Pet Food Labels – How to Compare Products and Ensure the Quality
Pet food is pet food meant for pets to eat. Usually available in supermarkets and pet shops, it’s usually generic to the kind of animal, like a cat or dog food. Most commercial meat used for domestic animals is often a by-product of the animal food industry and isn’t considered “real” meat. Chicken and pork are considered the most common sources of meat for domestic animals. In rural areas, goat, horse, rabbit, duck and other poultry are used. Meat can also be supplemented with grain and nuts.
Pet food is separated into two major categories – wet and dry pet foods. Wet food has more moisture and less dry ingredients. This means that dry pet foods are generally healthier and provide better nutrition than their wet counterparts. The moisture content, however, needs to meet specific guidelines set by the manufacturers. More moisture causes the food to have more stomach acid and an increased risk of developing gastric problems.
The other classification is dry food, which doesn’t contain any moisture. Dry pet food uses only natural ingredients that provide balanced nutrition. It’s also free from dangerous chemicals and additives. However, manufacturers are not allowed to add certain ingredients to dry food that could affect an animal’s nutritional needs. Some common ingredients found in dry pet foods are corn, artificial flavors, wheat, barley, sugar, salt and soy. Manufacturers are not required to include the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients provided by these ingredients.
Many manufacturers chose to use preservatives in pet food to prolong shelf life. In doing so, they are circumventing the need to provide nutrients to pets through vitamins and other nutrients. Some of the commonly used preservatives in the US include saccharin and MSG. Both of these ingredients have been linked to various health issues in humans. Moreover, both saccharin and MSG have been banned in the European Union.
Another preservative commonly found in pet food is vitamin E. While this ingredient provides a healthy effect on the body, it’s important to note that too much vitamin E can cause toxic levels of ammonia and other compounds. Manufacturers should instead opt for natural vitamin E. Other nutrients commonly found in pet food include fish oil, calcium, corn, fruits, vegetables, protein, sodium, zinc and wheat flour. Each of these ingredients provide a different kind of effect in the body. To derive the maximum benefit from them, pet owners should feed their dogs or cats special diets formulated with each of these nutrients.
While preservatives and additives are commonly found in pet food, another problem is the presence of harmful chemicals such as propyl ethylamine, formaldehyde and sodium benzoate. These ingredients are commonly found in canned and dry dog and cat foods. These ingredients pose serious threats to your pets’ health and should be avoided.
Pet owners who are confused about what kind of diet for their pets should be fed should ask the manufacturer to list the ingredients of their dog or cat foods. They should also look for information on the FDA website about the various pet food ingredients and the ones that have been banned due to their dangerous effects. Since prescription drugs are sometimes used to treat human ailments, manufacturers of pet medicines should be able to list all the drugs that will be included in their products.
It is advisable to buy food products from a reputable company because only they can ensure the highest level of quality. The FDA offers pet food labels and there is a list of approved ingredients available on the FDA website. The pet food labels should also contain moisture content. Moisture content helps to determine whether the food will stick to the animal’s ribs or not. Therefore, the label should mention the percentage of moisture so you will know which ingredients to avoid at all costs.