What is ‘Gourmet’ or ‘Natural’ Pet Food

 

Q

What is ‘Gourmet’ or ‘Natural’ Pet Food?

A

Pet food bags are covered in claims, such as ‘natural’, ‘premium’, or ‘organic’. Many of these claims are legal standards that must be met, but others are distractors meant to trick customers into purchasing their food. Let’s review a few of the common claims made on pet food bags.

If ‘natural’ is noted on the bag, the food cannot contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. If the bag says the food is ‘all-natural’ or ‘100% natural’, all ingredients in the food must be natural. But if the label claims the food has ‘natural chicken flavor’, for example, only the chicken flavoring must be natural, and the remaining ingredients do not have to be.

‘Premium’, ‘gourmet’, or ‘human-grade’ have no legal definition.  These foods are not required to have higher quality nutrition or ingredients than their competitors. Pet foods claiming to be ‘complete and balanced’ based upon the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), are legally bound to meet all the nutritional needs of pets and have nutrients in the correct ratios for health.

If you have questions about your pet’s food, or if you would like to discuss appropriate diets for your pet, please schedule a consultation with us at Hudson Veterinary Hospital.

Dr. Crane