Last week I was asked to help a client read her dog food label. As I was walking through the ingredient list, she was appalled that corn was the first ingredient. Not knowing that Ingredients must be listed in order of predominance by weight. The ingredient that makes up the highest percentage of the total weight as it goes into the product is listed first.
This was an eye opener for her, she had always assumed that those were just the ingredients. Not knowing they were written in a specific order by weight. Let's talk labels!
There are many variables of ingredients you should watch for. The 5 top ingredients you never want to see in your pet's food are:
2) Propylene Glycol
4) Corn Syrup/Corn
5) “By Product” (meaning Meat or Animal by product)
These ingredients are usually the leading cause of medical issues in pets. Be cautious when finding these ingredients in pet food and treats.
The product should contain the phrase "Complete & Balanced" it is a Nutritional Adequacy Statement, by the AAFCO labeling.
Your pets food should also have a minimum digestibility of at least 80% or more. This information is usually obtained by calling the pet food company. The digestibility of a pet food measures how much of the diet/ingredients the pet utilizes vs. poops out.
The higher the digestibility the better. In addition, the dogs are digesting most
of the calories for energy. Pets burn calories while sleeping.. Crazy, but they burn calories from protein and healthy fat in their diet. Adding a probiotic will also help the digestive tract absorb nutrients. On average, our overall digestibility studies show our pawTree recipes have a minimum digestibility of 83%. They also show that both our protein and fat are highly digestible (on average, 87% and 94% respectively).
Remember to keep your pets hydrated. While we can’t very effectively make them drink as much water as they should, adding warm or cold water to their morning and evening meals (about 1/4 to a 1/3 of a cup) everyday will really go a long way to helping them stay healthy.
Preservatives are added to pet food to prevent the fat from rapidly becoming rancid. Whether or not the preservative is "natural" or "synthetic", or a combination of the two, dry food should contain a preservative. If opposed to feeding a diet with a preservative of any kind, then the best option would be a canned diet. All natural diets usually use natural preservatives. Natural substances such as such as vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and plant extracts (rosemary). Keeping your pets food stored properly or in a sealed bag will also help it from becoming stale or rancid.
Cost in general- as the quality of the ingredients used to make a pet food increases, so does the cost to the manufacturer, who passes these costs on to the client. Therefore, a cheap product does not always mean a good deal. This is a very true statement! You get what you pay for! If you purchase McDonald's everyday vs home made food you will feel and see the difference. Don't let "cost" be the factor for your pet thriving in life, budget accordingly :)
Animals require nutrients, not ingredients. The quantity and quality of nutrients in the diet available to the animal is what is important, not the ingredients that provided these nutrients. For example, there is a perception that certain ingredients are bad and are fillers. The body breaks down ingredients into amino acid that are absorbed by the intestinal tract. Unless an animal has a known allergy to a certain ingredient, there is no reason to avoid feeding diets that contain them. It is true that animals require nutrients, not ingredients, but different ingredients may provide better nutrients (‘better’ meaning more available). While it may be true that some ingredients have the same amino acid profiles, not all nutrients have the same bioavailability. For instance, plant amino acid profiles are very different than animal amino acid profiles. If the animal can’t utilize the nutrient because it isn’t bio-available, that nutrient does the animal no good.
Most importantly! How is your pet doing while consuming the diet? There is no diet that 100% of dogs and cats will do well on. They are like people in that they can show a variation in their preference and response to a particular diet.
Don't forget to read the ingredients on your dog treats too!!
Click link: Fill out a pawTree pet profile and read our ingredients!
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