Reading Pet Food Labels

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Reading Pet Food Labels

Pet food labels are the key in providing a nutritious meal for your beloved pets. However, they can be difficult to decipher, especially if you are not a specialist in the field of animal nutrition. By reading the label prior to buying the food, you can determine the most appropriate food for your dog in terms of nutrients and food quality.

Pet foods are also adapted to the animal?s growing stage ? for each life stage your furry friend is in, the quantity of the food and the nutrients it provides are different. Similarly, the intake of the dog food may differ, accordingly to the animal?s breed, its age or its health status, so the best way to determine what your pet needs is to seek a consultation with a veterinarian first.

The pet food labels usually start with a list that provides the pre-cooked weight of all the ingredients, the list which is also called the ingredient deck. This weight usually changes after cooking, therefore you may be interested in giving a look to the percent of moisture the label indicates in the food.

Canned foods are usually displaying a larger percentage of moisture, while dry foods have higher levels of crude protein and other nutrients. It is recommended you choose animal food which has proteins which are highly digestible at the top of the ingredient deck.

The guaranteed analysis is another mandatory part on a pet food label, providing the animal owner with clear information regarding the amount of fat, protein and fiber the food contains, with the amount of moisture and water included. However, you can determine the exact amount of nutrients your canned dog food, for example, has, by converting them into nutrients found in dry food, as this type of food provides an exact amount of nutritional values. By subtracting the percentage of moisture found in the dry food, you can also discover the amount of genuine nutrients that the meal contains.

The food package must also include on the label a guarantee that the meal is providing a healthy and balanced nutrition for your pet. In this respect, meat must be included as the main ingredient, seeing that animal proteins are what give our pets energy in order to survive. Unlike humans, pets like cats and dogs cannot survive solely on a meat-free diet; therefore you must look for a good, natural product, free of chemicals and preservatives and avoid products which are high in calories but low in nutrients.

Make sure you pay attention to the name of the product as well. For example, if you read the word ?dinner? on the pet food label, you can make sure that the main ingredient of the meal (for example beef) must be found in a minimum of 25 percentage in the food. If the food product has a main ingredient listed in its name, for example, ?Pork for Cats?, the ingredient mentioned in the title must at least be found in a minimum of 95 percent in the meal, moisture included.

Healthy Homemade Dog Food ? 2 Delicious Recipes to Make At Home

The idea of commercial food for pets is relatively new and became popular only after the improvement of packaging, roadways and distribution networks, which made it practical to sell large quantities of pet food all around the country. However, today many people return to some habits from the past, considering them more safe and healthy. Homemade food ? whether it is cooked for humans or for pets ? is not an exception.

There are, indeed, many benefits of making homemade food for your dog:

- You personally select the ingredients, which is particularly helpful if you have an allergic or sick dog and want to be 100% sure that he receives only what is best for him.

- You can choose only high-quality ingredients and you can even opt for organic or free-range food.

- You can buy ingredients in larger amounts, saving money. If you shop smart, homemade food can cost you less than commercial food, not to mention that it is a more nutritious alternative for your dog.

- You can save time and effort by cooking larger quantities of dog food and freezing it in portions

- Dogs love homemade food

Here are a couple of delicious recipes for your furry friend, to try at home.

Beef Stew

You will only need 35 minutes to prepare it and cook it.

Ingredients: 1 lb ground beef, 1 potato (large, diced), 1 carrot (medium, diced), ? cup frozen peas and water

You must saut? the meat until it no longer has that pink color, then add the potato and the carrot. Add some water to cover the vegetables, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked (about 20 minutes). Add the frozen peas and a bit of salt. You can serve it as soon as it cools down or you can refrigerate it and even freeze extra portions, in plastic bags.

Meat Cakes

This is a recipe that your dog will surely love. It will be ready in about 2 hours, but the best part is that meat cakes can also be eaten by humans.

Ingredients: one and a half cups brown rice, 2 potatoes (large, grated), 4 carrots (large, grated), 2 celery stalks (large, chopped), 6 pound ground beef, 8 eggs, salt, one and a half cups regular rolled oats, 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 cups water. You will need a large muffin tin. Grease the cups and preheat the oven at (200 degrees C).

Mix the rice with water, bring to boil, cook for 10 minutes then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool. In a large bowl, mix the vegetables, ground beef, and eggs. Add the rice and also olive oil, rolled oats, and a bit of salt. Fill the cups with this mixture and then bake for 45 minutes. Allow it to cool down before serving. Optionally, you can refrigerate or freeze the meat cakes, in sealed plastic bags.

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