What Pet Food Labels Really Mean

When it comes to pet food, sometimes not a lot. The food name is the first part of the label noticed by a consumer and for that reason, fancy names are used to emphasize certain features of a food. AAFCO has established four rules about ingredients:
I95% rule: at least 95% of the food must be the named ingredient. For example, "Chicken for Dogs" or "Beef Cat Food" must be 95% chicken or beef, respectively. If the food is "Chicken and Rice Dog Food", the chicken is the component that must be 95%. If there is a combination of ingredients such as "Chicken and Liver for Cats", the two together must make up 95% of the total weight and the first ingredient must be the one in higher percent in the food. Commercial pet foods rarely fall into the 95% category as that much protein is not beneficial for all pets. In fact, most pets tend to thrive on a more balanced diet that includes whole grains and vegetables in addition to wholesome cuts of meat and this is the foundation of Halo Spot's Stew recipe. 
II25% or "Dinner" rule: when the named product contains at least 25% but less than 95% of the total weight, the name must include a descriptive term such as "dinner". For example,"dinner", "entrée", "grill", "platter", "formula" are all terms that are used to describe this type of product. For example, "Chicken Dinner Dog Food" must contain at least 25% chicken. This food could contain beef and possibly even more beef than chicken. It is important to read the label and check what other meat sources the product contains.
III3% or "With" rule: this one is tricky. Many times the "with"label identifies extra or special ingredients, such as "Beef Dinner for Dogs with Cheese" is a food containing at least 25% beef and at least 3% cheese. But beware of this type of "with" label: "Dog Food with Chicken". This dog food need only contain 3% chicken! Don't confuse that with "Chicken Dog Food" which must contain 95% chicken. Confusing, right? 
IV"Flavor" rule: in this situation, a specific percentage of meat is not required, but it must contain an amount of flavor sufficient to be detected. For example, "Chicken Flavor Dog Food" may contain a digest or enough chicken fat to flavor the food, but there will be no actual chicken meat added to the food.

Purina Friskies is a registered trademark of of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Pedigree is a registered trademark of Mars, Incorporated.

Source: Halopets
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