What you feed your furry best friend matters, and when it comes to dog food, not all companies are the same. Here are some of the top questions you should ask your dog food company, so that you know you're feeding your dogs the very best food, made from top quality ingredients.
1. Does the manufacturer employ at least one full-time qualified nutritionist? This means a PhD in animal nutrition or board-certification (and, ideally, both) by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition or the European College of Veterinary Comparative Nutrition.
Yes, The K9 Kitchen works closely with our team of veterinarian nutritionists. They all have PhDs in veterinarian medicine and are each members of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN) and our respective state Veterinary Medical Associations.
2. Does the manufacturer own the plant(s) where their food is manufactured? Most small companies do not own their own plants which can reduce the control they have over quality.
Currently, The K9 Kitchen works at The Culinary Accelerator located in Immokalee Florida. This kitchen is a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen. Food safe certifications are required to cook at this kitchen, as well as business insurance, state registration and licensing.
3. What quality control measures does the manufacturer practice?
The K9 Kitchen makes all food and treats by hand. The food is made in small batches to ensure that all ingredients, including vitamins, are incorporated evenly throughout the batch. Also, making small batches allows us to control the quality of all the ingredients throughout. This also allows us to take out any product that may be a bit too big of a piece or a defect on a particular ingredient. The K9 Kitchen also grinds their own meats. This ensures that we know EXACTLY the type of meat going into our products. Using already ground meats has a lot of concerns to us, as some may be preserved in a water solution. Also, many different cows can be in 1lb of meat. We know where the cows we are using are from and how they are humanely treated.
4. Are their foods tested with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) feeding trials?
Our veterinarian nutritionists balance each and every one of our recipes and treats in compliance with the AAFCO guidelines. Our food is also lab tested in compliance from the Department of Agriculture to assure our foods meet the guidelines that are set forth. We test yearly for all toxins too.
5. Does the company conduct any research? Do they publish it in peer-reviewed journals?
No. We do our own research on all our products. We educate ourselves on what foods would be harmful to dogs if they were eating a particular item on a regular basis. We pick each item/product we use with dogs health in mind. Each of our food recipes contain healthy, lean meats, grains (except the grain free Kickin’ Chicken), fresh fruits and veggies, oils, herbs and vitamins to ensure a balanced meal.
6. Can the manufacturer provide you with the amount of any nutrient of interest (for example, sodium, protein, copper, or calcium)? They should be able to provide this information not just as guaranteed analysis numbers (which will be only minimums or maximums and are nearly useless), but as the average (or typical) analysis. This should ideally be provided on an energy basis (i.e., grams per 100 kilocalories or grams per 1,000 kilocalories), rather than on an as-fed or dry-matter percent basis, which does not account for the variation in energy density among foods.
Yes! The K9 Kitchen has the nutrients and the amounts for all products. We have the kilocalorie amounts, the as-fed and dry-matter percentages. Our veterinarian nutritionists provide this information to us. We also have the information on the vitamins and minerals mixture (which is designed by veterinarians) that we add to the recipes and what each vitamin or mineral is and what the health benefits are.
7. Does the manufacturer bash other pet food companies (especially using information that is based on myths, rather than factual information) in their advertisements or on their websites?
Absolutely not. The K9 Kitchen will help educate people/customers on the benefits of feeding their dogs The K9 Kitchen products. We will also make people aware of recalls on pet foods to make sure they check their foods and follow the directions from the manufacturer that placed the recall.
Remember, in doing a little research on your pet's food, you'll have peace of mind, knowing that they're enjoying the best nutrition possible. At The K9 Kitchen, LLC, we take pride in our food and treats. Shop our store today and treat your pet to better quality ingredients.
(All questions are from the following article: Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University. All answers are from The K9 Kitchen, LLC.)