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Q6: Where are your diets produced and manufactured?
A product that’s co-manufactured — meaning a third party plant makes food for the company, in addition to other companies that may include other species — may have less ingredient control and be more prone to contamination and other issues. You’ll also want to find out if meat comes from USDA-inspected plants, recommends Dr. Gallagher, emphasizing the point that it should. Large manufacturers often provide more safety and quality control, as they own their facility and have access to more consistent, quality ingredients.
Q7: Can this plant be visited?
This is “always an eye-opening experience,” said Dr. Bartges. If a manufacturer is local, it’s worth a visit, as it’s one more way of asking a pet food company for transparency.
Q8: Will you provide a complete product nutrient analysis of your best-selling dog and cat food, including digestibility values?
This provides much more information than what’s on the pet food label. “If a [pet food] company doesn’t have or won’t share it,” said Dr. Bartges, “then it would be worth looking at other diets.”
Q9: What is the caloric value per can or cup of your diets?
Key to maintaining your pet’s svelte figure, caloric value is a fairly basic question, and shouldn’t require more than a phone call to the pet food manufacturer. “If a person on the phone can’t give you this information, I’d look elsewhere,” said Dr. Bartges.
Q10: What kinds of research have been conducted on your products, and are the results published in peer-reviewed journals?
It’s a bonus if a pet food manufacturer has any published peer-reviewed information, said Dr. Gallagher.
But don’t be surprised if it doesn’t exist, “especially life stage diets and therapeutic diets used to manage diseases” said Dr. Bartges.
Something that is capable of producing disease
The term used to describe how much an animal will like a specific taste or food
How easily a substance can be turned into an appropriate digestible form
Any substance with the potential to produce an allergic reaction in an animal prone to such a reaction.
A type of system that is used to compare animals within a given group to one another