Pet Food Labels. Pet food is big business with over 65 million households in the United States being home to one or more dogs. This statistic doesn’t even include those homes that feature only felines! It’s of little wonder that the pet food industry is a booming business. However, just because business is booming doesn’t make it healthy. Billions of dollars are spent on packaged pet foods each year, but do you really know exactly what you’re pouring into your pets food dish each day?
We’ve all seen the bright packages containing pet food that are designed to appeal to the consumer. Images of whole chickens, cuts of beef, and even lamb chops adorn the outer package. But, buyer beware! Don’t expect you pet to be chowing down on actual lean chicken breasts, cuts of sirloin, or tasty lamb when you offer up the “food” inside. It should come as no surprise to informed pet owners that chicken feet, necks, and beaks are often what is used on those packages showing plump chicken breasts. Moral: Don’t be misled by the image on the outside of a package.
Now… on to the label. You shouldn’t have to have a PhD to read and understand a nutrition label for either yourself or your pet. Simply, if you can’t pronounce it, are you sure you or your pet should be eating it? When you scan the actual nutritional data, look at not only what vitamins and nutrients your pet is getting and in what amount per serving, but also take note of what your pet is not getting in sufficient amounts. It’s great to boast about what a food can offer your pet, but it’s just as important that pet owners take note of what their four-legged friend isn’t getting at the same time. How many calories would you really have to feed your pet in order for him/her to receive a nutritious, balanced diet? (A quick hint, most often, your pet would soon qualify as ‘obese’ with such an additional caloric load daily.)
Of course, a high-quality pet supplement is one way to ensure that your pet is getting the optimum (notice I said *optimum* and not “required”) amount of daily vitamins and nutrients. However, even feeding a great supplement doesn’t necessarily counter the negative effects of some “fillers” and preservatives in commercially available pet foods.
In short – Don’t be fooled by flashy advertising on pet food products. Just because a food claims to be organic, be certain of what you’re getting. Your pet depends on you to make healthy choices for him or her, and proper nutrition can increase your pet’s lifespan and decrease the likelihood of the development of diseases such as cancer and diabetes.