You need to know the good and the bad available for your dog’s food bowl. This is important since the best remedy for pets, including dogs, is healthy and nutritious foods. But you first need to be able to read and understand the label on the food products. Dog food labels follow guidelines set by AAFCO but good luck understanding them unless you read the following tips.
1. If the product name lists an ingredient e.g. Beef Dog Chow then that ingredient (beef in this case) must make up 95 percent of the product’s total weight for dry food products, or 70% for water added products.
2. If the product name includes words like “dinner”,”formula”, or “nuggets” then the ingredient only needs to make up 25 percent of the weight.
3. Ingredients must be listed in descending order by percentage of total weight.
4. Often the main ingredient is not even in the product name. This is why rule #3 above is a good one to remember.
5. The word “Premium” in the title is only allowed if AAFCO considers the product to be a “complete and balanced” dog food product.
6. The work “Natural” in the title means that there are no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.
7. Fat content as a percentage is not required on the label and usually is not offered. The fat additives, like chicken fat, does have to be listed however and in its proper order per rule #3 above.
8. Calories are rarely offered even on so called “healthy” or “low fat” products. To figure this out you can use this formula to calculate number of calories:
Multiply the carbohydrate grams by 4.2kcal (kilocalories) per gram and remember the value.
Multiply the protein by 5.65kcal and remember the value.
Multiply the fat by 9.4 kcal per gram.
Total these, and you have your calories.
Knowing how to read the dog food labels is very valuable and this alone will probably help your dog live a longer, healthier life. Remember that the food you give them is the best remedy for pets and this can be half the battle in keeping them healthy longer.
There is a great resource with every bit of information you could want on dog nutrition that is worth a read and kept as a ready to go reference. The author Sharda Baker has published several dog ebooks and audios, including this internet best selling Complete Guide to Your Dog’s Nutrition. Visit the link to find out more about the best and first remedy for pets [http://www.dognutritionguide.info/] to consider.