The pet food industry has changed a LOT over the years and today it is probably harder than ever to figure out what is and isn’t good for your pets. We see the market leaders come up with a new idea and then over time the rest of the market will find ways to make the same claims.It’s hard for consumers to keep up! That’s where we come in. We’ve got your back when it comes to the latest industry news, jargon and snake oil. With all that in mind, here are three current marketing phrases that just don’t mean anything anymore.

1. Meat is the Number One Ingredient

Hey! Meat is the number one ingredient and because my dog is a descendent of the Grey Wolf this must be what she needs! That is absolutely true, dogs and cats need animal based proteins however, the trick is that the ingredient panel reads out in descending order of pre-cooked weight. The FDA says that raw chicken is about 75% water so when that chicken is cooked into kibble all of that water evaporates.

So how much chicken is left in a food when 75% of it evaporates during cooking? Well, that’s hard to tell but it isn’t much of a stretch to see it falling down the list of ingredients rather quickly. What you want to look for is chicken meal. Meat meal already has the moisture removed from the raw food so you see very little additional moisture loss during kibble extrusion.

2. Premium, Gourmet or Natural

We find a lot of overlap here between the pet food and human food regulations. I’ll let the FDA do the talking here:

Products labeled as premium or gourmet are not required to contain any different or higher quality ingredients, nor are they held up to any higher nutritional standards than are any other complete and balanced products.

The term “natural” is often used on pet food labels, although that term does not have an official definition either.

3. Grain Free

Years ago, grain free could have been used as an indicator that the company manufacturing that product was a forward thinking company with the health of your pet in mind. Unfortunately today being labeled a grain free food isn’t enough. We really need to dig deeper and head over to the ingredient panel again (just like we did for the first claim here).

For more information on how to read an ingredient panel, head over here but the TL;DR is that ingredient panels are ordered in decreasing order according to pre-cooked weight.

Once you have checked out the ingredients and see that meat is first followed by meat meal, then try to find out what percentage of the protein is coming from animal sources. Dogs and cats need the essential amino acid taurine and that is found in animal muscles and organs. The more protein that comes from an animal source the better! A good kibble will be 70% – 80% but not all manufacturers will be open and transparent about this particular number.

My World Is Rocked, Does Anything Matter Anymore?

Absolutely! That’s what we are here for 🙂 Give us a call, chat with us online or come talk with us in the store. Each of our employees has passed through an extensive training program focused on nutrition. We have your back and we won’t stop working until you’re satisfied.