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Food for Thought: What's Really in Your Pet's Bowl?

Posted on September 27 2023

Delving Deeper into Each Ingredient

Hello, pet-loving Kiwis! When it comes to nourishing your furry companions, the choices you make about their nutrition are crucial. While the convenience of grabbing a bag of pet food from your local supermarket may be tempting, we're here to shed light on the hidden world of pet food ingredients and explain why opting for pet store brands is the best decision you can make for your beloved pets.

Let's begin by examining the ingredient lists of two well-known pet food brands, one from a pet store and the other from a supermarket. Take a moment to peruse these lists and consider the importance of what goes into your pet's bowl:

Addiction Salmon Dog Food

Guaranteed analysis: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Ocean Fish Meal, Green Peas, Tapioca, Chicken Fat, Yellow Peas, Potatoes, Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Natural Buffered Vinegar, Cranberries, Kelp Powder, Spinach Powder, Blueberries, Natural Flavour, Pea Protein.

Optimum Chicken and Rice Dog Food;

Typical analysis: Meat & meat by-product (poultry); wheat and/or corn; sorghum and/or barley and/or rice; natural flavour (chicken); beet pulp; vegetables; vitamins & minerals; salt; sodium tripolyphosphate; antioxidants; amino acid.

Now, let's delve into three key aspects of these ingredients that illustrate why pet store brands stand head and shoulders above their supermarket counterparts:

Protein Quality: Elevating Your Pet's Health 

When it comes to your pet's nutrition, the quality of protein sources is paramount for their overall well-being. Below is the scoop on the crucial distinction between two common protein sources: "meal" and "meat by-product," shedding light on why the former is a superior choice for your beloved companion's diet.

Understanding "Meal":  

Ingredient lists often feature terms like "salmon meal" or "chicken meal." These "meals" are created by extracting moisture from the whole protein source (such as salmon or chicken) and grinding it into a concentrated powder. This process yields a protein source rich in essential amino acids, making it highly nutritious and easily digestible for your pet. Think of these meals as the protein powder of the pet world with a significantly greater amino acid density. Providing your furry friend with the building blocks for muscle development, immune support, and a healthy coat.

Why "Meat By-Product" Raises Concerns: 

Now, consider the vague term "meat by-product," often found in supermarket pet food. It's a less desirable option for several reasons. "Meat by-product" lacks specificity, leaving you uncertain about the meat's quality or origin really is. It can include less nutritious and less digestible components like beaks, feathers, hooves, and unidentified elements. This ambiguity can result in inconsistency in your pet's diet, both in terms of protein quality and nutritional value. Compared to high-quality animal protein sources like salmon meal or chicken meal, "meat by-product" often falls short, offering lower protein content and potentially lacking essential amino acids crucial for your pet's vitality.

 Fillers in Pet Food: What to Watch Out For

Fillers are ingredients added to pet food primarily to increase volume and reduce production costs. Unfortunately, they may not offer significant nutritional value to your pet and can even harm their health.

Common fillers in pet food include:

Corn: Widely used in many supermarket pet foods, corn can provide some energy but isn't highly digestible for pets like dogs and cats. Some pets may develop allergies or digestive issues due to corn consumption.

Soy: Soybean meal, another common filler, can be harder for some pets to digest compared to animal-based proteins.

Wheat:This filler can pose problems for pets with wheat allergies or sensitivities and may contribute to weight gain if overused.

Why Fillers Are Problematic: 

Your dog's digestive system isn't designed to process corn or wheat, unlike sheep or cows that have specialised stomachs for this purpose. Understanding this physiological mismatch underscores why the presence of fillers can be detrimental to your pet. Companies using these ingredients in their formulas do not prioritize your pet's health and should be avoided.

These ingredients displace valuable nutrients, leaving your pet without the essential vitamins, minerals, and high-quality protein they need. As a result, some pets may experience digestive issues, allergies, or even weight gain, leading to obesity and related health problems.

Fillers can mislead pet owners because they artificially inflate the apparent quantity of pet food. While a bag may seem budget-friendly due to its full appearance, a significant portion of it consists of low-nutrient high calorie fillers.

Guaranteed vs. Typical Ingredients

Navigating the Fine Print.

Ingredients can be either listed as a guaranteed or a typical analysis. Here's the difference and why guaranteed analysis should be your only choice when making informed choices about your pet's nutrition.

Guaranteed Analysis: The Promise of Consistency

Guaranteed analysis assures pet parents that the ingredients in the bag precisely match what's listed on the label. There are no 'and/or' statements here, providing peace of mind, especially for pets with sensitive stomachs. This transparency and consistency sets clear expectations for your pet's diet, ensuring that each purchase aligns with your pet's needs. It’s the manufacturers promise that what it says on that list is in the bag, this time, and every time you add it to their bowl.

Typical Ingredients: Whatever is Cheapest at the time

In contrast, typical ingredients offer vague insights into the ingredients used and lack the precision of guaranteed analysis. Phrases like "animal protein" or 'and/or' open the door for ingredient substitutions based on cost, not your pet's well-being. Typical ingredients can mislead you into thinking you understand the food's composition when, in reality, the manufacturer isn't obligated to disclose exact proportions or ingredients. This lack of specificity can obscure the true nutritional value of the food, leaving you guessing about its quality and ingredients. For instance, a package might boldly claim "LAMB" on the front, but when you examine the ingredients list, it reads: "Lamb and/or Horse." This lack of transparency and ease of substitution doesn't serve your pet's best interests.

Expert Guidance for Cost-Effective Pet Nutrition:

Amid the abundance of pet food choices, determining what's best for your pet and your budget can feel like a complex task. When it comes to your pet's nutrition, every ingredient plays a crucial role. Opting for pet store brands that provide high-quality protein sources, transparent guaranteed analysis, and minimal fillers is the smartest decision for your pet's health and your wallet.  At Pet Connect we are passionate about pet nutrition and are here to provide you with invaluable guidance, not only in selecting the most suitable food for your pet's unique needs but also in optimizing your budget. While it might be tempting to opt for seemingly economical supermarket brands upfront, we want you to consider the bigger picture. Pet store foods translate into more nutrient dense foods saving both on cost per feed as well as long-term savings through improved pet health and reducing skin and stomach issues.

Send us an email at or visit us in store for a tailored solution for your pets bowl or check out our favourites below

Addiction Dog Food

Addiction is a premium dog food made with high-grade meat and anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables from the purest place in the world - New Zealand! These formulas contain no grains, GMOs, by-products, fillers, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colours, artificial flavourings and artificial preservatives so work to prevent allergies and help boost your pet's overall health and wellness. Addiction is our favourite brand to recommended as it’s home grown and high quality. Give this out of this world NZ brand a go and save 20% off your first purchase with code ADDICTEDTOGOODNESS entered at cart (excludes Mega).

Black Hawk Dog Food

BlackHawk Petfood is proudly Australian owned holistic pet food for both cats and dogs and has an extensive range of flavours including pasture fed lamb, ocean caught fish and hormone free chicken. Our fury best friends deserve wholesome, balanced and nutritious food with real ingredients that nourish wellbeing, thats why BlackHawks Australian Pet Food believes in real meat, real veggies with no fillers or preservatives. 

Good Noze Dog Food

Good Noze was built on the philosophy that much like us pets thrive on variety, as well as natural, healthy and minimally processed food. They believe the closer foods stay to their natural state, the better they are and that’s why their diets are based on foods they might find in the wild.  Good Noze was a founded by a kiwi bloke from Raglan with a dream to create a premium range of 100% natural food for pets, using the best New Zealand ingredients they can find. From the art studio, to the farm, to the manufacturing plant, this is a product with deep NZ roots and no compromises.

Raw Paws 

Here at Pet Connect we stock a large range of Raw Pawz for our Waiheke Customers, with free delivery island wide for any local order! If you are a local, take a look at our Raw Pawz range below. Unfortunately we do not ship this nation wide, however if you're on Waiheke come checkout this range instore!


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