Safe & Proper Feeding of Pets
We love our pets as family members, but food that’s good for
our family is not always safe for our pets. In some cases, feeding pets people
food, can be harmful. Foods like chocolate, onions and macadamia nuts can be
toxic to cats and dogs.
Reading labels correctly and feeding your pet only foods
appropriate for his or her age, species and health condition can save you the
heartache of special diets, high vet bills, and an unhealthy pet.
Follow directions. Feeding your pet too much or too little
doesn’t make a complete and balanced diet.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture licenses and
inspects businesses that make and sell animal food.
Pet treats and pet foods must be properly labeled. All
ingredients must be listed by weight, from major to minor ingredients. Major
ingredients are generally recognizable animal or plant names. Minor ingredients
are mostly those that supply minerals, vitamins and other nutrients. Minor
ingredients may also include preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and
coloring or flavoring.
Labeling claims can be confusing and even misleading.
Pet food labeled “complete
and balanced” contains all the nutrients your pet needs, in the correct
amounts, if that product is all your pet eats.
Many pet foods are labeled “human-grade.” This is a misleading claim and doesn’t represent any
recognized standard for safe or nutritious pet food.
Products labeled “organic”
must meet USDA standards. Certified organic products display the USDA organic
seal and must be made of at least 95% organic ingredients. The USDA does not
consider organic foods to be necessarily safer, healthier or more nutritious
than conventionally-produced foods. The seal assures consumers who prefer
organic products that they will get what they pay for.
For detailed information on how to buy safe, nutritious pet
food, visit www.AAFCO.org/consumers.
Pet Food Safety
- Be sure packaging is not open or damaged.
- Purchase only products in good condition.
- Keep dry food in a cool, dry place in its original container.
- Refrigerate or discard leftover wet food.
- Keep pets away from food storage areas.
- Keep pets away from household trash or garbage.
- Do not use a pet dish as a food scoop.
- Dispose of expired or spoiled pet food safely.
- Keep raw meat or poultry frozen until use. Thaw in microwave or refrigerator.
- Keep raw foods separate from other foods and food surfaces.
- Throw uneaten raw food away after 2 hours.
- Clean food prep surfaces with bleach solution.
Is it nutritionally appropriate for my pet? Do
I know what’s in it?
Feeding too much or too little does not
make a complete, balanced diet.
If your pet is ill, see your vet.