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Posted on 08-31-2015

Top Pet Food and Nutrition Myths

Fact or Fiction? The Truth behind Pet Food Labels from Our Canton Veterinarians

With numerous pet foods to choice from, it can be a little daunting to have to decide which one would provide the best health benefits for your pet. Can you trust the pet food labels? Our Canton Veterinarians have put together a few need-to-know facts about reading pet food labels to help you decide if you can trust your pet food brand.

The pet food industry is well regulated.
The pet food industry is very much a "buyers beware" market as very little regulation exists and there is almost no quality control. The FDA only gets involved if a major incident occurs.

Food label is a good source of information.
The only thing legally required on pet food labels is the AFFCO statement which requires the label to state how the diet was derived and which life stage it was designed for. Currently, the life stages include puppies, pregnancy and maintenance.  A diet that claims that they are for "All Life Stages" must be able to meet all dietary requirements for each of these stages.

List Ingredients are listed based on quantity.
Yes, the ingredients are listed based on weight, however, the rules on this are vague. Companies will often find loopholes to manipulate the system. For example, a reputable company that is using chicken as one of their ingredients will only measure the chicken meat while a less reputable company would measure the whole chicken and include organs, bones, etc. Companies may even inject water into the chicken to make it weigh more just do it will be placed higher on the ingredients list.

Organic is healthier and better for my pet.
Maybe so, but is it actually organic?  If your pet food doesn't have the USDA label then it's most likely not. Some companies will use one organic ingredient and then claim the whole diet is organic. In order for a pet food to have the USDA organic label, it must be 100% organic. If the item only says organic, then it must be at least 95% organic by weight. If the item says it’s made with organic, then only about 70%.

I only buy all natural or holistic food.
All natural simply means it came from nature and was not altered chemically. This could include feathers, hemlock, coal and oil.  As for holistic foods, there is no legal definition under pet food regulations and laws.

Need recommendations on your pet’s nutritional needs? Stop by Acres Mill Animal Hospital and schedule an appointment with one of our Canton veterinarian’s.

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