The label should tell you all about your pet’s food.
The labels do, in fact, tell us a lot about foods. Let’s look at them as they are today.
A product’s name is often the consumer’s first impression of the product and because of this, pet food makers carefully choose the names of their products. The box of pet food on my desk as I write this has on the front of the box the maker’s name—The Honest Kitchen—and the individual food’s name—Zeal.
Net Quantity Statement
This tells the consumer how much food is in the container. On the box of Zeal, the quantity statement reads, ‘Net weight 10 lbs/4.54 KG.’ Since this is a dehydrated food that must be mixed with water prior to feeding, there is also a statement, ‘Makes 40 pounds of real food.’
Manufacturer’s Name and Contact Information
This identifies the responsible party for the pet food. There should be a name, a website, and some means of contacting the pet food maker. On the box of Zeal is The Honest Kitchen’s name, a phone number, website, email address, and even the Facebook information.
Most pet owners look to this information right away; especially if their pet has some allergies or food sensitivities. Other pet owners prefer to avoid certain ingredients and will check the label. Pet food makers are required to list all of the ingredients contained in the food and those ingredients must be listed in order by weight—from the heaviest to the lightest—as they are added to the food during processing. The weight includes the food with its water weight. For example, one measured cup of meat will be heavier than one measured cup of meat meal. For Zeal, the ingredient list begins with dehydrated haddock, dehydrated pollock, dehydrated sweet potatoes, dehydrated eggs, and so on.
This provides the percentages of several parts of the food. It will list the minimum percentages of protein and fat as well as the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture. Zeal’s guaranteed analysis shows crude protein minimum 35.5 percent, crude fat minimum 8.5 percent, crude fiber maximum 5.8 percent and moisture maximum 8.9 percent.