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Consumer Feedback Requested – Pet Food Label Modernization

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  1. D'Arcy

    Any compleye dog or cat food label HAS to include calcium AND phosphorus levels, along with the protein and fat levels in order to know what we have available for energy, growth and development.
    If the ingredient label is complete and accurate, we have the best chance to make nutrition choices based on the brands we trust.
    Mineral and vitamin content would be fantastic as well.

    1. Cindy

      To that I would add the carbohydrate percentage. And the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio.

  2. toni

    #8 – would like to see the ingredients that are important for the animal – just like on people food

    I do like the additions you added in and I do think the recommend calories is very good to have on packaging and is easy to follow.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Hi Toni – can you give me an example of what you are meaning with ‘see the ingredients that are important for the animal’? Do you mean an explanation of the ingredients?

  3. Luanna

    All label information looks good.

  4. Linda Horn

    The Nutrition Facts Box needs to include taurine for all cat foods, of course. Also, phosphorus content is important for cats with kidney issues, so I’d like to see it included, too.

    Thank you for all of your hard work!

  5. Rebecca

    #11 is probably going to be confusing for the mathmatically challenged or math phobic. Calories per cup = awesome. Then just tell people how many cups to feed and include a blurb about feeding a little more or a little less to keep the dog at a healthy weight, otherwise this looks like higher math. You might want to include something to the affect that… “This bag contains XX cups of food.” Which would allow folks to figure out how long a bag would last based on feeding recommendations. Other than those minor changes, the info is good. Country of origin on ingredients is something I would really like to know.

  6. Marcie

    Would be great to have this type of information on the packaging rather than having to internet research and e-mail the company to find out what I wanted to know.

    #3 Would like the country of origin spelled out (vs. abbreviated).

    #8 – Love this. In addition would like to see the Phosphorus content listed here too- especially on cat foods. This is important in diets for cats with renal problems.

  7. M.L. Moore

    Looks really great! My two cents worth: First cent, Nutrition Facts box, subdivide total protein into animal and vegetable. Second cent, everything everything everything SPECIFIC PLACE OF ORIGIN.

  8. Carmelita Garcia-Kayes

    What you have provided here for the pet food labeling looks fine to me. I want all of the information you have listed in the food I purchase for my fur babies.

    Thank you (and your “co-horts in crime”) for all you do in behalf of fur babies and their parents!

  9. Michelle

    #10 is finally coming close if it is actually human grade food. Also, I would like to see the source of all of the products. Actual amounts of protein, fiber, etc… is needed, this vague description leaves me uncomfortable. I want to know the actual quality of the ingredients and where they are coming from. Why would it not include the actual amount in the product?

    1. Michelle

      I meant #9 comes close. I want to see human grade food in the ingredients. But it needs to be certified human grade…

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        How could human grade ingredients be certified? (I know ‘they’ won’t like this)

  10. Patty Janiszewski

    Susan, I trust your work 100% for these food labels. When I go to buy a dog or cat food I want to see the exact ingredients that are in it (and for it to be truthful)! I want to be able to see and trust that the food ingredients are NOT from diseased, dead, medicated or rotten meat and or vegetables. I believe that the ingredients as well as the nutrients should be labeled on the bag as well as all ingredients in the pet food. I like the inputs that you added and I truly appreciate all the work that you do for all the animals and their owners!!!

    1. Patty Fornelli

      I completely agree with this comment!

  11. Christine Sauer

    All of this information looks really good. Much clearer than present labeling for sure. It would be amazing if these guidelines were adopted!! 🙂 🙂 Thank you so much for all of your hard work in this area. Buying pet food is a frustrating experience! In terms of feeding recommendations and calories that is a bit challenging on so many levels. Even in people food it’s complicated. I have noticed over the years with my many cats that there is a wide variety in the amount that they eat based on age, size, body build, activity level and what illnesses they may have, etc..

  12. Jeri

    I agree that calcium and phosphorous should be included since those are vital for animals who have kidney issues. I also echo the importance of seeing country of origin both for completed product as well as supplements. I would imagine the PFI will kick up a fuss over that as they would rather not divulge that their premixes come from China, but oh well. Agreed that caloric info. needs to be included, although the “higher math” referenced earlier is a challenge for most consumers, I would think (myself included) so it needs to be simplified to be accessible for those who don’t have the knowledge required to calculate what is needed. I absolutely would want to see the lack of GMOs reflected, as well as antibiotic/hormone/humane grade and food or feed. I hope you can get that part included. PFI is likely to have a stroke, but somehow we have to get the consumer to understand that feed is not food – legally or practically. Great work, Susan! If you could somehow get this incorporated it would be HUGE!!!

  13. Carla K

    #2 and #3 are most important to me. For specific nutrients for cats, magnesium and phosphorus. I’m a little confused about #9 – would those that are not human food grade ingredients just not include this item or would it specifically say “these are not human food grade ingredients?” Thanks as always for your hard work.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      A feed grade ingredient pet food could state ‘This pet food contains feed grade ingredients and is meant for dog consumption.’ Does that work?

      1. Tracey

        Or “is not meant for human consumption”.

  14. ET Wilken

    That all sounds pretty good. Under #2, are the ingredients listed in order of how much is used? For example, someone says, oh our dry food has real chicken in it, yet it’s listed almost near the end of the ingredients so you know it isn’t much.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      #2 is a statement of quality. The ingredient listing would be on the back of the package (3rd picture) and those ingredient listings are as they are now, in order of pre-cooking weight. Does this answer your question?

  15. Paula

    Might be nice to add who the product was manufactured by (I believe Diamond Pet Foods manufactures several different products).

  16. Susan Wenning

    #2 – I would like it to say “100% food grade …” to be assured that it only contains food grade ingredients.
    #10 – I would like to see both a minimum and a maximum level for protein, fat, fiber and moisture.
    I would love to see all of this information (#1-#11) on all pet food labels.
    Thank you so much for the work that you do!

  17. Juanita Buszek

    Are you looking at canned food too? If so, I would like to know the lining used such as saying BPA free and then indicate what lining is used. This is important because lining can cause toxic effects. I know a woman whose dog developed serious sores on his lip and the vet said it was from BPA lining and not to use canned food. She stopped and the sores went away and never returned. Stop using pictures that are misleading making it seem like fresh meat when it is actually leftovers from animals and byproduct. How much to give according to weight and activity level. How much to use if mixed with kibble. If there is not enough room indicate the website to go do in which the website will indicate amount. If BPA or other lining must be used then make it in small cans where the BPA is not needed and no substitution for lining that is worse than BPA. Indicate if canned has probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes and if they do not what to use such as a fortifier.

    Bag food. Indicate amount of carbs and other things not just the percentage. How much to give according to weight and activity level. How much to use if mixed with canned.

    Bag and canned. Do not use just percentage of carbs and other things but the actual amount. List everything on the package that is in the bag and can.

    Bag and canned. Is the food made at a human facility or pet facility. List all countries food and ingredients made for food are from.

    Nature’s Logic does everything except they will list percentage of carbs but not percent and does not indicate if lining is BPA and whether made in human or pet facility otherwise they are the best pet food company and exceptional customer service. Natures Logic is the best and most loyal company and my dog made a significant improvement in energy since I took him off other foods he wouldn’t eat and Orijen Tundra in which he got extremely weak and breathless although he enjoyed the food. Orijen is extremely rude and takes days to a week or two to respond. Natures Logic responds the same or next day other than weekends and provides exceptional advice to me and others I told about Natures Logic. My dog looks forward to all his Natures Logic meals and food does not sit around all day and go to waste. I recommended Natures Logic to neighbors and they noticed a significant improvement in their dos health.

    Indicate whether canola is in product and if it says olive blend put in parentheses what is in the olive oil because I have seen this in Zukes. Indicate all artificial sugars especially xylitol which is okay for humans but toxic to animals.

    I have a lot of other suggestions but my iPad is almost off so if you want me to respond later send me an e-mail and I will respond.

  18. Tracey

    I agree adding-Ca, P, Mg along with Vit C to human type label would be great. People are already used to that format.

    It really looks pretty good to me. Thanks!

  19. B Dawson

    Good afternoon Susan,

    #2 & #3: Excellent! Quality of ingredients (even though the definitions may still be in flux) should be prominently displayed on the front. Country of Origin ditto, especially for the supplements. The font should be large enough so that it is second only to the words “dog/cat food”.

    #4: Perhaps these were just place holders, but the red and green triangles bother me. A red triangle is often associated with negatives: warning or danger. Should the percent be expressed as % dry weight?

    #7: An excellent addition! With this information on the bag, more people might make the effort. It takes a bit of perseverance to excavate the information from a search engine.

    #8: I’m not sure how well this information translates. How many know what amount of protein, fat or sodium is appropriate for dogs or cats? This information isn’t as available as it is for humans. It could however be valuable for those looking for alternatives to poor quality prescription diets. If a Vet says “low fat diet” for instance, consumers could potentially find a better quality food or justify why the pet’s diet already falls within those restrictions.

    Are there standard Serving Sizes for pet food? Most food is quantified against one cup but I don’t know if this is mandated. This was always one of the ways human food could fudge things – adjust the serving size/servings per container to make the numbers appear more attractive.

    #9: An excellent work around for the sticking point of human quality. This was often the explanation reps and manufacturers gave me because they couldn’t call ingredients “human grade” once it had been through the production line.

    #11: This is a very good addition! How much to feed was always the toughest part of helping consumers. Many foods tell you the Kcal/cup but then don’t relate that to recommended intake. Other brands offer their recommended feeding in cups, but not the Kcal count.

    The word “daily” should be in bold or in some way emphasized. So many customers with obese pets insisted they were only feeding the recommended amount until I wised up and asked if that was the amount at each meal or DAILY. Shocking how many thought that was the per meal amount.

    Overall, please emphasize the need to make fonts readable. So much information fights for space nowadays that anyone over 30 struggles to read the important parts of the label. Tiny fonts is also how dodgy companies comply with labeling and still hide things they know are unpopular or less than attractive to the consumer.

    As usual Susan, you’ve got your commonsense cap on. For those consumers who read labels, this should be an improvement. Thank you!

    B Dawson

  20. Cigam

    I don’t care for any distinction, all food should be labeled the same way ours (people) is… run that by the FDA!

  21. Lorena

    This looks great. If a Nutrition Facts Box is implemented for cat food, I’d particularly like to see phosphorus and calcium included.

  22. Janice Schultz-Aldrich

    Regarding calories: I’d like to see kcals in terms of grams (or kg) as well. This is more accurate when feeding small dogs (such as our chihuahua, for whom we weigh food). Regarding nutrients: It would be extremely helpful to have the complete nutrient profile (according to units per kg–such as mg/kg or i.u./kg). If that is too long for the package, then a website where this information can be found. Some companies already have such info. on their website, but there are others that refuse to provide the complete nutrient profile. What are they hiding? And if the guaranteed analysis does remain, then there should be a range for protein, fat, etc.,(e.g., protein, 25-28%) rather than minimums and maximums, which are not very accurate at all. Everything else looks good!

    1. Juanita

      I agree 100 percent. I, however, would also like to see not just the percent but the actual amount. For example, some canned food me with have the percentage of carbs or protein but I would like to actually know the amount not just the percentage so I do not have to calculate. I have my dog on a low carb high protein diet due to yeast problems and need to keep count of the carb and protein not the percent.

    2. Juanita

      I would also like to know is the product is GMO or non-GMO and it be printed on the bag and canned label.

  23. Carol

    Susan, I think what you already have is great. Some of the comments above are really good also. I want all human grade ingredients in the food I feed my animals. And I also want to know what company is making the food. There are too many companies out there that I just don’t trust. The more information we have, the more we can be sure of giving our pets the best we possibly can. Thank you for all you do for us and ultimately for our fur babies.

    1. Juanita


      I would also like to know is the product is GMO or non-GMO and it be printed on the bag and canned label.

  24. pat chesney

    I want to make sure that ALL ingredients are listed oftentimes trace items are not listed ; country of origin for vitamins as many are sourced from China

  25. Andrea Goodman

    Hi Susan, I think your label proposal is excellent, I would love to see the labeling you suggest on pet food packages.
    Thanks again for the wonderful advocacy work you do!

  26. Debi Cohen

    I know, lets have total transparency and show a picture on the label of what is REALLY in the food !!!!!

  27. Mary Straus

    LOVE item #4 — I think this is of huge importance and would make it much easier to differentiage between high-quality and low-quality foods. I also like items 2 and 3 a lot.

    Calories MUST be given by weight in order to be useful. It’s OK to also give calories per cup, but volume measurements cannot be used to make other calculations, such as grams of fat per 1,000 kcal (important for dogs with fat intolerances). Best to show kcal/kg, but any other weight measurement would also be acceptable, such as giving the weight of a cup, e.g., “kcal per cup (4.6 oz)” or “kcal per cup (130 grams).”

    I like the idea of adding calcium and phosphorus amounts to the Guaranteed Analysis. Would love to see maximums as well as minimums for these two items in particular, since there is more concern about too much than too little (e.g., for large-breed puppies and pets with kidney disease). I’d love to see a guaranteed maximum amount of fat as well.

    Nutrition Facts: Would love to see dietary fiber in addition to or in place of crude fiber. Crude fiber doesn’t tell you very much. Dietary fiber is more important, especially if broken out into amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber.

    Also regarding Nutrition Facts — I’d love to see amounts per 1,000 kcal given for protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus, at a minimum (the more nutrients, the better). Providing information in this format would allow people to directly compare different types of foods, such as dry and wet (kibble or dehydrated and canned or frozen raw, for example) without having to convert the values given in the Guaranteed Analysis to dry matter. Amounts given per 1,000 kcal are even more valuable than dry matter percentages, since they allow you to determine how much of each nutrient your dog is consuming.

  28. Peter

    Manufacturers are required to add phosphorous to a minimum level. However, many cats should be on restricted phosphorous intake. I would like to see the actual levels disclosed.

  29. Linda M

    I agree that all of the suggestions of what is important to have on the label so a pet consumer can choice the best product for their pet. I believe we as consumers have the right to know what is in the pet food and where it comes from.

    THANK YOU Susan for all that you do for us and our pets! <3

  30. Laurie Raymond

    I would want to see country of origin for all vitamin and mineral supplements.

  31. SKL

    Wonderful work on the suggested labels! My must-haves are already covered by your draft plus others’ comments, but they include:

    – breakdown of animal vs vegetable protein

    – on “nutrition facts”, include % fat, protein (plus breakdown as above), carbs, magnesium, ash, phorphorus, taurine. I would like ingredients listed PER CAN for wet food, since “per serving” can vary so much for young, old, overweight etc cats

    – I’d also like to see calories listed PER CAN. For freeze-dried food, list calories per whole bag or per ounce—and make it absolutely clear if the per-ounce value is for hydrated or unhydrated; I recently bought a brand that is very unclear on this

    – I would like to see both min and max values for things like % protein—I’ve read this can vary substantially from lot to lot (and have seen this in action, getting a can of wet food that seems like mostly solid one time and then a disc of food floating in a sea of water the next time—from very reputable manufacturers, no less)

    – I understand that it will be challenging for cans of wet food (esp the 3 oz ones) to contain tons of info, so I’d like to see a minimum level of information required on each can, with a standardized layout for the full information to be hosted on the manufacturer’s website

    – small complaint that’s not likely to get anywhere: for canned cat food, manufacturers seem to love printing ingredients in white on gold labels or white on silver labels, or gray on white labels: is this an artistic choice, or are they purposefully trying to make it hard for consumers to read? I end up looking up brands on my phone while standing in the cat food aisle so I can figure out what the ingredients are!

    Thanks for your excellent work and advocacy on this important issue!

  32. Judy Myers

    I like everything presented as well as some of the suggested improvements in the comments. In particular, I like having the calories per cup listed. It makes it much easier to determine how much to feed of a new food when you can compare calories. I would also like to have the cups per bag of kibble listed so I don’t have to spend time figuring it out. I also like foods that list the date of manufacture so I know how fresh the bag is.

  33. Becky

    I love number 11. For some reason I thought that’s what dogs were actually supposed to eat, not some arbitrary number made up by the manufacturer. I have fed my dog too much and now I have to put her on a diet. All of your other suggestions I like as well. I wonder if all of the pet foods that use euthanized animals had photos of euthanized animals on the front of the bag if people would still buy it? Or if a lot of people would choose not to buy it? The pictures they put on bags now are so deceptive.

  34. Jenny

    I like all of these and agree with many of the comments here. I know that percentages of ingredients in pet food is proprietary info but I think it should be required to give percentages of any ingredient that is broken into multiple parts ie. Peas, pea fiber, pea protein, so that even if the other ingredient percentages aren’t given you can see how much that one ingredient actually makes up of the product.

    I also would like to see the ingredients listed in the state they are added to the formula ie. dried, freeze-dried, dehydrated, whole, etc. So that when a customer sees chicken, followed by potato they know that the chicken includes water weight when the potato most likely is dried potato product and actually makes up more of the finished product than the chicken.

  35. Suzanne

    I like but am a little confused about the #5 proposed statement: GMO free. If the food was called GMO Free then in all likely hood it would also be labelled as Organic? And if reference applied to the meat source as well, that would lead us to believe the animals were grass and not grain fed?

    1. Lorena

      Suzanne, if a food is labeled organic, then it is also free of GMOs. However, many GMO-free foods are *not* organic. And whether or not an animal was fed grass or grain is another matter entirely. If something is labeled GMO-free, the only thing you can assume is that it does not contain genetically modified organisms.

  36. Dennis Matejka

    I want honest straight forward ingredient , country of origin and I prefer food grade over any pet food. These are my 4 legged kids I am feeding.

  37. Nina Wolf

    I’d like mandatory carb disclosure – you have it above, and that is awesome. I don’t think a lot of packaging has it…could be wrong on that/

  38. Mary Anne Oetjens

    All looks good to me. It would be great to see if meat source is pasture raised and finished…humanely raised. Also if ingredients are gmo…non gmo.

  39. Patty Cloonan

    Looks great Sue…I think it is also especially important to label the country of origin for the vitamin/mineral premix as most come from China. Phosphorus percentage on the niutrition facts is important for those with dogs and cats with kidney issues. Of course any label iis meaningless if there is no oversight…who will be checking for truth in labeling?

  40. Stormy

    I especially liked that you showed the percentage of protein in the food. Overall looks good. Hope the pictures of food on labels won’t be as deceiving as I have seen on bags.

  41. Anne

    #11 – Define what a standard measuring cup is, for example “Standard 8 ounce by volume measuring cup”. An equine facility wondered where all the kelp supplement had gone to until somebody snapped to the fact that the feeding instructions were referring to one sized “cup” (quart) for measuring grain, and a different size “cup” (1/4 cup) for measuring supplements. Assume that if a mistake can be made, one will happen.

  42. Jim

    I think the listed ingredients should be species-specific. I’ve recently found non-speciic label ingredients including “animal by-products” and “liver” that do no originate from the main ingredients (e.g. Purina elegant medleys tuna and salmon and chicken products contain “liver” that turns out to be PORK liver – a specific allergen for my cat. I should be able to know the source of protein unless it is hydrolyzed.

  43. Stormy

    I agree that a min. as well as a max. Protein content would be nice to see on a label and percentage of protein. I firmly agree with one commenter, about the truth in advertising: Put trash cans filled with dead dogs and cats on pet food bags on grocery store shelves, and see who buys there product then!

  44. Marisha

    Mostly I like what I see on the sample labels…a vast improvement over current petfood labels. I’m not clear on what “percent daily value” on the Nutrition chart on the sample label means, since different breeds are very different sizes and have different daily requirements. Also, I don’t see anything that allows for comparison between dry and wet foods regarding a break down into protein, fat, and carbs of just the calories in the food (rather than of the food in general which includes moisture and fiber, etc). Some very helpful information on the protein-fat-carbs breakdown for cat food can be found at, an independent veterinarian’s petfood research website. It states the ideal percentages cats should be getting of fats, carbs and proteins from the calories in the food and lists the breakdown for many brands of food. This is not information that is currently being shown on any can labels. The oinformation was procured by the vet herself painstakingly contacting individual pet food companies. It would be great athis info (fats, carbs, protein of the calories) were shown on cans (and bags), even if it were only as a dry matter basis number. Consumers need to be able to compare between different brands of food as well as between dry and wet foods.

  45. Marisha

    CORRECTION: The chart cat foods that breaks down the calorie portion of foods into their percents of protein, fat , and carbs is by veterinarian Lisa A. Pierson, DVM and can be found at the website (not My bad ..that’s what happens when I stay up too late. Thank you, Susan Thixton, for all you’re doing to help our pets!

    1. Jim

      I found the following database online at the CatSite. Do you have a similar or more detailed database that I can use to select available cat foods by contained or absent ingredients for my allergic cat?

  46. Stormy

    Watching Oz! What a huge disappointment! That so called ‘Beast Charmer’ is a ‘conventional vet’! I didn’t agree with most of what he said! Promoting vet prescription diet dog food, and running down raw! Very disappointed after telling my neighbors how ‘Raw’ is better! So disappointing. He also acted like the crap in dog food is fine for dogs! We need to get Susan on there!!!!

    1. Juanita

      I didn’t get a chance to see Dr. Oz due to working. I used to like him but throughout the years I noticed he starting promoting products as if he was advertising them. I became suspicious when I saw some shows that he contradicted what he had already said and this was an ongoing cycle. The only thing I can think of is he is getting money or has stock in the company. What did he say on his show?

      1. Stormy

        Trust me, you didn’t miss much. It was very disappointing! Dr. Oz knows nothing about the subject and the so called ‘Beast Charmer’ A young hottie vet who knows diddily about nutrition!I could have done a better job on that show! He wouldn’t dare have Susan Thixton on I bet! Such a shame. Promoting prescription diet dog food, and saying dogs can’t handle a raw piece of chicken! I was not happy after telling all my neighbors to watch it! They all believe raw is bad now, cause that dude said just the opposite of what I’ve been telling them! It made me so mad. Think about how many people view that show?! Wonder what Susan thought?

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