Author Topic: How to read pet food labels  (Read 1379 times)

Offline moonlitcroatia

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How to read pet food labels
« on: July 10, 2005, 03:20:46 pm »

How to Read a Pet Food Label
(Or How a 20 lb. Bag of Dog Food Can Cost
Just $5.00 at the Grocery Store)

Time for one of those disgusting but true facts: according to AAFCO, acceptable ingredients in non-premium dog food include animal lungs, spleens, kidneys, brains, liver, blood, bones, fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines. Furthermore, if an animal is diseased and declared unfit for human consumption, the carcass is still considered acceptable for pet food. Pet food can even include "stick marks"-the area of the body where animals have been injected with antibiotics, hormones, or other drugs.

If that didn't make you cringe, this surely will: many pet food manufacturers are also human food manufacturers. In the industry of human food manufacturing, human food stores have a daily surplus of waste that include meats, fruits, and vegetables. When these have expired according to human consumption standards, they are still acceptable for pet food standards. So in an effort to capture as many dollars as possible under one corporate operation, many human food manufacturers use waste products to produce pet food. Manufacturers are allowed by law to use these ingredients as long as they add this statement to the label: dehydrated food-waste. Not surprisingly, the food is usually unappealing in both smell and taste. So manufacturers often spray it with restaurant grease to make it palatable.

For these reasons, it's very important to not only investigate the actual ingredients of your pet's food, but the manufacturer's standards and practices. For more information on manufacturers, ingredients, and policies, please refer to the Animal Protection Institute (API) report What's Really in Pet Food. Please note that API is a non-biased research institute interested in the health and well-being of animals. When searching any reference, be sure to check the writer's credentials and the unbiased nature of the research. Not surprisingly, many articles and books are published by the same pet food companies that use dehydrated food waste in their ingredients.

Premium pet foods typically contain higher quality ingredients than standard foods. Because of this they are more nutrient dense and contain higher percentages of protein and fat. Consequently, your pet needs to eat less of a premium food because it contains the same level of nutrition found in larger amounts of non-premium foods. Premium foods also feature high quality carbohydrate sources like rice, which is one of the most digestible grains.

The ingredients label will help you determine the actual content of the food and if it is a premium source of nutrients. Read the list of ingredients carefully. Try to avoid these specific ingredients:

Bone meal
Generic animal contents
Dehydrated foods
Chemical preservatives
Also, be wary when the same ingredient is listed in different ways. This is called splitting.

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.  ~Gilda Radner

Offline shangrila

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Re: How to read pet food labels
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2005, 03:52:24 pm »
Here is the link to the API article "What's Really in Pet Food" referenced in the above article:

Also, you might want to read the API article "Selecting a Commercial Pet Food" at I found it very helpful to review before selecting a new food.
RIP former BPO