Reading Dog Food Labels: “But the label says it’s 30% Protein” by Dr. Brenda Gough

Sorry, means nothing. We get it drilled into us to read the label on our foods, so naturally we do the same for our pet foods. Unfortunately, the label is not as helpful as we would like it to be.

When you are looking at a pet food label, you are reading what is called the Guaranteed Analysis. This breaks down the percentage of fibre, fat, protein, carbs, etc. that make up the pet food. Seems like helpful information, right? Sadly, it is not.

The Guaranteed Analysis doesn’t compensate for the percentage of moisture content in the food, which can vary quite a bit when trying to compare diets. It’s a requirement by law to have the Guaranteed Analysis on each pet food bag, but what we really need are the Dry Matter Analysis and digestibility. This information is only available if you contact the pet food companies, and most of them are not willing to give up that information.

So as we read down the label, we like to look at the ingredients list too. It’s listed in order from the highest amount to the lowest amount, which is good because the minerals with the really long un-pronounceable names are down there, haha!

We also get fooled by some pet food companies. The commercial that says ‘corn is the number one ingredient in this food, CHICKEN is the number one ingredient in our food’ always got me riled up. Not saying that particular company was doing this, but some of them will just take corn and called ‘corn maize, corn gluten and corn meal’ so they can put it lower on the list… sneaky devils.

You must know: By-products are not necessarily bad!!! When Royal Canin talks about chicken by-products, they at least are talking about human grade chicken, such as the remainder of the chicken after they’ve taken all the white meat off for chicken nuggets. So again, this means human grade, not beaks and butts, as they can’t have anything going into chicken nuggets that looks like that. It’s the dark meat, the bones (needed for calcium) and the heart and liver. All the rest of the good parts! Other pet food companies ARE using the nasty by-products, so again, buyer beware.

I guess what it all boils down to, is that you want what’s best for your pet, right? So talk to your veterinary team!

We have TONS of research to back up our Brantford veterinary team’s nutritional claims, easy access to the pet food companies for support and medical nutritional help from their team of veterinary specialists, quality control experts and open book policies on dry matter analysis and research reports. PLUS we’re pretty smart!

… or you can go to the high school student at the local pet food store…