One of the biggest topics on the food seen right now (especially with scares and recalls) is about particular ingredients. It is so important to be an informed and aware consumer, especially when it comes to your four-legged best friend! So here are a few helpful tips when looking to buy and compare products:
1) Made/manufactured in the USA
Although this is a GREAT place to start, it does not always mean that the ingredients are from the USA. It does however mean that the treats, toys, food, what have you, is assembled, baked, processed, packaged, etc. in the United States. This is great! Now on to the next step:
2) Bred, sourced from, farmed from USA
This is money! This means that the ingredients are also from the USA. Sometimes companies DO make or manufacture their products in the US, but their ingredients are sourced from another country (China or any other high export country). This can cause some concern on product quality. Not always, but the regulations on how animals and products are treated are different from each country, so here at SitStay we find it best to try to find products thats ingredients are from the US. Now on to the next checkbox:
3) Organic, all-natural, local, grass-fed
These are awesome signs that this product is of the best quality. It means that these animals or ingredients weren’t given additives, hormones, or bred in immoral ways (factory farms..that’s a whole different blog post and soap box). It also means that the company cares to sometimes go the extra step or pay more for better quality ingredients, which is great for you and your pooch!!
Other things to be aware of:
4) Grain free, gluten free, NO additives or fillers
Although these each mean a slightly different thing, but each are good news. Especially the no additives or fillers--for a long time companies were adding only a flavoring of the main protein and then filling the majority of the product with corn or wheat to bulk it up and cut costs! Thank goodness so many companies are straying away from this protocol. But, as the consumer it is still important to look at the ingredients list. On the list, the first ingredient comprises the biggest percentage of the product, and then lesser ingredients are listed in descending order. So, if you want a chicken treat make sure chicken is the first listed, not different types of flours and compounds, and THEN chicken--because that means chicken is merely an aromatic or flavor booster.
So, please just take these helpful tips when shopping for you or your pooch!! And always go with your gut, but be aware that fancy packaging is not always the best indicator! Do some research, look at the fine print!