Choosing an online store, dog food, buyers note that they are divided into several categories (classes) – economy, premium, super-premium, some shops found holistic.
But on the package of the food grade is rarely specified. And if you ask the certificate, which confirms that before you do a dog food premium, the seller will only shrug. The product either meets the standards common to all feeds (as confirmed by a certificate) or not. There is no official document which lists the criteria that must be met by food of a particular class. And the difference between the feeds is, and it is not just the price. Not accidentally, the veterinarians recommend feeding dogs premium products and above. And manufacturers well know the difference between the poop of different classes. In the course of investigative journalism, we asked experts to share trade secrets and explain what determines the class of the feed and how is the rating of dog food.
Classification of dog food: review classes
The division into classes of business (standard, budget), premium, super-premium (sometimes they say super instead of ultra) is widely accepted, but the category holistic for many unusual. In holistic medicine there is a direction that is akin to philosophy and teaches to heal the body as a whole, body, soul and mind. Canadian feed manufacturers began to use the term to refer to holistic diets are perfectly balanced, contain only natural ingredients.
Rules and criteria for the classification of feed
Food for dogs are divided into classes in accordance with the unwritten rules which are often unknown to consumers. The main criteria, that should guide you:
the composition of the protein and its origin (plant or animal);
caloric value, nutritional value;
functional composition (the balance of the under the age, individual needs, peculiarities of the breed);
composition, as specified on the package (level of detail);
the composition of the clusters;
the advantages, features feed (formula systems, which are used by the manufacturer);
the presence and origin of preservatives, other processing additives.
It is easiest to focus on the price, the higher the class, the food is more expensive. But in the feed of high grade primary pricing factors – ingredients and advanced processing technology, which allows to preserve maximum nutrients. For example, Fresh Meat Technology, the technology on which to feed Optimeal add fresh meat. Food economy category is also called commercial, because their producers a lot of money to spend on advertising, marketing, and the raw materials used are the cheapest.
The main criterion for the classification of feed, the composition of which is given on the reverse side of the package. Specialists know well what components have to be quality feed, and what there is in any case should not be. The average consumer, the owner of the dog may be confused if the packaging mentioned protein dehydrated, hydrolyzed, and raw, chicken fat, animal fat and raw. What’s the difference?
All manufacturers must specify the guaranteed performance of products (analysis, nutritional value, nutrient content). The list of so called raw substances must include protein, fat, fiber, ash.
Crude fiber refers to carbohydrates trudnosmyvaemye, unlike sugars and starches, it is not a source of energy, but are necessary for intestinal peristalsis, microflora normalization. Better suited for these purposes cellulose with an average degree of fermentation (digestion by bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract) – beet pulp, apples. Manufacturers of the cheapest feeds are sometimes added to increase their volume of cellulose – the cellulose which is poorly digested and can cause constipation. Food with such a ballast additive contains less nutrients, and those that are less digestible, excess insoluble fiber leads to a decrease in digestibility of food.
Ash is the mineral matter, that will stay away from the food, if you burn it at high temperature. Minerals for the health of dogs is necessary, but has a value set and value. Some minerals are specially added to feed, some are in the main ingredients. A valid measure of the ash content – 5 to 14%. A lower percentage suggests that food is not rich in minerals and consists mainly of vegetable raw materials. If minerals are not listed in the composition of food supplements, and high ash content in feed is clearly a lot of bone meal, because the bones and offal contain significantly more minerals than pure meat, muscle tissue.
In the list of raw substances indicates the total amount of proteins and fats contained in the feed, including animal and vegetable. Not all are equally well digested and absorbed by the body of the dog. Thus, the protein of meat, the dog learns 90%, vegetable – by an average of 60%.High-calorie in addition to fat mammals, birds dogs fish or vegetable essential oil (of which the body gets the essential fatty acids). To understand how well listed among the guaranteed level of crude proteins will be digested, all useful for dogs fats are in the stern? Will help the study of the composition, i.e. list of ingredients, more or less detailed. Here can be transferred:
group of ingredients – meat, processed meat products, plant materials, grains, vegetables (Dog Chow);
concrete products – animal proteins and dried in the form of a hydrolysate, corn gluten, corn, rice, wheat, animal and fish oils, soybean oil, beet pulp (Royal Canin);
products with percentage content of protein turkeys dehydrated, at least 30%, corn, rice, chicken fat, meat (flesh) Turkey 5%, hydrolyzed animal protein 5%, salmon oil 2% (Optimeal).
The granularity of composition is an important criterion. The percentage of typical super premium category, a listing of groups for economy, names of ingredients without quantitative indicators listed in the feed economy and premium, but the latter in more detail. Manufacturers have the right not to disclose qualitative and quantitative composition, but to have the ingredients in descending order of their content. Experts argue that the basis consists of the first 5 ingredients, the following can be attributed to the additives. The five must include animal protein, it’s better if he tops the list.
Important point – energy value (calories per unit weight). Feed manufacturers of high class can develop low-calorie diets for Pets with overweight or low activity, but in General the higher the category the higher the calorie content. This means that the dog eats a small portion. So products economy-efficient only at first glance. It is cheaper, but is consumed faster to saturation requires a much larger feed.
For clarity comparable to its guaranteed performance, the composition, the calorie content is intended for adult dogs dry food premium classes (Club 4 paws and Brit Premium “Lamb and rice”) as well as super-premium for medium breeds (Optimeal “Turkey” and Brit Care “Lamb and rice”). To feed the economy are not going to stop because veterinarians and professional breeders do not recommend them to use as food for dogs.
* Prices are taken from resource dog.com.ua
** Prices are taken from resource rozetka.com.ua
What should be feed premium, super-premium
Features feed the premium category:
must contain animal protein in the form digidrirovannoe (dried) and hydrolyzed protein Royal Canin, meat-meal (Josera, Club 4 paws, Brit Premium). Often this component opens a list, although most diets Royal Canin is dominated by vegetable protein;
the most common meat ingredient is chicken, which is well absorbed. It is possible to use other types of meat (lamb in Club 4 paws, Brit Premium, beef, duck, salmon, lamb in some diets Josera, pork in some feed Royal Canin). It is possible to use by-products, mainly canned;
in the first five ingredients include cereal, usually corn, are rich in gluten and starch, rice, sometimes wheat, barley, oats;
an impressive list of vitamins and minerals;
possible additional food supplements to strengthen the health system for the heart, liver, gastrointestinal tract, immunity Integramix (tomato, banana, ginger, hawthorn) in the feed Club 4 paws, supplements with a sedative effect (chamomile and blueberries) in Brit Premium set of essential omega-3 and 6 in the diets of both brands;
there is a division of aft ages, breeds (physique), sometimes along with the basic meet specialized diets. So, if excess weight or large build increased load on the joints, Club 4 paws adds to feed these dogs chondroitin and glucosamine. A diet of lamb and rice this brand is recommended for high risk of food allergies. Josera creates a feed based on the level of activity, peculiarities of digestion;
perhaps a small amount of natural flavors, the use of preservatives of different origin. So, Royal Canin contains sodium tripolyphosphate. Club 4 paws from the point of view of a set of technological additives corresponds to the super-premium class, because it contains only the tocopherol of natural origin.
Characteristic features of the diets of super-premium:
the list of ingredients reveals animal protein;
to replace meat flour or dried squirrel comes dried meat, rations Optimeal also contains fresh meat in the form of meat;
instead of budget chicken is often used for more expensive meat, fish (Optimeal – Turkey, duck, veal, lamb, salmon Brit Care – lamb, duck, rabbit, venison, salmon and herring);
in addition to the vast complex of vitamins and minerals foods contain functional additives. The role of each health dogs are able to explain only a specialist, this information is also available on the official website of the manufacturer. Such additives include prebiotics for digestion, chondroprotectors for joints, omega 3 and 6 acids for healthy skin and wool. The composition of all feed Optimeal includes the complex of beta-glucans to strengthen the immune system Immunity Support Mix;
in addition to dividing according to ages and breeds are added to the line for special needs Bessarabia, hypoallergenic diets;
technological additives only natural.
Feed holistic characterized by:
maximally strict selection of raw materials (animal components do not contain antibiotics, hormones, plant – pesticides and chemical fertilizers);
high content of fresh ingredients, gentle processing technology;
at least synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements, almost all contained in animal and vegetable components;
the absence of artificial processing additives;
a large number of lines, the balance of the feed in accordance with the needs of dogs of different age, size, activity level.
What may serve as a confirmation class
By studying different sources, you can deal with the fact that the same food somewhere is positioned as a premium, somewhere- as a super-premium. Food can have a number of certificates issued in the country of production and international. So, feed Optimeal comply with ISO 22000 (standard food for people) and the requirements of FEDIAF (the European Federation of feed manufacturers). Josera meets internal quality standards of the German Institute for standardization DIN and agricultural society DLG, also has organic certification. But this is not a certification belonging to a particular class. The main and most objective criterion – the composition. Once again, on that note:
the energy value and the recommended volume of portions;
the transparency of the composition, names of ingredients (the more specifics the better);
the composition of the protein, the ratio of animal and plant (useful information given on the official website Optimeal, provided the percentage of animal protein in each feed, some approaching 100%);
place of animal protein in the list of components;
condition ingredient – flour, meat or meat and bone meal, dried protein, meat, dry or fresh;
the list of vitamins and minerals;
functional food additives, the characteristics of the composition (information may be contained in the form of marks on the front of the pack – Immunity Support Mix have Optimeal, Integramix at Club 4 paws, a symbol of grain-free pet food Brit Care);
the list of technological additives, the origin of preservatives.
Also important, what criteria are classified food. In economy class the emphasis is on the division’s tastes, the variety of which is achieved by artificial additives, it is also possible to divide by age. In classes, premium, super-premium, more attention is paid to individual characteristics and needs (overweight, low or high activity, sensitive digestion, tendency to allergies). These foods can be called preventive.
Price is an important criterion, but you need to understand what it includes is production and transportation costs, and advertising costs. Widely publicized food costs consumers much more than their original price. Imported food is always more expensive than domestic of the same class. That is why Ukraine is one of the best priced in the premium segment is food Club 4 paws, and among forages of super-premium Optimeal.
Review of the best dog food for classes
In the standard class noteworthy brands:
JosiDog from Josera dry. In part one dominated by corn, other flour of poultry, some also contain bone. Good for high class supplements – prebiotics, chondroprotectors. Division according to age, breed, activity level, eating foods for sensitive digestion.
Pedigree. There is dry feed (cereals, flour, poultry and meat), wet (cereals, meat, offal), Goodies. In the first place in the non-meat products, and cereals. Feeds are divided by ages, breeds.
Dog Chow from Purina – dry, the main ingredient is whole grains, on the second place the meat and products of meat processing. There are 4 age categories, divide by breed, several of feed marketed as rations for active dogs (low concentration grains) and sensitive digestion (1.8% of fish).
Worthy representatives of the premium class
Brit Premium dry – mostly chicken, there’s Turkey, lamb, dominated by dried meat, including boneless. A rich set of supplements for health. Preservatives natural and artificial. Is and wet food in sausages, almost entirely of meat and offal, but to find it on the Ukrainian market difficult.
Club 4 paws – dry (dominated by flour chicken or lamb), wet (meat and animal products), delicacies. Main ingredient, which in the first place – meat, meat products. All foods contain complexes of omega 3 + omega 6 and Integramix. In the premium segment, the brand is distinguished by the use of natural tocopherol as preservative. There is a division by age, breed (size), rations for a delicate digestion, weight control, active dogs.
Joseradry food. Animal protein is represented by flour of poultry, animals, fish, and some feed in the first place rice (SensiJunior), potato flakes (Duck and potato). Foods contain sodium chloride and/or iodized sea salt. For dogs with different needs diets are developed which differ in protein and fat, functional additives, a set of basic ingredients (there are bessarabie).
Royal Canin, wet and dry. Pros – branching division according to age and species, the presence of functional supplements for joints, digestion, immunity. Cons – the composition of the wet feed not detailed, specified meat and offal, grains, by-products of plant origin. In dry, often dominated by plant proteins, no meat, only dried protein from poultry and pork, among the fats present soybean oil. Contain artificial processing AIDS.
Out of production super-premium can be recommended
Optimeal. Dry food along with digidrirovanny meat protein contain fresh meat in the form of meat, rice, corn, wet – meat (fillet) and pork in pieces, a little cereal. Hypo-allergenic diets with salmon and Bessarabia with potatoes. Along with the traditional for this class supplements (omega-3 and 6, zinc, vitamins, prebiotics, herbs) contains a unique complex of β-glucans, potent immunomodulators. Antioxidant – tocopherol of natural origin on the basis of rosemary.
Brit Care dry food. Base – flour from lamb and duck, some dried meat or fish (rabbit, venison, salmon, herring). The only cereal is rice, there is bessonovoy Allergy-free diet with potatoes. A variety of supplements for joints, digestion, immunity, skin and coat. Natural flavors, preservative tocopherol of natural origin. There is a feed for dogs of different sizes, ages, active, overweight, exhibition.
Analysis of the composition – the key to the correct choice
Comparing the compositions of the feed, which belong to the same class, it can be concluded that the division is quite conditional, and the border between classes is not clear. Not so important which class took the food manufacturer or seller. More important, what it consists of and whether the price quality. Carefully study the composition, compare products of different brands, pay attention to the recommended amounts, calculate the approximate cost of pet nutrition and evaluate the benefit to his health. Comparing the price and quality, it is easy to make their own conclusions and make a personal rating.