WASHINGTON — Pet Food Institute, the leading trade association of the US pet food and treat manufacturing industry, on Feb. 25 released a new video tool and web page detailing key information on pet food labels, what it means and why it’s important.

“PFI is committed to long and healthy lives for pets and sharing resources about pet food nutrition,” said Dana Brooks, president and CEO of PFI. “Pet lovers want to know they are making the right choice when selecting food for their dog or cat, and with this video, they have the facts ready at their fingertips.” 

An animated video walks through the basic components of a pet food label and explains the key components, including necessary nutritional information and the regulations that back them up. This includes information that is required to appear on a pet food label, including the intended species, weight or volume of the food, feeding instructions, and manufacturer or distributor contact information.

For example, each pet food label is overseen by state regulatory officials before that product is allowed to go to market, making sure that it is accurate and representative of that product and the nutrition it offers.

The video explains that complete-and-balanced pet food must meet standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which are different for dogs and cats, to be labeled as a nutritionally complete diet. 

The video is supplemented by additional information on the new Pet Food Institute webpage, “What’s in a Pet Food Label,” which further explains what makes a pet food complete and balanced, what is appropriate for life-stage pet food labels — such as “growth and reproduction”,  adult maintenance,” or “senior” pet foods — as well as the nutritional adequacy statement, the ingredient list and the guaranteed analysis.

“I think this 90-second video helps consumers and pet parents understand that there is a lot of information on the bag but this is where I should look,” Brooks said. “It also helps direct them to our website for those who want more information.”.

Pet Food Institute, for example, says that large-breed puppy food labels should reflect reduced levels of certain nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, to help avoid joint issues, among other challenges, later in life in specific breeds.

Additionally, to clear up some confusion about unfamiliar or difficult-to-pronounce ingredients, Pet Food Institute’s new pet food label resources explain that most vitamin and mineral ingredients are required by the US Food and Drug Administration to include their chemical name. 

For instance, Pyridoxine hydrochloride and Thiamine mononitrate may look and sound like chemicals or artificial ingredients, when in reality they are just the required chemical names of vitamin B6 and vitamin B1. 

Find more information, visit Pet Food Institute’s web page about how to read pet food labels.

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