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The Perfect Pet Food...how To Find It

Feb 2, 2008
I can't even count the time I've been asked 'What is the perfect pet food?' Every pet owner wants to know which brand is safe and healthy. All pets and their needs are different, however I can give you some great advice on what to look for to find your pet's Perfect Food.

I want to examine the marketing techniques used to sell pet food. Finding the perfect pet food often times means ignoring the advertising or marketing. So...as an example, I've made two different pet food labels - seen below. Don't cheat and scroll below the labels! Look at these two labels as if you were considering them for your own pet. Think about what attracts you or doesn't attract you by what is said on the label.

Kirby's Kibble Super Supper

Premium Pet Food for Premium Pets!

Made from REAL USDA Proteins Guaranteed Fresh! 100% Complete Nutrition


Kirby's Kibble Plain Pet Food

Made from Chicken Feet, Peanut Hulls, And other by-Products

Stays fresh for 3 years with our blend of Chemical Preservatives!

Ingredients from US Suppliers (imported from around the World)

Complete Nutrition for your Pet

Kirby's Kibble is plain pet food for plain 'ol pets!!

I can assume you only like one of these two pet foods. However, the real truth about them is that both foods contain the very same ingredients - identical ingredients!

The pet food label that is being completely honest is Kirby's Plain Pet Food. I can guarantee you however - you will never see a dog food or cat food label being this honest. The manufacturer will not provide you with the information they use chicken feet (yes, some use chicken feet) or share with you they import cheap and possibly dangerous ingredients.

Kirby's Super Supper is what you are going to see at the pet store. But remember - they contain the EXACT same ingredients.

Below is what to look out for on pet food labels and in pet food advertising...

1. Pictures of Wholesome Ingredients. Often, pictures of ingredients placed on a pet food label is NOT what is inside the bag. Pictures of fresh meat and vegetables are marketing and meant to attract you. Don't trust the pictures.

2. Super Supper. You want to give your dog or cat a 'Super Supper' don't you? And pet food marketers know you do too! This pet food might be super - but it might not be. The only way to know if a dog food or cat food is providing your pet a quality supper is to examine the list of ingredients on the back of the bag.

3. Premium Pet Food for Premium Pets. And yes, we all want to give our pet a premium food instead of just a 'plain food'. We all feel our pets are special and deserve premium treatment! But again, to know for sure if this pet food is premium, you must look at the ingredients.

4. Made with REAL USDA Protein. Chicken feet come from USDA meat processing facilities. Enough said.

5. strong>Guaranteed Fresh. Dog food and cat food labels only provide pet owners with a 'Best by' date. Guaranteed Fresh could be a pet food that is two years old that contains potentially dangerous chemicals to extend the shelf life.

6. 100% Complete Nutrition. If a pet food uses approved ingredients of AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) - chicken feet and peanut hulls ARE approved pet food ingredients - they are provided with the 100% Complete Nutrition statement.

Both Kirby's Kibble varieties have the same Guaranteed Analysis...Crude Protein: 23% Crude Fat: 14% Crude Fiber: 4% Moisture: 10%

Ingredient listing for both foods... Corn, Chicken by-Product Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with BHA/BHT), Corn Gluten Meal, Peanut Hulls (source of fiber), Minerals and Vitamins.

The Kirby's Kibble statement of 'REAL USDA Proteins' - even though the protein is chicken feet - is a truthful statement. Real chicken feet come from real USDA meat processing plants. Pet food manufacturers are allowed to use chicken feet in their foods (and treats) - but on the label you will see by-products listed instead.

Kirby's Kibble purchases some ingredients from a worldwide supplier...is that China? Do they test those ingredients?...probably not. Pet Food manufacturers are not required to test any ingredients for quality or safety. Imported ingredients could perhaps not have the same quality control as US ingredients.

I understand this is going to sound absurd...but if I decided to actually make Kirby's Kibble pet food, I would receive AAFCO approval for this food using chicken feet and peanut hulls and other cheap or imported ingredients. I would be provided with the 100% Complete Nutrition statement and I would be allowed to use the Kirby's Super Supper label above stating Premium Pet Food! However...I would NOT be allowed to make this pet food using the same ingredients and use the Kirby's Plain Pet Food bag telling you I used chicken feet in the food. Rules of AAFCO do not allow a pet food manufacturer to tell a potential customer the grade or quality of any ingredients.

As long as a pet food manufacturer uses AAFCO approved ingredients - and as long as the food provides the required protein, fat, minerals and other nutrients - they are provided with the 100% complete nutrition claim. It does seem impossible that chicken feet and peanut hulls could be 'complete nutrition' - but that is the rules. I'm not kidding.

To wrap this up, even though it's a tough pill to swallow, you need to realize that the pet food industry is set up with very long, broad list of approved ingredients and labeling regulations - but...they all fit nicely into a few methods to present them to petsumers. Quality minded pet food producers as well as profit minded pet food producers all have to follow the same rules. You don't need to read the AAFCO publication or go back to school and study nutrition to pick out a quality pet food. Just learn a few ingredients - and be aware of marketing techniques that are commonly used to sell pet food. It's not difficult - it's basically just changing how you think about pet food. We want to trust what the label says, but unfortunately they are not all telling you the truth. Some that want to tell you the truth legally can't. Take off the rose colored glasses when you are deciding on your perfect pet food.
About the Author
To read more about pet food visit http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com. Sign up for the free newsletter and read from a library of articles in Paws Club.
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