How to Choose a Pet Food?March 3, 2020
With all the pet foods on the market, the claims that are made on the bags and the endless varieties of different formulas, how do you decide what food is best for your pet?
Many pet parents spend countless hours researching the web to find the best dog or cat food on the market.
Apart from basic factors such as age, health conditions, sensitivities, energy level and lifestyle, there are a few key components that every pet owner should consider before purchasing a food. These components include balanced formulas with quality ingredients, AAFCO approval, sustainability and country of origin. Below, the components are explained along with why they’re important.
COMPLETE & BALANCED FORMULAS
What is a balanced formula? A complete formula is one that contains all the required nutrients needed for your pet’s specific life stage to stay healthy.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind is balance. No matter what ingredients are used, if they are not properly balanced, your pet will be deficient in vital nutrients. Improperly balanced diets can result in nutrient deficiencies and may lead to the development of long-term health conditions.
AAFCO APPROVED NUTRITIONAL LEVELS
Currently, Canada does not regulate dog or cat food. Therefore, it is up to Canadian companies to follow the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) nutritional standards. The AAFCO releases nutrient profiles for dogs and cats for companies to follow. Nutrient profiles list the minimum level of each nutrient that is required for the formula to be “complete and balanced”. Specific breeds may require more or less protein, fat, carbohydrates or moisture than that listed in the nutrient profiles. Pet owners should use the AAFCO nutrient profiles as guidance to ensure that their pet is receiving the right balance of nutrients that it needs. For instance, dogs generally require higher protein (25 to 30 percent) and fat (15 to 20 percent) with lower carbohydrates (less than 40 percent). Foods meeting these standards are considered optimal dog foods. Dogs and cats also require a minimum amount of vitamins and minerals to lead a healthy life.
It’s important to keep in mind that since the domestication of dogs and cats, their diets have drastically changed compared to those of their ancestors. Simply feeding your pets meat will not be providing them with the nutrients they need.
Finding a pet food that is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog or Cat Food Nutrient Profiles, and contains quality ingredients is a great start to determining which one is best for your pet.
What does “sustainably farmed” mean? Sustainable farming considers the ecological impact. Sustainably farming uses practices and methods that are economically viable and environmentally sound. Fruits, vegetables and animal products that are sustainably raised and harvested help to promote the preservation of the environment. Some sustainable farming methods or practices include but are not limited to the use of renewable energy sources, crop diversity, natural pest eliminators, limited transportation costs, better water management and manual weed removal.
At Nutrience, we believe we have a responsibility towards pets, people and the planet to create and produce our pet food sustainably. Encouraging sustainable practices is our way of reducing our environmental footprint while also enhancing the lives of farmers and growers.
MADE IN CANADA
Purchasing pet food that is made in Canada is always recommended for several reasons. Firstly, the ingredients received are always fresher since they spend less time in transportation. Secondly, Canadian factories and facilities follow strict food safety, sanitation and labor standards, just like our very own production facility. Every bag of Nutrience is produced at a Safe Food Quality Program level-3 facility. This ensures that we follow the highest possible standards within pet food manufacturing which is in fact equal to that of human grade facilities. Every batch made passes the most rigorous testing procedures, subscribes to the most stringent food processing policies and is double-checked by third parties for safety. Thirdly, buying Canadian reduces our carbon footprint as products are made closer to home and therefore, require less transportation which creates less pollution. Last but not least, supporting fellow Canadians is a definite plus.
Canada’s 9.98 million km2 of endless lakes, rivers and forests, stretching from the Maritimes to the British Columbia coasts, provide us with some of the best raw ingredients for our dog and cat foods and treats. Nutrience takes great pride in sourcing fresh poultry, meats, wild-caught fish, and produces directly from Canadian farmers, ranchers and fishermen: chicken and turkey from Fraser Valley; beef and bison from the Prairies; and any of the wild-caught fish that is plentiful from the cold, clear waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Martinez, G. (2016). The dog diet answer book: the complete nutrition guide to help your dog live a happier, healthier, and longer life. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds.