The following is a guest post by Geoff Mott. Geoff Mott is the founder of SeniorDogs.com and PetGadgets.com and has two senior dogs himself. Geoff and his companies support local pet related charities in the Scottsdale, Arizona area.
What’s in a name? When it comes to pet food a lot. Specific words used in the product’s name reveals more than you may think. For example, if a product is called “Beef Food for Senior Dogs” it must contain 95 percent beef. But, if it’s called “Beef Dinner for Senior Dogs” it is only required to contain a minimum of 25 percent beef – that’s a big difference for adding one small word.
In addition to ‘dinner’, other terms such as platter, entrée, nugget, and formula also fall under the 25 percent minimum rule. If more than one ingredient is mentioned in the food’s name, such as “Beef and Chicken Dinner for Older Dogs,” they both must total 25 percent.
Other tricky words to watch for are, ‘with’ and ‘flavor’. If, for example, a product is called “Senior Dog Food with Beef” it only has to contain three percent beef. When the word ‘flavor’ is added to a product’s name there is no minimum percentage required. The product only has to contain a sufficient amount of the flavor to be detectable.
So who determines if a flavor is sufficiently detectable? Animal taste testers, of course. These pooches and kitties are trained to gravitate toward specific flavors commonly found in pet foods.
Learning how to decipher what a pet food label does or does not say is one of the most important steps in selecting the right brand for your pet. You can get a crash course on reading pet food labels by visiting the FDA’s website http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/ucm047113.htm