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Wholesome Ingredients

Pet food makers use a wide range of wholesome agricultural ingredients including meat, poultry, seafood and grains as well as ingredients produced while processing food that people eat.

Ingredients are selected based upon the function they can serve in the product. Ingredients can supply nutrients, provide texture or mouth feel, enable the food to hold its shape, enhance flavor, and preserve freshness. Many ingredients serve multiple functions.

Most pet food products are designed to provide all the nutrition a pet needs, and are therefore called complete and balanced. Making such a product isn’t easy. Veterinary nutritionists have identified between 42 and 48 essential nutrients for cats and dogs. In order to pack all those nutrients into a pet food, products regularly contain two to three dozen ingredients. It is also important to ensure that a pet food is palatable for pets. As veterinarians point out, if a pet will not eat its food, it will not obtain the nutrients it needs.

Guide to the ingredient panel on the label:

  • All ingredients are listed in the product ingredient panel.
  • Ingredients are listed in order of predominance by weight.
  • If an AAFCO-defined ingredient is used, then it is the AAFCO ingredient name that must appear in the ingredient list.
  • Common and usual ingredients (e.g., beef, turkey, salmon, rice, potato) are not defined by AAFCO.
  • Sources of vitamins and minerals are listed by their true chemical name, such as:
    • Sodium selenite for Selenium
    • Pyridoxine hydrochloride for Vitamin B6
    • Biotin for Vitamin B7

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