Decoding Pet Food Labels

A guide to understand the contents of your pet’s food

Besides having to choose the best food for your pet with regard to his age and size, you also want to make sure that the food you feed him contains the best nutritional value. For that, you’ll have to decipher the label on the food.

Decoding Pet Food Labels

December 07, 2018

What to look for

There are seven pieces of information that will guide you on the food inside the packaging:

  1. V-number: This number means the food is registered according to Act 36 of 1947. All new pet food brands introduced to the market must be assessed and registered by the Registrar of Act 36 at the Department of Agriculture.
  2. Ingredients: All ingredients used in the formulation must be listed according to weight – highest to lowest. Ideally, for dogs, protein should be listed first. Vitamins, minerals, preservatives and binding agents must also be included.
  3. Guaranteed analysis: This is a guideline of the nutrient quantities of the pet food. If a claim is made on the label with regard to nutrients like phosphorus or calcium, this must be included in the guaranteed analysis. Values listed as ‘max’ or ‘min’ are not the actual values found in the food, but a guideline of the maximum or minimum quantity of nutrients found in the food.
  4. Manufacturer details: All details must be displayed, as well as a consumer contact number and the address of the company.
  5. Detailed feeding guide: Manufacturers must give consumers a guideline on portion sizes and quantities required by the pet.
  6. Date of manufacture and expiration date: The date the food was made and its expiry date must be included on the bag or tin.
  7. PFI logo: PFI members of good standing are permitted to use the PFI logo on packaging and other print mediums to show their membership. This is a recommendation only and common on locally manufactured foods.

Remember to always buy the best food that you can afford, whether it is premium, medium or food available in retail stores. Speak to the vet at Family Pet Centre for the best possible option for your pet.


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