The words “high-quality,” “wholesome,” “holistic,” “natural,” “organic,” and “nutrient rich” can be used by any company (or in the case of “organic,” any company willing to pay) to describe their foods. These words are simply marketing tools used to appeal to customers as the “holistic” craze widens and pet food becomes the new focus.
Customers are now searching for “natural whole food” diets for their pets and are straying from the current status quo of Ol’ Roy dog food. Purina and Nestlé have taken serious notice. What better way to keep customers than to tailor their favorite grocery store brand to meet their growing needs? Only these companies don’t want to spend the money to actually do it. The fancy bag and the “All-Natural” label mean nothing because the ingredients inside are still sourced from the Purina and Beneful plants.
Current Requirements for Pet Food Labeling
Having the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and their very loose pet food regulations approve your food isn’t even a requirement. The really scary part is the same people who govern over the ingredients in your dog’s food are also some of the same board members from the very companies that use misleading pet food labeling strictly for marketing purposes, like Purina. Their intention is to get money from you, not health for your pet. How else can you explain the inclusion of artificial Vitamin K (widely known to cause liver failure in animals) in Purina Beyond, which claims to be “Natural,” a “Superfood,” and “Grain-free?” “Grain-free” has even become a marketing term. However, just because a food is grain-free, doesn’t mean it is safe for your pet. Pet owners still need to do their research and ask questions. Is the company feeding grain to its animals? Are the vegetables in the food GMOs? It’s a big red flag when a company can’t or won’t answer your questions. Transparency should not be an issue if they have nothing to hide.
AAFCO has set forth some definitions for a few of the top terms for pet food labeling. They are as follows:
“A feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal, or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis, or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices.”
“A feed constituent in a form and at a level that will help support the life of an animal. The chief classes of feed nutrients are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.”
“A formula feed or a specific ingredient within a formula feed that has been produced and handled in compliance with the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program.”
The terms below have not been defined by AAFCO, even though many bags of food that are “AAFCO Approved” have them on their packaging:
Unfortunately, the term “Organic” has not escaped from becoming a marketing ploy. If a company pays the big bucks to the USDA, then they can put the word on their labels. But what if you want nothing to do with the USDA, since they are affiliated with Monsanto and similar big players who are against what organic stands for in the first place? What if you are a small company who would rather put its money back into its product than into advertising? Companies like that are the types of businesses that work with stores like The Pet Beastro.
How The Pet Beastro Chooses Its High-Quality Foods
We go to extensive lengths to handpick our products and through this process, we also develop close relationships with our manufacturers. We have defined “natural pet food” ourselves and will not sway from that definition. To us, “natural” pet foods are always high-quality and never contain fillers, byproducts, GMOs, pesticides, or human modification.
Company transparency is also very important to us. If a company cannot provide us with answers to our questions or cannot meet our standards, then they are encouraged to pass on by. We would rather make our own food than rely on a company that does not have the same definition of “natural” as we do. That is why some other “natural” brands have never been on our shelves.
We have also started touring facilities and checking out their production process for ourselves. It’s essential that pet food companies have high standards for quality control to ensure that the animals, land, and environment are treated fairly to create natural ingredients that aren’t sourced from sketchy manufacturing places like China. We do not take the definitions of “natural” and “holistic” lightly and we believe that the brands that we carry shouldn’t either.
Does high-quality pet food = expensive pet food?
Not at all. For example, Orijen kibble is the most expensive, high-quality kibble that we carry at The Pet Beastro. The Adult Dog formula of Orijen is $79.99 a bag. You would need about five bags a year to feed a 50-lb dog. This ends up costing $33 a month. Most of our kibbles also have exclusive frequent buyer programs, which can help pet owners save as well.
Raw pet food can also be an affordable option. Oma’s Pride is a raw manufacturer that we carry and have had a lot of success with throughout the years. For a 50-lb dog, your cost would average $2.20 per day. We offer case discounts on our Oma’s Pride food as well as many of our other raw foods. With Oma’s Pride raw and the raw meaty bones that go with it to balance your pet’s diet, you are looking at an average cost of $66 per month for a high-end beef mix.
It’s also worth pointing out that you won’t have to make as many visits to the vet when your pet is eating healthy and their immune system is running efficiently, which is also a benefit to the ol’ pocketbook.
Intention is everything. Our intention is to provide the healthiest diet possible for your pet to thrive on for a lifetime. Our motto is “Feed Better. Feel Healthier. Live Longer.” because feeding a high-quality, natural pet food to your dog or cat will not only lessen your trips to the vet, but it will also extend the life of your pet. Knowing what is inside the bag of food you are feeding and the integrity of the company, will not only give you the peace of mind you deserve, but it will also keep your pet thriving.
Our feline and canine companions cannot tell us verbally if a bag of food really is as “holistic” as advertised, but eventually the truth will come out (with some big name brands it already has). Do we really need to wait until a scandal is discovered though? You are your companion’s only advocate and if you aren’t paying attention to what they are eating, then who is?