An article on the DVM 360.com website set out a list of criteria to decide which pet food is the best quality. The criteria comes from Dr Lindsey Bullen a veterinary nutritionist with Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas. The list is admirable but impractical in my honest opinion. It would take a very resourceful person to plough through this list of criteria to find the answers and then decide which cat food is the best one in terms of quality.
Nonetheless, I think it’s useful so I’m going to reproduce the list here. It focuses on the manufacturer not the food per se.
The first point that Dr Bullen makes is that the food should come from a reputable company which has been around a long time. If they’d been in existence for a long time there has to be a reason for it and that reason is quality. Being cynical, as I am, the reason why a company has been around for a long time maybe because it is very good at pulling the wool over the eyes of the public.
If a pet food manufacturer participates in active nutritional research and shares its findings it’s a good sign.
The company should have veterinary, all PhD, nutritionists on the staff. Dr Bullen says that this indicates that nutrition is a priority. They have got to be on the payroll and not consultants she says. The argument behind this is that companies sometimes ignore the advice of consultants. I understand that. However, companies can also ignore the advice of employees so I am not convinced by this criteria.
The product has gone through feeding trials conducted by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Dr Bullen admits that this is not a 100% guaranteed test that the pet food is of a high quality but it does help.
Does the pet food manufacturer have rigourous quality control processes? Do they test ingredients before they come into the plant? And does the manufacturer conduct post-manufacturing analysis and digestibility studies? Transparently good quality control processes must indicate that the pet food is of decent quality.
The pet food manufacturer should keep a “diet vault”. This is an archive, as I understand it, of all the diets that they have produced so that they can go back to that product’s details if there is a problem.
The company does not make unverified claims.
The company should not be making promotional claims which are simply untrue or promoting “nutritional myths”. Dr Bullen provides an example. If the company says that grey-free diets are superior, that’s a myth.
Lastly, the company does not spend their marketing money criticising other manufacturers because if they do it indicates that the company is not that good.
It’s a laudable list but, quite frankly, it doesn’t help the average cat owner because they are not going to find answers to some of these questions online unless they have got plenty of time and they are very persistent. I don’t want to be too critical but it would have been nice if the DVM 360.com website then went on to provide their choice for the best dog and cat food based upon these criteria.