How to choose dog food


Daina Beckman

If you want to skip reading all this, I recommend Blue Buffalo, Acana, Fromm, Lotus and Grandma Mae’s for adult dogs, and Blue Buffalo for puppies. I am no longer recommending By Nature as the manufacturing is going to Kent Inc.. Not every formula these companies make are recommended. Not every formula is right for your dog. You need to consider the individual needs of your dog. There is a section below “What’s the Cost” that will explain why store brand food may be costing you more than premium dog food. Please keep in mind as you read this that I can carry any dog food in my pet store. In fact I would make a higher profit on lower quality foods. I only carry dog foods that I would be willing to feed my own dog.Diet plays a major roll in canine learning and behavior and of course health. If I had a dollar for every time someone said: “ The girl at tractor supply said, Or My groomer told me…or I looked on the internet and found a site that rates dog food…” I would be very rich. These are not reliable resources for accurate information about what you should be feeding your dog. These sources either don’t have any education in canine diet and nutrition, canine diet and behavioral contributions, canine diet as it relates to medical conditions or they have some agenda to sell something. It may be clicks to their website and not a product. Many online reviewers are paid by manufacturers.
** see text books written by O’hare, houpt, Overall, also Case with Daristotie – Hayek & Raasch, also text books on canine physiology. You can also check university web sites. Go to scientifically based information.

I will not put anything in my store that I would not give to my own dog. I have had customers ask me to get products that I feel are inferior and I will not get them.


There are many things to consider when choosing dog food. Minimum requirements will allow your dog to survive. You should choose a food that will allow your dog to thrive. The dog food should not have anything in it that is unhealthy. Things like BHA, BHT, red food dye, Propylene glycol, Ethoxyquin and much more. Corn isn’t necessarily a bad food but I recommend avoiding it because it creates energy and interferes with the uptake of serotonin. It can also cause tummy issues. There are better ingredient sources. Wheat and Soy should also be avoided. The diet should provide for your dogs needs. All their needs. Note that some prescription diets only address specific medical problems but don’t necessarily meet a total nutritional requirement for the dog.
You need to consider the dogs’ age and lifestyle, activity level and health.
The food should provide all of the essential nutrients in adequate amounts and proper balance.
The food must supply sufficient energy to maintain body weight or support tissue growth.
The caloric needs must be met when the food is fed in an amount that is well within the limits set by the dogs appetite and by the storage and digestive capacity of the gastrointestinal tract.
The food must be appetizing to the dog. It should be easily chewed and ingested.
Feeding the food for extended periods of time should support gastrointestinal tract functioning.
The long term effect of the food must be assessed. It should support subjective measurements of vitality and health such as coat quality, skin condition, muscle tone.

The next thing is to be able to determine the metabolizable energy. From the Gross energy you have to subtract the digestible energy and dietary thermogenesis. We want the net energy that is available for the maintenance of the body and for production needs such as work and play. (the text book I like is Canine and Feline Nutrition a resource for companion animal professionals) (the dog food shouldn’t require so much food intake to meet these requirements that the digestive system can’t take enough in)
I use a calculation to convert percentage of weight to percentage of energy in the diet.
Dry food 27%protein x (modified Atwater factor 3.5) divided by kcal/100g of food (380) x 100%= 24.8
Canned 7% protein x 3.5 divided by 98 = 25.0
When you look at the can food it reads 7% protein but in reality there is 25% metabolizable energy. The dry in this example has 25% metabolizible energy.

The next thing is carbohydrates and dietary fiber fermentation. Dogs do not directly digest dietary fiber. Microbes in the colon are able to break down certain types of fiber. This bacterial fermentation produces short chain fatty acids. Soluble fibers form a viscous solution in contact with water. The properties of these fibers affect gastrointestinal functions such as stomach emptying time and transit time. Insoluble fibers retain some water. These are much less fermentable and function to increase fecal mass and decrease intestinal transit time. This all effects the epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract, the mucosal surface etc. in summary you want a moderately fermentable fiber source.

Then there are the Fats.
Fat has numerous functions. Triglyceride is the most important type of fat. Triglycerides are the body’s primary form of stored energy. It can be differentiated according to the types of fatty acids that each triglyceride contains. Fatty acids vary in carbon chain length : saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Gross energy of carbs and protein is about 4.14 and 5.65 kilocalories per gram. The gross energy of fat is 9.4 kcal/g. Fat provides a source of essential fatty acids and acts as a carrier that allows absorption of fat soluble vitamins. The body requires n6 and n3 EFA’s. Fat also contributes to the palatability and texture of dog food. It doesn’t matter how good the dog food is. If the dog won’t eat it the dog can’t thrive.

Amino Acids
Nonessential amino acids are either supplied in the diet or synthesized by the body there are 12 of these.
Essential amino acids must be supplied in the diet. There are 10 – Arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine and (taurine for cats only)

And of course Vitamins and minerals
Determining Grams of Essential Nutrients from Pet food Labels
Pet food labels do not generally list amounts of essential nutrients in grams. However, all pet food labels must state guarantees for the minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat, and the maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture. To convert these percentages to grams, simply multiply the crude percentages times the weight of your dog’s daily portion. For example, if you feed your dog a 1-lb (454-gram) can of food per day, and the food contains 8% crude protein, the grams of protein would be 0.08 ✕ 454 = 36 grams.
*”Crude” refers to the specific method of testing the product, not to the quality of the nutrient itself.
When analyzing the guaranteed analysis panel take into consideration the moisture content. The amount of water significantly affects the values listed on the analysis table. Most labels display nutrient levels on an as fed basis rather than a dry matter basis. As fed means the percentages of nutrients were calculated without accounting for the proportion of water. To make a valid comparison of nutrients with different amounts of moisture it is necessary to convert nutrients to a dry matter basis. Also caloric content of dog food affects the interpretation of guaranteed analysis. Caloric density must be considered when comparing levels of protein, fat, carbs and other nutrients.
To convert:
Percentage of nutrient on an as feed basis divided by proportion of dry matter in the diet.
Example. SEMIMOIST Food contains 25% protein 75% dry matter. 25/75 x 100=33% protein on a dry matter basis
DRY FOOD contains 25% protein 90% dry matter. 25/90 x 100 = 28% protein on a dry matter basis
Calculation metabolizable energy
Dry food 27%protein x (modified Atwater factor 3.5) divided by kcal/100g of food (380) x 100%= 24.8
Canned 7% protein x 3.5 divided by 98 = 25.0
When you look at the can food it reads 7% protein but in reality there is 25% metabolizable energy. The dry in this example has 25% metabolizable energy.

Additives and preservatives
Additives preserve or enhance the foods color, flavor, texture, stability or nutrient content
Preservatives are additives with the express purpose of protecting nutrients from oxidative or microbial damage.
Antioxidants- substances that aid in the preservation of foods by retarding deterioration, rancidity or discoloration as the result of oxidative process.

Sulfates are another concern. This is from a problem with foods in Australia

Some recent pet food information out of Australia has some concerns for pet foods in the U.S. Sulphite preservatives used in pet foods causing “thiamine deficiency and lead to neurological problems.”
“In this day and age, with the knowledge that pet food manufacturers have, this is an entirely preventable condition,” said Dr Anne Fawcett, companion animal veterinarian at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science.
“Sulphite preservatives are added to some pet meats, sometimes at very high levels, to mask the signs of putrefaction, giving it a longer shelf life – but long-term consumption endangers the wellbeing of our pets,” Dr Fawcett is lead author of an article on the issue, recently published in the Australian Veterinary Practitioner.
The article highlights a case of thiamine deficiency in a cat treated at the University of Sydney. The cat was exclusively fed a commercial, kangaroo meat pet food purchased from a supermarket. The food was tested and demonstrated high concentrations of sulfur dioxide, a known cause of thiamine deficiency in cats.
“Sulphite preservatives continue to be found in some pet foods at harmful concentrations. We need to ensure that the levels of these preservatives in all pet foods are regulated,” Dr Fawcett said.
“Until there is a change in the way pet meat is regulated, I would only feed my pets human grade meat.”
Questions were sent to FDA regarding sulphite preservatives in U.S. pet foods (based on the Australian findings). Below is FDA’s response.
Dear Ms. Thixton:
We are responding to your e-mail of May 1, 2014 in which you ask several questions about sulphite (or sulfite) preservatives and their use in pet food products. In our response we will copy each of your questions and then provide the answer to the question.
You asked: “What are the names of various sulphite preservatives?”
The sulfite preservatives permitted in food for animals, including pet foods, are potassium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, sodium sulfite, and sulfur dioxide. The table below lists the regulations for these substances pertinent to animal food that appear in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR).

Name of Preservative
Potassium bisulfite
Potassium metabisulfite
Sodium bisulfite
Sodium metabisulfite
Sodium sulfite
Sulfur dioxide
Animal Food Regulation in Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations
Conditions of use
These substances are generally recognized as safe when used in accordance with good manufacturing or feeding practice, except that they are not to be used in meats or in food recognized as a source of vitamin B1 (thiamine)
You asked: “[…] what would consumers look for on the label if they wanted to avoid pet foods using sulphite preservatives?” and “Would any of these preservatives be used and not listed on the label?”
When any of these preservatives are used in any animal food, a statement such as “preserved with sulfur dioxide” or “sodium sulfite (a preservative)” has to be in the list of ingredients on the label of the product. Therefore, if one of the sulfite preservatives is added by the manufacturer of an animal food product, the consumer should be alerted to the presence of the preservative when they look at the listing of the ingredients.
There are a few allowed exemptions from the requirement to declare an ingredient in the ingredients list on a product label when the product is made from two or more ingredients. These exemptions are very narrow and the pertinent regulation is Part 501.100(a)(3) in 21 CFR. These substances are the incidental additives. To be an incidental additive, the amount of the additive in the product must be at insignificant levels and the additive cannot have any technical or functional effect in the food. Thus, the only way a manufacturer would not have to declare a sulfite preservative in the ingredients list of a product would be if the sulfite preservative was present in the product by reason of having been incorporated into the product as part of another ingredient, in which the sulfite did have a preservative effect, but in the final or finished product the sulfite no longer has a preservative or other technical effect.
As indicated in the various regulations, sulfite preservatives should not be used in meats or food recognized as being a source of vitamin B1 (thiamine or thiamin). The reason is that sulfite preservatives are known to destroy vitamin B1 and vitamin B1 is an essential nutrient that participates in many biochemical pathways in the human and animal body. It is a water soluble vitamin, of which the body does not store significant reserves; therefore, regular dietary intake is very important. Because sulfite preservatives destroy thiamine, sulfite preservatives should not be used in pet foods that are marketed as being complete and balanced or that have thiamine (thiamine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate) in their list of ingredients. Here is the site

Sources and Quality

Dog foods are classified into four general categories. Commercial foods are classified in 3 categories. Popular, premium and generic.
Popular brands are dog foods marketed nationally or regionally and sold in grocery store chains.
Premium dog food brands are developed with the purpose of providing optimal nutrition during targeted life stages or levels of activity and are usually sold through pet specialty stores and veterinarians.
Generic dog foods are products that do not carry a brand name. They are produced and marketed on a least cost basis. Most private label or store brands are generic products that have been labeled with a chain stores brand.
The last category is home made dog food. I do not recommend this unless you are working with a veterinary nutritionist and are having blood work checked regularly (about every 4-8 weeks)
You get what you pay for. But in many cases you will be paying with your dogs’ health and in veterinary bills. Either way you pay.
Premium dog foods will have a lot of information on their website about where the food is manufactured, where the ingredients come from and the vitamins and minerals in the food.

YOU CAN’T TRUST YOUR DOG FOOD PACKAGING AND LABELING. You have got to truly understand what it is saying. Learn how to dig for the real information like where it is manufactured. In the U.S.? Well maybe that’s good, maybe not. Where do the ingredients come from? Who is manufacturing them and what suppliers are they using? What is the true breakdown of the diet? Most dog food list Ingredients are listed by dry or pre processed weight. Sooo that must mean when I see Chicken first it is mostly chicken. Right? NO. Here is why. Chicken is 70% water. So if they list the ingredients by weight before processing, chicken would be first. Consider this; which would be more in volume say cups. 1 lb of raw chicken or 1 lb of dry rice?

If a dog food is very secretive about where there food is made and where the ingredients come from, this is a warning sign for me. If you aren’t proud that your dog food is made in the U.S.A. from U.S.A ingredients or other reputable sourcing like New Zealand or Canada and with quality whole ingredients… well it probably is coming from some place you don’t want your customers to know about.
Learn more:

See for creepy stuff in human food. Imagine what China is putting in your dog food.

How I choose foods to recommend
First off… NOTING FROM CHINA, nothing from the dirty factories that have killed dogs and have regular recalls that involve dangerous problems with the food.
That eliminates a whole bunch of brands for me. But you have to know about product ingredient sourcing. This is a difficult one to research and often you have to call the company and hope you can get in contact with someone who is knowledgeable. You can look for vague language on products with lots of flowery statements that sound positive on the bag or can. For example a food might say made in the U.S.A. and all natural. But..where are the ingredients from. Exactly what kind of ingredients are they? Are they whole foods?
For example if I tell you I am going to feed my son an all natural made in the U.S healthy balanced fish dinner you my think I am doing him a favor.
Here is the dinner:
The nutritional facts are that it is 470 calories 234 from fat, Total fat 26g (40%) Saturated fat 5g (25%) Trans Fat 0, Cholesterol 50mg (17%), sodium 730 mg (30%)(the total recommended daily sodium intake for humans is around 1500mg per day) Total carbohydrate 45g (15%) Dietary fiber 1g sugars 5g and protein 15g. glycemic load 23 . Well that wasn’t so good. (McDonalds fish sandwich only)(and where did that fish come from and what is in it?)

How about this fish dinner
Calories from fish (baked Haddock) 168, total fat 1g, saturated fat 0, trans fat – 0 cholesterol 111 mg, sodium 130 mg, total fiber -0 sugars 0, protein 36g. glycemic load 0
Calories from green beans 44, fat-0 trans fat-0 cholesterol – sodium 1mg, total carbohydrate 10g, dietary fiber 4g, sugars 2g protein 2g glycemic load 4
Calories from baked potato 57, total fat 0, trans fat 0, cholesterol 0, total carbohydrate 13g, sugars 1 g, sodium 3g, protein 1 gram glycemic load 6. Much better. You see what can be hid in language and marketing. Both fish dinners are all natural, both are healthy?(interpretation) both are made in the U.S. Sourcing made a big difference in the quality of the 2 fish dinners.

I want to avoid any dog food that has this source:
One of the things I look for is a relationship with Simmons Pet food.
Because they source from ChemNutra ChemNutra is a Nevada” target=”_blank”>Summerlin, Nevada[1] based importer of ingredients for food, animal feed and pharmaceuticals. Self-described as “The China-Source Experts” they import their products from China and provide them to North American manufacturers.
See the timeline of the 2007 dog food recall

The following is from Simmons Website They are talking about store brands.
“Simmons supplies all or a meaningful portion of the private-label wet pet food products sold by 9 of the top 10 and 35 of the top 40 North American food retailers. We have secured these customers by developing, where appropriate, comprehensive private-label programs with products comparable to the leading national branded manufacturers’ offerings. Simmons also serves as a contract manufacturer for many branded pet food companies throughout North America. We see continued expansion of our contract manufacturing business as a growth opportunity, as these and other branded pet food manufacturers grow their business, expand their product lines, and look to contract manufacturers as an alternative to capital investment. The pursuit of such contract manufacturing opportunities provides incentive for Simmons to maintain state-of-the-art facilities, systems, and processes, to ensure that we are positioned to meet the demands of these customers.”

Store Brands
Your dog food will say distributed by… what ever store, Wegmans, Tractor Supply etc. so Shepp is manufactured for and distributed by Aldi’s, 4Health is Tractor Supply so the food may not have the store name on it.

The pet food market has been dominated by the acquisition of big companies.
Nestlé’s bought Purina to form Nestlé Purina Petcare Company (Fancy Feast, Alpo, Friskies, Mighty Dog, Dog Chow, Cat Chow, Puppy Chow, Kitten Chow, Beneful, One, ProPlan, DeliCat, HiPro, Kit’n’Kaboodle, Tender Vittles, Purina Veterinary Diets).
Del Monte bought Heinz (MeowMix, Gravy Train, Kibbles ’n Bits, Wagwells, 9Lives, Cycle, Skippy, Nature’s Recipe, and pet treats Milk Bone, Pup-Peroni, Snausages, Pounce).
MasterFoods owns Mars, Inc., which consumed Royal Canin (Pedigree, Waltham’s, Cesar, Sheba, Temptations, Goodlife Recipe, Sensible Choice, Excel). (I won’t carry anything from Mars Inc.)
Other major pet food makers are not best known for pet care, although many of their household and personal care products do use ingredients derived from animal by-products:
Procter and Gamble (P&G) purchased The Iams Company (Iams, Eukanuba) in 1999. P&G shortly thereafter introduced Iams into grocery stores, where it did very well.
Colgate-Palmolive bought Hill’s Science Diet (founded in 1939) in 1976 (Hill’s Science Diet, Prescription Diets, Nature’s Best).

Private labelers (who make food for “house” brands like Kroger and Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply and other store brands) and co-packers (who produce food for other pet food makers) are also major players. Three major companies are Doane Pet Care, Diamond, and Menu Foods; they produce food for dozens of private label and brand names. All 3 of these companies have been involved in pet food recalls that sickened or killed many pets.
Menu Foods
Americas Choice, Preferred Pets ,Authority ,Award, Best Choice, Big Bet, Big Red, Bloom , Blue Seal, Breeder’s Choice,,Cadillac, Castor & Pollux Pet Works, Cats Choice , Companion , Compliments , Co-Op Gold , Demoulas Market, Basket , Despar, Drs Foster & Smith , Eagle Pack, Eukanuba, Fame, Feline Classic, Feline Cuisine, Fine Feline Cat
Food Lion , Foodtown , Giant Companion , Giant Eagle , Grreat Choice, Hannaford , Health Diet Gourmet Cuisine
Hill Country Fare ,Hy-Vee , Iams , J.E. Mondou , La Griffe , Laura Lynn , Li’l Red , Loving Meals , Master Choice
Medi-Cal , Meijer’s Main Choice , Mighty Dog Pouch, Mixables, Natura Pet Products, Natural Life, Natural Ultramix
Nature’s Logic, Nature’s Variety, Neura, Newman’s Own Organics, Nu Pet , Nutriplan
Nutro (Nutro Max, Nutro Max Gourmet Classics, Nutro Natural Choice, Nuro Ultra)
Old Mother Hubbard, Ol’Roy Canada, Ol’Roy US , Paws , Performatrin Ultra , Petcurean Pet Nutrition
Pet Essentials, Pet Pride , Pet Pride – Good n Meaty, Precise Pet Products, Presidents Choice , Price Chopper
Priority, Publix, Roche Brothers , Roundy’s , Save-A-Lot Special Blend , Schnucks ,Science Diet Feline Savory Cuts
Shep Dog, Sophistacat , Special Kitty Canada , Special Kitty US , Springfield Prize , Sprout , Stop & Shop Companion
Stuzzy Gold ,Tops Companion ,Triumph ,Truly, Wegman’s Bruiser ,Wegmans ,Weis Total Pet ,Western Family, WhiteRose .Winn Dixie Wysong,Your Pet

Go here to learn about pet food players This was written in 2007 so things may have changed a bit. You will get the $17billion dollar point.
Recently : 1 August 2014 this was posted on one of my distributors websites.
Dear Natura Dealer,
I am excited to announce that Mars has successfully completed the acquisition of the IAMS®, EUKANUBA® and NATURA® brands in North America, Latin America and other select countries from The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G).
The IAMS®, EUKANUBA® and NATURA® brands are high-quality additions to our growing Petcare business and complement our existing portfolio, which includes PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN®, BANFIELD® and NUTRO®. With these new brands part of our product offering, we look forward to a continued partnership with you as we drive category growth. We expect the new brands to thrive under our pet-focused leadership.
We have also exercised the option to purchase P&G’s pet food business in some parts of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, including Australia, Japan and Singapore. These are key markets for our business, and the addition of the IAMS®, EUKANUBA® and NATURA® brands is a strategic opportunity to reach more customers and their pets. We expect to complete the acquisition of these additional businesses in the first half of 2015, subject to regulatory approvals.
We are now focused on successfully integrating P&G’s pet food business into Mars Petcare. A dedicated team has been working to ensure a smooth integration and will continue to do so throughout the transition process.
Go here to get the basics of what your dog needs to stay alive, not thrive. This site gives only the minimal facts.

How Some dog food is made
The Manufacturing Process: How Pet Food Is Made

Dry Food
The vast majority of dry food is made with a machine called an extruder. Not all dog foods are Extruded.
First, materials are blended in accordance with a recipe created with the help of computer programs that provide the nutrient content of each proposed ingredient. For instance, corn gluten meal has more protein than wheat flour. Because the extruder needs a consistent amount of starch and low moisture to work properly, dry ingredients — such as rendered meat-and-bone-meal, poultry by-product meal, grains, and flours — predominate.
The dough is fed into the screws of an extruder. It is subjected to steam and high pressure as it is pushed through dies that determine the shape of the final product, much like the nozzles used in cake decorating. As the hot, pressurized dough exits the extruder, it is cut by a set of rapidly whirling knives into tiny pieces. As the dough reaches normal air pressure, it expands or “puffs” into its final shape. The food is allowed to dry, and then is usually sprayed with fat, digests, or other compounds to make it more palatable. When it is cooled, it can be bagged.
Although the cooking process kills bacteria in the ingredients, the final product can pick up more bacteria during the subsequent drying, coating, and packaging process.
A few dog foods are baked at high temperatures (over 500°F) rather than extruded. This produces a sheet of dense, crunchy material that is then broken into irregular chunks, much like crumbling crackers into soup. It is relatively palatable without the sprayed-on fats and other enhancers needed on extruded dry food.
Semi-moist foods and many pet treats are also made with an extruder. To be appealing to consumers and to keep their texture, they contain many additives, colorings, and preservatives; they are not a good choice for a pet’s primary diet.

Wet Food
Wet or canned food begins with ground ingredients mixed with additives. If chunks are required, a special extruder forms them. Then the mixture is cooked and canned. The sealed cans are then put into containers resembling pressure cookers and commercial sterilization takes place. Some manufacturers cook the food right in the can.
Wet foods are quite different in content from dry or semi-moist foods. While many canned foods contain by-products of various sorts, they are “fresh” and not rendered or processed (although they are often frozen for transport and storage). Wet foods usually contain much more protein, and it’s often a little higher quality, than dry foods. They also have more moisture, which is better for cats. They are packaged in cans or pouches.

Doane Pet Care manufactured store brands for its retail customers and national brands for consumer pet food companies; it also produced and sells its own regional brands. Its products included more than 200 national and regional store brands. It was headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee.
In 2006, DPC was acquired by Mars Inc., a leading manufacturer of Pedigree dog food. You can see the Doane website for more information on processing.

Pet food companies that have noting to hide from you because it will cause you to not buy their food are transparent. They will tell you where their ingredients come from what parts of the ingredients they use and how they are manufactured. Lets compare a store band food to a couple premium brands

We’ll start with Wegmans Simply from Nature, then look at Blue Buffalo and Acana.
Wegmans : this is from
Customer : “Can you please tell me what company is manufacturing this dog food, wet and dry?”
Response: “I cannot pretend to be a dog expert and truth be told, I do not own a dog. However, I have friends who do and I’ve been fascinated by the trend of pets becoming like family members. Pet foods customers have been asking us for pet foods with many of the same characteristics of their own food—focus on health and wellness, free of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, corn, wheat or soy, as well as all natural, weight control, etc., etc. Painful pet food recalls informed us too. So we set out to develop the best pet food we could, and researched all the suppliers. Since pet foods were increasingly purchased at specialty retailers, we used brands at pet specialty retailers as benchmarks. It was apparent we had an opportunity to make pet food shopping more convenient and more affordable (we figured an estimated 30% savings)—and good for sales, too! – We’re now carrying a line of outstanding pet food called Simply from Nature, starting with 13 items but more to come later. Early in the product development, I asked to review the plans and later to look at the labels. We had a few pet expert friends (one of whom cooks for her pets even though not for herself) and our nutritionists commented about them, too. Merchant Mark McMaster tells us their feedback was very helpful, for example, at customer request, we now include calorie information on labels.
We’re very aware of the increasing consumer interest in where their food comes from. And there are more than a few comments from shoppers who buy Wegmans brand and wished we’d name who the suppliers are, instead of the “Distributed By Wegmans” statement. We’ve revisited the challenges of doing that; however we come up with same answer: it’s just not feasible to do it and keep the prices affordable on our own brand.

Here’s why. Let’s start with the idea, not realized by all, that Wegmans is not making all these products. Some of them we do, such as those from our bakeshop (just behind my office in Rochester, NY) or sauces, soups and marinated meats from our nearby Culinary Innovation Center. However, most of Wegmans brand products are from supplier-partners whom we’ve thoroughly “vetted” to meet our specifications (sometimes proprietary recipes) and pass our stringent quality assurance and food safety standards. It’s hard for any customer to understand the many logistical issues of labeling thousands of items with the supplier’s name and location, considering the number of suppliers, (575 last time I counted) and within some of those suppliers, multiple plants. And some suppliers refuse to allow us to acknowledge the source, usually because they also have their own brand on the shelf and think disclosing that they make our brand would hurt those sales. Another factor: sometimes we find a new (often small) supplier that produces a dynamite unique product for us, and actually, we want to keep it a secret while it gets established, so our competitors don’t go after that supplier/product for themselves.
The recession has meant frequent changes as companies consolidate… being bought out or downsized. Changes like that mean the labeling becomes obsolete. Sometimes we can retain the same packaging after doing our due diligence to find a new supplier, but that wouldn’t be possible if the supplier name was on the label. Also, to keep production cost-effective, many suppliers require a minimum order quantity of packaging – for smaller regional companies like Wegmans, that means current labels remain a long time as product stock is used up. Costs associated with packaging discard add up and we want to keep those costs down, to keep the products more affordable. And in keeping with our Earth Day focus, I think of this as our attempt to REDUCE waste, always the first approach in the hierarchy of steps taken to be more sustainable!
If you’re wondering about meat products, every package of meat we receive has the USDA supplier and plant where processed stamped on the package; it is mandated by that agency.”

Senior Vice President, Consumer Affairs Incredible Service since 1971

Wow.. Way to avoid information. Pet food expert?? A friend who makes her own dog food? (never make your own dog food. That is another paper) How is it a challenge to add extra print to the bag or can that says where it is made and sourced from? What does the bakery have to do with dog food? The safety standards are set by the federal govt. not Wegmans. Suppliers don’t want them to acknowledge the source why? Really it goes back to china. Not because it will hurt the sales of the supplier. The supplier wouldn’t make dog food for a competitor if they were worried about marked share. Companies being bought out??? It is all about the $ when there is a buyout. It is no longer about the quality or pride that may have been there in the beginning when a family was producing the food. And then she ends with pointing you to there meat. Again what does their meat have to do with their dog food?

Blue Buffalo
All BLUE dog and cat foods start with real chicken, lamb or fish and contain plenty of whole grains, fresh-cut vegetables and fruit. BLUE will provide your companion with the wholesome nutrition veterinarians and breeders recommend. But that’s just the start.
Only BLUE dry dog and cat foods also contain LifeSource Bits®, a precise blend of nutrients and antioxidants that have been cold–formed for greater potency. Our exclusive LifeSource Bits include a combination of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help maintain a healthy oxidative balance, support pets’ immune systems and provide support for their special life stage requirements.
Lastly, and of equal importance, BLUE dog and cat foods contain no chicken or poultry by-product meals, and no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. And BLUE dog and cat foods contain no corn, wheat or soy, which have all been known to trigger allergies in some pets.
If you haven’t tried BLUE dog or cat foods with LifeSource Bits, we hope you do soon. They set a new standard in healthy dog and cat food, and we guarantee that you’ll be completely satisfied.
What’s In Our Food and Why
BLUE foods consist of the finest natural ingredients combined in perfect balance for holistic nutrition. These delicious, high-quality ingredients are the foundation of all of our products along with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – each specifically formulated for dogs, cats, life stages, weight conditions, taste preference, and personal feeding choice.
Like us, dogs and cats require a balanced diet that is a combination of six nutrient classes:

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

These nutrients help dogs and cats meet their daily needs for energy, growth and overall well-being.
Of equal importance is the quality of the ingredients from which these nutrients are derived. For example, real chicken meat is a higher quality protein source than chicken or poultry by-product meals; chicken fat is considered a higher quality source of essential fatty acids than generic “animal fats.” Subtle differences like these may determine whether a pet food brand’s ingredients are as healthy as they claim to be.

High-Quality Protein Sources

Proteins are the basic building blocks for cells, tissues, organs, enzymes, hormones and antibodies, and are essential for growth, maintenance, repair and energy.
Proteins can be obtained from a variety of sources. Animal-based proteins such as chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish and egg have complete amino acid profiles, meaning they contain a wider variety of the amino acids your dog or cat can use.
BLUE recipes always start with high-quality proteins such as–deboned chicken, lamb, or fish.
Some brands cut corners by using protein from chicken or poultry by-product meals, or even worse, from corn, corn gluten meal, soy or soybean meal–not BLUE.


The most concentrated form of food energy, fats provide more than twice the energy of proteins or carbohydrates. They are also required for absorption and utilization of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, and E. Fats supply fatty acids, which among other things, help to provide a healthy skin and coat and help reduce inflammation.
BLUE only uses the best sources of fats–wholesome vegetable oils like sunflower , canola and flax seed, and quality fish oils from herring and salmon. Chicken fat is also a prominent ingredient in many of our products.
One of the biggest changes you might notice when you switch to BLUE is the beautiful sheen and soft texture of your dog or cat’s fur. This is likely the result of the high quality, balanced combination of proteins, fats, and oils used in BLUE.


Carbohydrates are a key source of energy for dogs and cats. Whole grains, like brown rice, barley and oats, are excellent low-fat sources of highly-digestible complex carbohydrates.
Whole grains are also a rich source of dietary fiber–both soluble and insoluble–which is crucial for healthy intestinal function.
BLUE only uses quality whole grains, not the less expensive and less effective “fractionated” grains found in many pet foods. And of course, BLUE never uses corn, wheat, or soy. These are considered by many veterinary nutritionists to be lower quality ingredients used as fillers and are often associated with pet allergies.

Wholesome Fruits and Vegetables

Veggies and fruits provide essential phytonutrients, antioxidants and enzymes, plus natural vitamins, minerals and fibers that promote health and wellness.
A higher-quality dog food or cat food contains nutritious fruit and vegetables that provide many key vitamins. For example, peas, potatoes and carrots are great sources of Vitamin A, while blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals work together, in conjunction with your pet’s natural enzymes, to help with digestion, reproduction and muscle and bone growth. They are also essential for healthy skin and coat and support immune system health, too.
Vitamin supplements are also common ingredients you should look for in the best dog food and cat food. In BLUE, you will also find the minerals they need–things like manganese, iron, potassium, copper, and calcium and phosphorus.
Because minerals can be hard for dogs and cats to absorb, it’s important their food be supplemented with “chelated” minerals. A chelated mineral is one that is “attached” to easily absorbable amino acids, which means they will get into your pet’s bloodstream more readily. Chelated minerals, like the ones found in BLUE, are up to four times more readily absorbed than commonly used inorganic minerals.

Our Exclusive LifeSource Bits

One of the most important ways BLUE distinguishes itself from other pet food brands is with the addition of our exclusive LifeSource Bits.
When we were developing BLUE, we learned that even the highest-priced pet foods cook their added vitamins and minerals right along with the rest of their ingredients. This process can degrade the potency of important antioxidants like Vitamin C up to 75%. Our LifeSource Bits are “cold-formed” to preserve their potency so that your dog or cat enjoys the full benefit of all vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
LifeSource Bits contain a precise blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists. These include ingredients help support your dog’s or cat’s immune system, support their specific life stage requirements and help maintain a healthy oxidative balance.
See ingredients
LifeSource Bits are “cold-formed” to help preserve thei

lpffishpotato puppyfeeding chicken-burbank-potato

So with the Wegmans brand (it covers all life stages if you have a A normally active adult dog near 100 lbs 6 ¾ cups a day. A 6 mo. Old pup that is near 100 lbs (a Rottweiler) you would need to feed that pup 12 ¾ cups of food a day.
The Blue LPF Fish & Sweet Potato for the same Rottweiler you would feed around 4 ¼ cups. Acana you would feed 2 ¾ to 3 cups
For The Blue LPF Puppy Chicken & Rice you would feed around 5 cups a day.
So if you have a large pup Wegmans -12 ¾ cups, Blue 5 cups. You are feeding more than twice as much with the wegmans.
For the adult Wegmans 6 ¾ cups and Blue Buffalo Fish & Sweet Potato 4 ¼ cups, the Acana a bit less than 3 cups .
And remember above I mentioned that having to feed too large of a quantity of food to meet the nutritional requirements is bad for you dog. Especially large breeds because it can cause bloat.
The price on the bag may be lower but you are feeding a larger quantity because the nutrition in the food is poor. You may actually be paying more for the monthly feeding bill because of the amount of food you have to feed the dog.

Potential health problems from poor dog food
Urinary tract disease
Kidney disease.
Dental disease.
One of the most common health problems in pets, obesity. Overweight pets are more prone to arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.
Chronic or intermittent digestive problems. vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and inflammatory bowel disease are among the most frequent illnesses treated. These are often the result of an allergy or intolerance to pet food ingredients.
Bloat. Feeding only one meal per day or exercise too soon after feeding can cause bloat. Irritation of the esophagus by stomach acid, (possible from not feeding several meals) appears to be associated with gastric dilatation and volvulus (canine bloat). Feeding two or more smaller meals is better.
Heart disease. An often-fatal heart disease in cats can be linked by a deficiency of the amino acid taurine. Blindness is another symptom of taurine deficiency.
Liver problems
Poor diet can also contribute to cancer. See they are committed to fighting cancer in dogs.

Behavior problems from poor diets include anxiety, aggression, slow learning, poor social interaction with both dogs and humans. Lack of desire to play and depression. These are the most common behavior issues I see with poor diet.

Hopefully I have given you enough information to research dog foods and learn about canine nutrition. I could wright a whole lot more but I think this article gives you enough information to get started.