If you have ever taken the time to read the fine print on your pet food pack, you might be surprised to find out just how much, or how little of the ingredients you expect to be there really are.  The Australian pet food industry is self-regulated by an organisation by the name of PFIAA (Pet Food Industry Association of Australia. Unfortunately, like most self-regulated industries, this means standards are not necessarily held to the highest degree.

This, along with clever marketing, eye catching graphic design and product placement can all mislead pet owners in the mystical real of Pet Food- so here is rundown of the typical standards of the Pet food state of affair in our sunburnt country.

Package Labelling Traps & How to Spot Them

The ‘Dog Food’ rule:

If a specific meat is mentioned on the packaging of pet food, the food must contain at least 90% of the meat named (e.g.- beef meat)

The ‘Dinner’ Rule (also called ‘entre’, ‘platter’)

The meat mentioned in the product name is between 25%-90% of the food

The ‘With’ Rule:

The meat mentioned after the word ‘with’ (egg- dog food with Chicken) in the product name must make up only at 3% of the food

 The ‘Flavour’ Rule:

Worst of all, if a pet food product is simply named for example “lamb flavoured dog biscuits’ the product is not required by law to contain any meat at all, only ‘a detectable scent ‘ of the mentioned meat


Top Tips for Choosing a High Quality Commercial Pet Food

  •  Ingredients are listed by decreasing order of weight, so choose a product with a specifically named meat egg- Chicken listed first
  • Cereals- if any cereals or grains are included, they should be specifically named on the packaging, not just mentioned as ‘cereals’
  • Buy quality food, such as the ones supplied at Veterinary clinics- these are usually labelled as ‘Complete & Balanced’ which means they provide everything to your dog or cat that is required, including essential vitamins and minerals
  • Buy the right commercial diet for your pet’s life stage and energy requirements – Puppies require Paediatric Growth food, where as a geriatric animal will need a mature formula. Working dogs require special food to provide added energy too
  • Prescription Diets- your pet may have special medical needs, particularly later in life that can be directly influence or improved by a prescription diet. These should be discussed with your vet prior to feeding these to your pet

Why buy Quality Commercial Pet Food Over Supermarket Brands?

  • Cost effective- often less quantity needs to be fed with high quality pet foods, so they go just as far as other pet food although the outlay seems higher at first
  • High quality ingredients, sourced from reputable suppliers
  • Complete & balanced ingredients
  • Higher meat concentration, rather than filling out the product with cereals
  • Smaller, firmer stools produced as a result of the quality diet and smaller serving size needed
  • Tailored to your pet- from special dental cleaning formulas, to effective obesity management, many options are available to give your pet the best
  • Accurate Feeding guides provided on the packaging to tailor the diet to your pet’s needs
  • Substantial ongoing research undertaken by manufacturers to ensure improvements and the most beneficial formulas


As always, thanks for reading and give your pup a kiss from me X

Lolly  (Happy Paws co- manager, resident vet nurse and dog blogger)