Issues with Pet Food Feeding Guidelines

In the last months I’ve been very disappointed with pet food manufacturers, and if there is something I’ve learnt, it is you cannot trust pet food manufacturers to do their job properly. There are two things that need to be taken into consideration when feeding your dog: the ingredients of the food (and their quality) and the quantity that they should eat, normally stated in the food bag or can as a daily amount in grams or cups.

I already talked about ingredients and their quality in one of my first posts, which you can read here. To sum it up, you basically have to read very carefully pet food labels, especially when they do not specify exactly the parts of the animal that are included in the food or when they split ingredients (stating that the food contains brown rice and white rice, for example), to give the impression that the food contains more meat than it really does.

What I didn’t talk about in the previous post, because I didn’t know about it then, is the fact that you cannot trust the feeding guidelines either. Nix has been eating many different kibble brands in the last months (I won’t go into the reasons right now), and two of these brands had wrong daily feeding amounts on their bags.

The first one was Brit. What triggered the alarm for me was the fact that the daily feeding amount of the food was quite lower than that of Nix’s previous food. At first I thought it might be due to the fact that her new food, the Brit Care Grain-Free Junior Salmon & Potato for Large Breeds, had many more calories. In the end, however, I decided to do some online research and found that, according to the calories stated in the bag, she had to eat more than what the feeding guidelines said. This was reason enough for me to start considering getting another food for her.

If you look at the daily amount of food for a dog that weights between 25-30 kg, there is not a single amount, independently of age, greater than 300 grams. This is pretty weird.

However, the worse mistake was yet to come, this time courtesy of Gosbi. We changed Nix’s food because her stool was a bit too loose, and I really wanted to try Gosbi because it’s produced in Spain. After talking to the people at our local pet store, we went for the Gosbi Exclusive Puppy Maxi, which is not grain-free but it seemed pretty good overall. The feeding guidelines stated that the appropriate feeding amount for a dog of Nix’s weight and age would be about 775 grams – she weights around 25 kg and is 9 months old.

This number should have immediately caught our attention, but there were two things that made us take longer to realise the mistake: first of all, we began by mixing a very small amount of Gosbi with her previous kibble, and we incremented the amount little by little. Secondly, she had been eating a special kibble for her upset stomach, and I thought the daily amount indicated in the feeding guidelines of that kibble was lower than usual precisely because of this. At the time I didn’t remember how much we had been feeding her previously, and it doesn’t help that, as puppies grow, the daily amount keeps changing.

However,  on the day we fed her Gosbi exclusively we realised something was wrong. There was way too much food in her bowl. Still, that morning we gave her the food because we had already prepared it. However, right after this I did again some online research and some math, and I realised that she should not have been eating more than 400 grams of Gosbi per day. Note the numbers: the feeding guidelines stated that she should eat almost twice as much as what she  should eat.

After discovering this I went to manufacturer’s website and checked the information they have there. It turned out that the feeding guidelines on the website, for that particular type of food, looked okay. However, when I checked the list of ingredients, they were not exactly the same as in her food bag, although the packaging looked exactly the same. I have no clue whether they have been experimenting with different formulas, but what happened is very unprofessional.

Logically, after this we looked for another food. I don’t feel comfortable spending my money on food made by a company that does not have the necessary protocols to ensure that these kind of mistakes do not reach the customer. And, if they do, they should make the necessary corrections: the bags of food are either recalled or updated with the correct information. As a result, we’ve switched her food again.

In case you’re wondering about the consequences of Nix having had so much food, I can say that we were pretty lucky. Nix eats twice per day, and so the food she had in the morning was more or less the same amount she should have had in a day. The solution was easy: an extremely light dinner. She did have a bit of diarrhoea, but nothing to worry about.

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