What's in the Can? September 30 2014

Understanding the labels and ingredients on people food can be confusing, but do you know what you should look for when selecting a healthy canned food for your dog or cat?

1) Meat should be the #1 ingredient, followed by a meat broth.  Water is also ok, but broth is preferred.

2) Meat should be listed by it's name like chicken, beef, venison etc. and not by general terms like "meat or "meat-by products."  Meat-by products are an inferior source of protein and can include meat from dead, dying, or diseased animals.

3) If a can includes fat, it should be listed specifically as chicken fat, beef fat, turkey fat etc. not as "animal fat" which can be very ambiguous and one will not know specifically where the fat is sourced from.

4) Grains that are found in canned food should be whole grains like barley, rice, oats, millet, quinoa that actually provide some kind of nutritional benefit, not a grain that is simply added as a filler like corn or wheat gluten.

5) Grain-free cans are cans that include no grains.  There are many different types of grain-free cans and grains are unnecessary in canned foods.

6) No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives should be listed in the ingredient panel.  Most canned foods do not need preservatives as they are cooked in the can.

7) No sugars, sweeteners, added salt - the flavor of the can should come from the meat and/or fruits and vegetables