© SlimDoggy, Inc.
MY DOG ATE WHAT?
How To Read a Dog Food Label:
How much and what to feed your dog
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Incorrect Feeding Causes Problems
“The most important decision that you make each day
regarding your pet...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
My Dog Ate What?
Key Learnings
• How Much to Feed Your Dog
• Estimating your dog‟s daily calorie needs
•...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Quick Bio
• Founder of SlimDoggy.com- canine fitness, food, and
weight management.
• Weekly dog food art...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
SlimDoggy Jack - Our Inspiration
Before:105 lbs
After: 83 lbs
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
How Much Should I feed my dog?
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
It‟s All Math
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
It‟s All Math
• Weight management is all about math:
• Calories (kcals) burned >= Kcals eaten
• Three pr...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Daily Kcals Burned
Dog Weight (lbs) 10 40 70
Little exercise 280 790 1,200
15 minutes, light
activity
29...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Measure Accordingly
• Example: 821 kcals per day =
• 3.7 cups of Merrick French Country (2 ¼ cans )
• 2....
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Average Calories per Cup
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
How Much To Feed is Only Part of It
• Knowing how much to feed is crucial to ensure that your
dog mainta...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
What am I feeding my dog?
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Reading a Dog Food Label…
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
How Many Ingredients?
Why do you think dog foods have so many ingredients?
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Interesting Info
• Although omnivores, dogs are descendents of the
carnivore wolf.
• Ancestral diet was ...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Snapshot of a “Good” Dog Food
High in protein (meat as a first ingredient).
Real, named protein sources ...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Focus on Macro Nutrients
Protein: necessary for growth and development,
muscular, skeletal, and immune s...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Protein - What to Look For
Good Bad
Chicken Poultry
Beef Meat
Salmon Fish
Turkey Liver Liver
Menhaden By...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Fat - What to Look For
Good Bad
Chicken Fat Poultry Fat
Beef Fat Beef Tallow
Canola Oil Vegetable Oil
Fl...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Carbs - What to Look For
Good Bad
Rice Middlings/mids
Oats Starch
Barley Gluten
Sweet Potato Cereal
Chic...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
How Much of the Macronutrients?
Macro Nutrient
Growth
(Puppy) and
Reproduction
Adult
Maintenance
Protein...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Guaranteed Analysis
• Summary of macro nutrients in a food.
Report on Protein, Fat, Fiber, and Moisture ...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Guaranteed Analysis: Two Examples
Fresh Pet- Turkey, Vegetable & Rice (Wet)
• Protein: 9%
• Fat: 6%
• Fi...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Dry Matter Basis
A standard to compare dry and canned foods.
Re-calculate the Guaranteed Analysis after ...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Dry Matter Basis: Easy as Pie Chart
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
What About Bob Carbs?
Note: fiber comes from carbs so it is not included in the calc
Estimate carbs with...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Dry Matter Basis
Fresh Pet- Turkey, Vegetable & Rice
• Protein: 38%
• Fat: 25%
• Carb: 29%
Merrick- Clas...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
How Does Your Food Stack Up?
Unfortunately, the average dog food is carb heavy 
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
More Tips and Ingredients
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
1st Ingredients Most Important
Ingredients are listed based on their prominence in the
recipe.
Look for ...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Splitting Example
From an actual label:
Chicken Meal, Ground Whole Wheat, Wheat Flour, Corn Gluten
Meal,...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
How Common is Grain Splitting?
33 % of the dry and canned food have 2 or more
ingredients of rice, corn,...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Other Ingredient Groups
Besides the macro nutrients, there are other ingredient
groups to examine:
Fruit...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Fruits and Vegetables
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are mostly tertiary ingredients but
can provide some key ben...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Preservatives
• Preservatives extend the shelf life of dog food
• A „necessary evil‟ given the way the i...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Preservatives
Good Bad
Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) Ethoxyquin – this is a pesticide and
has been linke...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Colorings
As humans, color and presentation matter!
Yum,
food!
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Colorings
• Why are colorings added?
• To make food more appealing to the human.
• To mask low quality i...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Sweeteners
• Dogs taste sweet, yet… no excuse to lace food with sugar
or artificial sweeteners.
• Added ...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Sweeteners
Good Bad
Cherries/Berries Sugar, caramel, cane
Apple Corn syrup
Carrots Sucrose, fructose
Pea...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Sweeteners
35% of treats contain 1 or more low-q sweetener!
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Vitamins and Supplements
• Often added to meet minimum AAFCO standards.
• Some of the benefits may be lo...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Vitamins and Supplements
Good Bad
Chelated, chelates Vitamin K3 or Menadione
Non-acidic Vitamin C- Ester...
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
More Information
www.slimdoggy.com
SlimDoggy
@MySlimDoggy
SlimDoggy
© SlimDoggy, Inc.
Thank You
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My Dog Ate What? How to Correctly Read Dog Food Labels

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Speaker: Steve Pelletier

Canine obesity is a huge and costly problem caused by inappropriate exercise levels, poor feeding habits, or both. A dog owner must be able to decide which brand and how much to feed their dog to keep them fit and healthy. In order to do that, they must read and understand the dog food labels, ingredients and recommended serving sizes and be able to tell what is suitable for THEIR pet given their age and activity level.

Takeaways:
Learn about “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of food ingredients
Learn how to better estimate the proper serving sizes for your dog
Better understanding of how to read dog food labels

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My Dog Ate What? How to Correctly Read Dog Food Labels

  1. 1. © SlimDoggy, Inc. MY DOG ATE WHAT? How To Read a Dog Food Label: How much and what to feed your dog
  2. 2. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Incorrect Feeding Causes Problems “The most important decision that you make each day regarding your pet’s health is what you feed it. What you pour into that bowl each morning has the greatest influence of anything else you will do to keep them healthy and living long” ~ Dr. Ernie Ward, Founder, APOP
  3. 3. © SlimDoggy, Inc. My Dog Ate What? Key Learnings • How Much to Feed Your Dog • Estimating your dog‟s daily calorie needs • Calories and serving sizes • How to Read and Evaluate a Dog Food Label • Macro nutrient analysis • Interesting statistics • Other ingredient categories
  4. 4. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Quick Bio • Founder of SlimDoggy.com- canine fitness, food, and weight management. • Weekly dog food articles • FitDog Friday fitness articles • Creator of the SlimDoggy App, the Run Keeper and Weight Watchers for dogs. • Health and Fitness “Enthusiast”. • Dog Lover/Rescuer - dogs in the family for almost 50 years. 
  5. 5. © SlimDoggy, Inc. SlimDoggy Jack - Our Inspiration Before:105 lbs After: 83 lbs
  6. 6. © SlimDoggy, Inc. How Much Should I feed my dog?
  7. 7. © SlimDoggy, Inc. It‟s All Math
  8. 8. © SlimDoggy, Inc. It‟s All Math • Weight management is all about math: • Calories (kcals) burned >= Kcals eaten • Three primary factors that determine kcals: 1. Age (puppies are a furnace!) 2. Weight (60-90%) - due to metabolic processes required to sustain life. 3. Activity (10-40%) – due to exercise and movement. Most dogs are probably in the 10-15% range. “You can‟t out-exercise a bad diet but…” -SlimDoggy Steve
  9. 9. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Daily Kcals Burned Dog Weight (lbs) 10 40 70 Little exercise 280 790 1,200 15 minutes, light activity 290 821 Exercise= 30 1,248 30 minutes, vigorous activity 310 870 1,320 Derived from Waltham Center Approach: kg^.75 * Factor How many calories does your dog burn each day?
  10. 10. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Measure Accordingly • Example: 821 kcals per day = • 3.7 cups of Merrick French Country (2 ¼ cans ) • 2.4 cups of Natures Variety Lamb (1.4 cans) • Not including treats! Tips: 1. Check your dog foods kcals (and units) especially when switching foods. 2. Don’t rely on the label to tell you how much to feed instructions are too generic. 3. Exercise helps keep weight off over the long run: 3 lbs per year in our example. Imagine feeding same amount after switch? About ¾ cans per day too much– more than 300 cans per year extra food!
  11. 11. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Average Calories per Cup
  12. 12. © SlimDoggy, Inc. How Much To Feed is Only Part of It • Knowing how much to feed is crucial to ensure that your dog maintains a healthy weight. • Knowing what you are feeding your dog is crucial to ensure that they are eating the „best‟ food possible.
  13. 13. © SlimDoggy, Inc. What am I feeding my dog?
  14. 14. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Reading a Dog Food Label…
  15. 15. © SlimDoggy, Inc. How Many Ingredients? Why do you think dog foods have so many ingredients?
  16. 16. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Interesting Info • Although omnivores, dogs are descendents of the carnivore wolf. • Ancestral diet was 85 % meat with some vegetation and fruits. • High in protein and fat • Little carbohydrates • Nothing artificial • Short digestive tracks do not easily process plant/grain proteins. • Tip: Keep it simple! Minimally processed foods with no artificial chemicals is best! Think “Paleo”.
  17. 17. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Snapshot of a “Good” Dog Food High in protein (meat as a first ingredient). Real, named protein sources (e.g., beef or chicken). No by-products. High quality fats (e.g. named fats or oils). High quality carbohydrates (e.g. oats, peas). No artificial ingredients (e.g. red 40, Propylene Glycol) Little or no fillers. If you see corn in the first few ingredients, be wary.
  18. 18. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Focus on Macro Nutrients Protein: necessary for growth and development, muscular, skeletal, and immune systems Fat: provides essential nutrients such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids essential for healthy skin, coat, immune, kidney and other functions Carbs: “what‟s not to like?” Source of fiber.
  19. 19. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Protein - What to Look For Good Bad Chicken Poultry Beef Meat Salmon Fish Turkey Liver Liver Menhaden By-products Named proteins that you would see in nature Unnamed “meals” Named meals are OK and concentrated protein sources. We prefer just meat.
  20. 20. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Fat - What to Look For Good Bad Chicken Fat Poultry Fat Beef Fat Beef Tallow Canola Oil Vegetable Oil Flax Oil Lard
  21. 21. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Carbs - What to Look For Good Bad Rice Middlings/mids Oats Starch Barley Gluten Sweet Potato Cereal Chick Peas Corn????
  22. 22. © SlimDoggy, Inc. How Much of the Macronutrients? Macro Nutrient Growth (Puppy) and Reproduction Adult Maintenance Protein 22% 18% Fat 8% 5% AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) publishes nutritional minimums. No mention of carbs! How do I know the profile of my dog‟s food?
  23. 23. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Guaranteed Analysis • Summary of macro nutrients in a food. Report on Protein, Fat, Fiber, and Moisture %. Used as an indication of food‟s macro composition.
  24. 24. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Guaranteed Analysis: Two Examples Fresh Pet- Turkey, Vegetable & Rice (Wet) • Protein: 9% • Fat: 6% • Fiber: 1.5% • Moisture: 76% Merrick- Classic Real Beef with Whole Barley & Carrot (Dry) • Protein : 30% • Fat: 15% • Fiber: 3.5% • Moisture: 11% Which is higher in protein?
  25. 25. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Dry Matter Basis A standard to compare dry and canned foods. Re-calculate the Guaranteed Analysis after adjusting for moisture. Rebase the GA values with: GA % / (100% -Moisture%)
  26. 26. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Dry Matter Basis: Easy as Pie Chart
  27. 27. © SlimDoggy, Inc. What About Bob Carbs? Note: fiber comes from carbs so it is not included in the calc Estimate carbs with a simple trick: 100%-protein-fat-fiber-ash-moisture, where ash = 2% for can, 7.5 % for dry • Carbs %= 100%-9%-6%-76%-2% = 7.0% as reported • DM basis= 7.0% / (100-76%) = 29%
  28. 28. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Dry Matter Basis Fresh Pet- Turkey, Vegetable & Rice • Protein: 38% • Fat: 25% • Carb: 29% Merrick- Classic Real Beef with Whole Barley & Carrot • Protein : 34% • Fat: 17% • Carb: 41%
  29. 29. © SlimDoggy, Inc. How Does Your Food Stack Up? Unfortunately, the average dog food is carb heavy 
  30. 30. © SlimDoggy, Inc. More Tips and Ingredients
  31. 31. © SlimDoggy, Inc. 1st Ingredients Most Important Ingredients are listed based on their prominence in the recipe. Look for protein as the first ingredient. First 5 ingredients can often tell the macro story. But…watch for splitting. Lower value ingredient is split into multiple ingredients to lower its relative spot.
  32. 32. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Splitting Example From an actual label: Chicken Meal, Ground Whole Wheat, Wheat Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Rice, Rice Bran, Chicken Fat…. Un-split version (possibly): Wheat, Rice, Chicken Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Fat…. Get the idea? Chicken moves down to the 3rd spot.
  33. 33. © SlimDoggy, Inc. How Common is Grain Splitting? 33 % of the dry and canned food have 2 or more ingredients of rice, corn, or wheat. 56 % of these cases were for rice, 28% corn and 16% wheat. Tip: don’t assume that protein as #1 means it is!
  34. 34. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Other Ingredient Groups Besides the macro nutrients, there are other ingredient groups to examine: Fruits and Vegetables Preservatives Colorings Sweeteners Vitamins and Supplements
  35. 35. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Fruits and Vegetables
  36. 36. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Fruits and Vegetables Fruits and vegetables are mostly tertiary ingredients but can provide some key benefits: • Low calorie source of fiber and vitamins. • Low calorie way to add sweetness to the food. • Antioxidants can reduce inflammation and possibly reduce the risk of some cancers. • Source of water (can be helpful in summer). Tip: F&V can provide health benefits to your dog. Consider supplementing your dog’s diet with store bought.
  37. 37. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Preservatives • Preservatives extend the shelf life of dog food • A „necessary evil‟ given the way the industry currently operates (production to consumption takes many months) • Choose natural preservatives, in the form of anti-oxidants and vitamins vs. chemicals! • Check expiration/production dates on packaging.
  38. 38. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Preservatives Good Bad Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) Ethoxyquin – this is a pesticide and has been linked to cancer Vitamin C including Ascorbic Acid and Ascorbyl Palmitate (ascorbate denotes vitamin-c) Propylene glycol- this is an ingredient in anti-freeze Rosemary (and extract) BHA & BHT– both are suspected of being cancer causing. Sage (and extract) Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ )- a form of butane used for varnish + resins Clove (and extract) Sodium Metabisulphite- a bleaching agent Tip: Look for natural preservatives that add nutritional benefit.
  39. 39. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Colorings As humans, color and presentation matter! Yum, food!
  40. 40. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Colorings • Why are colorings added? • To make food more appealing to the human. • To mask low quality ingredients and recipes. • Are you kidding me? • Dog‟s don‟t care what the food looks like nor its color! • Dog‟s are partially color blind! Tip: avoid red, yellow, blue, etc. dyes that add no value and potential risk
  41. 41. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Sweeteners • Dogs taste sweet, yet… no excuse to lace food with sugar or artificial sweeteners. • Added to lower quality food to enhance flavor. • Sugars are high calorie/low nutrition additives. • Dog‟s can become addicted – lead to diabetes and other health issues. • Fruits and veggies can provide nutrition and sweetness. • Artificial sweeteners are…artificial. No place for these in your dog‟s food.
  42. 42. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Sweeteners Good Bad Cherries/Berries Sugar, caramel, cane Apple Corn syrup Carrots Sucrose, fructose Peas Sorbitol Honey /Molasses Propylene Glycol Tip: Look for fruits and veggies to add sweetness and nutritional benefit.
  43. 43. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Sweeteners 35% of treats contain 1 or more low-q sweetener!
  44. 44. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Vitamins and Supplements • Often added to meet minimum AAFCO standards. • Some of the benefits may be lost due to cooking process (heat). • Quality brands add these after cooling • Additional supplements may not be in high enough doses to have an impact--> many labels wont provide this info
  45. 45. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Vitamins and Supplements Good Bad Chelated, chelates Vitamin K3 or Menadione Non-acidic Vitamin C- Ester C, Calcium Ascorbate, Stabilized Vitamin C Sulfate based minerals Natural Vitamin E (Tocopherols) Oxide based minerals Tip: Vitamins are a “nice to have”. Look for those that add value as preservatives and are most absorbable.
  46. 46. © SlimDoggy, Inc. More Information www.slimdoggy.com SlimDoggy @MySlimDoggy SlimDoggy
  47. 47. © SlimDoggy, Inc. Thank You

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