturers are using lesser meat if they label it with dinner and formula. Please be aware that dog food having these labels doesn’t even have chicken in the ingredients.
- Chicken Flavor: Flavor is the key word to keep an eye on. It simply means that there must be enough chicken to add an actual flavor to the food. It could be chicken fat, chicken broth chicken by-products, and usually a very small amount.
- Dog Food with Chicken: If it listed the word food with chicken, it is only required to contain 3 percent of chicken in the ingredient. It goes the same with beef, mutton, fish, or other kinds of meat.
- Guaranteed Analysis: It means the percentage of the listed ingredients in the package for example protein, fat and fiber measurements of the dog food in its current state. Different dog food has varying amounts of moisture contents, but you can only make comparison side by side on a dry matter basis. If there is 80 percent moisture in the food and the remaining items comprise 20 percent of the diet, that means the minimum values listed for each ingredient, excluding water, should be divided by 0.20 to get a dry matter amount.
- Feeding Instruction: This should be considered only as a suggestion. You need to take into consideration of many other factors like the current physical state of your dog and how active is it to decide how much food is required.
- Nutritional Adequacy Claim: This is the statement that is made to list the life stage of the food either it is for maintenance, for growth, or for all life states. According to Association of American Feed Control Officials, the label should mention whether this dog food is a complete and balanced nutrition for a particular life stage or it is a treat or supplement that required to add on other type of feeding.
It was very confusing and in fact, irritating when I first learned about the truth of reading the label and how misleading it is to the consumer. We want the best for our four-legged pals and it is very important that we are aware of what we feed our pets. Your dog’s health and longevity depends on the quality of food and healthy diet. By learning how to interpret dog food will be able to give you a better understanding.
There are options of organic dog food from my other blogif you are interested. If not, just buy a good quality dog food.