What Is the Difference Between Light and Reduced-Calorie Dog Foods?
Dog-food products described as light, lite, or low calorie must meet specific calorie levels set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), while dog foods named “less” or “reduced calorie” must show a percent reduction in calories as compared to a product in the same moisture-content category. The following table shows the guidelines as set by AAFCO for both dog and cat foods for determining whether a product can use the term “light.”
|Food Texture||Moisture Content||Dog Foods Maximum kcal ME/kg||Cat Foods Maximum kcalME/kg|
|Dry||less than 20% moisture||3,100||3,250|
|Semi-Moist||between 20 and 64% moisture||2,500||2,650|
|Canned||65% or more moisture||900||950|
What Is the Difference Between Lean and Reduced-Fat Dog Foods?
Like light versus reduced-calorie foods, lean or low-fat dog-food products must meet specific fat levels set by AAFCO, and less-fat or reduced-fat dog-food products need to show a percent reduction in fat as compared to a product in the same moisture category. AAFCO guidelines for dog and cat foods with “lean,” “low fat,” or similar words are shown in the following table.
|Food Texture||Moisture Content||Dog Foods Maximum % Crude Fat||Cat Foods Maximum % Crude Fat|
|Dry||less than 20% moisture||9||10|
|Semi-Moist||between 20 and 64% moisture||7||8|
|Canned||65% or more moisture||4||5|
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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