Comparing Pet Nutrition Products- Ingredient Statements and Guaranteed Analysis

There are 3 main types of pet foods on the market, dry, soft-moist and canned products.  These 3Pet Nutrition Products- Ingredient Statements and Guaranteed Analysis types of foods vary in moisture content and as a result, vary in the amount of nutrition provided per ounce of food.  Dry foods have the advantage of ease of preparation and stay fresh the longest.  Canned foods tend to be most palatable, but need to be stored in the refrigerator covered for no longer than 3 days.  Soft-moist foods tend to be very palatable, store easily, but tend to be more expensive than dry foods.  Evaluation of the ingredient statement and guaranteed analysis can allow some ability to compare different pet nutrition products, but should be done with caution.

Comparison of pet nutrition products based on ingredient statement

The list of ingredients is helpful at determining the quality of pet nutrition products, however there are some shortcomings.  The nutritive value of an ingredient cannot always be determined from the listed ingredient.  For example, meat by-products can vary greatly in nutritional value depending on the source of organs used.  Kidneys, liver, lungs, and spleen are an excellent source of nutrition while connective tissue, bone, urinary bladder, or mammary gland tissue will be less nutritious.

The ingredients are listed in descending order by weight.  This allows dry ingredients to be listed lower on the list of ingredients than those high in moisture.  As a result, meats can be highlighted as one of the first ingredients even though it might not be a major component of the diet.  This occurs most commonly with dry pet nutrition products, where beef may be listed first on the ingredient list because of its high moisture content even though the diet contains predominantly a mixture of grains.

Canned pet nutrition products contain a large portion of vegetable protein, referred to as textured vegetable protein (TVP).  For example, soy flour is a vegetable protein that as a dry ingredient can be listed lower on the ingredient statement.  However, mixed with water, the soy flour represents a major portion of the diet.  The consumer may think he/she is purchasing a diet that is high in meat, when actually the primary ingredient is soy flour.  Pet nutrition products that fit into this category have labels such as “Beef Dinner.”

Comparison of pet nutrition products based on guaranteed analysis values

The guaranteed analysis is also helpful at determining the quality of pet nutrition products, butPet Nutrition Facts also has some shortcomings. The guaranteed analysis on a pet nutrition product lists only a fraction of the nutrients in the food, and therefore does not completely reflect the nutrient content of the food.   Only crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber and moisture are required to be listed and reflect only minimums or maximums.  However, the guaranteed analysis does provide a general idea of the nutrient content of the diet and can be used to compare specific nutrient levels between foods.  Standardizing different pet nutrition products on a dry matter basis is the best means to compare them.
To learn about ingredient lists and product label terms in pet nutrition products, click here.

To learn about protein, fat, and carbohydrate content in pet nutrition products, click here.

To learn about dry matter and moisture content in pet nutrition products, click here.

To learn about the caloric content in pet nutrition products, click here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
avatar

Dr Stephen Atwater

Stephen W. Atwater, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (oncology) is a board-certified veterinary oncology specialist. His professional interests include utilizing emerging therapies for difficult to treat cancers.

More Posts