How to Read Pet Food Ingredient Labels

Spot is a long time member of your beloved family. Because Spot is a close member of the family, he needs to have the best kind of food and the have the best health as you could actually provide him. Unfortunately, not all kinds of food for pets are the same. There are those that promise health and there are those that actually deliver them. Fortunately, the AAFCO is on the lookout for those that misuse or abuse terms and words found in product labels on pet foods.

The following are tips and ways to make sure that your pet get to eat what they so long deserve. They are family and it's good to discriminate what they eat:

It is best that you read and re-read any and all labels found on the product of pet foods. It is not enough to just read them though, one should also try - as much as possible - to understand what a particular product description means. When a product label reads chicken-cat food, this description basically means that the food in the can consists ninety five percent of chicken. However, if the product label reads as cat-food-with-chicken, this description basically means that the food in the can contains three percent chicken. The chicken description does not end there though, there are product labels that read: with a flavor of chicken. This description basically means that the pet food contains no chicken. What it does have is the taste of chicken as well as its flavor.

As much as it is possible, try to read carefully all the ingredients found on the product label of the pet food. It is a must that manufacturers list down all the ingredients used into making the food. Plus, this should not be merely a list though. The specific weight of each ingredient must also be indicated. The dominant ingredient in the pet food is usually listed as the first one.

Also, try to avoid those pet food products that merely indicate meat. The best kind of pet food must have a specific kind of meat in them and this kind of meat must be present and described in the label --- be it beef, chicken, salmon or lamb. Also, those kinds of meat that usually contain bones, organs, tendons of animals are usually those that are the surplus of slaughterhouses. It is best that these kind of meats be avoided and not be given to your pets as these are merely byproducts. Usually this term is used to actually mean reject-foods. These are the kinds of food that are the product of a process that has left the food overcooked and usually are extremely processed. This is not widely known to the general public.

It is best that you look for the food that indicates that any tests done on animals on the pet food product has been done using procedures authorized by the AAFCO. This ensures that adequate testing on the food has been done.

If your pet is currently undergoing a special health problem, or if your pet is pregnant, diabetic or has allergies, it is best that you find and purchase the pet food that is just as right and appropriate to what they are similarly going through. Believe it or not, there are foods out there that are highly specialized for pets in all forms and sizes, be it that the pets are lactating, mature or have hair balls.

If you find out that the pet food you are to purchase is about to expire in a few days or so, it basically means that the food has been long sitting on the shelf. As much as possible, get foods that are still somewhat fresh off the shelf, so to speak.

If you are to introduce a new food to your pet, do it slowly but surely. Try mixing a little bit of the new food with the old one your pet may be used to eating. Continue to do this for three days or more. Be observant as to how your pet is taking it. Is he having an allergy? Is he scratching? Do you see any reactions that are not normal?

In summary, your pet is only as healthy as the food you give them. So give them the best so that he or she can live optimally.

Linda Robins
Products for people and pets

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