Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Two Reasons to Check the Moisture Content of Your Pet’s Food

When selecting a pet food, shoppers are getting smarter and smarter about reading labels. We’re scanning ingredients, looking for foods with quality protein sources, and without the common pet allergens. We consult the Guaranteed Analysis section to see how much protein and fat are in a given food. But what about water? When evaluating different pet food choices, comparing moisture content is also a good idea.
Obviously canned pet foods have much higher moisture content, usually 75%-78%, than dry foods which contain only around 10-12% moisture. This is why canned food diets are often supplemented with the more nutrient dense dry pet foods. The more interesting comparison is to look at the relative moisture content of various canned pet foods. This simple exercise can tell you two things: 1) the level of nutrients versus water in the food, and 2) if the food is likely to contain unwanted artificial ingredients, like thickening agents.

1 - Nutrient Density

It’s simple: The more water in a can of pet food, the less food it contains. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates how pet food is labeled, and they dictate that the maximum percentage moisture content for a pet food is 78%. But that’s for pet “food.”

AAFCO allows exceptions to this rule that are important to note. Products labeled as a “stew,” or “in gravy” can have as much water as they want in the product. The FDA noted, “Some of these exempted products have been found to contain as much as 87.5% moisture.¹ That means a pet stew or gravy containing 87.5% water has only 12.5% food to supply needed nutrients.

Compare that to a Nature’s Logic canned food, with guaranteed maximum moisture content of 72% and formulas actually testing closer to 65% moisture. The Nature’s Logic canned foods contain 28-35% food, up to almost three times the nutrients as in the water-laden stew or gravy. In fact, because there is so much less water in our foods, the protein levels are much higher than other canned pet foods. Nature’s Logic is introducing new labeling (see image below) with an increased guaranteed minimum protein level of 11%. Most canned pet foods guarantee only 8 or 9% minimum protein. Our more nutrient dense formula gives pet food shoppers a lot more nutrition for their money.

2 - Artificial Thickening Agents

Putting extremely high levels of moisture in a pet product, labeled as a gravy or stew, allows the manufacturer to create very inexpensive canned products to maximize their profits. Many of these products contain over 80% moisture and manufacturers must use artificial thickeners, such as glutens, guar gum, xanthan gum powder, or carageenan, to make the final product appear thick and presentable. This cost-cutting technique was even promoted as a strategy for manufacturers to “ride out the effects of the global economic downturn and save money” in the article “Reducing Costs in Wet Pet food Production: Savings can often be achieved by optimizing usage of gels and thickeners,” by David Primrose.²

Nature’s Logic uses no artificial thickeners, or man-made substances of any kind. Our foods are 100% natural and have low moisture content to provide more nutrition to your pet. For more information about Nature’s Logic canned, dry, and raw foods, please visit http://www.natureslogic.com/.

1. http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/ucm047113.htm
2. http://www.petfoodindustry-digital.com/petfoodindustry/200911?folio=38#pg40

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