Buying food for your pets

It is your duty to provide your pets with quality food to keep them healthy. Always read the labels before you buy. The wordings used on pet food labels are regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Follow these steps when in doubt:

Step 1

Understand what the labels mean. Chicken cat food means it should contain at least 95 percent chicken, whilst chicken dinner/feast/mix/formula means 25 percent chicken. Cat food with chicken means there is only about 3 percent of chicken in the can. Chicken flavour however means that it need not be chicken at all; it just needs to taste like chicken.

Step 2

Identify all ingredients and check their weight content for that can, the first one being that with the highest content.

Step 3

Avoid any foods made up of meat by-products (organs, bones, tendons and other left over parts). Buy foods which specify the meat used (chicken, beef, salmon, etc.) instead of simply stating meat.

Step 4

Look out for a label saying “animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures have been conducted on the food”.

Step 5

Check the nutritional analyses of protein, fat, fibre and other contents while comparing the recommended daily percentages for your pet. Remember there are different nutritional requirements for puppies, pregnant pets, diabetic pets, kittens and even cats with hair balls.

Step 6

Always check the expiry dates.

Step 7

Change pet foods gradually by first mixing some of the new food with the old one. Do so over a course of three to five days before completely switching foods.

Step 8

Keep an eye on your pet after introducing new foods. If they show signs like a change in coat colour, loss of hair, scratching, changes in appetite, weight, mod, stools or any other signs suggesting problems, consult your veterinarian for advice.

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