Your dog needs to eat food that has all the nutrients it needs for proper growth and development. That explains why you should read the nutrition label on dog food before you buy it to make sure it is high-quality and it is right for your dog. You don’t want your feline friend eating food that it is allergic to or that is not healthy.
Most pet food manufacturers use various marketing ploys in their labeling to beat the competition. That is why you should be extra careful when examining the label. Here are tips to guide you about reading the nutrition label on dog food.
1. Check for AAFCO statement
The AAFCO statement shows that dog food has met the minimum nutritional requirement established by the association. While having the statement on the label can assure you that the food meets the set requirements, it does not mean that it is of high or low quality. For that, you need to go through the list of ingredients and the guaranteed analysis.
2. Check the name of the product
A product’s name can tell you more about its quality. Manufacturers of pet food are required by AAFCO to use the 95% rule in naming the product. For instance, chicken dog food should have 95% chicken. If the name of the product has ‘flavor’ in it, the ingredient is present but in insignificant quantities.
3. Check the list of ingredients
The ingredients should be listed based on quantity with the one with the highest quantity appearing first. Remember that the original weight includes water content and the actual weight may be lower when the product is cooked.
Meat meal such as beef meal means the ingredient is highly concentrated since it has been cooked to a moisture content of about 10%.
The top 5 ingredients on the label have the highest quantity. Therefore, if you come across dog food with so many ingredients, the rest are likely to be in insignificant quantities such that they do not make any difference. Meat meals are better than fresh meats due to their high concentration except in cases where multiple proteins are listed.
4. Check for high-quality ingredients
Ensure that the ingredients are high-quality. For instance, in the case of carbohydrates, check for whole grain oats or brown rice instead of wheat or corn which are in just fillers. Animal proteins are also better than plant-based proteins such as pea or potato protein. Also, check for high-quality fats such as fish oils, chicken fat and salmon oil instead of plant-based oils such as flaxseed oil.
Even if you are opting for fresh dog food, make sure that the ingredients are of the highest quality so that your pet can benefit. You can check out reviews such as NomNomNow review to get the information.
5. Check the guaranteed analysis
After making sure that the dog food has high-quality ingredients, the next thing is to check the guaranteed analysis. This shows the percentage of the crude fiber, crude protein, crude fat and moisture in the food. While the analysis is essential in checking the nutrition value of the dog food, it is only for the crude sources and doesn’t indicate digestibility.
To get a better understanding of the ingredient content of the food, convert the guaranteed analysis to dry matter by getting rid of the moisture content. This is because the guaranteed analysis includes the moisture content and it can be misleading in determining the content of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in the food.