We want to give our pets the perfect nutrition, however with so many choices, how can we separate the best from your rest?
pet Food Storage Containers
Do words like “premium” and “gourmet” actually mean anything? Are foods labeled “natural” and “organic” actually healthier? The reality is, in terms of canine, a number of these terms haven’t any standard definition or regulatory meaning. There’s no one perfect source for comparing kibbles and chows. There is certainly, however, some fundamental information which you can use to gauge that which you feed your four-legged loved ones.
Examining the food label
Pet food labels have two basic parts: the principal display panel and also the information panel. The initial uses up the majority of the packaging – it provides the emblem and name of the food, and descriptive terms and pictures. But the biggest part the label is the information panel, the parallel of the human nutritional information label. It includes the guaranteed analysis, ingredient list, feeding guidelines and nutritional adequacy statement.
You won’t find just as much detail here as on human foods, however the nutritional information does give minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat, and maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture. “Crude” refers to the way of measuring which is used, not the quality of the protein, fat or fiber. These percentages are on “as fed” basis, so foods that have more water (canned foods) seem to have less protein than foods with less water (dry foods) – but that is not usually the case.
Ingredients in a pet food has to be in label in descending order by weight. One detail to keep in mind, though, is the weight includes the moisture inside the ingredient, so certain ingredients might appear higher out there even when lower – moisture ingredients contribute more actual nutrients. The order isn’t by vitamins and minerals, but by weight.
As an example, the initial ingredient on a label could be “chicken”, which weighs greater than other individual ingredients as it may contain 70% water. But wheat might be within various forms which are listed as individual ingredients, such as “wheat flour”, “ground wheat” and “wheat middling”. Thus, the diet plan might actually contain more wheat than chicken. Just because a protein source shows up first does not necessarily mean the diet plan is high in protein.
Feeding guidelines will also be on the information panel from the label. Like human food labels, canine labels give broad feeding guidelines. Commercial dog food guidelines derive from average intake for all dogs or cats. But a pet’s nutritional requirements can differ in accordance with his age, breed, bodyweight, genetics, level of activity as well as the climate he lives in. So, these tips are a place to start, but might require adjusting for your particular pet. If your cat or dog starts packing on weight, you may want to feed her less, and the other way around.
Consider the nutritional adequacy statement, produced by an advisory organization that standardizes pet food nutrient contents referred to as Association of yankee Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This statement assures pet parents that when your pet your meals are fed because the sole supply of nutrition, it meets or exceeds nutritional requirements for a pet at more than one life stages. However, the AAFCO recognizes only “adult maintenance” and “reproduction” (including pregnancy, lactation and growth) as life stages; or, when the diet meets both, “all life stages”.
The nutritional adequacy statement also shows how manufacturers have met the AAFCO’s standards, either by calculations or by feeding trials. Calculations estimate the quantity of nutrients in a commercial dog food either on the basis of the common nutrient content of the ingredients, or on results from laboratory testing. This kind of food will have a statement like: “Brand A is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established through the AAFCO Food Nutrient Profiles for (stated life stages)”.
Feeding trials signify that the manufacturer has tested the product by feeding it to dogs or cats under specific guidelines. These products possess a statement including: ” Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Brand A provides complete and healthy diet for”.
The ingredient panels on canine labels have a great deal of information for pet parents to digest, however, there is still more to take pleasure from, including obtaining a taste for the terms on the principal display a part of those labels. For example, a creature food can boast of being “light/lite” or “lean” only when it meets the AAFCO’s standard definitions because of these terms, which differ for dog and cat food and depend on the dietary moisture content.
“Less calories” and “reduced calories” mean just that the item has fewer calories than another product, as well as the same goes for “less fat” or “reduced fat.” Canine labels usually are not usually needed to provide calorie content.
Some pet parents try eating a healthy diet, and quite often they desire their pets to eat that way, too. Keep in mind, though, that even though a dog your meals are “natural” or “organic” it often contains added synthetically-produced minerals and vitamins. Up to now, there aren’t any studies showing that natural or organic foods provide any health advantages over conventionally manufactured processed dog or cat foods.
Recently, there’s been a trend for feeding “biologically appropriate raw food” (also called BARF) and “grain free” pet food.
Barf diets have been reported to possess many health benefits over conventionally refined food, for example being easier for pets to digest. While no scientific publications have documented the health advantages of raw diets, they have not been proven to be detrimental, either. When feeding any raw food, there is always concern about the chance of bacterial infection, for example Salmonella, however, conventional pet foods have also been recalled for contamination.
pet Food Storage Containers
Proponents of “grain-free” diets claim they’ve got many health improvements for pets, including increased digestibility and decreased allergens. But in fact, cats and dogs easily digest carbohydrates from grains or vegetable sources. Food allergies tend to be blamed on the grains inside the diet, however, this is not based on scientific data either, and many food allergies may be due to chemical reactions between the protein and carbohydrate ingredients in a diet.