Good nutrition is important to our health, and this applies to our pets as well; but how do we know what ‘good’ look like for our pets? There are a few things to look out for to determine value for your pet food and why it is better than grocery food.
Cheaper Per Serve
Premium pet foods are more digestible than grocery store foods and provide more nutrition for each bite. This means that you will actually feed your pets less per serving size and reduce the amount you pay per serving.
I was blown away when I realised that even though I pay more up front on the food, I end up spending less in the long run because the food lasts a lot longer.
Digestive System Care
This one is easy, less poops and less smells to deal with! Better food means better digestibility for your pets and less cleaning up you have to do, Wahoo!
Health specific nutrition
Premium pet foods are usually tailored to suit your pets size or age and can also address common health concerns like weight, urinary health, dental or skin care. This comes down to the quality food that does into the premium pet food.
Premium pet food often contain beneficial nutrients above and beyond the bare minimum e.g. omega fatty acids for skin and coat health, antioxidants for immune support and joint support nutrients for improved mobility.
Many premium brands can back their product claims with scientific evidence to prove how they support your pet’s health and wellbeing.
While all major pet food brands on the supermarket shelves will be ‘complete and balanced’ premium pet foods go beyond what is needed so that your furry friend thrives.
What does complete and balanced actually mean?
If you look closer next time you’re in the grocery isle, you will see on the shelves ‘reaching recommended guidelines by AAFCO’ (which stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials). It’s important to note that these are guidelines only, and usually only detail ‘minimum’ requirements. If a food contains too much of a nutrient, it may still qualify as ‘meeting standards’, but may in fact provide your pet with excessive levels of particular nutrient which can cause health problems and obesity over time. So while your pet is being fed enough to stay alive, it does not necessarily mean you are feeding your pet ‘healthy’ food.
The Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA) sets standards based on AAFCO guidelines for the naming of pet food products.
The 95% rule
For a product to be named after a certain ingredient or combination of ingredients those ingredients must make up at least 70% of the total product by weight, and at least 95% of the product by weight when water is removed. When two or more ingredients are specified, neither can be less than 3% of the total product weight.
For example, a dog food named ‘Chicken and Rice’ must contain at least 95% chicken and rice, not counting water, there must be more chicken than rice in the recipe (because it’s listed first), and there cannot be less than 3% of either chicken or rice in the total product weight.
The 25% rule
For products labelled with descriptors, like ‘Beef Entree’ or ‘Chicken Dinner’ there must not be less than 10% of the named ingredient by weight and 25% by weight not including added water.
The ‘with’ rule
For products labelled ‘with’ an ingredient, like ‘Ocean Fish with Salmon’ there must not be less than 3% of the named ingredient included. If two ingredients are listed, like ‘Homestyle casserole with beef and pasta’ the 3% rule applies to each ingredient.
The ‘flavour’ rule
If a product is labelled as a particular flavour, like ‘Beef flavour’ it only has to contain a listed ingredient that provides the described flavour.