September 2015 Issue

The Impact of Those New Food Labels

It could be tricky figuring portions because some foods can contain more calories than what is listed

By the end of the year, almost all pet food labels will provide information on calories per cup as part of the growing movement in veterinary medicine to counter pet obesity. The change has been several years in the making and would seem make it easier to feed our cats, but just like the challenge of deciphering the terms on labels — guaranteed analysis, ingredients vs. nutrients and total crude protein — determining the calories might not be simple. Nutritionist Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine offers one example: “The average indoor cat’s diet should be based on resting energy, similar to a human couch potato who watches TV most of the day. The problem is that pet food manufacturers’ recommendations are based on a theoretical activity level that doesn’t exist for most indoor cats.”

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