This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CheckYourPetFood #CollectiveBias
Do you know what’s in your pet’s food? For many years, I had no idea how to read a pet food label; to be perfectly honest, I didn’t know how to read my food labels. I generally fed my pets based upon recommendations from my friends and family. It wasn’t until my grandmother’s dog developed an intolerance to several pet food ingredients that I forced myself to learn how to decipher pet food labels. It’s obvious that you would be cautious about feeding certain ingredients to a pet with allergies or an intolerance, but it’s also important to be knowledgeable about labels to ensure your pet’s overall health and quality of life. A quality dog food, regular exercise, fresh water and training are all integral to having a happy, healthy dog. Today I’m teaming up with Purina® and Meijer to share some tips for reading pet food labels, and to answer some common questions about feeding your dog.
One major misconception is that you have to purchase your pet food from a pet store. I have two kids, two dogs, three cats, cows and chickens; what I don’t have is time to run to a separate store to pick up pet food. Our local Meijer has a large selection of pet foods, including several of our favorite Purina brands such as Purina® Dog Chow and Purina® Beneful®. I appreciate the convenience of shopping for my entire family in one store. With so many options, how do you decide what foods are best for your dog?
Who regulates pet food?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials, also known as AAFCO, sets the standards for pet nutrition. They regulate what can be used in animal feed.
What’s in your pet’s food?
With pet food, you should start at the beginning. The ingredients are listed by percentage order, so the first ingredient is the most important. Generally the most important ingredients are the first five listed on the pet food label. In Purina Beneful Grain Free, Chicken is the #1 ingredient. They use real farm raised ground chicken instead of meat flavoring or meat by-products. It also contains delicious accents such as pumpkins, blueberries and spinach, with pea starch and cassava root flour replacing grains in the recipe. Purina Beneful uses proteins such as beef, chicken, lamb and turkey, and carbohydrates such as pea starch, oat meal and barley. They add in fruits and vegetables such as avocado, blueberries, carrots, and sweet potatoes for added taste and texture. The various formulas supplement in vitamins and minerals for complete pet nutrition. Purina Dog Chow Natural uses real beef and chicken, and ground corn and corn gluten meal with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
Should I use a grain free dog food?
When deciding whether you should use a grain free dog food, always consult your veterinarian. Some people believe that grain free pet food can reduce food allergy symptoms in pets, but recent studies have found that grain is generally not the culprit in many food allergy cases. Grain free pet food uses alternative sources of carbohydrates (which are needed by our pets) instead of wheat or corn products. To maintain a balanced diet, removing grains requires addition of alternative sources of carbohydrates. There are also single grain formulas which are an option for owners looking for a limited ingredient dog food.
Can I use the same dog food for both of my dogs?
Unfortunately, dog food isn’t a one size fits all product. Finding the right food for one dog might require trial and error. I have had several dogs all on one food before, but at the moment the nutritional needs of our 90 lb+ Rottweiler and 10 lb+ terrier mix are quite different. Many of the formulas for our Rottweiler have bites that are too big for a small dog. The two also have different energy and nutritional requirements. If you’re lucky, you might be able to use one formula on more than one dog; just don’t be disappointed if you can’t make one formula work for all of your pets.
I’m feeding my pet per the food guidelines, but they’re gaining/losing too much weight?
Every pet has a different metabolism, and pet food feeding guidelines should just be used as guidelines, not as rules or strict requirements. You may have to adjust the amount that you feed your pet based up their age and activity level. Just as it’s unhealthy for you to be overweight, it is also unhealthy for your pet. You can add/take away food in small incremental amounts.
From February 4 through March 3 Meijer has an mPerk offer for Purina Dog Chow and Purina Beneful:
- Dog Chow – $1 off 32 lb bag or smaller
- $1 off any size of Beneful Dog Food
As you can see, our cats are just as interested about what’s in the dog food as the dogs are (0ne of them may have opened a new bag for us before we were ready). So do you know what’s in your pet’s food? I hope you found this post helpful and maybe you’re a little more informed about deciphering pet food labels. The next time you’re in your local Meijer store I hope you’ll check out their selection of Purina pet food products and take advantage of the mPerk offer. What pet foods do you currently use?