Pet food companies use images to manipulate emotions, expectations and choices. While they may not claim a bag of food contains roasted chicken and fresh peas, the pictures look healthy and tasty so we connect the dots where none exist, and then, based upon an emotional response, we purchase the product.
Ingredients may start off being fit for human consumption, but once they’re processed at a pet food facility, the term “human-grade” can no longer be used. Only a product that is actually produced in a plant making human food, may legally be labeled human grade.
Ingredients are listed by weight, prior to being cooked. After cooking the first-listed “meat” ingredient may weigh less than the next-listed ingredients, since meats are 70-80% water, so your pet may be getting significantly less protein. Still, since the meat weighed more prior to cooking, it can be (and is) listed first on the pet food bag, although it may not be the predominant ingredient in the pet food.
Pet food processing usually consists of grinding ingredients, cooking, drying and then shaping into kibble bites. So why does one label say chicken “meat”, and another chicken “meal”? It’s how the meat arrived at the pet food facility. If chicken meat is “wet” when it arrives, is processed and ends up kibble, it’s called chicken meat. If the same chicken meat arrives “dry” at the pet food facility, and is turned into kibble, it must be called meal – same product, different name.
Vets and pet nutritionists, and pet food manufacturers offer differing viewpoints, so we chose scientific research over self-serving marketing agendas. Quality ingredients, properly handled, blended into nutritionally balanced diets through a high-grade manufacturing process, generates quality pet foods – meat or meal. However, meal diets provide greater certainty as to the level of protein in each kibble bite.
Ash is a measurement of calcium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, and other minerals. If ash content does not exceed 8%, the minerals are considered “essential” for good health, and ash is no longer considered a factor in causing Urinary Tract Disease. Dogs require a fermentable fibre (prebiotic) and a source of beneficial bacteria (probiotic) to aid digestion. Beet pulp is an excellent source of fibre, aiding in digestion and maintaining a healthy colon.
Most pets do very well with diet changes – some may be more sensitive than others. There are numerous ways to change from one pet food to another, but we believe “gradual” is best. You can begin by mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of the old, increasing the new and decreasing the old over 7 days.