Nutrients Vs. Ingredients

Every pet food bag has an ingredient list that goes in descending order and there is alot of hype around what ingredients are in food but what about what nutrients are in your dog food?

1. Tricky labeling

Often you need to watch for ways companies will up the weight of an ingredient by including it whole, therefor showing it higher in the ingredient list itself. For example whole chicken will weigh more that chicken meal often because of water weight. But what is chicken meal? According to AAFCO chicken meal is chicken dehydrated that can not include things like feathers, entrails, feet and heads, this results in a lighter product but not devoid of nutrients unlike whole chicken. But does this mean that the initial weight of the chicken if compared “apples to apples: wouldn’t have been the same?

2. Selection based on nutritional value

Since often the only feedback you get on nutritional values are the min and max values in the guaranteed analysis I often suggest contacting your food company or searching their literature for a few tidbits of further information. Have they gone so far as to offer not just a range of what nutrients will be in a bag but instead offer exact values? This bodes well for a company for a number of reasons it shows that they have spent time researching the diets as well as that they are producing a consistent product with every batch that will sit well with your beloved pet.

3. Balance

No one ingredient or ingredient list is the recipe for perfection for every dog. As with us balance and moderation are the keys to successful management of nutrition. If your pet is getting too much protein it can negatively effect organs, if it is getting too much fat your pet may becomes overweight. Balance is hard to come by and is often done with some trial and error in trying different balanced food options for your pet to keep them happy healthy and satiated after every meal.

4. Fairy Dust

The ingredients that we look to for some valuable nutrients should not fall in the last ingredients on your food bag. If a diet claims to use cranberries for urinary health it should be in the early to mid section of your label to truly offer value. Often things like cranberries and blueberries are snuck in at the very end of the list unfortunately meaning you truly aren’t going to get the benefits from such a small quantity, and that it may not indeed be enough to substantiate the claim on label. Again as about that nutrient list from your company, how many grams of cranberries is there actually in each meal?

Want to learn more? Check out AAFCO’s website and learn about what all that fancy wording on your label actually means.