A balanced diet is important for pets as for peoples, understanding the Pet food labels can help you select the right food for your pet.
What is a pet food label?
A pet food label is full of information to help shoppers make an informed decision about their dog or cat’s food. In addition, because the pet food label is closely regulated, this information is reviewed by state government officials such as staff at a state department of agriculture. This review helps states ensure pet food is safe and labeled properly.
Here, we will help you to interpret pet food labels so that you can make the best purchase. Let’s start with:
Ingredients List: All ingredients are required to be listed in decreasing order by weight. The weights of ingredients are determined as they are added in the formulation, including their inherent water content. Further down the ingredient list, the "common or usual" names become less common or usual to most consumers. The majority of ingredients with chemical-sounding names are vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients. Other potential ingredients may include artificial colors, stabilizers, and preservatives.
Guaranteed Analysis: All the pet food required to have guaranteed analysis on the product label, which will help the buyer to find levels of at least four nutrients: protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. Some manufacturers include guarantees for other nutrients as well. The maximum percentage of the mineral component is often guaranteed, especially on cat foods.
When comparing the guaranteed analyses between dry and canned products, one will take note that the levels of protein and most other nutrients are much lower for the canned items. This can be clarified by looking at the relative moisture contents. To make significant comparisons of nutrient levels between a canned and dry product, they should be expressed on the same moisture basis. This ensures the exact proportion of the minerals and vitamins required.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement or "AAFCO Statement": An AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement is one of the most significant parts of a dog or cat food label. This means the product contains the proper amount of all recognized essential nutrients needed to meet the needs of the healthy animal. The nutritional adequacy statement will also state for which life stage the product is suitable, such as "for maintenance," or "for growth."
A product intended "for all life stages" meets the more tough nutritional needs for growth and reproduction. A maintenance food will meet the needs of an adult, non-reproducing dog or cat of normal activity, but may not be sufficient for a growing, reproducing, or hard-working animal
Feeding directions instruct the consumer on how much product should be offered to the animal. The feeding directions should be taken as rough guidelines, a place to start. Breed, temperament, environment, and many other factors can influence food intake. The best suggestion is to offer the prescribed amount at first, and then to increase or cut back as needed to maintain body weight in adults or to achieve a proper rate of gain in puppies and kittens.
Manufacturer's Name and Address:
The package label should contain the manufacturer's name and phone number. We encourage you to call the companies to learn more about their products, place of manufacturing, actual nutrient content, calories, and other label claims of your food choice.