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The following two types of AAFCO statements can be found on cat food labels:
Check your pet food label for the mandatory guarantee that the food contains the nutrition levels, or labeled percentages of crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. While “crude” may seem like a distasteful term, on these labels it refers to the method of testing the product, not the quality of the nutrient itself. Also, although the guaranteed analysis provides a measure of the various nutrient categories, it does not provide any information relating to the quality of the ingredients in the food, its digestibility or the overall quality of the food.
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Much of what is included on pet food labels is regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) so that owners can accurately compare Food A to Food B and understand what a particular food offers in the way of nutrition. Pet food labels are legal documents, so when looking at labels pay close attention to the AAFCO statement, guaranteed analysis and ingredient list. Here are 10 points to consider when deciding which cat food you will choose.
A cat food label should also have the following:
dry cat food label photo by shari smith dunaif 2014
If there are 2 ingredients listed on the label such as “Chicken and Salmon Cat Food” then those two ingredients combined must be 95% of the food. The ingredients must also be listed in the order of which ingredient there is more of in the food. In the “Chicken and Salmon Cat Food” example, there would be more Chicken than Salmon, but the total of the Chicken and Salmon would be 95% of the food.This time any ingredient listed in the title is a part of the 25% whether is is animal product or not. A food labeled “Chicken and Rice Entree for Cats” would be a minimum total of 25% chicken and rice (yes the chicken in this case would likely be less than 25%). Of course, the ingredient that there is more of would have to go first in the name, so in this case there would be more chicken than rice.The 95% rule only counts for meat, poultry, and fish ingredients. If a label were to say “Chicken and Rice Cat Food,” then it would still have to be 95% Chicken. The rice would not count as part of the 95%.Many pet owners go by the brand when it comes to purchasing food for their pets. Whether you feed your cat wet or dry food, it is always a good idea to read the labels before buying.When the name on pet food labels uses “with” in the name, the named ingredient only has to make up 3% of the food. That means that a pet food called “Cat Food with Chicken” only has to contain 3% chicken. That could mean that the ingredient you thought was the main ingredient is really way down on the list!Also some brands such as Fancy Feast's Flaked Fish & Shrimp Feast, contain no by-products nor any wheat or corn gluten, but their other flavors may not match the same quality. Knowing how to read food labels will give you a head start on finding healthy food choices for your cat.