Top Secrets of Pet Food Labels!


Ever think that the ingredient list on a dog food label seems like it’s in another language? You’re not alone, so we’re going to let you in on six simple secrets that will help you understand pet food labels!

Pet food labels can be really confusing, especially if you don’t know what certain ingredients are, what’s good and bad for dogs, and what your pup’s nutritional needs are. Let’s talk about six secrets that will make it easier to decipher dog food labels and find healthy foods for Fidos!

1. Certain Words on the Label Indicate Quantities

The words “with” and “and” mean different things on a pet food label and can make a huge difference regarding recipe quantities.

AND means that two ingredients together make up at least 25% of the recipe, and each ingredient must account for at least 3% of the recipe. For example, Chicken and Rice dog food could be 15% chicken and 10% rice.

WITH means an added ingredient must make up a minimum of 3% of the entire formulation. Chicken with Rice would mean that rice is at least 3% of the recipe.

2. The Order of Ingredients Also Indicates the Quantities

You probably already know that ingredients are listed in order based on how much of the recipe they account for. But did you know that ingredients must be listed in order of weight before being cooked? The cooking process changes food weights, so weighing before cooking ensures accuracy.

3. Specifics Are Best

Dog food labels can be vague, and you want to look for specific ingredients:

  • “Animal” is vague and can refer to any mammal or poultry
  • “Poultry” is broad and can refer to chicken, duck, turkey, and more
  • “Chicken” is specific and means chicken!

4. Fillers Are Easier to Spot than You Think

Many pet foods contain fillers, which aren’t harmful but don’t add nutritional value. Common fillers include corn, gluten, by-products, tapioca, and potato. Look for recipes that have healthy and nutritional ingredients instead.

5. Healthy, High-Value Ingredients Are Real Foods

Speaking of great ingredients, you want to look for real, whole foods like:

  • Blueberries
  • Chickpeas
  • Kale
  • Oatmeal
  • Pomegranate
  • Pumpkin
  • Quinoa

These ingredients are the opposite of fillers: they’re packed with nutrients, are great for your dog, and will provide your pup with the energy they need to stay active and playful!

6. AAFCO Statements Can Help with Nutritional Decisions

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates pet food labels. Look for their guidelines to determine if a food is formulated to meet your pup’s nutritional needs based on whether they’re a puppy, adult, senior, or pregnant/lactating dog.

See the Nutram Difference

Nutram dog food recipes contain real, whole foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. The recipes are specially formulated without fillers, and the all-natural Canadian ingredients are simple and specific. There are recipes for dogs of all life stages, and the labels and nutritional details are straightforward.

Visit Nutram today to see the difference real food can make for your dog.

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