When you go grocery shopping, you read the nutrition labels on food packaging to help you decide what you want to buy. But reading cat food labels on your cat’s food might look complex and undecipherable by comparison. Read this guide to help you understand what to look out for.
On ingredient lists for your food, the ingredients are arranged in descending order according to the percentage of the weight they are in the product; for example, if the first ingredient on a jar of salsa is tomatoes, you know most of the product will consist of tomatoes, with the rest of the ingredients on the label making up the remainder of the product's volume.
The same is true for the label on your cat’s food. If the first ingredient is chicken, you know that a significant portion of the food consists of chicken. When you're shopping for food for your cat, look for the meaty content; that way, you know you're getting a wholesome product that will include the proteins and amino acids your pet needs to stay healthy.
The guaranteed analysis chart lists the minimum and/or maximum percentage of nutrients in a food, such as protein, fat, fibre and moisture. The guaranteed analysis for dry food and wet food will look different; this is because the moisture content in the wet food is so much higher. If you want a way to accurately compare the nutrient profiles of wet food and dry food, you can find a formula to help you here.
AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles
The Association of American Feed Control Officials sets nutritional standards for pet food. There are currently two separate nutrient categories — one for growing kittens/gestating-lactating mothers and one for adult maintenance. All NUTRO TM; Cat Foods meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.
How to Read Cat Food Labels by Kelli Miller
How to Interpret the Guaranteed Analysis on Pet Food Labels by eHow
Pet Food Labels by the U.S. FDA
Selecting Nutritious Pet Foods by David A. Dzanis, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVN