Healthy Eating for Dogs: How To Read the Nutrition Label



By Katie Hamm

When you go grocery shopping you may be accustomed to choosing the best foods for you by reading the nutrition label. You know how to find the calories, fat grams, carbs, sugars and so on in the foods you buy. But what about your dog’s food? Do you know how to read the nutrition label on your dog’s food?

Don’t worry if you aren’t sure where to start when deciphering your pup’s nutrition labels. We’ve got some great advice from Leslie Kessinger, co-owner of Three Dog Bakery in Franklin.

1. Make sure there is actual meat in the food.

“Real meat will be written as ‘Duck’ or ‘de-boned duck,’ which means that true meat was used as a raw ingredient. A meat source should also be one of the first few ingredients, preferably the first, ” Kessinger advised.

2. Ingredient List

Just like with human food, the ingredients are listed according to the percentage of the food that they compose.

“Your dog’s food should have quality meat and produce sources toward the top of the list. If your dog does well with grains, those should be toward the middle. Even a food containing grain should have a larger percentage of meat than grain to make it a quality food,” said Kessinger.

3. Be wary of ingredients that are ambiguous

Such as:
animal fat
animal meal
animal by-product; chicken by-product

“If the meat source is not specific, it likely has not come from a quality source. Avoid ingredients like wheat, corn, or soy – these are fillers that add no nutritional value to a dogs diet and are often sources of food allergies and inflammation,” Kessinger said.

4. Balance

Every dog is different; therefore, their dietary needs are different. Kessinger says it’s a great idea to ask your vet what  protein and fat percentages are recommended for your dog.

“Dogs that are extremely active may do better with higher protein, and dogs who have illnesses like pancreatitis may require monitored fat levels. Being aware of the makeup of your dog’s food can help maintain lifetime wellness.” she added.

Click here to follow Three Dog Bakery on Facebook.

If you have health concerns about your dog, consult your veterinarian. This article is not meant to substitute or act as medical advice for pets.

Three Dog Bakery has two locations in Middle Tennessee: 1556 W McEwen Dr #112, Franklin, TN 37067 & 1982 Providence Pkwy #102, Mt Juliet, TN 37122.