Pet Nutrition: How to read a pet food label 101 by your online vet

pet food label, pet nutrition, ask a vetPart One: Ask the vet

Choosing proper pet nutrition is one of the most important things that you as the pet parent can do to lengthen the healthy time that you and your pet will share together. After the melamine recall of 2007, pet owners internationally are taking a more active interest in pet nutrition.


Reading a pet food label can be quite the daunting task, but with a small amount of education, you can arm yourself with the information to make an informed decision.

We’ll start at the beginning. There are a few basics required to be on pet food labels. The manufacturer’s name, brand, and product, as well as what species the food is designated for, the net weight of the product, and a pet nutrition statement indicating if the food is for a juvenile, adult, etc. Not too many companies skip this basic info, and if they do, consider yourself warned.

Do you need to ask a vet about pet nutrition?  We provide online vet nutrition consultations, and you can get started by typing your question in the box to the right.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  The next broad area of the label to make sense of is defining what the food is labeled as.

The first group is the food that is labeled as 100% something, be it 100% beef, chicken,

ask a vet, online vet, pet nutrition

buffalo, you name it. If a pet food label says this, then it means that the product must be 95% or more of that particular food product they are claiming to be.

The second group is food products labeled as “dinner platter,” “entree,” “formula,” or “recipe.” This means that 25 – 94% of the food type must be what they claim it is. For example, a food labeled “beef entree” can be anywhere from 25 – 94% beef.

ask a vet, pet food label, online vet

That beef dinner platter is only around 25% beef.

The third category is increasingly disappointing. For product names that state “with” some food type, the “with” may be 3 – 24% of the total product. This means that a pet food label that says flaked ocean whitefish dinner with rice and garden greens really means that 25-94% of the total product is ocean whitefish and that 3-24% is rice and garden greens.

pet nutrition, online vet reviewThe last category is when a pet food is called a flavor. This essentially means nothing. The definition is that the flavor must be recognized by the pet. How we know if a pet recognizes a flavor is beyond me, but that is the rule. So a pet food that is “roasted chicken flavor” means that you can rest assured there is less than 3% roasted chicken in there, if any at all.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week for more tips from your online vet reviews more secrets about reading a pet food label.  Go to part 2>>

Dr. Laci

SIGNATURE DVM


online vet

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One Comment

March 28, 2012 at 12:53
 

Hmm i hope you don’t get offended with this question, but how much does a blog like yours earn?