Weight-Control Diets for Dogs and Cats: Reading the Label


When choosing a weight-control or low-calorie pet food, pet owners are faced with a large number of products and product types. Understanding what products are best for your dog or cat can be confusing. Evaluating product calorie and nutrient content, as well as pricing, are important in choosing the correct diet.

One challenge is that the weight-control diets available represent a wide range of calorie concentrations and recommended calorie intakes for dog and cat weight-control diets. For example, one published …

Pet Food Labels: Terms Used to Describe Pet Food Types

There are a variety of terms used on pet food labels that appear to indicate the quality of the product. These terms are primarily used on dog and cat food labels, but may apply to other companion animal foods as well. Terms such as “generic,” “premium,” and even “super premium” are among those commonly used, as are “natural,” “holistic,” “organic,” and “grain-free.” But what do these terms really mean? Often, the definition is unclear even to pet food experts. This …

Taurine Requirement of Cats

While cat owners may have heard that they need to feed their cats a diet containing taurine, the reason may be unclear. Taurine, an amino acid found naturally in animal proteins, is not needed in the diet of most animals because it can be synthesized or produced in the body from other amino acids or compounds in the diet. However, cats have a limited ability to synthesize taurine and, therefore, require a dietary source of this amino acid.

Cat looking in mirror

Why cats

Feeding Senior Cats

As cats age, their nutrient needs change too. Cat owners should pay close attention to changes in their cat and consult with their veterinarian about signs of aging. A commercial cat food designed for senior cats will be formulated with these changes in mind to ensure proper health and longevity for older cats. Regular veterinary visits, exercise, and mental stimulation are all key to maintaining proper health throughout your cat’s later years.

cat resting

The geriatric cat population has increased in recent …

Body Condition Scoring Your Cat

cat gray

More than half the cats in the United States are not at their ideal body weight. Obesity is a common concern and can result in health issues such as diabetes, joint disease, and stress on internal organs. At the same time, underweight cats may be more prone to illness as well. One way to determine if your cat is at the ideal weight is to monitor its body condition score (BCS).

BCS is a way to visually evaluate your cat’s …

Pet Food Labels: Feeding Guidelines

Feeding Guidelines

Another item found on the information panel of a pet food label is the feeding guidelines. These tell pet owners how much to feed based on their pet’s body weight and life stage. This amount can be highly variable from one brand of pet food to another. A key difference between high-quality and low-quality pet foods is the digestibility of the product. This is the amount of nutrients in the food that the animal is able to break down and …

Pet Food Labels: How to Read

Commercial pet foods are an easy and convenient way to feed your dog or cat. Deciding what to feed can be difficult for some pet owners. There are some general items to consider when selecting a food that is right for a particular companion animal. When choosing a pet food, read the label before buying. The items on the label can be confusing, but it becomes much easier to make the right pet food choice when you know what to …

Pet Food Labels: Guaranteed Analysis

Guaranteed AnalysisGuaranteed Analysis

The guaranteed analysis can be found on the information panel of a pet food label. This portion of the label provides the nutrient composition of the diet. It is required to include the minimum percentage of crude protein and crude fat as well as the maximum percentage of crude fiber and moisture. The “crude” term indicates that the methods for determining nutrient concentrations provide a rough estimate of quantity; it does not refer to the quality of the nutrients themselves. …

Pet Food Labels: Nutritional Adequacy Statement

AAFCO Statement

One of the most important items to look for on the information panel is the “Nutritional Adequacy Statement.” This statement provides the guarantee that the pet food is complete and balanced for the animal for which it is intended. All commercial pet foods are required to be nutritionally complete and balanced. By being complete, it means all the nutrients that are required by the animal to meet its daily needs are included in adequate amounts; balanced means that the nutrients …