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P.O. Box 1036
Bowie, MD 20718
(301) 262-6452
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Last Updated:
7/24/2014 6:10 PM
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How to Select Pet Food

What to Look For:

Meat (50% or more for dogs, 75% or more for cats).

The best source of protein is muscle meat. One or more of these should be at the top of the list of ingredients. Look for ...



Look for ...


Whole Grains. (Small quantities, not necessary for cats.)

Flax seed or sunflower oil


Look for a good variety of vitamins, minerals, and EFA supplements.

Plus look for ...

Taurine (for cats)
Garlic (helps to control fleas)


Look for natural preservatives, like Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols).

What to Avoid


Avoid by-products of any kind. In addition to being unfit for human consumption, by-products are required by the U.S.D.A. to be tainted. Avoid ...

Poultry By-products.

This is poultry that has been found to be unfit for human consumption. It may include tumors, pus, or whatever caused it to be considered unfit. U.S.D.A. regulations require that this meat be tainted with a poison before it leaves the human food production line. The poisoned meat is then used to make pet food.

Meat By-products.

This is probably the worst ingredient that can be used in pet food. It may include road kill or euthanized pets, including flea collars, body bags, and the fatal dose.


Requirements for what can be in meal are very loose. It may be good or bad. If you don't know the source of the meal, avoid it.

More to avoid:


BHA and BHT. These are poisons that are added to the food to retard spoilage. They have been suspect in causing cancer.


Ethoxyquin. This is a poison that is added to meat that is not fit for human consumption. This prevents the meat from being used as human food.

Be a Pet Food Detective.

Read the list of ingredients on the label. Notice the order of ingredients. The order of the ingredients in the list is important. The first ingredient in the list is the one that is present in the food in the largest quantity. That ingredient should be meat.

Look for Split Ingredients. Notice the same ingredient listed several times in slightly different forms. For example, corn, corn meal, and corn gluten. If the first ingredient is a meat, but the second, third and fourth are corn, for example, then you will know that there is really more corn content than anything else. Remember, the primary ingredient should be meat.

Advertising vs. Nutrition.

Big advertising budgets are expensive and do not guarantee the quality of ingredients in the food. Beware of the big-name products that economize on ingredients in order to pay the big price tag of nationwide advertising.

Be an informed consumer.


Compare Ingredients in Some Commercial Pet Foods

Want to learn more? Come to one of the free workshops or, better yet, one of the full-day seminars sponsored by Prince Georges Feral Friends. You will learn how holistic care can help to keep your pet healthy. Check the web site, or call for the schedule.