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How pet foods are rated in Petsumer Report

Ratings are based on three different quality concerns: quality of manufacturing, quality of ingredients, and quality of the first three ingredients.

Human Food Manufacturing.

When a pet food is manufactured per human food manufacturing standards, it means they are held to the highest level of safety conditions. Most pet foods are manufacturing in licensed pet food facilities which are not held to the same standards as human food.

When a pet food is manufactured in a licensed human food facility, it receives a paw print (black paw print). When a pet food is manufactured in a pet food facility, it receives no score in this section (grey paw print).

Human Grade Ingredients.

If a pet food is manufactured in a licensed human food facility, it automatically receives a score in the Human Grade Ingredients category. Federal law requires all ingredients (including supplements) in a human food facility to be ‘edible’ ingredients.

For pet foods not manufactured in a human food facility, the rating in this section is based on statements from the pet food manufacturer. If the manufacturer confirms via email ingredients are human edible, pet foods receive a paw print. If the manufacturer states ingredients are feed grade, pet foods receive no score in this section.

To read more about the difference between Human Grade and Feed Grade, Click Here.

First Three Ingredients.

Because ingredients are listed in order of heaviest to lightest, the first three ingredients make up the majority of the pet food. Ingredients whose legal definitions provide quality nutrition are scored, ingredients whose legal definitions include waste-type material or inferior nutrition are not scored.

All reviews are strictly the opinion of the Publisher.

Ingredient definitions are based on legal definitions of pet food/animal food ingredients. In most cases, the ingredient definition provided is a direct rewording of the AAFCO manual (the legal definitions of pet food ingredients are privately owned by AAFCO and copyright protected); due to the complicated definitions provided by AAFCO, other definitions are interpretation.

Unfortunately, there is no way Petsumer Report can guarantee any pet food, or treat we evaluate to be 100% safe. As well, there is no way to assure the information in Petsumer Report is 100% accurate. The information in each review is provided by the customer service representatives of each pet food company.  In more than one occasion, we’ve experienced customer service representatives providing less than accurate information. This is one of the challenges of this industry.

It is the purpose of this publication to provide pet Owners with the best possible information regarding the quality and safety of the product per our opinion and based on information provided to us. Always consult your Veterinarian for advice on pet nutrition and when considering changing foods.

Click Here to learn how to use Petsumer Report.

Don’t rely only on the paw print rating, review the Plus/Minus information with each review and review the manufacturer information listed on each manufacturer page.  Learn as much information as you can before you trust the company (and feed their products to your pet).

Quality ingredients are listed in Bold Type, inferior quality ingredients and ingredients that have little nutritional value to the pet are listed in Grey. Red Flag ingredients are listed in Red. Beyond the first five are listed in smaller type.

Red Flag Ingredients: Ingredients to take notice of; each pet owner must decide if the potential risk of red flag ingredients is a risk to their pet.

Important un-scored variables for a Petsumer to consider:

Probiotics are considered ‘friendly bacteria’ that are included in some pet foods. Probiotics help to keep the intestinal system working properly. A large portion of the immune system is located in the intestinal system thus keeping things healthy in that area is vitally important. Plus/Minus notes provide probiotic information.

Shelf Life.  With any naturally preserved pet food, the nutritional value decreases over time. The fresher the product, the better nutrition provided to your pet. I include information regarding shelf life so that you understand how fresh the food you are considering to purchase is. Often times it can take months for a pet food to go from manufacturing to warehousing to the retail outlet to finally your pets food bowl. Even though you just purchased the food it might not be fresh. Pet foods state the expiration or best if used by date. Typically bagged pet foods have a shelf life of one year to 18 months. As an example, if you purchased a pet food in May of 2018 and the Best Used By date is November 2018, if the shelf life of this food is one year you would know this pet food was six months old when you purchased it. Checking the manufacturer shelf life of the product included with each review, our example food has a shelf life of 1 year. Thus this particular food is already six months old. It doesn’t ‘spoil’ in six months but some of the nutritional value could be lost in that time frame. The fresher the better.

Customer Relations.  The pet products industry is a highly competitive $50+ Billion dollar a year industry. Regardless how large or small a pet products manufacturer is, every customer SHOULD be treated as important. I find it to be a huge lack of responsibility when I’m put on hold for hours or worse yet when I leave messages and send emails to a company regarding their products and I get no response. A pet owner with a question any question should be respected and a response should be provided promptly. Even though I did not score products considering Customer Relations, I would NOT do business with any company that I could not talk to and/or that did not answer my questions.