What’s really in your pet’s food – How to look past marketing ploys

What’s really in your pet’s food – How to look past marketing ploys

The images on pet food labels make it seem as though gourmet chefs prepare the packaged meals for your pet and it is an absolutely healthy thing to be feeding your pet. But that is rarely the case. Marketing gimmicks run afoul in the pet food industry and you must take a prudent decision on what you feed your pet.

Rendered food an absolute No

When animals reared for meat are slaughtered, the lean meat is set aside for human consumption. But the leftovers – like beaks, cartilage, organs, etc – are recycled and reused as pet food. These are known as rendered products and are not something we would consume. So there is no reason your pet should be consuming them either. Rendered products are also generated by the human food industry in the form of grease, fat, etc.

Making informed choices

While rendered pet foods are struck off the list right at the outset, there are some better options in the market that you can go for.

Natural pet foods  

Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO. defines natural pet foods as ones that are entirely comprised of ingredients from animal, plant or mineral sources. According to guidelines, they cannot contain artificial flavouring or additives and/or chemically synthesised ingredients.

Organic pet foods  

These are the ones that – according to rules – are made without the use of any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. They are also devoid of human or industrial waste contamination and are processed without using radiation technologies. Also, there are different levels of organic food depending on the level of purity – 100% organic is as its name suggests, ‘organic’ contains 95% organic ingredients, whereas ‘made with organic ingredients means a product contains at least 70% certified organic ingredients’.

Know the rules to be sure of what you are buying


While pet food brand names suggest a lot of fancy ideas, AAFCO has laid down certain rules to ensure the contents of the package match the claims it makes.

  1. 95% rule Minimum 95% of the feed must be the principal named ingredient. For instance, Chicken Cat Food has to contain at least 95% chicken. If there are two ingredients mentioned in the label – like Chicken and Beef Dog Food – the two together have to make up 95% of the food’s content with the first named ingredient in greater amount.
  2. 25% or ‘dinner’ rule If the pet food has more than 25% but less than 95% of the named ingredient, it must have a suffix to the principal ingredient like ‘dinner, ‘entree’, ‘grill, etc. For example, Chicken Dinner Cat Food has to have over 25% chicken content
  3. Flavour rule While no specified weight quantity is necessary, food must contain detectable amount of named principal ingredient’s essential flavour. For example, Beef Flavour Dog Food will not have actual beef in it, but will have enough beef fat to flavour the food.

Use these basic points to make a more informed purchase decision regarding pet food the next time you go shopping.

The Dog Solution

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