The Differences between Pet Food in the UK and the USA

All types of pets have unique nutritional requirements that may not be satisfied by typical pet food. Whenever a pet food advert plays on the television, it always advertises the brand of pet food as the best around; full of vitamins, minerals, and made to keep your pet healthy. But there’s no easy way for pet owners to check that one type of pet food is any better than the other. In actual fact, there are many differences in the pet food that is available around the world.

Every year, billions of dollars are spent to convince pet owners, breeders, and vets that they should only be feeding their pets 100% balanced nutritional pet food. They label pet owners irresponsible if they don’t feed their animals the recommended types of foods – and the growing interest in natural and organic pet food has only made the situation worse.

It’s impossible to find a commercial pet food that can provide your pet with an absolutely perfect balance of minerals, vitamins, and other necessary nutritional values that a pet may need. A simple change in exercise and nutrition can greatly and positively impact a pet’s life. The goal of good pet nutrition is to supply your pet’s body with the appropriate nutrients that they need.

Pet food in the USA

In the USA, pet owners typically believe that the American Feed Control Officials have some say in the pet food products that appear on their local supermarket shelves. However, it’s actually the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that is responsible for regulating pet foods. The American Feed Control Officials only devise pet food and feed labeling guidelines.

The American Feed Control Officials protect consumers through labeling requirements, ingredient requirements, and nutritional requirements. Any pet food manufacturer that wants to make the claim that their product is nutritionally complete must meet the American Feed Control Officials’ nutritional requirements, feeding trial requirements, or produce a food that is similar to a product which has already met these requirements.

The nutrient profiles set forth by the American Feed Control Officials list minimum and maximum levels of intake for protein, fat, vitamin and mineral content of foods. However, the level of nutrients for a product is only expressed on a ‘dry matter’ basis. The levels of nutrients listed in the guaranteed analysis on the pet food label are expressed on an ‘as fed’ basis. To convert ‘as fed’ to ‘dry matter’ the consumer must do some calculations, but this essentially means that the food you feed your pet won’t have the same amount of nutrients listed on the packaging.

Pet Food in the UK

Under EU law, in the UK, all ingredients used for pet food has to be fit for human consumption according to EU requirements. But regulations require that pet food that contains by-products be labelled as “Not for human consumption” even though such by-products have to be derived from animals declared fit for human consumption. This helps immediately rule out products from brands that pet owners shouldn’t be feeding their pets.

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for animal feed legislation which covers the manufacture of feed for non-food producing animals (such as pets) including pet food and pet treats in the UK. There are more than 50 pieces of legislation governing the manufacture of pet food. Feed labeling legislation permits pet food manufacturers to highlight the presence or absence of a certain ingredient and to provide additional information.

The additional information added by the pet food manufacturer is subject to certain safeguards. It has to contain quantifiable factors which can be proved, and it should not mislead consumers or make medicinal claims. These safeguards ensure that pet food will contain ingredients that are stated on the label.

What to remember when shopping

To qualify as pet food, a product list of the food must include four categories on its label: crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and moisture. However, pet owners should also pay attention to the raw ingredients that the pet food contains.

One pet may be fine on standard store-brand pet food, but for another, it may make them ill. This is the same in the USA and the UK. Each animal is unique, and it may take some time for a pet owner to figure out what kinds of food will and won’t settle in their pet’s stomach properly.

Terms like “gourmet” mean little in the industry of pet food. Pet food products are not required to uphold any standard of quality beyond what the law requires of the product – which means that “gourmet” and “premium” food is just as good as store-brand food. Even brands that claim that a product contains “human-grade meat” could be questionable because the standard of meat humans can legally consume changes.

Whether you’re shopping for your pet food in the USA or the UK, there are a few things that pet owners should bear in mind when they’re looking at labels. The best pet food for most pets should be high in protein and low in fillers. They should contain at least two meat sources in the first five ingredients on the product’s list. When looking at a list of ingredients, remember: the more of it a product contains, the higher up the list it will be. Stay away from pet foods that contain chicken by-products and meat by-products as these frequently include waste parts as well as rejected meats.

Pet food stockists, such as Discount Pet Supplies Glasgow, have the expertise that any pet owner should look for when buying food for their pet. As an example, Discount Pet Supplies Glasgow are aware that the food a pet owner chooses can greatly impact their pet’s happiness and health. Discount Pet Supplies Glasgow carry their own brand of pet food where ingredients are clearly listed, and products are separated by the type and age of pet they’re suitable for – this is perfect pet food labeling practice.


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