Nutrience Pet Food: Questions & Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

Buying Nutrience

Do you have a breeder program?

The Nutrience breeder program is offered to both breeders of dogs and cats. You may purchase any 6 bags of Nutrience dry food of the same size to receive the 7th FREE (the free bag must be of equal or lesser value). To qualify:

  1. Must be a CKC registered breeder.
  2. 6 UPCs (cut from the bags you purchased) or original till receipts must be collected and attached to the Nutrience Breeder Program card when submitted. (Bags must be purchased 6 at a time or split into 2 orders of 3 bags).

Can I buy Nutrience pet food in the USA?

Yes, you can buy Nutrience dog food and cat food at selected stores in Indiana and Iowa:

Michigan City, IN
Munster, IN
Dyer, IN
Charleston, IN
Clinton, IA

Why do some bags look vacuum packed?

Certain factors such as food density, ambient temperature and humidity can affect the packaging of the product. Due to these factors on the day of production, some bags will contain more air than others. Rest assured that this doesn’t affect the freshness of the food.

What is the best way to store my food?

Nutrience pet food packages consist of a sealing device and can easily be resealed once the package is opened. Keep Nutrience stored indoors in a cool and dry environment, away from light exposure.

Does Nutrience offer hypoallergenic dog and cat food?

We currently do not offer a specific range of hypoallergenic pet food formulas, however, we do have formulas that are good alternatives to either protein allergies or grain sensitivities in your dog or cat:

Allergies in dogs and cats:

  • Dogs and cats are typically allergic to proteins, which most people relate to either fish, beef, egg, milk, chicken, etc. Your pet’s body will over react to what it considers an invasive protein, which can happen at any time. However, it can only be if they are exposed to that specific protein. If your pet develops an allergy, you can look for foods with “less common” proteins or foods free of chicken, egg, fish or beef which tend to be the most common allergies. Nutrience offers the following suggestions: Subzero Northern Lakes, Subzero Canadian Pacific, Grain Free Pork, Lamb & Duck and Ocean Fish formulas.

Grain Sensitivities in dogs and cats:

  • All Nutrience formulas are free of corn, wheat and soy. Every pet is unique which is why Nutrience offers a wide range of carbohydrate sources to accommodate your pet’s sensitivities.

Should your pet develop an allergy, consider the time of year in which symptoms appear since they can be attributed to seasonal and/or environmental allergies. If you have any questions regarding allergies and/or food sensitivities, please talk to your vet or to a pet store specialist.

Feeding Nutrience

When it comes to feeding my dog or my cat, how many times a day is ideal?

All pets aren’t created equal. Your dog or cat may require more or less food depending on age, activity level or environment. We recommend feeding your pet twice a day: once for breakfast and once for dinner. Please refer to our daily feeding guide that can be found on the Nutrience pet food package and adjust as needed. Make sure to always have fresh water available.

When changing foods, why is it important to transition slowly?

Pets are usually fed the same food for a long period of time. Transitioning to a new diet can be difficult on some pets’ digestive systems. Common digestive signs due to transition include diarrhea, loose stools and vomiting. Transitioning slowly from an old diet to a new one will reduce the risk of your pet experiencing these digestive problems.

Transitioning to Nutrience is quite simple. Start with a proportion of 25% Nutrience to 75% old food. Slowly change the proportions over the next 5 to 7 days by gradually increasing the amount of Nutrience and decreasing the amount of the old food.

How will I know if I’m feeding my dog or my cat the right amount of food?

There are a few indications that you can look for to see if you’re feeding your pet the right amount of food. Loose stools are a common sign of over feeding. Obesity is another common problem of overfeeding and can be the cause of some serious health issues.

If your pet seems heavier than normal, decrease the amount of food you normally give and more importantly, try to increase the exercise he gets. If you feel that your pet is too thin, you may need to increase the amount of food during meal time. A pet getting thinner over time on the same amount of food may indicate a medical condition to be checked by your vet.

When is my puppy or kitten considered an adult and should therefore transition to an adult food?

Small breed puppies can transition to adult food at approximately 8 to 9 months. Large breed puppies can transition after 12 months. As for kittens, they can be switched to adult food after 12 months. Pets may also reach adulthood when they reach their adult body weight and cease to grow.

Pet Food Nutrition

Nutrience is made with low-glycemic carbohydrates. Why is this important?

We’ve increased the focus in our formulas to low-glycemic carbohydrates, a vital step in helping ward off diabetes and obesity, serious health issues for pets. For example, corn is an ingredient scoring high on the glycemic index – a primary reason why Nutrience is now completely corn-free. Examples of low-glycemic ingredients found in Nutrience are steel-cut oats, lentils, sweet potatoes, green peas, broccoli, pears and apples.

What is the source of the glucosamine and chondroitin in Nutrience foods (ex: mussel shell, chicken cartilage, bovine trachea, etc.)?

The glucosamine and chondroitin used in Nutrience formulas are standard, non-synthetic forms commonly found in pet foods. Our glucosamine is extracted from shrimp and crab shells, and the chondroitin is extracted from chicken cartilage.

There are 500 million CFU of probiotics applied to Nutrience Natural and Grain Free formulas. What are the health benefits of probiotics and how do we ensure these living organisms aren’t killed off during the cooking process?

Probiotics are live organisms and are sensitive to heat, so the method of applying them to food is critical. Typical extrusion processes, extrusion being a cooking method, involve high heat which can kill these microorganisms. However, Nutrience has invested in an innovative, post-extrusion spray system, allowing application of the probiotics to the kibble after extrusion, keeping the organisms alive. Probiotics are applied at a quantity estimated to give the guaranteed levels for the duration of the shelf life.

What are the benefits of multiple meat proteins in my dog’s and cat’s diet?

Multiple meat proteins offers a wider variety of amino acids to animals, ensuring their needs for essential amino acids are met (especially those that cannot be reproduced in their own body and that must come from the diet), as well as non-essential amino acids (those that animals can synthesize using the building blocks provided from the meats in the diet). These amino acids are then used by the body to produce body tissues including muscles, hormones, connective tissues and many others.

Are your fish and fish meals from your suppliers ethoxyquin-free?

Our suppliers must comply with specific standards for every ingredient that is included in our food in terms of the raw ingredients and their quality. With regards to fish, our suppliers must meet our “no ethoxyquin” demand. In addition, random testing is performed of incoming fish and fish meals batches to help ensure suppliers meet our requirements. No artificial antioxidants (BHT, BHA, Ethoxyquin) are used in any of the ingredients throughout the Nutrience formulas. We only use natural antioxidants to preserve our foods.

We’re very strict with these demands. We take great measures to ensure our quality control, food handling and testing procedures surpass industry standards. All procedures are double-checked by third parties for safety.

Nutrience does not practice ingredient splitting; however, I see there are green peas and pea fibre in the Grain Free formula. Why is this?

Including green peas (a source of protein and energy) and pea fiber (a source of fiber) in one formula is not an ingredient split since they are two different ingredients. One ingredient is the peas themselves, whereas pea fiber comes from peas that were subjected to a process from which the fiber component was extracted. Including whole peas, peas, ground peas and pea flour would be considered ingredient splitting since they are the same ingredient, but given different names.

Quality Assurance

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs

STATEMENT

On June 27, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its third status report on their investigation into a potential connection between certain diets and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a type of heart disease affecting dogs. In this report, the FDA continues to state that no causality has been established between certain diets and the development of DCM in some dogs. Cases of DCM have been reported from dogs that ate dry, wet, raw, and semi-moist foods, and these included both grain-based and grain-free diets. Furthermore, thousands of dogs have eaten the same diets as the dogs stricken with DCM to no ill effect. The FDA states that this is a complex issue with many factors requiring scientific evaluation. At this time, the FDA is not advising dietary changes.

All of our diets are formulated to be complete and balanced and to meet or exceed the nutritional guidelines set by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). In addition, even though taurine is not considered dietarily essential for dogs, we recognize what an important role it plays in heart, eye, digestive, and reproductive health. This is why we have always supplemented all of our grain-free dog kibble with taurine to ensure optimal nutrition for every pet.

We love our pets and are dedicated to making the safest and highest-quality food for them. We are taking this issue very seriously and will continue to work with researchers to determine the cause of DCM and if any additional preventative measures need to be taken to ensure the safety of all pets.

FAQs

What is taurine?

  • Taurine is a sulphur-containing amino acid that is present in all of our diets and which naturally occurs animal tissues, but absent from most plants. It plays a role in heart, eye, reproductive, and digestive health, and about 60% of the body’s taurine is found in the heart. Cats always require a sufficient amount of taurine in their diet as they do not have the ability to produce enough taurine from other sulphur-containing amino acids to meet their body’s needs. Dogs are capable of synthesizing (making) taurine from other sulphur-containing amino acids, methionine and cystine, in the liver. However, their ability to do this is not well adjusted to their size, which means that larger dogs are at a greater risk of not being able to synthesize enough taurine to meet their needs.

How is taurine related to DCM?

  • Canine DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) is a disease affecting dogs’ heart muscle which results in an enlarged heart. As the heart and its chambers become dilated, the heart struggles to pump and heart valves may leak, leading to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen. The relationship between taurine deficiency and DCM was first discovered in the late 1980s in cats (Pion et al., 1987). Cats diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy were observed to have low plasma taurine levels and were successfully treated by increasing taurine in their diet. Treatment of DCM with taurine has also been successful in certain cases with dogs.

What are the signs of DCM?

  • Possible signs of DCM or other heart conditions include decreased energy, coughing, difficulty breathing and collapsing. If your dog is showing possible signs of DCM, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

What is the cause of DCM?

  • Genetics can play a huge role in the development of DCM, which can be caused by a variety of factors. Genetic forms of DCM tend to affect larger-breed male adult or senior dogs. Dog breeds that have been identified or are suspected of having genetic predispositions to taurine deficiency and DCM include Dobermans, Boxers, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, English Cocker Spaniels, Portuguese Water Dogs, American Cocker Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers. In addition to genetics, diet and physiology can also be related to the development of DCM.

Can certain diets cause DCM?

  • To date, the FDA has established no causality between certain diets and the development of DCM in dogs. Cases of DCM have been reported from dogs that ate dry, wet, raw, and semi-moist foods, and these included both grain-based and grain-free diets. Furthermore, thousands of dogs have eaten the same diets as the dogs stricken with DCM to no ill effect. Another puzzling aspect of the spike in DCM cases is that they have occurred just in the last few years.

Do I need to change my dog’s diet?

  • Based solely on the information gathered so far, the FDA is not currently advising dietary changes. If you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or diet, we and the FDA suggest that you consult your veterinarian, who should consult a board-certified veterinary nutritionist for personalized advice based on your dog’s specific needs and medical history.

References

Pion, P. D., Kittleson, M. D., Rogers, Q. R., & Morris, J. G. (1987). Myocardial failure in cats associated with low plasma taurine: a reversible cardiomyopathy. Science, 237 (4816), 764–768.

 

Does Nutrience test its pet foods on animals?

No one would feel comfortable eating a food that hadn’t been consumed by someone else. This also goes for pets! We conduct feeding trials which are a perfectly safe and comfortable process. With these feeding trials, we can monitor the taste, the effect on the digestive system, the effect on sensitive animals, the body weight and the quantity of food consumed. The animals are kept in comfortable conditions under the supervision of a veterinarian and a technical team.

What type of quality controls are in place to ensure a quality product?

Our ingredients, foods and procedures go through very strict testing procedures:

  • incoming ingredients are subject to strict quality control
  • ingredients are each assigned designated bins while being stored in the plant
  • the first few bags of each production run are discarded to prevent cross-contamination
  • samples from each batch of food produced are tested and kept on hand for the duration of the product’s shelf life
  • We are strictly audited by third parties for all of our procedures

Does Nutrience outsource the production of their food to third party manufacturers or do they make it themselves?

All Nutrience dry food diets are created in Vancouver British Columbia, within a jointly held facility, where we have full visibility and control of the process of sourcing and cooking.   Operating our own pet food facility provides absolute assurance that our brand promise is kept: to create foods from quality ingredients and ensure there is No Bad Anything in all of our foods. It is our priority to create every bag of Nutrience to the highest possible standards. Every batch is sampled for quality and is subject to feeding trials, a chemical analysis and a microbial analysis.

Nutrience treats and wet foods are sourced from select co-packers who specialize in the creation of high quality, small batch production using locally sourced ingredients.  We work closely with our vendors of choice, who we have carefully selected as best in class Canadian manufacturers to uphold our No Bad Anything pledge and who also follow our strict quality control procedures.

Subzero Raw Food

My vet doesn’t recommend I feed raw, why?

The main concerns with raw food are the possibilities of bacterial contamination and nutritional deficiencies. Nutrience takes these concerns very seriously which is why we follow strict quality control protocols and every batch is tested for quality and security prior to leaving our kitchens. We also formulate all of our diets based on the AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult dogs and cats. Pet owners who choose to feed raw food must take the same precautions they would for any raw meat when handling raw pet food to avoid contamination.

Can I refreeze raw food?

No. Once thawed, raw food cannot be refrozen.

When does raw food expire?

If kept frozen, raw food is best before the expiry date on the package. We recommend feeding and storing the food in a stainless, glass or ceramic container with a lid.
SubZero Raw food can be stored in your refrigerator in its original sealed package for 3-5 days or once opened, in a sealed container for 2-3 days.

Can I microwave raw food to speed up the thawing process?

We do not recommend microwaving raw food.

Is raw food safe for senior pets?

All of our raw diets are formulated to meet the nutritional guidelines established by the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Profiles for maintenance, and are therefore formulated to meet the nutritional needs of senior pets.

Where can I find SubZero Raw?

Please visit our Store Locator under the tab “SubZero Raw”. For reference, a red bone beside a store indicates they carry SubZero Raw.

Store Locator

How do I feed raw bones to my dog?

Raw bones are meant for intermittent or supplementary feeding only. Make sure to always read the warnings on our website prior to feeding. Keep food frozen until ready to use. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours or until soft throughout.
SubZero Raw bones can be stored in your refrigerator in its original sealed package for 3-5 days or once opened, in a sealed container for 2-3 days.
Always wash all surfaces, utensils, dishes and hands with hot water and soap after handling raw meat, fish and poultry.
Please note the following:
• Choose bones larger than your pet’s mouth capacity to avoid choking
• Defrost before feeding
• Supervise your dog at all times
• DO NOT COOK

My dog is drinking less water. Is this normal?

Yes, raw diets supply significantly more water than dry foods, helping them to be more hydrated than on a solely kibble diet.

How are the probiotics kept active in the Nutrience raw formulas?

The probiotics added to our formulas are kept in stasis and become active as the food thaws and enters the digestive tract. There are also many strains of probiotics and the optimal use of probiotics is to include variety in the diet through several different channels.

What is the amount of bone included in the raw formulations?

Each of our raw diets is formulated with unique ingredients to meet specific nutrient parameters. As such, we base the inclusion of bone in our diets around the nutritional contribution of the other ingredients in the diet so that the nutritional requirements of your pet are met. This quantity will vary for each diet and will be adjusted as needed if the nutrient contents of our other ingredients fall outside of their normal range. For our bone content, we formulate based on a nutritional analysis rather than an estimated percentage. Fraser Valley contains poultry bone as well whole fish with bone. Prairie Red contains whole fish with bone as well as some bone powder (powdered raw bone). Northern Lakes contains whole duck with bone as well as whole fish with bone.

How do you ensure the freshness and sanitization of your raw ingredients?

All foods are blast frozen and individually wrapped to preserve peak freshness and nutritional integrity. We have implemented HACCP as our food safety program, and our facility’s adherence was verified by a third party auditor. The audit included an evaluation of our records to support the implementation of the program and interviews with employees regarding their duties related to the HACCP system.

To minimize the risk of salmonella, we add bacteriophages to any meals containing chicken and duck (this includes all Fraser Valley and Northern Lakes meals). The majority of parasites and their associated cysts do not survive the freezing process our raw materials and finished product endure. E. Coli 0157:H7 is treated by our suppliers, as per CFIA’s guidelines for kill steps.

We test every batch of finished product for salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes and release product when results for salmonella come back negative, and Listeria monocytogenes is within the acceptable limit set by CFIA. Salmonella testing is conducted in-house and Listeria monocytogenes testing is conducted by a third party lab. E. Coli/Coliform plate count is also conducted in-house on every batch as an indicator.

Why is a multi-protein formula that does not require rotational feeding ideal?

Our diets are intended to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance, meaning our raw food will be formulated to meet the same guidelines as our complete and balanced dry and wet pet foods. Rotation is not needed for food that is complete and balanced – generally speaking from a scientific point of view, rotation is typically used as a way to reduce the risk or severity of nutritional deficiencies from incomplete and imbalanced foods.

How to transition to raw?

The main concern when transitioning your pet from one type of food to another, or from one protein to another, is how active and healthy their gut bacteria is. In simple terms, the more they are exposed to variety, the better. A dog or cat may suffer digestive upset if they are quickly exposed to a new food that is different from what they normally eat. Both dogs and cats need an adjusting period to become accustomed to the new food. Transitioning onto the same protein makes the process easier for your pet. For instance, SubZero and SubZero Raw were developed with the same proteins in order to help make mixing and feeding raw easier. Both diets are complete and balanced for adult maintenance and switching between raw and kibble for ease of travel and convenience. As a first step, we recommend transitioning your pet from kibble to raw food slowly over 7 days. Most pets will readily eat the raw food; however, you may want to introduce it slowly to ensure you do not upset their digestive system. Begin by mixing in small amounts of raw food with the kibble slowly increasing the amount over a full week. Once fully on the raw diet you can experiment with switching back and forth with the SubZero kibble and observe how your pet reacts to it. Most healthy animals will not have any issues transitioning.

How to feed raw food?

Step 1 – Thaw the raw food to room temperature or slightly higher. Never leave raw food out for prolonged periods once thawed. Raw food can be thawed by soaking the packet in cold to lukewarm water. The more the food is room temperature or slightly above, the more it will smell and taste better to your pet.

Step 2- Portion the raw food according to your pet’s age, size and activity level.

Step 3 – Store the remaining raw food in a sealable container to preserve freshness for up to 3 days.

When preparing your pet’s meal, be sure to wash all surfaces, utensils, dishes and hands with hot water and soap after handling raw meat, fish and poultry.

Is SubZero Raw food human grade?

Yes, all SubZero Raw food is human grade.

Can I feed raw food to my puppy/kitten?

Our raw food is safe for growing and reproducing pets to consume as part of their diet, but we do not recommend raw as their sole source of food because the nutrient profiles of our raw diets are not dense enough for growth or reproduction. Growing animals require a more rigid balance of nutrients than full-grown animals, and currently our raw diets are only formulated to be the only source of nutrients for full-grown animals. It is known that certain nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus, as well as other nutrients, are needed in greater proportions in the diet when an animal is growing or reproducing because they are not just replacing their old cells as part of normal bodily maintenance, they are building new ones.

To ensure that your growing animal meets all of its nutrient needs, we advise that you only feed a diet that is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog or Cat Food Profiles for growth. Raw food can be supplemented to this diet for energy.

Can I cook raw food?

During the heating process, nutrients are lost, which is why we do not recommend cooking raw food if it is the only food fed to your pet. To ensure your pet meets all of their nutrient needs, it is best to feed them a rotational diet which includes raw and kibble or wet food. Cooked raw food should be fed only as a supplement to their regular diet.

Can I feed raw and kibble together?

Yes, absolutely!

What are the health benefits of feeding raw?

The benefits of raw food reported from users include:
-Shinier coats
-Healthier skin
-Higher energy levels
-Smaller amount of stool
-Cleaner teeth
-Increased gut health due to the addition of prebiotics and probiotics in SubZero Raw

Why feed Nutrience SubZero Raw?

Raw food is an excellent way to feed your pet the nutrients it needs to lead a healthy lifestyle. Raw food ensures that nutrients aren’t lost or damaged in the heating process that dry and wet foods undergo. It is also highly digestible, ensuring your pet receives a complete and balanced nutrition using only naturally-sourced ingredients, eliminating the need for added synthetic vitamins or minerals. Fresh meats and whole fish are an important source of protein for your pet. Likewise, all our recipes include a prebiotic and probiotic blend to aid in proper gut health. Nutrience SubZero Raw is made following the highest food safety standards and ensures that only the highest quality, human-grade proteins are included in our formulas. Each formula contains a diverse amino acid profile and provides complete nutrition, making raw food easy, and avoids having to follow a strict rotational feeding schedule with classic raw meals. All human grade supply chain manufacturers are required to implement a HACCP protocol and we are proud to be using the same standards for our SubZero products. In addition, every batch is tested for quality and security prior to leaving our kitchens and is safely transported in sub-zero temperatures right to the retail level.

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