If you want to feel confident that your pet food is up to snuff, ask manufacturers these 10 questions that will help you determine a pet food company’s honesty and transparency. These questions are approved by the American Animal Hospital Association.
Q1 – Is there a vet nutritionist in your company?
A veterinary nutritionist is the one who has special extra training in pet foods formulation. He is the one with the strong background in the profession of food development, and he knows the difference in nutritional requirements of different species.
Q2 – Is he available to consult?
Consultation availability offers a chance to have answers for further inquiries even if over e-mail. Actually, these experts’ pieces of advice about the diet are very important for every pet owner, especially those of the veterinary nutritionist.
Q3 – Who formulates the diets, and how professional they are?
This is a very good question to ask. It is crucially vital for a pet food company to have a vet nutritionist, whether on the staff or as a consultant; whoever has the knowledge of dogs and cats needs.
Q4 – What diets are feeding tested, and what went through nutrient analysis?
Pets’ food is tested by two methods; AAFCO feeding trials (Association of American Feed Control Officials), or nutrient analysis. While the AAFCO trials are the gold standards, the most common is nutrient analysis, which involves the analysis of diet ingredients and requires comparison against the AAFCO profiles. Although the diet may look pretty good on paper but is not palatable upon feeding to dogs or cats.
The manufacturer’s choice to perform feeding trials reflects its commitment to producing standard satisfactory foods. Despite, many companies choose not to perform feeding trials because it is the most expensive method to test food. However, you can simply check the label of your pet food to know if the manufacturing company does feeding trials or not.
Q5 – What quality control and quality assurance certificate your work under?
A pet food manufacturer should outline the quality control measures of its procedures to provide a quality proof when asked. Standardization of procedures should be set up, in addition to separating cooked products from raw ingredients to inhibit cross-contamination. It is also important to have rigorous and careful control of ingredients to prevent allergen or pathogen contamination. Moreover, companies that put safety in priority test the food for contaminants throughout the manufacturing process and await results before the release of the final product.
Q6 – Where are you producing your diets?
If we should emphasize only one point, it will be this one. Many products are co-manufactured; these are less controlled and more prone to contamination due to over handling with third party plants. You will look for meat comes from plants inspected by USDA, of course, the more quality controlled and safe meat is produced in large plants, where there is access to more consistent and quality products.
Q7 – Can I visit you?
Well, this will always be an eye-opening experience. If there is a manufacturer nearby, they worth a visit. This is another way to ask some pet food companies for transparency.
Q8 – Can I get a complete nutrient analysis of your top selling cat food and dog food?
This is a question to get more information not included on the label. If the manufacturer does not have a satisfying answer, it is better to look for other diets.
Q9 – What are the caloric values of your products per can or cup?
A basic question and it is fair to get a clear answer for it. If it is not declared on the label, simply call for it. If you did not get this information, look for diets elsewhere.
Q10 – Do you have any published researches conducted on your diets?
Do not get surprised if you do not find, but it is a bonus, especially when comes to therapeutic diets and stage diets specific to manage diseases.
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