It is very important to find the best dog food for our most beloved pets. They need the right dog that will provide them with ample nutrition and sustenance to keep their bones strong and promote lean muscle development. This is why reading pet food labels are necessary. It gives you information if your dog receives the right amount of nutrients that it needs. However, deciphering dog food labels can be cumbersome. But if you follow the tips on how to read pet food labels listed below, decoding the label filled with hifalutin words can be easy.
- Look beyond the hype – the pet food industry is regulated by the FDA with guidance from the Association of American Feed Control Officials. However, the AAFCO only provides the minimum requirements. This means that pet food manufacturers can already go by with just the minimum requirements provided even without the giving customers all necessary information about their products. Furthermore, most pet food manufacturers use terms in labeling their products that are undefined by the AAFCO. This is so that they will be able to communicate their products more effectively to consumers and improve the image of their brand. Hence, most things you will find on the label are what will be appealing to you as a consumer and not really what will provide your dog adequate nutrients. Learn to look beyond the hype and see beyond the labels provided to determine if that is really the product your dog needs.
- Determine dry matter percentages – another important tip on how to read pet food labels is to determine the dry matter percentage of the pet food. Note that the percentages of protein, fat, and fiber you will see provided are measurements in the current state of the food. But different pet foods have different levels of moisture. Hence, you can only compare one from the other if you convert them into their dry matter percentages. For example, if dry matter content is 90%, divide the amount of percentages given in protein, fat, and fiber 90%. The result you will get is the amount of dry fat, protein, or fiber that the dog food contains. Compare it with other pet foods before deciding.
- Check for nutritional adequacy – it is very important for you to check if the nutrients found in the pet food are adequate and will be enough for your pet’s daily needs. Most pet foods nowadays provides a nutritional equivalence that allows you to determine if the amount of a specific nutrient will meet the daily recommended needs of your dog. Read this carefully to make sure most, if not all, nutrients will cover your dog’s daily needs.
- Be wary of various marketing claims – do not always believe pet foods labeled with “natural,” “organic,” and “premium.” These are just marketing terms that do not have substantial evidence to back them up. Always check the ingredients list before you believe any of these claims.
Reading the label of pet foods can be quite difficult and challenging for most people. But that should not be the case. With these tips on how to read pet food labels, you can understand most labels on pet foods. This will enable you to purchase the best pet food for your dog that will provide his daily nutritional needs.