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


online vet

Search for products...

With 50 canine-tested, veterinarian-approved recipes,The Ultimate Dog Treat Cookbook has something to delight every canine connoisseur. Dog lovers can stir up appetizing homemade treats for their beloved pooches using easy-to-find ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions. Recipes include Peanut Butter-Honey Nut Cheerios Balls, Taco Treats, Birthday Blueberry Pupcakes, Halloween Treats, Frozen Magic Meatballs, and more. There are even delicious doggy delicacies for pets with special needs, including Turkey Jerky and Salad Bar Bones. Fun and funky color illustrations plus Nutritional Notes and Treats and Tidbits about cooking and storing the goodies ensure that cooks will enjoy this book as much as their pets enjoy their homemade treats!
$14.99 $10.19

Check out some related blog posts...

  • Giardia in Dogs
    Ask a Vet About Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs | Giardia Do you have a dog with sudden or relentless diarrhea? One of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs worldwide, indoor, or outdoor, big dog or teacup princess is caused by a single celled proto...
  • Online vet advice to keep your pet safe at Easter
    Easter is a very fun time of your for children and adults alike, but there are some dangers that the pastel holiday poses to our pets. Ask a vet and they are certain to agree that the following items are off limits. Chocolate is toxic for dogs and c...
  • Pet Nutrition: Pet Food Label Tips from your Online Vet
    Part 2: Ask a Vet As we reviewed last week in part one of pet nutrition, AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization sets the nutritional standards for pet foods sold in the United States. Easy things first-...
  • Vomiting in Dogs
    Dogs vomit. A lot. But even more than the number of times your dogs has vomited, so is the long list of causes of vomiting in dogs. This seemingly endless list is broken down into two relatively simple categories. Regurgitation and actual vomiting...

Tags: , , ,

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?