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How to Read Pet Food Labels

With so many different brands and types of pet food available on the market today, choosing the one that is best for your beloved pet can get a bit confusing. Every label proclaims its excellence, and promises to provide your furball with proper nutrition. Unfortunately, in this day and age, you can’t take marketing claims at face value. Below, your local vet Glendale goes over some basics of how to read pet food labels.

Ingredients

Just as with foods meant for human consumptions, pet food labels will list the ingredients in descending order. Therefore, the first thing listed on the label will have the highest percentage, the second one listed will have the second highest, and so forth. This is all done according by weight, which makes it a bit more complicated. Fillers like grain and flour weigh less than meat, so they may still make up a sizeable chunk of a product’s content.

Statements

This is where it gets a bit tricky. A label that says “Chicken” is required to have a set percentage of chicken. That percentage is set at 95%. Therefore, a product that reads “Beef Cat Food” must be 95 percent beef. If the product is labeled as a dinner, entrée, feast, or called by another similar term, however, the percentage requirement drops to 25%. If the label reads “Chicken Flavor”, only 3 percent of the food is required to be chicken. Foods that read “Complete and Balanced” must provide enough nutrition to sustain a pet without being combined with any other food.

Chemicals And Additives

When you read labels, you should be able to clearly identify the ingredients. If most of the things listed on the label aren’t even identifiable as food, they probably aren’t good for your furry pal. Meat by-products and meat meal may not sound bad, but they can contain several animal parts that neither you nor your pet would find particularly appetizing.

Guaranteed Analysis

Each pet food label should also list an analysis. The analysis breaks down the contents by percentage and provides an exact breakdown of the proportions of protein, fats, etc. Ask your vet to recommend the best diet analysis for your pet, based on your furball’s weight, health, and age. You may want to text it to yourself for easy access when shopping.

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