Why You Should Read Pet Food Ingredients Before Buying Pet Food
World Food Day is an annual event that aims to raise celebrate and raise awareness about food and food security.
With this year's theme being "Leave NO ONE behind" — which emphasises the need to include everyone in the journey towards food sustainability — let’s talk about food in the spectrum of our pets’ lives! Specifically, let’s address the need for cultivating a deeper understanding of pet food ingredients.
Why does reading about pet food ingredients matter?
Do we pay enough attention to what they eat and how it affects their health and well-being?
As pet owners, we want to provide the best care for our animals, and that includes choosing the right food for them.
However, with so many options available in the market, it can be hard to decide which one is the most suitable for our pets. That's why it is important to read the ingredients list before buying any pet food product.
Reading pet food ingredients before buying can help us make informed decisions about what we feed our pets. It can help us:
What are pet food ingredients and what do they mean?
Pet food ingredients are the raw materials that are used to make the final product that we feed our pets. Some of the most common pet food ingredients are:
These are by-products of the human food industry, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and organs. They provide high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, iron, and some vitamins for our pets. However, not all animal-based ingredients are equal in quality and digestibility.
For example, meat is the muscle tissue of the animal, while meat meal is a dried and ground product that may contain bones, blood vessels, and other tissues.
Meat meal can have a higher protein content than meat, but it may also have lower bioavailability and palatability.
These are vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and herbs that provide carbohydrates, fibre, antioxidants, and phytochemicals for our pets. They can help regulate blood sugar levels, support digestive health, and prevent oxidative stress.
However, some plant-based ingredients may not be suitable for some pets due to allergies, intolerances, or specific dietary needs.
For example, some grains may contain gluten, which can cause digestive issues for some dogs and cats.
Mineral and vitamin supplements:
These are synthetic or natural substances that are added to pet food to ensure that it meets the nutritional requirements of our pets. They can help prevent deficiencies, support immune system function, and maintain normal body processes.
Such minerals include calcium and phosphorus (macrominerals), iron and copper (trace minerals), and electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride.
How to read a pet food ingredients list?
The ingredients list on a pet food label shows all the ingredients that are used in the product in descending order by weight.
This means that the first ingredient is the most abundant one in the product, while the last ingredient is the least abundant one.
Here's an example of an ingredient list belonging to our Fidele+ Small & Medium Breed Adult Dry Dog Food:
Here are some tips on how to read pet food ingredients list:
- Look for specific names of ingredients rather than generic terms. For example, chicken is more informative than poultry or meat; brown rice is more specific than cereals or grains.
- Avoid products that contain artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, or sweeteners. These additives may enhance the appearance or palatability of pet food, but they may also have negative effects on our pets' health such as allergies, hyperactivity, or cancer.
- Check for allergies or sensitivities that your pet may have. Some common allergies or sensitivities for dogs and cats are beef, dairy, wheat, soy, corn, eggs, fish, and chicken. If your pet has any of these conditions, look for products that are free of these ingredients or consult your veterinarian for advice.
Compare products based on guaranteed analysis rather than ingredients list. The guaranteed analysis shows the minimum or maximum percentages of crude protein, crude fat, crude fibre, and moisture in the product.
Here's a guaranteed analysis of the same product mentioned above:
These values indicate the nutritional quality and balance of the product rather than the quantity of each ingredient.
For example, a product with a higher percentage of crude protein may not necessarily have more meat than a product with a lower percentage of crude protein; it may just have more protein from other sources such as plant-based ingredients or meat meal.
At Orange Pet Nutrition, we make sure to include guaranteed ingredient analyses along with the products for utmost transparency — so you can rest easy knowing that your pet is getting the right nutrition. Always make sure to check our product descriptions to be informed about the nutritional composition of a pet food product!
By reading pet food ingredients, we can also show our love and care for our pets, who are part of our family and deserve the best food possible.
On this World Food Day, let's not forget to leave no one behind, including our furry friends!