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Posted on 04-04-2014

  • “Large-Breed” Puppy 
    • Lower calcium content than regular puppy foods to help control growth rate.
    • Energy density and fat content also slightly reduced.
  • Urinary Health 
    • Acidified food with low magnesium.
    • Claims of “low ash” are not allowed
  • Skin and Coat Health 
    • Omega 3 fatty acids are added
  • Senior 
    • Lower fat and energy density, reduced phosphorous and salt
    • Increased fiber, B vitamins
    • Added vitamin C
    • Better palatability
    • Lower amounts but higher quality protein
  • Active/Performance 
    • Increased energy density
    • +/- increased vitamins/minerals
  • Natural 
    • Entire food is made without any chemically synthesized ingredients
    • Vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients are exempt (with a disclaimer on the bag)
  • Organic 
    • The term organic is legally defined for human foods by the USDA
      • Pet foods are allowed to use the term provided they follow the same rules that apply to human foods
    • 100% organic: can use the USDA organic seal
    • >=95% organic: can use the USDA seal
      • Measured by weight; does not include water or salt
    •  >=70% organic: CanNOT use the USDA seal
      • Front panel can say “Made with organic ______” and list up to 3 specific ingredients
    •  <70% organic: CanNOT use the USDA seal
      • May list the organic products in the ingredients list
      • Cannot mention organic on the main panel
  • Clinically tested 
    • One study supports the claim
    • There are no rules about the number of subjects or type of trial
  • Clinically proven 
    • At least 2 similar, well-controlled clinical studies with similar results
  • Holistic 
    • There is no legal definition of holistic.
    • Any pet food can call itself holistic; there are no regulations defining “holistic” as it pertains to pet food
  • Human Grade 
    • This is a misleading statement per the AAFCO.
    • The term is not allowed in pet food marketing unless the food was made in a human food approved plant
  • Preservatives 
    • Naturally preserved foods have a shorter shelf life
    • Synthetic preservatives: ethoyquin, BHA, BHT
    • Natural preservatives: rosemary extract, citric acid, tocopherols (Vitamin E)
  • Grains (Specifically corn) 
    • High quality amino acids with readily available energy. When combined with a meat protein, they provide the full amount of amino acids required by dogs and cats
    • Corn: when ground and cooked, corn has essential fatty acids, high quality protein, highly digestible carbohydrates, and antioxidants (Vitamin E, lutein, beta carotene)
      • But, doesn’t corn cause allergies?
      • The actual incidence of true corn allergies is low
  • Grain Free 
    • A vegetable is substituted for grain
    • Grain free does not mean that the food has no or fewer carbohydrates than the grain version – potatoes are often used to replace corn and actually contain more carbohydrates and less protein than the corn
  • Gluten Free 
    • Gluten is protein found in wheat, barley, and rice that can, when ingested, stimulate the immune system to attack the body’s own small intestines causing them to dysfunction
    • Rare in dogs other than the Irish Setter
    • This is not the same as a wheat or gluten “allergy,” although the difference is mostly microscopic

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