How To Read A Dog Food Label
Standing in the dog food aisle comparing everything from caloric content to serving sizes is enough to make your head spin. Dont panic! Know that at the bare minimum, the FDA has labeling standards, which include giving the name and address of the producer and listing ingredients in descending order by weightjust like labeling on packaged foods for humans. Most states have also adopted the AAFCOs more specific model of labeling language. Heres what you need to know about decoding the lingo on the label, based on our expert advice and FDA and AAFCO rules.
Discussion Of The Primary Ingredients
Knowing whats going into your pets food is vital, as some companies use less than stellar ingredients, so heres a look at the good and bad of Hills Science Diet dog food.
The majority of Hills Science Diet dog food recipes use real meat as the first ingredient, which means your pup is getting an excellent source of protein. Thats always a plus! However, for dogs with food sensitivities, there may be issues, as the most often occurring sensitivities are to common protein sources such as chicken. There are a handful of other options, such as turkey and lamb, to choose from, though.
And while most of Hills recipes list actual meat as the first ingredient, a few list as the first ingredient instead. This is also a good protein source for your dog, just not as excellent as real meat.
Peas & Legumes
A downside to Hills Science Diet dog food is that many recipes contain ingredients such as yellow peas, pea fiber, soybean meal, and other legumes. Why is this potentially bad? Because peas and legumes have been linked to heart disease in dogs. More research is needed into the subject to determine how large a link it is, but you should be aware of it when purchasing food for your pet.
The Answer: Prescription Diets Revealed
Now, if theres one thing I can say about my veterinary friends, its that they dont follow direction very well! Only one of the vets actually ranked all of the foods as asked.
But the rest had some very interesting things to say about the prescription diet.
So to start, here are the rankings in order from best to worst from Dr Marty Goldstein, author of The Nature of Animal Healing:
Food #2 ranked first because it contains all whole foods
Food #4 ranked second because it contains meal but otherwise contains whole foods
Food #1 ranked third, thanks to the by-product rice, by-product meal and overall low quality ingredients
Food #3 ranked last, based on the use of corn for its first ingredient, followed by by-product meal.
And if you havent guessed already, the prescription diet in that list is Food #3.
Want to hear what some of the other vets had to say about the prescription diet?
Dr Jodie Gruenstern: This food was the lowest quality in the list. It contains GMO corn, soy , which is a common allergen, synthetic vitamins/minerals, shavings , natural flavors, which usually mean MSG.
Dr Jean Dodds: Poor quality food: the first ingredients are corn, which is often GMO, and chicken by-product meal rather than whole chicken. Flax and soy are phytoestrogens.
Dr Peter Dobias: The worst recipe first ingredient is corn, then by-product, then flavors, wood chips. It may not be supermarket food but a veterinary diet right?!
Ironically, they thought many of them would be harmful.
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Best Prescription Dog Food For Allergies
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How Much Weight Loss Food Should I Feed My Dog
Since its impossible to predict the exact serving size thats perfect for each overweight dog or for each brand.
So, start with the feeding instructions printed on the package or the amount suggested by our dog food calculator.
Then, over time
Adjust that serving size up or down to reach and maintain your dogs ideal weight.
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Complaints About Science Diet
Some consumers have expressed anger at Science Diets quality control and the speed at which they issue recall notifications. Many dogs became ill, and some died due to the elevated levels of vitamin D during Science Diets last dog food recall, and some think that Science Diet did not do enough to warn pet parents of the dangers.
Other pet parents have also experienced issues with the food, even when it seems otherwise fine. This includes dogs experiencing vomiting, lethargy and other issues. If your dog is diabetic or obese, then they will also likely experience insulin spikes thanks to the high carbohydrate count.
In short, Science Diet is not a food that wed ever recommend, and its baffling that veterinary offices continue to push it to consumers. Its composed mainly of wheat and corn, which offer little to no nutritional value to your dog at best, and at worst will cause them to become obese, bringing on even more healthy issues.
We cant recommend it, and even if your dog needs to be on a specialty diet, such as for diabetes or kidney issues, there are foods which are much better than Science Diet. If you have a dog that needs to be on a specialty or restricted diet, then Daves Pet Food offers some excellent options.
If your pup is on a normal diet, then these are our favorite options for dog foods that are nutritious, but wont break the bank. They use high-quality ingredients, are free from empty filler calories, and provide excellent nutrition.
Busted: Dogs Naturally Calls Bull$hit On Prescription Diet Dog Food
Lets play a little game. Lets find out if youre among the 60% of smart dog owners or among the 40% who really, really need to read the rest of this article.
Veterinarians reportedly place between 35% to 45% of their patients on prescription diet dog food. And dog owners apparently seem willing to follow these directions.
A 2011 Pet Food Industry survey shows 83% of dog owners believed their vet was the most important source of information when it comes to nutrition. This is surprising, because theres certainly no evidence of this.
Most US veterinarians would admit their formal education on companion animal nutrition consisted of one basic course that, in some cases, had to be taught by a professor from another program because no veterinary faculty had the knowledge or expertise to teach it. Says veterinarian Debbie Phillips-Donaldson.
Any information on nutrition received after veterinary school usually comes via a handful of petfood manufacturers that sell through the veterinary channel. That information is by its very nature prone to be limited and biased.
Today Im going to show you why DNM isnt the only one calling Bull$hit on prescription diets.
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Hills Science Diet Perfect Weight
Many users saw improvement in their dogs energy level and weight within just weeks. Though some did point out that they feel the product is pricey they could noticeably see the improvement in their dog and understood and appreciated the difference this made for their furry friend.
I was recommended the Hill Science Diet Healthy Weight by my aunt. Its been 2 weeks and our lady lab is doing amazing! Her energy level has skyrocketed, and she loves the food. Thats the big difference I can see with her in a short time, however my mom has already noticed her weight loss too I highly recommend it for your pets!
The Most Important Section On The Label Is The Nutritional Adequacy Statement Dont Buy A Product If This Statement Is Missing
Often titled the AAFCO statement on the back of the label, this section confirms that the food contains the complete and balanced nutrition appropriate for your dogs life stage. If a product is missing this section, do not feed it to your dog as the main source of their diet.
If a product doesnt have this section, it might say somewhere on the label that the dog food is only intended for supplemental feeding. That might mean that the food should be used only as a treat or an add-on to your dogs main source of food.
Another case in which a food might not have the AAFCO statement is if its by prescription only. For example, a vet may recommend a vegetarian diet to help your dog manage a medical condition, and prescribe a specialty food that might not be considered complete and balanced by the AAFCO. But any product you buy over the counter as a dogs main source of food should always have this section.
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Hills Science Diet Recalls
As a major worldwide brand we can expect numerous recalls, and in perspective the standard of Hills products is generally good. They have, however, had some major recalls, the latest being as recent as when Hills issued a massive worldwide recall of various varieties of canned foods due to toxic levels of vitamin D. The recall was issued for 22 million cans covering both Hills Science Diet and Hills Prescription Diet wet food products, with numerous alleged reported deaths.
Hills were one of the many affected manufacturers who fell victim to the pet food recalls of 2007 which led to numerous pet deaths from vegetable proteins imported from China contaminated with melamine.
What Are The Best Low Fat Dog Foods
Finding a quality, low fat dog food can be difficult.
Thats because most tend to contain too little meat with more potatoes and cereal grains.
However, in contrast
Better low fat recipes contain not only lower fat but also a significant amount of meat-based protein.
With that goal in mind
Our research team has of dog foods that meets these specific guidelines.
You can get access to a list of The Dog Food Advisors most recommended low fat dog foods here.
Read Also: What Is Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food
Looking For A Healthier Option For Your Dog
Want to save on your monthly dog food costs? Purchase your dog food online and youll not only get the best pricing, but many retailers will even give you 5-10% off every purchase for signing up for auto-ship! However, our favorite vendor Chewy will also give you 30% off your first auto-ship order.
Hills Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Review
Puppy Small Bites Chicken & Barley Recipe
Adult Small Bites No Corn, Wheat, Soy
Adult Perfect Weight Small & Mini
Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Small & Mini Chicken Recipe
Adult 11+ Small Paws
Adult Healthy Mobility Small Bites
Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Adult Large Breed Lamb Meal & Corn Brown Rice Recipe
Adult No Corn, Wheat, Soy
Adult 7+ Small Paws Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe
Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Large Breed
Puppy No Corn, Wheat, Soy
Adult Large Breed No Corn, Wheat, Soy
Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed
Adult 6+ Large Breed
Adult 7+ No Corn, Wheat, Soy
Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Grain Free
Adult 6+ Large Breed No Corn, Wheat, Soy
Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Small Bites
Adult Oral Care
Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal, Barley & Rice Recipe
Adult Perfect Weight Small Bites
Puppy Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe
Adult Perfect Weight Large Breed
Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley
Adult Light Small Paws
Adult Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe
Puppy Small Paws Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe
Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe
Adult Small Bites Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe
Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Rice Recipe
Adult Small Paws Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe
Adult Chicken & Barley Recipe
Adult Small Bites Chicken & Barley Recipe
Puppy Large Breed Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe
Adult Light Small Bites
Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Small & Mini
Adult 7+ Senior Vitality
Adult Light With Liver
Adult Beef & Barley Entree
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Best Adult Speciality: Hills Science Adult Sensitive Stomach
If youve noticed that your dog has a more sensitive stomach then Hills Science Adult Sensitive Stomach is a great fit. First, its going to provide optimal digestive health as it contains prebiotic fibers which are very beneficial for bacteria and it will support a balanced microbiome. Second, its high digestibility means that it is optimal for nutrient absorption as well as healthier stool. Third, it contains vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids which also provide nourishment to help support your dogs skin and promote a healthy coat. Fourth, its made in the U.S. and is veterinarian recommended. The ingredients include chicken, brewers rice, healthy grains, vegetables, fibers, flaxseed, vitamins, and minerals. Like their human companion, dogs can also suffer from food allergies which can contribute to stomach and skin issues. Hills Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach also comes in a small breed and grain-free option as well.
Which Type Of Dog Is Hills Science Diet Puppy Food Best Suited For
This dog food brand should be suitable for the majority of puppies out there since the brand makes puppy-specific recipes. And because they produce foods that are size-specific as well, it should be easy to find a food for your pups size. However, there are only ten puppy-specific recipes, so variety is fairly limited, which might be an issue for some.
Giving your pet the highest quality nutrition is a top priority, so why not give them a food and water dish to match? The Hepper Nom Nom Bowl is our product, but its too good not to share.
Made from food-safe stainless steel, you can ensure that your pet is consuming the best nutrition out of the finest bowls on the market. to get yours.
Read Also: American Journey Large Breed Puppy Food
Which Types Of Dogs Are Best Suited To Hills Science Diet
While just about any dog can benefit from eating this food, its primarily designed for dogs with health issues. The nutritious foods are designed to be the first step in attacking any problems plaguing animals, regardless of age or size.
Most of the brands foods are high in grains, which can be a source of empty calories. As a result, overweight dogs should probably eat something else, like Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Natural Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food.
Is Science Diet Good Dog Food Full Analysis And Review
In our new series of articles, well be taking an in-depth look at several popular dog food brands to determine whether or not they are actually good for your dog. Well cover the ingredients, the nutritional breakdown, the brands recall history and any complaints from consumers.
In this article, well be looking at the Science Diet brand. So, is Science diet good for dogs? Lets find out! For the purposes of this article, well be doing our brand evaluation based on Science Diets adult large breed formula.
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The Best Diy Dog Food With Turkey And Veggies
Ever since we published our first Easy Homemade Dog Food Recipe we have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have told us that they have already made the leap and are preparing fresh meals for their pups at home! Ditching processed kibble once and for all is one of the best things you can do for your dog. We learned this ourselves this last year after our 11-year old dog had an incredibly positive change to his health once we moved to a healthy dog food! Recently, I developed a new 100% human grade homemade dog food recipe that utilizes some of the best fall produce for your dog like sweet potatoes, cranberries, rosemary, and sage! Our dogs love it so much I decided to share it here too so you and your pup can celebrate the best the season has to offer.
***Please note, I am not a veterinarian, just a very passionate dog owner! The information in this blog post documents our own personal experiences, research, and the recipes that we feed our dogs under our veterinarians careful supervision. Please, consult with your vet and use your own personal judgment when considering transitioning to a 100% human grade food diet for your pup.*** Updated with video 9/4/2021
For An Ingredient To Make It Into The Product Name The Food Needs To Contain A Certain Percentage Of The Ingredientbut There Are Caveats
AAFCO rules dictate how pet food ingredients can be listed in the product name. If there are multiple ingredients in the title, they must be listed in order of predominance, just like in the ingredients list. And though certain percentages of the titled ingredients are required to even make it into the name, these vary greatlyfrom 3% to 95%. Its good to know the naming rules so you dont get duped into thinking something called Dog Food with Chicken is jam-packed with poultry.
Below we list some of the most important rulesand what they mean for your dog.
The 95% rule: If a dog food is simply named Dog Food, it must contain at least 95% of the named ingredients. Because of the high percentage of the named ingredients, products named like this tend to have very few ingredients, according to the FDA site. Dog owners might appreciate that simplicity. The named ingredient or ingredients make up at least 95% of that named ingredient, excluding extra water added for processing. If a product is called Beef n Liver Dog Food, the first two ingredients must be beef and liver, respectively, not liver and beef, and make up 95% of the product.
The 25% rule : If a dog food has the term dinner in the title, the food can contain as little as 25% of the titular ingredient.
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