How to Read Labels
Have you ever wondered what's really in your pet's food? What you feed your pet is the most important thing in your pet's life. That's why we at Healthy Tails are so passionate about our food. We only carry what we feel are the best, uncompromising foods on the market. We don't have to worry about selling our foods because they sell themselves. The first thing you need to know as a consumer is what you are buying. We want to help you understand how to read your pet's food label. Knowing how to accurately read your pet food label will empower you to make the correct decision for your pet's diet, which directly impacts their health.
The first place to start should be the protein source. Your food should contain quality sources of protein. This would be labeled as beef, chicken, turkey, etc. You should also consider where the protein originates. As you know, the phrase "you get what you pay for" is also very accurate in the pet food industry. Low-quality proteins would be labeled as meat, poultry, animal, etc. Always remember this- the more generic the labeling, the more questionable the contents. If your food label lists the first ingredient as meat, know that you are most likely not buying beef. Meat is a very generic label that can mean almost any type of animal.
All dry dog foods contain some sort of grain. Again, you want to see quality, whole ingredients. Most lower-cost foods contain at least one fragment. Fragments are lower cost by-products of a single food, and are used to disguise an excess of a low-value ingredient. For instance, brewer's rice is a waste product of the alcohol industry. So if you see rice flour, rice bran, or brewer's rice you need to be aware that this is probably not a quality food, as you are buying mostly rice, even if the first ingredient is lamb. A more nutritious ingredient would be brown rice, oatmeal, barley, etc., because these are all whole foods, not leftovers of products used in another industry.
Fats should be quality as well. Animal fat is a very generic term that can be anything, including recycled restaurant grease, or a mystery mix of unknown origin. A more nutritious fat would be beef fat, chicken fat, turkey fat, flaxseed, walnut oil, etc. Any high quality food will have quality fats.
Chemical preservatives have often been linked to cancer and are often disguised in the labeling so that it is hard to know what you are buying unless you know what to look for. BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, and propylene glycol are chemical preservatives. What you want to look for on your label are natural preservatives, such as Vitamin E.
This also holds true for artificial colors. Dogs do not care what color their food is and certainly do not need the chemicals.
Sweeteners are often added to lower quality foods to enhance the flavor and make their food more appetizing to dogs. Corn is a very cheap filler and is basically turned into sugar once it enters the dogs system. Corn syrup, sucrose, and other sweeteners are just not needed, and are detrimental to your pet's health. Your pet's food should be appetizing without having to add unhealthy, even harmful ingredients.
We cannot say it enough-the food you feed your pet directly impacts your pet's behavior and health. If your pet is itching, scratching, biting, has bowel problems, or is acting hyper, the first place to look is the food. Whenever anyone asks me about a health problem with their pet, my first question is always, "What are you feeding"?
If you purchase your pets food at the grocery store, or a big chain store, chances are you can buy a much healthier food for the same amount of money. You just need to know what you are buying. Healthy Tails only carries foods that are approved by Whole Dog Journal. Whole Dog Journal accepts no advertising dollars and is dedicated to the health and well-being of our companions. We feel so strongly about the foods we offer because we see the difference our foods make everyday. We are posting a sample ingredient label of one food we strongly recommend, Timberwolf Organics, so you can compare our label with your food label. It is our mission at Healthy Tails to help both you and your furry companion be healthier and happier, and we know our food can make a huge difference for your whole family.
Black Forest Canine Formula
Low Ash Lamb Meal (New Zealand), Venison Meal (Australia), Whole Ground Brown Rice, Whole Ground Millet, Whole Ground Barley, Whole Ground Flaxseed, Low Ash White Fish Meal, Carrot, Watercress, Spinach, Celery, Parsley, Fennel Seed, Wild Salmon Oil, Unrefined Walnut Oil, Kelp, Alfalfa Leaf, Amaranth, Blueberries, Glucosamine, Cranberries, Pears, Figs, Thyme, Anise Seed, Ground Cinnamon Bark, Fenugreek, Garlic Pieces, Lecithin, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Apples, Chicory Root, Taurine, Spirulina, Probiotics: (Lactobacillus Acidophillus, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Lactis, Bacillus Bifdum, Streptococcus Dialecetilacttis, Bacillus Subtillus), Mixed Tocopherols (A source of vitamin E) Choline Chloride, Lysine, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E supplement, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin A supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Ribofavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, D-Activated Animal Sterol (A source of Vitamin D3), Potassium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (A source of vitamin B6), Biotin, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Papain.