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Reading a Dog Food Label


pet food labelReading a Dog Food Label

With numerous terms making their way onto your pooch’s pet food label — “natural,” “beef flavoring,” and “gluten-free” among the many — how do you know which ones to say yes to, which to avoid, and which ones are just marketing?

Learn how to decipher 10 important statements on your pet’s food label, with expert advice from Ashley Hughes, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at American Animal Hospital Association-accredited Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, DC.

For Starters: Check the Guaranteed Analysis

This is the mandatory guarantee that your dog’s food contains the labeled percentages of crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. Keep in mind that wet and dry dog foods use different standards (the percentage of protein in a wet food isn’t the same as in a dry food). Convert wet food to dry matter to compare two different types of food (it’s easy to do online) or ask your vet for the low-down.

For instance, 8% protein in a canned cat food isn’t the same as 8% in dry food (wet will be a lower percentage), since canned food contains 75-78% moisture and dry only has 10-12% water. Here is an example:

Divide the reported amount of protein (in this case, 8%) by the total amount of dry matter (25%). Then, multiply the result by 100.

Dry Matter Protein = (8/25) x 100 = 32%

For the complete article on pet food label guidelines, visit petMD!

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