You see a word or phrase on a bag of dry food or a can of wet food and think you know what it means, but do you really? We all know that some advertising claims can be misleading and the pet food industry is no exception.
Here are the most common words you will read on a pet food label together with our guide as to what they really mean and what the use of these words actually signifies.
“Natural” leads us to believe that it is good, harmless, something that has worth. However, this word doesn’t tell us anything. Period.
“Grain free” is good because dogs and cats do not have a digestive system that enables them to process the cellulose found in plants. However, manufacturers replace them with other substances such as soybeans and potatoes to provide the required consistency. These are not good either, but acceptable if kept to a bare minimum.
High quality meat and fish protein is good, very good. Protein that comes from sources that are potentially harmful to carnivorous pets, are definitely not good.
On its own, this phrase is misleading. Liver is classified as a by-product yet it is highly nutritious. Road kill and euthanized animals also fall under this heading and continue to be used in the manufacture of pet food with deadly consequences.
What? I would certainly hope that pet food manufacturers rely on food scientists to formulate the products they sell and that this task is not done by some amateur in their home-based kitchen. So, is “scientifically formulated” supposed to convey that the nutritional benefits claimed by a company are scientifically supported by clinical studies? I guess we’d have to ask them to find out.
Complete And Balanced
Really! According to whom? “Complete and balanced” in the eyes of the manufacturer? Or in the eyes of a nutritionist with a university degree?
No wonder most pet parents are confused. And, some are confused and angry.
It takes effort and it can be time consuming, but often the only way to be satisfied that you are doing your very best to keep your pet healthy is to do your research. From reliable sources, of course.
I’ll leave discussing unbiased publishing and news reporting for another day.
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!