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What’s in Your Pet Food?

orange and white cat on brown fur textile

Pet food companies like to use colorful fonts on their packages of pet food. It is supposed to attract your attention, but in truth, it makes the dog or cat’s eyes light up and the mouth water. The words on pet food labels have meanings that you may not learn about until you read them. Most of them are used to sell supplements designed to improve a pet’s health, increase a pet’s energy, or treat specific health problems. If you see these words on pet food labels, but do not understand them, it is time to learn more about pet health.

The words “raw” or “dried” on pet food labels indicate a product that has undergone a lengthy cooking process. Products listed under this category include canned raw dog food, dried cat food, and raw dog kibble, dehydrated raw chicken food, and dehydrated beef jerky. Bold font indicates the primary pet food brand; other products listed under this category are pet food made by this brand.

Digestive supplements for pet food are pet food products that contain an assortment of different herbs, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can help a pet’s diet. These supplements are designed to improve a pet’s health and help to maintain good health throughout a pet’s lifetime. There are numerous plants and herbs listed under this category. They include alfalfa, bilberry, burdock, dogwood bark, heartleaf, hawthorn, parsley, red clover, rock phosphate, and sedative herbs. Each of these herbs has at least one herb that can be used for digestive purposes.

Probiotics, or “probiotics,” are the friendly bacteria that work in the digestive system to keep harmful bacteria and parasites out of your pet’s body. A number of different Probiotics are available. Some of these include bifidobacteria, acidophilus, acidosis, lactobacillus, rhamnoside, salicylate, and tetracycline. Although there are several Probiotics listed under this category, the most common are bifidobacteria and acidophilus.

A supplement is not a supplement as commonly believed by consumers. It is a product that is separately packaged with a number of different ingredients. Common ingredients are antioxidants, amino acids, carotenoids, digestive enzymes, vitamins, mineral salts, probiotics, and additional beneficial compounds. Common pet food brands do not use ingredients such as probiotics or antioxidants.

Dry food is processed differently than pet food manufactured using pasteurized and extruded methods. Many pet food companies use pasteurization and extrusion to process pet foods. Pasteurization is the process of drying pet foods using high temperature temperatures. The pet food companies that process dry foods are more expensive than pet food companies that process pet foods using pasteurization and extrusion.