Dog owners strive to give their pets diets that mirror their own high standards in quality and balanced nutrition and that, at the same time, meet the needs of individual breeds, dog sizes and canine lifestyle trends.
According to Earle Davis, district manager for Pet Supply stores in southern California, when it comes to selecting a food, the fact that it’s made in the U.S. is a big deal for customers.
“Often, before even asking for advice, they focus on foods that feature the American flag on their packaging or the words ‘Made in America.’ They are very conscious about where products are manufactured—and even more so when it comes to treats because there have been so many on-going recalls,” Davis said.
Merrick Pet Care states on its website and in its consumer outreach that its products contain no ingredients from China, an issue that has remained a bone of contention with pet owners. Recently the company re-launched its Limited Ingredient Diet dry dog food. All recipes are now grain- and potato-free. In addition, the improved LID lineup features only eight key ingredients (plus added vitamins and minerals).
“These recipes have fewer total ingredi-ents compared to other natural LID products on the market,” said Shared Ryan Wilson, brand manager for the company. “And by making them grain-free and potato- free, we believe we’ve created the best limited ingredient food ever, for your best dog ever.”
American Nutrition’s Elevate features four recipes available in both kibble and cans. The recipes are named after national parks and, according to brand manager Jim Reimann, there tends to be some geographic favoritism in recipe sales.
“For example, we sell more Yosemite in California,” he explained.
The recipes are the Acadia Recipe with real chicken as the number one ingredient with turkey meal and real duck; the Yosemite Recipe that features salmon as the number one ingredient with turkey meal and menhaden fish meal; the Smoky Mountain Recipe with pork as the number one ingredient with lamb meal and wild boar; and the Grand Teton Recipe with lamb, lamb meal and turkey meal.
“We are seeing good movement of both kibble and canned foods but don’t have any insight as to the serving patterns or if they are mixing. And, if they are, which recipes are getting mixed together,” he added.
Like many companies now manufacturing in the United States, it is sourcing some key ingredients elsewhere, but never from China.
“We have selected partners around the globe who are known for their high-quality standards,” Reimann explained. “And, to be transparent, we have listed the origin of our ingredients on the back of each of our bags of food. Some of the key ingredients are sourced outside of the U.S. such as duck from France as this country is known for their high-quality duck. Our lamb and lamb meal comes from Australia and New Zealand, countries known for producing these high-quality ingredients.”
For Today’s Dogs
WellPet has introduced new formulas for small breed dogs and puppies. These new additions to the Wellness CORE line are designed to offer dog owners more protein-focused, balanced recipes across breeds and life stages, including a new raw, freeze-dried option for puppies.
Again, with the move to be transparent in terms of ingredients, WellPet cites that while its ingredients are primarily sourced from North America, often there is not a ready supply which means sourcing elsewhere.
“We have one of the strictest sourcing criteria of any pet food manufacturer,” said Chandra Leary-Coutu, director of consumer experience at WellPet. “All ingredient suppliers, whether domestic or international, need to meet certified nutrient levels and be manufactured in quality audited facilities. For example, our venison, lamb, rabbit and salmon meal are sourced internationally from New Zealand, Australia, Italy and Chile, respectively. We feel that we have the appropriate quality programs in place at all our vendor locations and feel safe and secure with all the ingredients we source, whether they are sourced locally or globally.”
An Increase of Options
Earth Animal co-founder Dr. Bob Goldstein recently released a food line called Wisdom Dog Food that represents his life’s work.
“We felt that if we truly wanted to offer the very best food, using only the best, freshest and whole ingredients, we would need to do it completely ourselves. So we purchased a new facility in the farmlands of Maryland and are able to oversee the integrity of our supply chain 100 percent,” he explained. “What makes our food special and different is the three-component formula: 70+20+10 = 100 percent complete, balanced and ready-to-eat food. This breaks down to 70 percent GAP Certified, humanely-raised protein; 20 percent ‘vitality cubes,’ which contain sprouted seeds, non-synthetic vitamins, minerals, real fruits and veggies; and 10 percent whole fruits and vegetables including blueberries, cranberries, beets, sweet potatoes, apples, carrots and broccoli. Each of the three components are air-dried separately and at a specific temperature and process that is best for them so that all their essential nutrients are preserved.”
Meanwhile, after the 2016 acquisition of its own canning facility in Wisconsin, Fromm Family Foods has increased its canned pate selection and is now producing 16 dog pates.
“The Eden, Wisconsin, canning facility provides a solid foundation with stateof- the-art resources to our canning operation,” said Fromm brand director Bryan Nieman, also the company’s fifth-generation family member. “This platform has allowed us to stay extremely hands-on during the development and manufacturing process and bring a number of creative new pate entrees to market to meet the growing demands of our customers.
“Lots of families pass down recipes from generation, to generation,” he added. “In our family, it’s pet food recipes.”