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What to Look For in Your Pet’s Food

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pet food-dog food-diet-sqf-safe

Kelly Walters, brand leader for Pet Food at Redbarn Pet Products, shares what pet parents should look for in their furry friend’s food and treats.

Kelly Walters

Brand Leader for Pet Food, Redbarn Pet Products

What ingredients should pet lovers be aware of and look for on nutritional labels to prolong the lives of their furry friends?

The primary ingredient of any dog food should be protein. Protein is essential for their muscle and tissue development, immune system health, energy, and healthy skin and nails. Dogs receive nutrition and energy from both plant and animal nutrients, but owners should stay away from foods where primary ingredients include carbohydrates, white flour, artificial colors, and by-products.

Some dogs have food sensitivities. Be sure to work with your veterinarian to identify the best options for a pet with allergies. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFFCO), dog foods identified as “complete and balanced” maintain a minimum crude protein level. The protein levels needed in a dog’s food will vary depending on the dog’s age, weight, breed, and if they are puppies or pregnant. Make sure to speak with your veterinarian about the proper levels needed for your dog.

Kelly Walters and her dog, Brooks

What specific quality-control measures should pet parents look out for to assure the consistency and quality of the food they buy? 

Pet parents should identify trusted brands that ensure high quality in all that they produce. This includes commitments to routine testing, quality standards, and maintaining high-quality standards for co-manufacturers. An SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing certification by the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Initiative means a company is serious about the quality of the food, treats, or chews they are producing. The SQF Initiative has been addressing food safety and quality requirements since 1994. Their programs are recognized internationally by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) to certify high standards of food safety and quality for food manufacturers and production companies across all industry sectors.

At Redbarn, we are proud to say that our facilities in both Kansas and Paraguay have earned this certification. This is not a requirement in the pet product industry, so having it means a company is highly dedicated to the safety and quality of their products. 

What food/treats are best for pets’ dental health?

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, approximately 70% of dogs will have some degree of dental disease by the age of three. A daily dental treat can be a highly effective and easy way to combat this possible outcome. A treat with ridges and grooves to reach the nooks and crannies between a dog’s teeth and gums can help control tartar buildup while gently massaging gums and scraping away plaque.

Just as they are with food, pet parents should read labels to make sure that the dental treats they choose use healthy, high-quality ingredients and are not high in sugars. Redbarn has recently launched Chew-A-Bulls®, our own line of treats that can be used as a daily dental solution, just for this reason.  

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