Reading Nutrition Labels

Reading Nutrition Labels


The best way to choose a healthy diet for your pet, short of a recommendation by your veterinarian, is to learn to read the ingredient label. In addition to the ingredients to look for and avoid, here are several other tips reading the back of the bag:

Nutrition Label
  1. Ingredients are listed by weight. This means the first ingredient is the most plentiful in the diet. Other ingredients which follow are in smaller amounts than the preceding ingredient.
  2. The first five ingredients give you a good indication of the formula’s quality.
  3. Because every ingredient matters, be sure to read all the way through the ingredient panel, as artificial preservatives or colors are usually at the end. (Prairie does not use these types of ingredients.)
  4. Also, it’s important to look at the Feeding Guidelines and calorie content. These sections will help you understand how much to feed your pet for ideal health and weight.
  5. It’s important to look at the Complete and Balanced statement on the label. This designation means the diet, if fed alone is adequate to support the health of the pet. Diets can be complete and balanced for all life stages which means the food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of puppies, adults, seniors and pregnant females.
  6. The Guaranteed Analysis section of the panel indicates the minimum and maximum nutrient levels on as “as fed” basis. All pet food must show the percentages of crude protein (minimum), crude fat (minimum), crude fiber (maximum), and moisture (maximum). Brands can choose to guarantee more levels such as Omega 3 & 6’s and vitamin levels, as a way of providing more information to the consumer.