WSAVA, or the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, encourages veterinarians and pet owners to evaluate pet diets based on certain criteria concerning the food, how it’s made, and the company behind it. Their criteria are outlined in a list of questions.
Here’s how The Farmer’s Dog meets all of WSAVA’s guidelines and answers their questions.
What to look for in a brand
1. Do they employ a nutritionist? Appropriate qualifications are either a PhD in Animal Nutrition or Board Certification by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) or the European College of Veterinary Comparative Nutrition (ECVCN).
Yes. Their names and contact information are available upon request.
2. Who formulates the diet? Is the recipe developed by an experienced pet food formulator (MS or PhD in Animal Nutrition), a veterinarian, or a pet owner/breeder/trainer?
Our recipes are formulated by a team of canine-nutrition experts and experienced recipe formulators, including ACVN board-certified veterinary nutritionists.
3. What is the quality control process for ingredients and finished products? Diets formulated to meet Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) guidelines should meet their nutrient profiles. Does the diet meet the profile based on analysis using a nutrient database or on chemical analysis of the finished product?
Manufacturers and pet food providers should have adequate quality control to ensure companion animal and owner safety. This should include ingredient (food and supplement) validation, final diet nutrient analysis, toxicology, bacteriology, and packaging/shelf-life screenings prior to, during, and after manufacturing.
- We test our recipes regularly at a third-party lab to make sure they are consistently complete and balanced according to AAFCO standards.
- Because our food is made to human-grade standards at a facility that produces exclusively human-grade food, our quality control measures are among the most stringent in the pet food industry. Our facility is monitored by the USDA.
- We have strict controls in place to prevent physical, chemical, microbial, and allergen carry-over and cross-contamination.
- All of our inbound ingredients are inspected and tested for potential contaminants, and every batch of food is tested for our guaranteed analysis, aflatoxins, listeria, e.coli, yeast, salmonella, and mold. Food is tested in an on-site facility and in a third party lab.
- Our quality assurance program meets human-food industry standards, including critical control points of temperature and integrity of the vegetables and meat throughout the entire raw to cooked lifecycle, eliminating any possibility for harmful bacterial growth. We test several samples from every single batch of food and obtain test results before any food leaves our facility.
- Every step of our sourcing, cooking, packaging, and storing processes are to human-grade standards. Our food is cooked, packaged, and tested in an exclusively human-food facility, all of our kitchens are certified to cook food for human consumption, and our vendors are certified to sell ingredients to human-food manufacturers. We test several samples from each batch we make and our food only leaves our facility when the satisfactory results are returned.
4. What kind of product research or nutrition studies have been conducted? Is it published in peer-reviewed journals? Pet food companies are not required to conduct or sponsor nutritional research in order to produce and sell a food, but when they do, it indicates a commitment to animal health and wellness.
We have conducted a feeding trial to ensure our food is complete and balanced and bioavailable. Results of those trials are available upon request.
What to look for on a label
5. Nutrition Adequacy Statement? Is it a complete diet? Foods should be labeled to indicate if they provide a “complete” diet with all required nutrients. The label might also specify if this was determined via life stage feeding trials vs formulation to meet requirements.
Yes, our food is complete and balanced according to AAFCO standards. Our food meets AAFCO nutrient profiles by formulation and by laboratory analysis. In addition, our food has completed and passed a feeding trial that we designed in conjunction with a DVM and DACVN to surpass AAFCO standards. (Read more about our feeding trial here).
6. How many calories per gram or serving of food? Obesity prevalence is increasing in pets in many areas of the world. Having access to accurate pet food caloric content can help prevent unintended overfeeding. Calorie information is only required on pet food labels in the US. Where it is not provided on the label it should be available by contacting the manufacturer or calculating from label nutrient analysis.
The number of calories per gram of our food depends on the recipe selected. Clear, specific calorie information is presented to every customer when they sign up for a plan for their dog, and is available on their account page at any time. We provide personalized, pre-portioned packs of food tailored to each dog’s specific caloric needs, so dog owners can see exactly how many daily calories they’re feeding. These customized plans make portion control simple and all but eliminate the chance of unintended overfeeding.
7. Does the company provide immediate contact information such as a phone number or email address? Company representatives should be easily accessible for additional questions, such as the level of specific nutrients not on the label. Pet food companies should be able to provide an “average” or “typical” analysis for all essential nutrients in their food.
Yes—you can reach our incredible customer experience team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-780-7957. We also have a complete typical nutrient analysis for all of our options available upon request.
8. Who makes the food? Companies may make their own food (i.e.,”Made by”) or use a third- party manufacturer (i.e.,”Made for” or “Distributed by”).
Our food is made in a third-party, USDA inspected, human-grade facility in the U.S. with the highest safety and quality standards.