Your pets are family to you and you want them to be healthy, but do you know how important it is to read the label on pet food?
What you see on the bag of your dog’s food is not necessarily what’s in the food, which is why it’s important to read the label of your pet food, just as you read the nutrition label for your food. What you may not know is “the FDA and AAFCO (American Association of Feed Company Officials) set standards for labeling but there are no standards for the quality of ingredients,” says Leslie Kessinger, co-owner of Three Dog Bakery in Franklin and Mt Juliet.
Although there are minimums and maximums for items like protein, fat and salt, the quality of protein, for example, is not always great. If a pet food says it contains chicken, it really means “pet food chicken,” adds Kessinger. “The quality and reality of what that ‘chicken’ consists of can vary widely. IF it’s chicken by-products, it can be feet, beaks, intestines, even feathers!”
Furthermore, Kessinger says the pet food industry uses some labeling tricks that might cause us to buy food that isn’t that great for our dog.
“Ingredients are listed by the highest weight before processing. The label doesn’t tell you how much of each ingredient is in the food. Any listed meat source is going to be about 70% water so it will fall down the ingredient list after processing. ”
What can you do as a pet owner?
1) Read the label on the back of the bag instead of counting on the pictures and words on the front. (This includes prescription diets which often are poor quality foods).
2) Look for a NAMED meat protein to be at least the first 2 ingredients on the list (i.e. deboned chicken).
3) Avoid generic terms like animal digest, by-products, meat meal or protein. Avoid generic fat.
4) Avoid wheat, corn, soy which are a source of allergies in many pets.
5) For dogs that have ear problems, licking paws, hot spots on skin, avoid white and sweet potatoes which can be a source of yeast build up.
Leslie & Jean Kessinger, owners of Three Dog Bakery in Franklin and Mt Juliet, can help you find healthy food for your dogs.
Click here to follow Three Dog Bakery on Facebook.
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.
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.
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