An ingredient panel is only the first step in evaluating the status of a particular food. The SOURCING of those ingredients and the Production Quality is as important as the ingredients themselves…… For instance, if one looks at Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken, three of the first four ingredients are proteins, which would seem to be ideal. However, this particular formula was recalled by Blue Buffalo due to excessive vitamin D toxicity (http://bluebuffalo.com/news/blue-news.shtml).
Other questions to ask: “Where did this chicken, beef, turkey, etc. come from? Was it from healthy, clean, disease free animals?”
If a food lists healthy supplementation such as berries, apples, zucchini or broccoli it’s important to know if these were the remnants of the industry… rotted, rancid and devoid of all nutrition, or were they fresh, wholesome USEFUL sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
This is exactly the kind of information that we are interested in researching here at Hero’s Pets. (Read more about products we wont carry and why, here)
One example of a question we might require a company to answer might be: “Is your “natural” Vitamin E preservative preserved with propylene glycol or sourced from GMO soy?”
Yes, it’s true, they may have actually used a chemical preservative to preserve their natural preservative! This is a good example of why we have to pry obsessively into the manufacturing and sourcing processes for each product. We have spent decades in the pet supply industry learning which questions can determine if you’re actually getting the product that the label seems to describe.
Labeling a protein as a “meal” can be deceiving and is actually less important than the source and processing of the protein ingredients. Factors such as “is your fish preserved with ethoxyquin prior to your purchase of it?” may have much greater consequence, because if the company didn’t add the ingredient themselves they are not required to list it on the label.
We take the time to educate ourselves, and consumers, about WHY many popular brands aren’t as healthy as they make themselves appear to be. We’re here to help you find the right products for you and your family. We specialize in helping to maintain health and working with illnesses via nutrition, herbs, homeopathy, flower essences, aromatherapy, and moderating environmental factors we tend to forget about. We encourage you to do as we do, which is to not only ask the retailer, but also the company and manufacturer tough questions. We also believe that ultimately it is our responsibility to make sure you are informed before you decide on a product that we have presented in our store. If we know there is ANY chance that your pet might get sick, not thrive, or otherwise not benefit from a product we won’t carry it no matter how well advertised it is.
Ask questions about your (human) products too. Labeling is deceiving. Companies want to sell their product with the highest possible margin, so they may make it as difficult as possible to compare the true qualities of products by using confusing terms that are meaningless or legally undefined like “supreme”, “premium” or “natural”.
See our chart of standards for more details. We are always happy to snoop around and get more answers to your questions. We recognize that things change, and even product lines that we sell sometimes end up sadly changing practices and being removed from our store. For questions or comments about specific products please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on our consultation box.
After all, your money and your health are valuable, and every time you spend a dollar you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want to live in.
– by Chelsea Kent, co-founder of Hero’s Pets
With 13 years of extensive nutritional research and experience in the pet industry, Chelsea has developed a diverse, comprehensive education and perspective in holistic nutrition and product integrity by working closely with the owners of 100′s of holistic pet companies and complimentary medicine practitioners such as Nutritional Biochemist Franco Cavaleri, Nutritionist Greg Tilford, Jordan Rubin, Microbiologist Jacqueline Hill and Food Scientist Roxanne Stone, and many more.