We dog care givers now are somewhat protected against pet food labels. That is because of the supervision, principles, regulations and requirements of AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). However, unless we understand what these principles are and how they are applied to the wording on labels they are of no use to people.
Pedigree Hundefutter Vital mit Rind Adult 3kg from vital dog food, source:dergrissemann.at
Some dog food makers are often quite dull and will often use quite intelligent nuances in the name and also in arrangement of words on the label which can be very different to what the dog food actually contains. Additionally, there is an important component for this, these principles relate just to solid material in the dog food and do not address the moisture levels.
Amazon Wild Frontier Vital Prey Wet Dog Food Stews Variety from vital dog food, source:amazon.com
It must be noted that pet food labeling is regulated on a federal and state-by-state foundation, with only “restricted” advice from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Please be conscious of the truth that pet food producers often use terms which are undefined by the regulations to communicate more effectively with customers and also to improve their product’s image on the market. The AAFCO warns on their website that “it isn’t rare at all that labeling and advertising information is designed to appeal to the latest trend in advertising human products.”
plete from vital dog food, source:horizonpetfood.com
WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR WORDING?
*Chicken for Dogs: If chicken is the first term in this tag, and is not combined with any other words like “dinner” or “taste”, etc.; in order to satisfy the AAFCO regulations, this product must really comprise at least 95% poultry.
Pedigree Vital Protectionâ¢ Adult mini Trockenfutter mit Huhn from vital dog food, source:rossmann.de
*Turkey and Chicken Dog Food: From imitating it” Turkey and Chicken Dog Food”, and whatever, you can be relatively certain that this item consists of 95% turkey and poultry combined, with the chicken content being marginally less than the turkey, since turkey is recorded as the primary ingredient.
Vital Planet Vital Dog Daily Multivitamin Beef Flavored 30 from vital dog food, source:iherb.com
*Chicken Nuggets for Dogs: Using the word “nuggets” (a qualifier that many pet food companies can lawfully use) and because this name has the term “nuggets” in its name, the chicken in the food will be less than 95% of the total ingredients, but has to be at least 25%. Some of the additional words producers can utilize to eliminate using less meat are “dinner”, “formula”, and “platter”. A food using this name does not even have chicken at the top few ingredients!
*Chicken Flavor Dog Food: The term “flavor” is the key to this one. AAFCO rules require that there should only be enough “poultry” to add a genuine taste to the food. It could be poultry fat, or poultry broth, or poultry by-products, and it might be a tiny amount.
*Dog Food Chicken: A food recorded as “with” whatever is required to include only 3 percent of that ingredient. Dog foods “with” poultry, or “with” steak, should contain only 3% of chicken or beef.
Now you can see exactly what a difference the order of words makes!
Your pet wellness and longevity greatly is determined by feeding him or her a secure and healthy diet. But figuring out how to read and interpret dog food labels can be confusing. Should you adhere to the following guidelines you should have the ability to read labels and understand them well enough to compare different products with confidence.
* The labeling of pet food is controlled on a national and state-by-state foundation, together with advice from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). However, AAFCO provides only minimum requirements. So, be conscious that dog food manufacturers often use terms that aren’t characterized by AAFCO regulations so they could make their product more attractive and enhance their brand and or product’s image to customers. On their website the AAFCO cautions, “it is not rare at all that labeling and marketing information is designed to appeal to the most recent trend in marketing human products.”
DOG FOOD LABELS – GUARANTEED ANALYSIS
* The “Guaranteed Analysis” on the dog food label in the back of the tote is a chart that lists the proportions of different ingredients inside that meals (see an example below). The percentages recorded for protein, fat, and fiber are all dimensions of the food in its current state. However, because different foods have varying amounts of moisture, you may only reasonably compare pet foods “on a dry matter basis”. However, the amounts provided in the Guaranteed Analysis are on an “as fed” basis and don’t consider the amount of moisture in that food. To ascertain the true amount of an ingredient in a food, or to compare between brands or between moist and dry foods, the amounts have to be converted into what is called Dry Matter (DM) basis.
* Please note that the moisture content can vary anywhere from no more than 6 percent for dry foods to up to 80% for canned foods. However, ironically, it may not include as much protein. It is tough to know that food contains the most protein, fat or fiber prior to switching both to a dry matter basis.
* Here is how: First, (with the illustration below) ascertain the amount of dry matter by deducting the percentage recorded for moisture out of 100%.
*Next, convert the protein, fiber and fat percentages to a dry matter basis by dividing the percent amounts listed on the label by the amount of dry matter (from the last step). In our case, the 26 percent protein on the label converts to 28% on a dry matter basis by dividing 26% by 90%. (Notice that in our example the dry matter calculation is only slightly different than the branded percent. The cause of this is that the moisture level was just 10% per the label. If the moisture level was, say, 40%, then the dry matter content would have just been 60% and protein on a dry matter basis would have been computed since (26% split by 60% =-RRB- or 43%.
* Now compare the new protein amount of 28 percent on a dry matter basis to other pet foods after switching the other labels in precisely the exact same method. You might even perform comparisons for fat and fiber after converting them into a dry matter basis.
You need to understand that considering only percentages won’t tell the whole story. Your dog food may have 28 percent protein on a dry matter basis, however what’s the origin of the protein? Pet food manufacturers can get protein from resources that are NOT good nutritionally to your pet and may even be harmful! Be Cautious!
* Next, let’s take a look next at the ingredients list. Pet foods must list ingredients in order of weight and the first five ingredients will usually compose the vast majority of the pet food formulation. Start looking for meat among the first ingredients on a pet food label. Grains, like wheat, corn meal, whole wheat, barley, rice are fillers used to give energy to the dog and appealing texture to the kibble.
In fact, the AAFCO website acknowledges that “Economics plays a part in any ingredient selection” and “protein isn’t simply protein. Ingredients providing protein have specific amino acids that may or may not match the amino acid profile required by a dog” Dog food manufacturers are known to routinely combine multiple protein sources to supply for all the amino acids required for a healthy life.
* You need to bear in mind that producers can control the information on labels (and a few do) e.g. by dividing down an ingredient into components and then listing each one separately so that a recognized undesirable ingredient too close to the top of the list is not noticed by the consumer (pretty sneaky, huh!) .
* There are more and more pet care givers that are now searching for dog foods that use only human grade ingredients without any animal “by-products”. They steer clear of foods which utilize any artificial colors, flavors, sugars and chemical preservatives ( BHA and BHT). However, there are some animal by-products such as liver and other internal organs are all excellent sources of these amino acids and other nutritional supplements that dogs want. Furthermore, dry dog foods need preservatives to prevent spoilage and deterioration of essential nutrients.
*Here is an example of the guaranteed analysis section of a pet food label:
*Crude Protein, not less than….26.0%
As soon as you learn how to read a label, you obtain a great deal of information regarding the food you’re feeding your pet. You will know how to compare one food to another and select the one best suited to your dog.
Much like human food labels, dog food labels are rigorously regulated by the federal authorities, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture, and must follow stringent guidelines. Dog food labels are typically split into several different sections: the principal product display and data about the food.
DOG FOOD LABELS DIVIDED INTO SECTIONS
Principal Product Display – Dog Food Product Name
This area of the label includes the name of the food along with the particular food or formula in the bag or can. It names the protein or meat that’s essentially used in the food and might also state the age group that the specific food is devised for ie: puppy, adult, mature, etc.. The actual weight is also listed as is the species of animal the formula is targeted toward.
Just the way the contents are recorded on the tag is strictly controlled. In order to be able to predict a product “Steak Dog Food,” at least 95 percent has to be the named meat, not counting the moisture content. If the moisture content is counted, then 70 percent has to be the meat recorded. If the food’s title has a combination of legumes, like “Beef and Lamb,” the two products together needs to be 95 percent of the item with the first ingredient listed more abundant.
In the event the amount of the meat is over 25 percent but less than 95 percent, a modification to the name has to be inserted. The term “Meal” is a often added modifier but platter, entree, dinner, nuggets and formula are also used frequently. Simply because this item name states “beef dinner”, it does not mean lamb or chicken are not added. You have to look at the ingredient list to find out what other meats are also included.
Dog food merchandise names now have a newly approved rule; they may use the word “with” in the meals titles ie: “Dog Food with Chicken,” since the word “chicken” is accompanied with the phrase “with,” which particular food must have at least three percent of the ingredients as poultry. This wording can deceive some people. The first name must have at least 95 percent poultry and the 2nd only requires three percent poultry.
Also, plus the display of the the product name, manufacturer name, weight and planned species, the label must contain a place that’s hard for care givers to comprehend. This region includes an inventory of the ingredients, guaranteed analysis, feeding directions and the nutrient supplements. This section of this label is the most important once you compare different dog foods assess and decide what nutrients are in the food.
Dog Food Ingredients
These must be listed in descending sequence. Meaning, the overriding part of the food is recorded at the top and then every ingredient is named in consecutive order by it’s fat. If your dog wants a diet low in protein, start looking for a product using carbohydrates listed in the top five or four components. Alternatively, if your dog requires a diet that’s high in protein, then look for a food with all the first two ingredients as meat products.
Recorded in this field of the label are the quantities of each ingredient that is in the food. The minimal quantities of these components is usually listed and isn’t necessarily the exact volume. When comparing one dog food to another, you must contemplate “moisture content”. Each the components should be compared on a dry matter basis. This implies that if 80% moisture exists in the food, the remaining items include 20 percent of their diet. The minimum values recorded for each ingredient, excluding water, needs to be divided by 0.20 to get a dry matter level. Once you do so, two different foods can be compared side by side, equally to ascertain which is best for your puppy.
The product will list how much of the food to feed every day. It’s up to each care giver to decide whether to nourish that amount as a single meal or to divide it into a few foods through the day. These feeding directions should be considered only as suggestions and not hard rules. There are a variety of factors that will decide if your puppy requires more or less food.
Nutritional Adequacy Claim
This area lists the particular life stage that the food is created for, ie: “for upkeep,” “for expansion” or “for all life stages.” If the pet food follows the instructions set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the tag will include a section stating that the food offers complete and balanced nutrition for a particular life stage. Also, it will say whether the food is meant as a treat or a nutritional supplement and if it should be fed in combination with other foods.
As a result of this, we expect the above information has been helpful to you and that it clarifies much of the confusing and misleading producers advertising claims. Our intention is to provide answers to a number of these questions you might have experienced regarding how to read pet food labels, so it is possible to provide the most nutritious business dog food diet on your very best friend.
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