The Importance of Reading Pet Food Labels

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By Stacey J Nelson Ph.D. Aka “Tweedlesmom”

He/She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are their life, their love, their leader. He/She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of their heart. You owe it to him/her to be worthy of such devotion…”
Author unknown

When shopping in a store do you stop to read the labels on the front and/or back of pet foods and treats?

Do you realize the Guaranteed Analysis will tell you how much protein, fat, fiber, moisture, and ash is contained in your pet’s food or treats?

The active and inactive ingredients on the label of a product are just as important. Notice the sodium or salt content. Look to see if the pet products contains artificial or chemical preservatives, fillers, additives like glycerine, bulking agents, sodium or salt, sugar, animal by- products, no antibiotics, steroids, or hormones. Look for words such as natural and or organic. When reading a pet food or treat label, look to see what the first five ingredients include. Is the first ingredient if it is a protein, such as beef , lamb, chicken, or salmon, whole or a flavoring of the protein. Some companies disquise the ingredients in pet food and pet treats by fancy packaging and the use of “buzz words” like natural, organic, “human grade”.

Some clever manufacturers can simply spray on the protein, avoiding the expense of including the whole protein, such as chicken breast, vs chicken flavoring. Look to see if there are grains, and other starches such as potatoes, white and sweet, garbanzo beans, barley, peas, brewers yeast, and various types of flour, and the specific order of the ingredients. If rice is one of the ingredients, look for the the words, brown or white. Dogs and cats do not need salt or sugar and so many pet foods just like certain canned human foods and frozen and packaged foods, are loaded with salt and sugar. Other ingredient s to look for artificial colors, dyes, and fillers.

Do you really think dogs or cats care about what color their pet food or pet treats actually are?

TweedleFOOD stacey in hat newestBe discerning about the ready made pet food and treats you offer your pet. After all, aren’t your pets a family member, and wouldn’t you be just as concerned what you were feeding other family members? Remember, you usually get what you pay for, so don’t expect a holistic, quality grain free, no wheat, soy, or corn food or treat available, at the same price you usually would see pet products sold at a grocery chain store or a large superstore. Specialty pet shops are usually the location you go to purchase a better quality pet food or treat. You can also check the internet and study the ingredients listed on the labels. When you become more familiar with the higher quality pet foods and treats, and their ingredients, you will soon learn how to compare the ingredients and the Guaranteed Analysis, of each product.

Assess what products are your preference, according to your pet’s dietary and health needs, and your pocketbook.

It’s a mistake to look first at price and make your decision what to buy for your pet only according to the price. Be an educated and well informed consumer, and remember I encourage you to avoid buying products that contain ingredients produced or manufactured outside the United States of America. Foreign countries have different health standards and governmental regulations or the lack of..and our pets have suffered needlessly from the toxic pet food recalls, due to products manufactured outside the USA. Unfortunately, there have also been pet food recalls from major manufacturers in the USA, so do your homework and research which companies have been involved with the pet food recall, and see if you can find comparable products manufactured by companies who have not been involved with the pet food recall.

Take your time, and don’t settle for products just because of price.

There are many good quality products available, and your pets deserve the best you can provide for them. I’ve included a few labels on packages of a few Tweedle Pet Products – Natural and Organic, located in Delray Beach Florida, formulated for pets sensitive to common food allergies. Reviewing the labels on some of these packages will help you understand what to look for in a healthy, holistic, natural and/or organic product for your beloved pets.

I formed Tweedle Pet Products from a need to find a good quality training treat and reward for my Yellow Labrador Miss Tweedle, containing ingredients she was not allergic to. After seeing several patients in my counseling and consulting practice in Boca Raton, who owned dogs and cats who became ill from the toxic pet food recall, I decided I needed to do something about this to help others who had pets with special needs.

pet treats

A special focus was my yellow Labrador named Tweedle who I discovered had food allergies and skin issues, causing me to research what types of ingredients she could tolerate. To make a long story short, Miss Tweedle became the inspiration for Tweedle Pet Products, Natural and Organic gourmet, gluten and grain free products, in Delray Beach Florida, due to her congenital heart defect known as Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia aka TVD, her food allergies, and her skin and ear infection issues.

In the past few years I discovered many dogs and cats are sensitive to common food allergies such as wheat, soy, corn, gluten, grains, beef, chicken, lamb, and cannot tolerate extra salt in their food, just like Miss Tweedle. She can eat salmon and other fish as part of her daily diet, but her ears can get affected,if she eats what she is allergic to. Due to this, I learned how to research, study, and read labels on various types of products for pets, as well as for myself, and trust you will begin to now take more time when shopping, read more labels, and find out what ingredients are contained in the products you buy for yourself and your pet.

Be a wise shopper, be confident, consider your budget, but don’t sacrifice quality only for price. Think about your priorities, and how you select what products you ingest, and what you provide for your beloved pet.

I wish y’all happy shopping, and happy label reading. I will discuss more about allergies in pets in my future articles.

new tweedle group logo

Stacey J Nelson Ph.D. – is a licensed Psychotherapist, Communications Consultant/ Voice Therapist and Motivational Trainer, who also offers Pet Bereavement, in Boca Raton, FL. She is the owner/creator of Tweedle Pet Products Natural and Organic gourmet gluten and grain free pet treats, and treats for Pet Parents- Dr Nelson and her Labrador Retriever Miss Tweedle are a Registered Pet Therapy Team through Therapy Dogs Inc.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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  1. Reading food labels is vital if you want to be healthy. You are right to encourage people to check food labels for their pets, too, so that they can remain healthy.

    • Hello Elvira

      Thank you for your comment about this week’s article “The Importance of Reading Pet food/Treat Labels”. The saying of “You are what you eat” is true not only in humans but for pets too! I encourage everyone to understand exactly what we are eating, and what we are feeding our pets.

      Best Wishes
      Tweedlesmom aka Stacey J Nelson Ph.D.

  2. I have been reading labels for my family and myself for quite some time. I am glad that you are encouraging people to read the labels for their pets as much as they read them for themselves. You are not only telling them to read, but what to look for as well.

    Keep all the great info coming. Nice to see somebody who cares, as much as you do, for your pet and are happy to help others help their pets.

    • Hello Lois:

      Thank you for your comment about The Importance of Reading Labels on Pet Food/Treats.

      Congratulations,You sound like a smart and wise shopper. Whether you are shopping for your family,
      or for pets, it’s always a good idea to know what your buying, where it was produced, and what the ingredients are.

      Keep up your “smart and wise” shopping for you
      and your family.

      Best Wishes
      Tweedlesmom aka Stacey J Nelson Ph.D

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