Dog food ratings, can you read the labels correctly

When people provide dog food ratings are they reading the labels correctly to arrive at a thorough assessment?

You would think it would be easy to read the label on a tin of dog food, but if you aren’t aware of the innocent words that can tell you a lot more about the ingredients then you need to read on.

For example there is a big difference between chicken and beef and chicken with beef. You’d think there’s no difference and that’s the way they want it!

Here’s an American example using Association of American Food Control Officials (AAFCO) rules.

One rule is the 25% or ‘dinner’ rule. Let’s say chicken is the named ingredient, if it lies between 25%-94% of the total composition(not counting water), then it must be named dinner, platter, formula etc. This means that chicken dinner may only contain 25% chicken, so what else makes up the other 75%?

It gets worse, there is a 3% or ‘with’ rule. This means that an ingredient after the word ‘with’ must equal at least 3% of the full weight (minus water). If it said chicken with bacon, that would be 95% chicken and 3% bacon that seems ok. How about ‘dog food with chicken’? That means there is only 3% chicken of the total weight. I don’t even want to know what by products etc make up the other 97%!

How about the flavour rule? Dog food described as chicken flavour doesn’t even have a % assigned. It merely has to have a slight amount to be detected by tests.

With product recalls and sneaky wording, there is a lot more to dog food ingredients than meets the eye. This also makes you wonder how reliable dog food ratings and reviews are.

There is information available which suggests you should stay away from commercial dog foods completely as they cause premature death. Luckily alternatives exists!