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Selecting a Commercial Pet Food

Published 07/04/04 


Commercial pet food is a great convenience for busy caregivers. You want the best for your companion animals, but with a bewildering array of foods and claims to choose from, how do you decide what’s best for your animals?


Standards for Ingredients

寵物食品業很大而且非常有市場(全世界每年有25億美元的商機).當製造商表現出他們衷心的將寵物所需擺在第一位時,他們其實更擔心自己的股價.尤其是那些大間,多元的跨國公司.如果便宜的原料可以替代昂貴的,許多公司會這麼做以降低成本. 有一些公司非常驕傲於他們的固定配方”,這表示他們總是用相同的原料,如果這些原料是在於一個可接受的品質,這是件好事.

The pet food industry is huge and extremely profitable ($25 billion a year in revenue worldwide). While manufacturers may appear to have the best interests of your companion animals at heart, they are generally more concerned about their stock prices and bottom lines. This may be especially true of pet food manufacturers owned by large, diverse, multinational parent companies. What this means to you is that if an inexpensive ingredient is available to replace a costlier one, many companies will make the substitution to save money. A few companies pride themselves on their “fixed formulas,” meaning that they always use the same ingredients. This may be good ... if the ingredients are of acceptable quality to begin with.

寵物食品如果通過了AAFCO的標準,可能會標示著完整且平衡”.這些標準在1990年代早期由狗狗及貓咪的營養專家制訂.食品可能由兩個方式被認可: (1) 符合AAFCO所公告的標準成分含量 (“Nutrient Profiles”)或是 (2) 通過餵食測試.當大部分的研究者認為餵食測試比通過成分含量分析還重要,臨床經驗及科學研究也確認了就算食物已經通過餵食測試,仍然不適合做為長期使用. 同時也記住,這些標準只是設定了最高含量最低含量”,並不是最佳含量”.市售寵物食品是被設計來符合一般動物需求,但並不是所有食品都適合每個個體的不同需求.

Pet food may be labeled as “complete and balanced” if it meets the standards set by a group called AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials. These standards were formulated in the early 1990s by panels of canine and feline nutrition experts. A food may be certified in two ways: (1) by meeting AAFCO’s published standards for content (“Nutrient Profiles”), or (2) by passing feeding tests or trials. While most researchers agree that feeding tests are superior in assessing the nutritional adequacy of a food, clinical experience as well as scientific studies have confirmed that even foods that pass feeding trials may still be inadequate for long-term maintenance. Also keep in mind that the standards set only “minimums” and “maximums,” not “optimums.” Commercial foods are designed to be adequate for the average animal, but not all foods will be suitable for an individual animal’s variable needs.




Commercial pet foods and some pet food ingredients have been implicated in a number of diseases in companion animals. Allergic skin disease, obesity, food intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic ear infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation), bladder and kidney stones, certain heart diseases, pancreatitis, feline hyperthyroidism, hip dysplasia, canine mammary cancer, bloat, and diabetes all have nutritional components — that is, nutritional factors are suspected or known to play a role in inducing or perpetuating these diseases. Thus, it is crucial that we, as caregivers, pay close attention to what we are feeding our animals and how they are reacting to the food.


One potential problem with commercial pet food is pesticide residues, antibiotics, and molds contained in pet food ingredients. Meat from sick animals may be loaded with drugs, some of which are known to pass unchanged through all the processing done to create a finished pet food (such as penicillin and pentobarbital). Between 1995 and 1999, there were two major recalls of dry dog food by different manufacturers due to mold contamination of grain ingredients. Some fungal toxins are very dangerous. The second recalled food killed more than 20 dogs.


Another problem is the unpredictable quality of common pet food ingredients. By-products, by-product meal, meat and bone meal, and similar ingredients can vary widely in their nutrient composition. Bone meals in the U.S. have had a lead contamination problem for many years. The protein in a meal containing a large amount of bone may be poorly digestible and fail to provide adequate nutrition, even though chemical analysis will reveal an acceptable amount of amino acids.


One of the biggest problems with commercial foods is the processing they undergo. Meals are rendered (cooked) at moderate to high temperatures for hours. Extruded foods pass through a steam heat/high pressure device that allows them to “puff” into kibble shapes when they come out of the machine. Even though they move through the extruder quickly, the extreme conditions may alter or damage some nutrients.


Pet food manufacturers are aware of these factors, and most add sufficient extra vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to compensate for losses in the manufacturing process. However, because the AAFCO profiles set only minimums for many nutrients, tests have shown that some minerals may be added to the food in excessive amounts.


Pet Food Shopping Checklist


The most reputable manufacturers of “superpremium” and “natural” foods agree with holistic veterinarians and other experts that the very best diet for your animal companion is one that you make yourself. A homemade diet, carefully balanced nutritionally and using organic foods, is closest to what Mother Nature intended. However, many of us do not have the time or energy to do home cooking, especially for multiple animals or large dogs.


For those of us who rely, partially or entirely, on commercial foods for our animals, API has prepared a checklist to use in selecting a good-quality diet.


Our extensive research has revealed that the pet food industry is extremely secretive. Manufacturers will not disclose very much information about the sources of ingredients, how they are processed, their quality control standards, or, in some cases, even where the food is made. Because the forty-odd manufacturers we contacted failed to provide us with accurate information, this API checklist gives you, the consumer, the best chance of selecting the best foods among the choices available.

  • ·         當你為你的伴侶動物選擇一個市售食品時,確定上面有標示”AAFCO認可”.那些經過餵食測試的會是比較好的選擇
  • ·         絕對不要買含有副產品粉肉及骨粉的食品.這些都是動物性蛋白質最便宜的來源.這些成分及品質會依每一批而極度不同,而且不是一個可信賴的營養來源
  • ·         總的來說,避免那些以副產品為動物性蛋白質唯一來源的食品.副產品包含了一些人類不需要的或是不好的內臟及其它部分.偶爾餵食這種食品是OK,因為在野外,肉食性動物的確會去吃整個獵物,包含內臟,但是這些食物不能做為穩定長期的餵食
  • ·         尋找那些有寫清楚的肉或肉粉(像是羊肉雞肉粉”,而不是單單的”)當作第一原料的食品.Look for a named 
  • ·         避免那些很常見的超市牌.這些可能是大製造商不要而重新包裝的產品,而且通常含有比較便宜及低劣品質的原料
  • ·         除非你的獸醫特別建議你,避免用那些低脂”,”老年”,”特殊配方毛球配方食品.這些食品可能含有酸化劑,過多的纖維,或不足的脂肪,會造成皮膚,毛髮及其它的問題
  • ·         總的來說,選擇那些主打自然的品牌.雖然他們不一定是完美的,但比其它的好.有一些品牌使用維他命CE來保存食品,而不是用化學抗氧化劑(像是BHA, BHT,乙氧基及没食子酸丙酯).合成的防腐劑有可能還是有,但是含量會比以前少
  • ·         確認保存期限以保新鮮
  • ·         當你打開一袋乾乾,先聞一聞,如果有任何壞掉的味道,馬上把它拿去退並要求換新或退款
  • ·         使用密封的容器保存乾糧,並保存在陰涼乾燥的地方.罐罐最好是開了保存在玻璃或陶瓷的容器裡並冰在冰箱


Guidelines for Feeding Your Animal Companion

  • ·         每三到四個月更換乾乾的品牌或口味以避免過多或是不足的營養,因為那可能使你的寶貝產生健康問題
  • ·         當更換乾乾時,混合四分之一的新乾乾和四分之三的舊乾乾,然後每天慢慢增加新乾乾的量.有些非常挑剔的動物可能需要更長的混合飼料時間(兩周以上).不要讓貓咪拒吃乾乾超過兩餐,必要的時候換回舊的乾乾
  • ·         當用了新的食品或是補充品時,注意狗狗的皮膚,毛髮,胃口,精力,心情,癢癢.分泌物或氣味,體重及便便的形狀和次數.如果發生了不良的變化,試試不同的食物,如果還是一樣,向你的獸醫諮詢
  • ·         如果你的伴侶動物鄭在使用處方餐,每段時間(至少每六個月)和你的獸醫確定這種餵食仍適用.有些情況會隨著時間改善,而且在他年輕時曾經必須的餵食法到她長大時可能已經不適用
  • ·         通常建議每天餵一到兩餐,會比把食物放在外面一整天好.但是有些疾病狀況需要更經常的餵食.和你的獸醫確認哪樣是對你的寶貝最好的
  • ·         餵食一些罐罐,因為比起乾乾,它含有比較多的動物性蛋白質及較少的穀類.單單的餵食乾乾沒有辦法清潔牙齒,而且對狗狗跟貓咪都不是必須的.特別是貓咪,他們需要至少50%的濕食,以減輕腎臟的負擔及稀釋其尿液.曾有膀胱或是腎病的貓咪不應該餵食任何的乾乾 not  any 
  • ·         在所有市售寵物食品中添加其它的食物以當作補充品,像是有機的肉和蒸過,泥狀或磨碎的蔬菜(生食大多沒有辦法被食肉動物消化).狗狗可以補充豆腐跟煮過的穀物,但是貓咪最好少攝取碳水化合物(植物會使尿液的PH值上升且可能造成貓咪的尿道疾病).如果你的補充品多於整餐的15~20%,你必須多看看書和網站以獲得均衡維它命,礦物質和其他營養的資訊
  • ·         如果你餵食的市售寵物食品含有益生菌(像是乳酸菌,消化酶和抗氧化的維它命E,C),其它補充品是非常重要的.Other helpful supplements that are especially important when feeding commercial food include probiotics such as acidophilus, digestive enzymes, and the antioxidant vitamins E (alpha tocopherol) and C (either Ester C, calcium ascorbate, or sodium ascorbate).
  • ·         考慮至少部分的寵物食物是自家製作.這可以讓你控制原料的品質.有一些很好的書,文章和網站可以提供更詳細的原料,比例,烹調方法的準則.就算只是一周一兩樣自製食物會比單純餵食市售寵物食品有一個明顯的改善 you 


Your veterinarian only sees your companion once a year. Since you are with her every day, it is essential that you monitor her general health and how she is responding to the food she’s eating. Changes in appetite, coat quality, weight, stool, urine, or water consumption may signal a problem with the food, or a more serious medical problem. Report these or any other unusual changes or behaviors to your veterinarian.


Vegetarian Pet Foods


Dogs and cats are classified as carnivores, but many dogs can thrive on a vegetarian diet. There are several vegetarian and even vegan pet foods available which are supplemented with nutrients unavailable in plants. Your dog might do very well with one of these diets, or even with a balanced homemade vegetarian diet. However, you should watch your dog carefully for problems such as a dull coat, dandruff, low energy, diarrhea, or other symptoms. It can take months or even years for a deficiency to develop.


Cats have very specific metabolic requirements for several nutrients found only in animal products, such as taurine, pre-formed Vitamin A (they cannot convert the plant precursor, beta-carotene), and arachadonic acid. They may not be able to adequately digest some plant-based proteins. There is at least one product marketed as a feline supplement for vegetarian diets, but these nutrients are chemically synthesized or highly purified, and may lack the enzymes and co-factors needed for optimal absorption and function. The long-term implications of these supplements are unknown. Therefore, API does not recommend that cats be fed a strictly vegetarian diet.


Pet Food Label "Rules"

  • ·         95%規則:如果那個產品標示鮭魚貓食牛肉狗食”,這個產品裡95%必須是名稱上所寫的原料. 如果產品上是有綜合的標示,像是給狗狗的牛肉和肝”,必須含有95%的牛肉和肝,而且因為牛肉寫在肝前面,裡面的牛肉必須多於肝
  • ·         25%晚餐規則:當上面寫著晚餐”,”主菜”,”配方”,”拼盤”..之類的字詞,在標示上的原料必須在食品裡的含量達到25%以上,且不高於95%.給狗狗的牛肉晚餐,牛肉可能是,也可能不是最主要的原料.如果寫了兩種原料(“狗狗的牛肉和火雞晚餐”),這兩種原料必須加起來有25%,而且寫在前的原料(牛肉)必須多於後寫的(火雞),較少的那個原料也必須至少占有
  • ·         3%的規則:如果產品上寫貓食和鮭魚”,裡面至少必須有3%的鮭魚
  • ·         口味規則:食品上可能寫著火雞口味貓食但其實沒有火雞在裡面.但有這個味道的香料.這可能是來自肉粉,副產品,或是分解標示上動物後的產物


    寵物 貓咪 食物


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