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Decoding Pet Food Labels

April 20, 2011

Do you know what is in your pet’s food? Pet owners are often drawn to a cheap price, a pretty bag, or a vet recommendation, but haven’t done any of their own research. I am going to list out some of the notorious ingredients one should avoid.

1. Corn. Corn should never be in your carnivore’s food. Corn is the number one cause of allergies for dogs and cats and often causes itchy skin, dandruff, and other allergies for your pet. Wheat and soy are also in this category.

2. By-products. By-products is an ambiguous term used by the AAFCO to put in the leftover parts of the slaughtered animal into your pet’s food. This can include, feet, feathers, entrails, etc….Be very careful about the words ANIMAL BY-PRODUCTS. When the general word “animal” is in front of the word, this allows for the manufacturer to put in any animal into your food, including euthanized cats and dogs. Vet clinics often sell these deceased pets to pet food makers for profit. Without letting your imagination go too far, this is NOT good for our pets and their own risk for disease by the food we give them.

3. Preservatives. Preservatives like BHT (often found near the bottom of the list) are artificial and proven to cause cancer in lab animals and people. Manufacturers use it because it is cheap and effective for shelf life. The shelf life is longer for dog food that has BHT in them, more so than natural sources like Vitamin E, often called mixed tocopherols on your bag. Vitamin E is what you want for both yourself and your pet’s food. Take a look at your own cereals, for example. Give the best for yourself, too. Other preservatives can even come in colors, like Yellow#5, Blue#40, etc… The dyes in the food give a false impression that the pieces of food are actually meat and vegetables, so that the food looks “healthy.”

4. Animal Fat. Here comes the ambiguous wording again! Anything that has the general word animal in it should make you run for the hills. Frequently, pet food is sprayed with this fat so that it tastes good to the animal and becomes addicting. So when people say, “My cat is so picky! She only likes this food.” I wonder why that happened. A cat can be taught to eat better things, but it is first imperative that you break this addiction from junk foods that you have accidentally been feeding for years. I will talk about that in a later blog.
This list could continue for a while, but these are the main things you need to avoid and know. For any questions, please contact,

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About Austin Dog Zone

Austin Dog Zone formed in 2011. We offer dog training for all breeds and temperaments. We are committed to staying up-to-date on the most current scientific research available for dogs regarding both behavior and wellness. Our methods are effective, dog-friendly and family friendly.

2 Comments to “Decoding Pet Food Labels”

  1. James says:

    So true!

  2. Nice blog.keep up the good work.

  3. […] 1. A diet that is poor. The amount of carcinogenic substances in our pet foods is disturbing. Feeding a suitable carnivorous diet to our dogs is one step we can take to helping their health. To learn more about this you may go to a previous post on Decoding Pet Food Labels, here. […]

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