Pet foods are animal feed meant specifically for pets to eat. Commonly sold at pet stores and groceries, it’s typically specific to the kind of animal, like a cat or dog food. Almost all commercial meat used for domestic animals is a by-product of the commercial food industry, and isn’t considered “human grade” in the same way as human grade meats are. The term “pet food” is simply a marketing term, since there are no legal regulations in the US to control what ingredients, if any, are included in the food. This is why pet foods tend to be very cheap in price, since they are not regulated.
Many pet foods tend to be very inexpensive, even though the ingredients may be inferior. The reason for this is that the cheaper they are, the lower the quality of ingredients. Animal flesh products (such as liver, heart and kidneys) are more expensive to grow than their meat products (such as cows’ milk and poultry), so farmers can raise them for a cheaper cost. If raised using crowded pens, the quality of the meat products will suffer. Also, most people just don’t want to buy fully grown, fully edible meats and eggs for their pets, so they replace these products with pre-packaged, dry, moist foods that are available in almost any supermarket.
Pet foods need to contain specific nutrients, such as protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins. They also must be processed to prevent spoilage, as well as meet FDA requirements for wholesome ingredients. While all these things are true of commercially processed foods, the way these foods are packaged and marketed is completely different. For example, you may find dry dog foods in grocery stores and some grocery stores have “pet food carts”. These carts are essentially a food store for pets, where owners can purchase kibble from a shelf or through a vending machine.
Pet Foods Manufacturers must label the foods they sell as pet foods with the Nutrition Facts panel or ingredient label. Pet foods, which are manufactured by companies other than The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are not required to comply with any national standards. This means that any food label for sale can refer to any pet food, whether it meets the national standards or not. Some pet foods are only available on the market in certain states, but they are sold as if they were made for dogs everywhere! Some of this can be very misleading, and pet owners should be aware.
The lack of regulation or standards has given rise to a whole new kind of food for dogs. Manufacturers who make their own private brand of dog food are claiming to use quality ingredients and have more natural vitamins and minerals than traditional brands. But even though manufacturers of commercial dog foods can claim a higher nutrient content per serving, the actual nutrients in the dog food are very different from those found in human food. For example, humans need a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to maintain their health, whereas dogs simply do not.
There are several types of foods that most pet owners would prefer for their pets over kibble. However, there is one major concern: Many manufacturers of commercially prepared foods use low-grade ingredients that are cheaper to produce. Because of this, many pet foods are cheaper than kibble but no healthier. To be certain that your pet is getting the proper nutrition, you should read the ingredients and compare moisture content, protein and fat to precise amounts to meet the recommended weight advertised on the label.