Five reasons to check out your pet food manufacturer’s records.

 

Quality = Safety.

All pet foods do not have the same quality. And it’s the manufacturers who make them different. The manufacturers are responsible for the quality of your pet’s food. The choices they make (sourcing ingredients, keeping-up facilities, testing ingredients and final products for safety and nutrition content, etc.) often decide life or death for pets later.

 

Ingredient Sourcing

All your dog food’s ingredients are grown, harvested and probably preserved or even cooked before they reach the manufacturing facility. Manufacturers source each ingredient based on price, availability and, hopefully, quality. Quality means safety for your dog, who will eat the same food, every meal of his life. If he eats a diet that contains even small amounts of a potentially toxic substance, over time, it will accumulate as he eats the same meal 365 days a year, and become toxic. Therefore, it’s essential to check out the manufacturer.

 

Big Name Brands

Companies like Mars Petcare, Nestle Purina, Big Heart, and Diamond, all produce massive amounts of pet food. And, they all have bad records. Bad recalls as well as poor transparency with pet food consumers, poor quality ingredients, and Chinese sources. These are all bad. And because these big-name brands contribute significant amounts of pet food to the market, poor quality dog food dominates your choices. You’ll want to stay away from several big-name brands.

 

Co-Packers

Co-packers are manufacturers who split up a large job in the pet food industry. They may produce some pet foods at one facility, and others at another facility. It’s important to know if your pet food manufacturer has a co-packer because each facility can be different.

 

Recalls

2007 was the scariest year in the pet food industry. It was a huge eye-opener to pet food consumers about the quality, and potential danger, of the bag of kibble in their pantry. You can now find resources all over the internet that keep records on past pet food recalls and even will email you all current recalls so that you can stop feeding a dangerous product if you need to.

Recalls occur when something happens to the pet food to make it more immediately dangerous to the dog. Melamine, salmonella, pentobarbital, chemical contamination, and vitamin or mineral imbalance are all possible causes of a pet food recall. It’s advisable to choose a pet food with a low record for recalls. This usually says something about the quality of the ingredients and manufacturing handling. However, some pet foods have made many pets sick but have never been recalled, so it’s important to do your research outside of only recalls.

 

 Check Out Your Manufacturer:

First, check your pet food bag (or can) for the manufacturer information on the back. It should have the name, manufacturing plant location, and contact information. With the name of your pet food manufacturer, you can get started.

 

Find Their Source

If pet food manufacturers source their ingredients somewhere outside of the United States, it’s often not advertised. It was an imported ingredient from China that caused the 2007 scare. Recent reports show that quality isn’t any better in some countries.

 

Research the Recalls:

Find out first if your brand of pet food has had any recalls. If so, are they far in the past or very recent? Some pet foods appear to have excellent quality until they have a year full of recalls.
Then you can check to see what other brands are made by the same manufacturer and check their recall records. Because the same manufacturer makes them they are often processed in the same facilities and contaminations can affect multiple brands.

 

Read the Claims:

If a manufacturer makes a pet food with organic ingredients, human grade meats or supplements, or under USDA inspection, it’s probably going to be printed prominently on the bag. These can be marks of quality which savvy pet owners are now looking for. Unfortunately, pet food marketing is not well regulated, and many companies make claims about their products that aren’t true. You can call or email the company to see if they are ready to back up their claims with real proof. If you get a vague answer, they may not be living up to their advertising.

 

Contact the Company:

Test their consumer transparency. If you call and ask about human grade supplements and only get a round-about answer, there might be something they don’t want you knowing. If you email and get the “proprietary information” response, or they avoid your question entirely while trying to assure you of their commitment to quality… run away. There shouldn’t be the need to hide anything, so when they do, it’s best not to put the life of your best friend in their hands. Manufacturer’s with poor customer transparency may be more interested in keeping the big bucks coming in rather than increasing your dog’s lifespan.

Here are some questions to ask your manufacturer about the quality of your pet’s food.

 

 

This post could come across as a downer for those of you who go on to your research and find out that you’ve been feeding your dog Chinese imports, or risking recalls every month. The bigger downer is finding your pet sick after a meal, or diagnosed with cancer. The effort to find quality food for your companion is well worth it.

 

 

Keep striving for quality and a Satisfied Dog!

 

 – Cassy Kay

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