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Beware of this Pet Food Industry Trick: Ingredient Splitting tips

Beware of this Pet Food Industry Trick: Ingredient Splitting

As responsible pet parents, we try to feed our pets the best dog food and best cat food with only essential ingredients. But, did you know that many pet food companies have a loophole that hides the true quality of their recipes? Keep reading to find out how to avoid falling for their tricks.

What is Ingredient Splitting?

How many pet foods have you seen proudly claim that a protein source, such as chicken or beef, is the #1 ingredient? Chances are, the majority of them! Unfortunately, this is often false advertising, made possible by a strategy called ingredient splitting

Ingredient splitting is a practice in which manufacturers list the same ingredient in different ways to hide the total percentage within the food. This is often done to hide fillers and other cheap ingredients of low or no nutritional value. 

Let’s take an ingredient such as a potato, for example. Potatoes are unnecessary for dogs and cats, as they provide no nutritional value and are a simple carbohydrate. Pet food manufacturers will oftentimes use potatoes in recipes, but list in multiple ways. Here’s a sample ingredient list:

You can see here that chicken is the number one ingredient. However, you also see that this recipe also includes potato flour, potato starch, and potato protein. By splitting a potato into three “different” ingredients, it allows the manufacturer to state that chicken is the #1 ingredient, when the majority of the recipe is actually made of - you guessed it, potatoes. 

This practice is often used on other ingredients, such as peas, corn, and soy. That way, pet food companies can falsely claim they have the best high quality dog food or cat food. It’s important to be diligent to avoid accidentally feeding your furry friend a low quality diet. 

How to Spot Ingredient Splitting

You may be thinking to yourself, “How do I know if my pet’s food has had the ingredients split?” Fortunately, we have a few tips!


1. Check the Percentage of Meat

A good rule of thumb in determining the quality of your pet’s meal is to look at the meat percentage. Dogs and cats both are natural carnivores, that thrive on a high protein diet. Check your pet food and see if they advertise the percentage of meat in it. Here at KOHA, our Limited Ingredient Diet recipes for cats and dogs are no less than 90% meat - that’s how you know that meat is truly the number one ingredient in our recipes.

In general, opt for a high protein cat food or dog food with no filler ingredients. 


2. Look at the First 5 Ingredients

Another way to determine if your pet food is up to par is taking a look at the first 5 ingredients, rather than just the one. If you see multiple ingredients with the words “potato,” “peas,” “corn,” or “soy,” chances are the manufacturers are splitting the ingredients up to hide the true recipe. Take the time to educate yourself on what ingredients provide true health benefits to your pet, and which are of no value, or even detrimental. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this article.


3. Avoid Fillers in the First Place!

The best way to reduce the amount of filler and other nonessential ingredients in your dog or cat’s food is to avoid them altogether! Switch your pet to grain-free and filler-free, high quality diet to give them the best results. When you feed your pet a minimal ingredient recipe, you’ll save yourself the stress of worrying about the quality of their meals.

If you’d like to switch, check out our recipe guides for dogs and cats to find the perfect option for your pet. Make sure to give your pet a transition period of at least 5 days to allow them to adjust to their new food.