You’re in the store. You’re looking at the shelves. You see 500 types of bags and boxes of dog food and you’re starting to think you should have taken the day off from work. It seems like it’s going to be impossible to go through them all, and even if, you probably won’t remember specific differences between them.
So how can you know which one is the best for your Pomeranian? Which formulation of food is better? What does an “adult formula” mean? Of course, every food product on the market is loaded with a bunch of nonsensical, out of this world marketing words which don’t mean a thing to the regular person.
We are gathered here today to go through a rundown of those ridiculous words and see what’s what. Pet food packages come equipped with words such as: premium, super-premium, gourmet, natural, senior and so on. Basically, these words mean nothing. They have no standard definition, but their use is allowed for reasons that are beyond me.
What To Look For On Pet Food?
But some terms do have specific definitions, as they are required by the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. Pet food must carry certain information on the label. If it does then consumers can be confident in a nutritionally adequate food.
There are three important parts on the label you should study before purchasing dog food. The first place is the “life stage claim” where consumers should find the word “feeding”. These words should appear in the nutritional adequacy statement. The word means that the food is proven nutritionally adequate in tests.
The next item you should look for is the manufacturer’s contact information. You only need the manufacturer's name and address, however most of the time you’ll also have a telephone number there. Upon receiving a phone call, the manufacturers should discuss openly about their product while not jeopardizing their proprietary formula.
Finally, you should check the ingredients list. However, this area is subject to consumer preference. These cases are individual and are best consulted on with the dog’s veterinarian.
Additional Information About Quality Of Pet Food
All dog food packages must list five pieces of information. Some of those you’ve already been using. In any case, they are: manufacturer name and address, guaranteed analysis, nutritional adequacy statement, ingredients and feeding guidelines.
Guaranteed analysis is going to specify the minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat allowed. By the way, don’t get scared by the word crude, it’s just a type of measurement, it’s not indicative to the quality of the food in any way.
Nutritional adequacy is a statement that means the product has all the necessary nutrients for your Pomeranian. The FDA’s CVM works with the AAFCO in order to determine safe ingredients and good testing protocols to ensure the best quality food reaches the market.
Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. However, this way can be tricky to interpret, because some ingredients have much more water in them than others. One example is chicken (which has up to 70% water) and soybean meal (at most 10% water) so even if there is more chicken, the soybean meal still accounts for more solids to the diet.
Likewise, similar ingredients may be listed separately. If you look at the pet food bag and see: chicken, wheat flour, ground wheat, wheat middling, etc. You would think that chicken is the predominant ingredient, but there are three wheat ingredients which will probably add up to more than the amount of chicken in the food.
This is only part of the information you can extract just by reading the label. The rest will be covered in feeding guidelines for your Pomeranian.
Using only this information will narrow down the list and help you make a better decision. However I recommend knowing the full story so that you can make the best possible choice.