How To Read Your Pets Food Labels

What is the best thing you can to do insure your pet lives a long and healthy life? Feed them properly! You can add years to your pet's life with a good diet. The first step is learning to distinguish which pet food brands have the best ingredients. It's not always easy but we have some hints to help you figure it out.

Generally, pet food labels are divided into two different categories: the principal product display and the information about the food.

The principal product display contains the brand name as well as the type of food or formula in the product. This display also includes what type of animal it is meant for, as well as the product weight. The manner in which the product is listed on the label is strictly regulated. The product must contain 95% of an ingredient (or combination of ingredients) to be listed as such. When a product has ingredient(s) more than 25 percent but less than 95 percent, a qualifier word must be added (these are words such as formula, dinner, platter, or nuggets.) And remember, just because the product says “Chicken and Liver” does not mean there are not traces of beef or fish in the mixture

The informational section of the pet food label not only displays the brand name, product name, intended species and weight; it also includes more complex information. This portion of the label includes a list of ingredients, feeding instructions, the guaranteed analysis, and nutritional adequacy claim. This portion of the label is the most important when comparing different pet food brands and formulas, because it determines the nutritional value which keeps your pet healthy and strong.

Every pet is unique. Finding just the right food to improve your pet's quality and longevity of life requires taking three things into consideration: 1) your pet's breed; 2) your pet's age; and specifics about your pet's health.

There are many, many brands of pet food available today, so choosing the correct product is an important skill to have. These are a few ingredients that the FDA recommends you do not feed to your pets: a toxin called aflatoxin (this ingredient has been linked to the death of 23 dogs), corn byproducts, as well as artificial flavoring and coloring. Another aspect of pet food labels to be aware of, is that there should always be a manufactures name and address on any label; a phone number is always an excellent addition, but is not required by the FDA. For additional information on pet food labels and things to watch out for, go to and search for pet food or pet food labels.

You can further insure your pet a long and healthy life by giving them proper nutrition, exercise, and a good measure of TLC.