Wednesday, March 21, 2012
How to Read Pet Food Labels!
People often wonder about how to read their pet food labels. Here are a few things you should know so you will be confident when purchasing any pet foods or treats for your pet friends.
1. How to Read the ingredient list?
Like packaged food for people, pet food must list ingredients by weight, starting with the heaviest. But if the first ingredient is a type of meat, keep in mind that meat is about 75% water, according to the FDA.
Without that water weight, the meat probably would fall lower on the ingredient list.
Meat meals, such as chicken meal or meat and bone meal, are different; most of the water and fat have been removed, which concentrates the animal protein
2. What are by-products and should I avoid pet foods that contain them?
Liver, which is a byproduct, is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A. Meat byproducts also can contain blood, bone, brains, stomachs, udders, and cleaned intestines, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Byproducts don't include hair, horns, teeth, and hooves, although an exception is allowed for amounts that occur unavoidably during processing.
Meat meal also may contain animal parts that many people consider to be byproducts. An ingredient listed as “chicken” or “beef” may include the heart, esophagus, tongue, and diaphragm.
It is a matter of personal choice about choosing a food that contains by-products. Your veterinarian will tell you any pet food labeled as “complete and balanced” should meet your pet’s nutritional needs. It is your personnel preference if you decide to feed your pets food with by-products. You do have your choice and there are foods out there that don't contain any by-products.
3. What are the chemical ingredients that I can not pronounce?
Preservatives, artificial colors, and stabilizers in pet food must be either approved by the FDA or be generally recognized as safe, a category that includes everything from high fructose corn syrup to benzoyl peroxide, used to bleach flours and cheese. Manufacturers must list the preservatives they add, but they do not always list preservatives in ingredients such as fish meal or chicken that are processed elsewhere.
Some pet owners don't want to buy food that contains the synthetic preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), or ethoxyquin. These preservatives stop fats from turning rancid and can keep dry dog food fresh for about a year, but their safety has been questioned by some consumers and scientists. But the FDA says they’re safe at the level used in dog food.
Ethoxyquin came under scrutiny in the 1990s after complaints of skin allergies, reproductive problems, cancer, and organ failure in some dogs given food with this preservative. In 1997, the FDA asked dog food makers to halve the maximum allowed amount of ethoxyquin after tests conducted by manufacturer Monsanto Company showed possible liver damage in dogs fed high levels of the preservative.
Some manufacturers no longer use ethoxyquin, BHA, or BHT, instead using natural preservatives such as vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and extracts of various plants, such as rosemary. Those also keep food fresh, but for a shorter period. Be sure to check a food’s“best by” date on the label before buying or feeding it to your pet.
4. How to make sure food meets my pets needs?
Many pet food makers follow model regulations set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that establish the minimum amount of nutrients needed to provide a complete and balanced diet. The statement may say the food is formulated to meet AAFCO standards or that it has been tested in feeding trials and found to provide complete nutrition.
The AAFCO statement also should say what life stage the food is appropriate for. For puppies, look for a food suitable for growth or all life stages. For adult dogs, look for adult maintenance or all life stages. Nutritional needs for senior dogs can vary, depending on health conditions, and there is no AAFCO standard for senior food.
5. What is the guaranteed analysis?
All pet food labels must list the minimum amount of protein and fat in the food and the maximum percentage of fiber and moisture.
Some pet food labels also list the percentage of other ingredients, such as calcium and phosphorous.
Low-fat dog foods often contain less fat and more fiber, to fill up a dog without adding calories.
At least 10% of the daily diet, by weight, should be protein, and 5.5% should be fat, according to the National Research Council, a scientific research unit of the nonprofit National Academies. Dog foods typically contain higher amounts than those, because dogs may not be able to digest all of the nutrients in a food.
6. What should I do now?
Now you can make a better decision when buying pet food and treats for your pet friends. If you don't know where to purchase these high quality all natural pet foods, Ledfoots Pet Bakery can now help you. You can now purchase high quality pet foods such as Orijen, Acana, Evangers, Tripett, Carna4, Nutrisca, Go! Natural, Now, PetGuard, Precise, Solid Gold, Tuscan Natural, Weruva, Tiki Dog, Tiki Cat, thourgh Ledfoots Pet Bakery. If you are local in the Dekalb county IL area we offer home and office delivery. So never run out of pet food again you can have it delivered to your door before you run out.
That goes for the same with Ledfoots Pet Bakery pet treats never run out of pet food or treats again, give us a call (815) 784-6358 to set up your pet food and pet treat delivery service. If you are out of state please e-mail us your address & zip code and we can give you accurate shipping charges regarding your choice of pet food to your home. Susan@LedfootsPetBakery.com
All pet treats can be ordered online at http://www.LedfootsPetBakery.com