Wholesome pet food doesn’t use cheap fillers such as corn and other grains. It doesn’t use animal by-products. It also contains natural ingredients that provide your pet with the nutrition that it needs.

Reading Labels 101

Reading and understanding labels is essential for you to make an informed choice about the food that you feed your pet. Ingredients are listed by weight. The ingredients are listed in order of the amount (by weight) of that ingredient.

What you want to see: The first few ingredients should be protein not a grain such as corn. Corn is a cheap filler that is used to fatten cows before slaughter. It does not provide either dogs or cats with the nutrition that they need. If the protein is meat, for example, chicken meat, that is a quality ingredient. But fresh meat is 80% water which is lost in the cooking process used to make dry pet food, so even if chicken meat is listed first, the amount of protein that it is contributing is much less than it being listed first would imply. It should be followed by other sources of protein, such as chicken meal (chicken is just an example here).

Chicken meal, or meal from any meat source, is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh meat. As such, it significantly increases the amount of protein in a dry pet food and is therefore an important ingredient.

However, not all meat meal is good. Avoid pet food containing any meat meal that includes the words “by-products” in its name, and any that fails to identify the specific source animal. Such foods might say meat meal, animal meal, poultry meal or blood meal. This is a warning sign. Better meat meals are made from the meat of clearly identified sources.

Watch for our next blog Reading Labels 102!
September 07, 2015 — Pet Pantry

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