Read the label carefully before you pick that pet food

Unspecified cancer, mysterious heart ailments, inexplicable liver and kidney failure. These were identified as the most common conditions that afflicted dogs – many a time fatally – in the United Kingdom in an extensive survey undertaken in 2014. Shockingly, the survey pointed to a drastic dip of 11 per cent in the country’s dog’s expected lifespan over the previous decade.

Lo and behold, the survey was only about pedigree dogs. An astounding sample set of 48,891 dogs. Their average life span was just 10 years. A sharp one-year decline in their life expectancy over a period of a mere 10 years. So, what went awry in the intervening period?

Well, there were so many aspects attributed to the alarming phenomenon. Pet food figured prominently on the list. Now, take for instance, there are not many countries that regulate pet food supplies like the United States does. Nutritional facts and ingredient information printed on pet food packages in the U.S. are far more real than the ones sold in most other countries. Are we missing something here?

The U.S. Federal Government proposed that the Pet Food Institute researches, develops and proposes improved pet food labels, including a ‘Nutritional Facts’ box, presumably by liaising with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The country could naturally maintain the life expectancy figures of its dogs better than most of its neighbours.

As you and I know, there are innumerable pet food manufacturers in every country and regulations abound. But how many of them strictly adhere to the ingredient guidelines laid out by the authority concerned? It is the consumer that ends up buying low-quality products made from the cheapest and unhealthy ingredients without adequate nutritional information in the product packaging.

There are so many pet food variants available in the Indian market today – as in other geographies – with inappropriate ingredients like wheat, gluten, corn, grain, substandard protein, prohibited preservatives, colourants and additives. These can take a heavy toll on the health and well-being of our pets. There are cases wherein there is absolutely no nutrition assured for pets by these foods.

Thus it becomes all the more important for you to read the pet food packaging labels thoroughly and get to know whether they have used wholesome ingredients and permissible additives. Do your basic research, then read ingredient labels, seek out independent ratings and reviews, before buying any pet food.

Your dog’s day will then be made.

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