No matter what type of pet food you choose to feed your pet, there are important factors to consider – first make sure that the food is labelled as “complete and balanced”. Complete means the food contains everything your pet needs. Balanced means that it includes those components in the correct ratios. This is a problem for many supermarket-level brands – the old adage that “you get what you pay for” is very true in the pet food market.
So why do we recommend a “premium” diet for your pet?
“Premium” pet foods ARE different. They start with much better quality natural ingredients, they use rice rather than wheat as their carbohydrate, fresh meat rather than meat meal, extra fibre, and extra essential oils (Omega 3 and Omega 6).
They have many other benefits, not least the security of knowing that the food you are providing is nutritionally balanced and safe. They are also convenient, palatable and consistent in quality.
In short, a complete and balanced commercial diet from a reputable pet food manufacturer provides everything your pet needs.
A reputable manufacturer should be able to demonstrate:
- Established sources for raw ingredients
- Effective quality control practices
- Efficacy claims based on evidence derived from research and published studies.
Finally, WASAVA published a list of questions that owners should ask when assessing the features and benefits any pet food offers their pet.
Because we predominantly stock Hills’ pet food, in 2019 we asked them to provide answers to these questions. You should do the same of your chosen manufacturer.
WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee: Recommendations on Selecting Pet Foods
1. Do you employ a full time qualified 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). What is this nutritionists name and qualifications?
Hill’s US currently employs four Diplomats from the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and two veterinary residency-trained clinical nutritionists.
2. Who formulates your foods and what are his/her credentials?
More than 200 scientists, engineers, nutritionists, flavourists and veterinarians with advanced degrees (MS, PhD, or DVM) in various sciences including: Biology, Botany, Biochemistry, Physical Chemistry, Food Science, Microbiology, Nutrition, Pharmacology, Immunology and Physics contribute to the research and development of efficacious products to meet the needs of pets.
3. Are your diets tested using AAFCO feeding trials or by formulation to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles? If the latter, do they meet AAFCO nutrient profiles by formulation or by analysis of the finished product?
· All Hill’s products have either undergone an AAFCO feeding trial or are formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles by analysis
· Extensive product and clinical research, including AAFCO feeding trials for many products
· Leader in scientific innovation and product research, including development and utilisation of COT, RSS, and SDMA
4. Where are your foods produced and manufactured?
Hill’s manufactures pet foods in the United States, Netherlands and the Czech Republic
5. What specific quality control measures do you use to assure the consistency and quality of your ingredients and the end product?
More than 220 veterinarians, food scientists, technicians and Ph.D. nutritionists at Hill’s develop all of Hill’s pet foods to meet the needs of pets. These experts incorporate quality assurance and safety principles into our product development process.
During development, each ingredient is analysed to ensure its safety before it is included in the food your pet eats. Hill’s also formulates its products to ensure that ingredients and nutrients are included at levels that support the health of pets. We analyse our products’ ingredient profile for over 50 nutrients and conduct feeding trials to ensure your pets get the precise nutrition they need.
Hill’s only accepts ingredients from suppliers whose facilities meet stringent quality standards and who are approved by Hill’s. Not only is each ingredient examined to ensure its safety, each product’s ingredient profile is analysed for essential nutrients to ensure your pet gets the stringent, precise formulation they need.
Each year, we conduct thorough Quality Systems audits for all of our manufacturing facilities to ensure we continue to meet the high standards your pet deserves. Hill’s demands compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and Hill’s own high quality standards that ensure your pet’s food is produced under clean and sanitary conditions.
Hill’s conducts final safety checks daily on every Hill’s pet food product to help ensure the safety of your pet’s food. Additionally, all finished products are physically inspected and tested for key nutrients prior to release to help ensure your pet gets a consistent product bag to bag.
Hill’s also provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee where dissatisfied consumers can obtain their money back on purchased Hill’s products.
Yes – we provide an average nutrient analysis on a dry matter basis for all of our foods. This can be found on our website.
If you are interested in finding out the nutrient content on an energy basis you can give our Helpline a call on 1800 679 932 for further information.
7. What is the caloric value per gram, can, or cup of your foods?
The caloric content of all of our foods in kcal/kg and kcal/cup can be found on our website under average nutrient and caloric content, or on the packaging of our foods.
8. What kind of product research has been conducted? Are the results published in peer-reviewed journals?
Hill’s Pet Nutrition is committed to maintaining the highest nutritional standards and aims to continuously validate and improve the clinical efficiency of its products through Hill’s Evidence-Based Clinical Nutrition. The Hill’s Global Pet Nutrition Centre is one of the leading centres for pet nutrition and veterinary research. Hill’s scientists author research papers and textbook chapters each year and teach at leading schools of veterinary medicine all over the world. We put our knowledge and expertise into every Hill’s pet food. Backed by the most extensive Evidence-Based Clinical Nutrition, Hill’s delivers the highest quality pet food products that meet a diverse spectrum of unique needs.