Know What You’re Feeding Your Pet

You're an expert at having fun with your pet, and you're looking to step up your game with pet nutrition. Good for you! Learn more about common ingredients, essential nutrients and how to make informed decisions when feeding your pet.

How To Read A Pet Food Label
Quick Tips For Top Nutrition

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Banfield Nutrition Guide

Select the categories that fit your pet, and our handy e-tool will provide nutrition information to help you make good decisions for your dog or cat. Be sure to discuss these factors with your Banfield veterinarian: together you can finalize a nutrition plan for your unique pet.

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Banfield Nutrition Guide

Select the categories that fit your pet, and our handy e-tool will provide nutrition information to help you make good decisions for your dog or cat. Be sure to discuss these factors with your Banfield veterinarian: together you can finalize a nutrition plan for your unique pet.

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*You can add up to 3 pets


How To Read A Pet Food Label

On first glance, a pet food label can look like a secret code or encrypted message. Here are easy ways to decipher nutrition information.

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WHAT'S AAFCO?


The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is the pet food industry standards board.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

They set the minimum/maximum guidelines for nutrients like protein and vitamins in pet foods.

INSIDER TIP:

In order to say a food is ‘complete and balanced’, companies follow these guidelines. That means your pet gets the right nutrients in the right amounts.


The Mighty Minerals

What it does: Serves as an important ingredient (especially for young puppies and kittens) to develop strong skeleton and bones

Where to find it: This essential mineral is often added to foods in a specific ratio with other minerals like phosphorus to make sure pets get just the right amount.


Quick Tips for Top Nutrition

  1. AAFCO Assurance
    Instead of looking for specific ingredients, look for an AAFCO statement on any pet food. This will say the food is ‘complete and balanced’ and assures you the food meets guidelines for the right amount and proportion of essential nutrients for your pet.
  2. Corn Means Carotene
    Corn isn’t just filler. It provides carotene, which promotes eyesight, skin health, and bone and muscle growth.
  3. Lean on Lipids
    These fatty acids are absorbed into your pet’s blood stream and converted to energy. In small amounts, they are essential for cats and dogs, but they also provide more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates, so if you have anoverweight or sedentary pet, look for lower calorie foods with less fat to prevent obesity.

The ABCs of Vitamins

A
B
C
D
E
K

Awesome A

Fat Soluble

Without it, your pet couldn’t see in the dark!

Found naturally in liver, but commonly supplemented in diets to make sure it doesn’t break down before it gets eaten by your pet

Vitamin A deficiency can cause eye problems, skin problems, and immune system problems

B1 Thiamine

Water Soluble

Generates cellular energy and is essential for the nervous system

Found in yeast, wheat germ, kidney, liver, and legume seeds

Cats require four times the amount that dogs do, one reason you should never feed dog foods to cats!

B2 Riboflavin

Water Soluble

Works with enzymes that metabolize energy throughout the body

Found in milk and animal products

B5 Pantothenic Acid

Water Soluble

Crucial for creating cellular energy

Found in organ meats (commonly called by-products on pet food labels), yeast and egg-yolk

Captain C

Water Soluble

Dogs and cats can create enough Vitamin C to meet their needs, but other animals like guinea pigs (and humans!) require it in the diet to help keep their immune system healthy

Found in many fruits

Dynamic D

Fat Soluble

Regulates and helps pet absorb calcium and phosphorus

Found in seafood/fish and dairy products, though commonly supplemented in pet foods in forms that pets can use easier

D deficiency can cause rickets and joint issues

Electric E

Fat Soluble

Fights oxidation on the cellular level and improves your pet’s immune system

Helps prevent diets high in fat from breaking down

Found in oils, grains and cereal germs; liver, eggs and butter

Incredible K

Fat Soluble

Intestinal microbes in cats and dogs make enough Vitamin K that it is usually not necessary in the diet

Helps blood coagulate

Found in leafy green vegetables

K deficiency can lead to anemia and clotting and bleeding problems




The nutrition content and tools provided on this site are for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as or substituted for veterinary medical advice. For nutrition information specific to your pet, please visit your Banfield veterinarian.