Reading Labels 102:

Value of Proteins

Reading and understanding labels is essential for you to make an informed choice about the food that you feed your pet.One important feature on the label of pet foods is the “Guaranteed Analysis”. This tells you the minimum percentage of crude protein, crude fat, crude fibre and moisture.This is a useful tool to help you select the right food for your pet. Whether you pet is active and needs more calories, or it is a senior and prone to put on weight, the Guaranteed Analysis will help you select a food that meets your pet’s needs.

For example, if you have an active, young pet, then you may not be so concerned about the amount of fat, but if you have an older, sedentary pet, then you should consider the amount of fat. You may choose a food that is higher in protein and lower in fat. Fibre will also be an important consideration. You may also choose a food (in the case of an older, sedentary pet) that has appropriate nutrients.

The important thing to remember is that you must read the specific ingredients in conjunction with the guaranteed analysis. Not all protein is quality protein and if the protein comes from feathers, hair and hooves, it is not usable protein to animals. So while the guaranteed analysis would show high levels of protein, it still depends on what the sources of that protein are.

Nutrition is a complicated subject. The best way to evaluate the protein in your pet’s food is to look at the biological value of the protein. The biological value is a scientific way to compare the nutritional worth of different protein ingredients. It is a measure of a protein’s ability to supply the ten essential amino acids for your pets, and to supply them in appropriate proportions.

The highest rating is 100 and only eggs have a biological value of 100. This means that powdered eggs are a valuable ingredient. Next is fish meal at 92 and then beef at 78. It is worthwhile to check the biological value of the protein that you are feeding your pet.You should consult your experienced and knowledgeable pet store staff about the right food for your pet, but also check the ingredients label and guaranteed analysis to confirm what the staff are telling you.

October 28, 2015 — Pet Pantry

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