The ABCs on Understanding Dogs’ Food Labels
Reading and examining the ingredients of the food pack and/or can before buying is a very wise routine when shopping for food we will feed to our pets. Just like us human, we meticulously see to it that we will only be eating food that not only suit our taste and budget but most importantly have the most if not the best nutrition it can give to nourish our body and wellbeing. Our beloved pets also deserve the best nutrition to raise them well. We all want our dog buddies to have that lean and fit look, shiny color best coat, healthy skin, physically and actively alert. Through time heath conditions would occur and develop like allergies, itchiness, fur and coat shedding, diarrhea, etc. These may not necessarily be due to the food they ate or things they did. Knowing its cause can be due to a lot of factors. It may take some trial and error sessions to have these conditions manifest. A little enlightenment from your Vet might be the most valuable piece of information you can get to guide you in choosing what’s best for your dog buddies. Knowing the ingredients of their food will greatly help them to grow healthy, active and well balanced. It is therefore best to consult a medical practitioner like your Vets before purchasing and buying them. Below are some pointers and routines on how to help you read a dog food label of ingredients:
- Ingredients are listed by weight. Dog food ingredients normally starts the list with the heaviest ingredients. According to the FDA, meat solids contain about 75% water. Protein concentrates can be found on meat meals that are water and fat free.
- Be aware about ‘Complete and balanced.’ Nowadays, dog food often has a marketing labelling that are tagged as ‘complete and balanced.’ This is actually a matter of personal choice. Further examining the packaged is still wise. Dog food meat meal products may contain meat byproducts such as blood, bone, intestines, brains and udders. Hair, horns, teeth and hooves should not form part of the meat meal.
- Be on the lookout for banned meat sources. Always be on the watch on news for ‘mad cow diseases’ and other FDA advisory diseases on meat products. Avoiding ingredients with brains and spinal cords from older animals are high risk for diseases.
- Chemical sounding ingredients. If you have trouble understanding or reading aloud the ingredients, try to ask and research first about it. Chances are they were chemicals added during the processing, bleaching, coloring and preservation of the food. Their presence in the dog food must be explicitly approved by the FDA to be generally considered as safe for consumption.
- Shelf life. The date of manufacture and expiration must be distinctly stated. It’s the responsibility of the manufacturer to post them on the label and it is our responsibility as consumers to only buy products, especially food products that are not yet expired to prevent diseases and illnesses that might have developed as well as quality has deteriorated on the products being bought. The date of manufacture serves as the consumers’ guide on the quality and freshness whereas the expiration date is the warning date for the product not to be opened and consumed anymore. Never bought expired and spoiled ones for they could surely pose dangers such as food poisoning, and other health conditions that sometimes fatal to kill once ingested and consumed.
- Research about facts not fallacies. It is wise that we focus on the facts by verifying and asking an authority, in this case your best authority is your dog’s Vet who basically know the physical condition of your dogs. Friends and other dog parents might recommend food products they’ve used or seen on advertisements but your Vet is still the best resource person for everything that concerns about your dog including food packages from the pet shop and the groceries. It is not the storekeeper, the vendor nor the manufacturer of the food packages that knows best but your dog’s veterinarian.
- Samples and Trials. Some food manufacturer offers free taste and sampling of their product as part of their marketing information and guarantee about the overall and general condition of their product. It is also an opportunity for consumers to observe its palatability for ingestion and consumption. They serve as trial pieces for observances against health indication on consumers such as occurrence of allergies, and other initial medical condition that might need further examination and treatment by a medical practitioner like doctors, vets, nutritionist, etc.
The label on food packages be it for human or animal consumption is your gateway to peek what’s inside them. The ingredients, nutritional facts and product directions are just some of the information to help and guide us shoppers and consumers on what we are to feed, eat and consume inside those packages. It will greatly help and serve its purpose if we will try to understand each of the items in those food packages more importantly if is for the safety and general guidance of whatever food item was inside. It will not only add up information and knowledge that will lead for a sound and healthy wellbeing especially for our beloved canine buddies since they basically really on us on what they will be eating. Give them the safest and best and they will return the favor by giving back their loyalty, obedience and unconditional love 101%.