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Messages - David

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Introductions / Re: Confused
« on: Jan 27, 2020, 10:34 »
Can someone help me, why would a food that does not have the minimum meat content logo highlighted be graded higher than one that does?

Hi Budd71 and thanks for posting. It's because total meat percentage is just one of more than a hundred factors that the rating equation looks at. So while the food in question might have had a lower total meat content than the others, it will have scored better in other areas making its overall score higher.

And just to mention that the logo is for 'high meat' content rather than 'minimum meat'. Some dogs actually do better on low meat diets so there really isn't any minimum.

I hope that helps.

Just to let everyone know that the Dog Food Directory now includes a carrageenan filter. You'll find it under the 'avoid ingredients' tab and when selected you'll only see results that are guaranteed carrageenan free by the manufacturer. Hope it helps!

Laughing dog has confirmed that their wet foods DO contain carrageenan.

I've also been regularly updating the list of confirmed carrageenan free foods above so that list can be regarded as up-to-date.

And on the subject of PetFoodExpert, it is indeed run by Pets Corner - not that you would be able to easily tell from the website.

As you can see from the Pets Corner website, they also manufacture More and Yora pet foods and have close ties with McAdams, all of which score remarkably well on the PetFoodExpert site.

Personally I have a big problem with pet food manufacturers posing as independent review sites and reviewing their own products but in this modern age these kind of shenanigans do seem to be becoming more and more common.

Hi Chilassie! Thanks for posting and apologies for my slow response!

I can't account for PetFoodExpert's rating as I'm not familiar with their rating criteria but if you scroll down on our Butternut Box product page you will find a detailed writeup of why we give it a nutritional score of 94%. Essentially, it is a very good food with an excellent balance of top quality, bio-appropriate ingredients and prepared in a manner that is kind on the natural nutrients.

I also know that the guys there went way beyond the call of duty in their research and development phase, working with some of the world's leading experts in pet nutrition so, with this company more than most, there shouldn't be any reason to worry about their nutrient levels.

In the BB recipes, calcium will be provided by a number of the ingredients, most notably the lentils and flaxseed.

I hope that helps!

Re the Dog Food Directory: David has added carrageenan as a red ingredient to some of the wet foods that contain it. I don’t know if it is complete as yet.

Well spotted Dottie! All foods that are confirmed to contain carrageenan are now labelled as such on the site and are omitted from search results when the 'avoid all red ingredients' filter is selected on the directory. Unfortunately, a number of producers are still yet to confirm whether or not their foods contain carrageenan so the list may not be complete. If in any doubt, contact the manufacturer directly and if you spot any missing carrageenan info or any other inaccuracies at all, do let us know.

Dog foods / Re: Kibble questions
« on: Jul 29, 2019, 05:34 »
Hi elastic - great questions!

1. Traditionally, anything containing less than 20% NFE carbs on a dry matter basis has been considered low carb but now, with the increased popularity of raw foods which tend to have much lower carb levels, the bar is shifting.

2. Dogs need both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids from their diet but the ideal amounts and ratio of the two is still a matter of some discussion. It is clear that if the ratio of omega 6 : omega 3 is too high, it can cause increased inflammation so, for many dogs, the lower the ratio the better.

3. No ratio or feeding regime is best for all dogs. Just like us, some do better on one kind of diet while others will do better on another. All we can do is try the foods out and see how the individual dog does. You can find more info on our feeding guide.

4. I know some pet owners that stick rigidly to a set number of calories per day but they are a small minority. I always recommend starting out with the manufacturer's suggested feeding amounts and then adjusting depending on how the dog's weight responds. More info again in the guide.

I hope that helps.

Supplements / Re: GMO Ingredients in pet food
« on: Jul 15, 2019, 12:40 »
Great question Alex_Z. Since our nutritional ratings only take into account nutritional quality and since there are no indications that GMO ingredients are nutritionally inferior to their non-GMO counterparts, they do not currently factor into the ratings. Later, however, we will be introducing an ethical rating which may look at GMO credentials. Hope that helps

General discussion / Re: NEW RATING ALGORITHM... finally!
« on: Jun 12, 2019, 12:19 »
Thanks very much, David, I'll look forward to hearing what Tribal have to say on this.

Just to let you know that, thanks to enlightening info from Tribal, their nutritional ratings have come up considerably.

The biggest factor was the hydrolysed fish. The term hydolysed meat or fish has traditionally been used to identify digest, the not-so-desirable flavour enhancer used in a lot of dry foods. The hydrolysed fish used by Tribal, on the other hand, is quite distinct. Here's what they had to say:

Fish Hydrolysate. I have attached the specification of the product which we use and a study comparing the protein digestibility of our product [also attached here] versus fishmeal showing that it is more digestible than fishmeal. The specification shows that our fish product is extremely high quality, made from MSC certified Whole Blue Whiting so we’re using the whole fish (rather than offcuts/byproducts) and one specific species of fish so our product will always be consistent. It is hydrolysed using food grade quality digestive enzymes (rather than chemical hydrolysis) and then mill ground, so not subject to the damaging high temperatures that other fishmeals may be subjected to.  There is also some early stage research to suggest that fish hydrolysates (or fish protein powder) can also have health benefits. So a far cry from a traditional flavour enhancer.

I hope that helps.

General discussion / Re: NEW RATING ALGORITHM... finally!
« on: Jun 03, 2019, 08:14 »
Apologies for the slow reply Petmum but things here are manic of late. There are a number of factors at play but one of the main ones is the relatively high amount of fish hydrolysate which may be throwing the score out a bit. I'm talking with Tribal about this today so please bear with me.

General discussion / NEW RATING ALGORITHM... finally!
« on: May 28, 2019, 11:21 »
The LONG awaited new dog food rating system is finally here!

It has taken months and months of research and data gathering followed by several more months of coding and fine tuning but I'm really delighted with the results.

Based on the most up-to-date nutritional information, the new rating algorithm is able to delve far deeper into the true merits of a dog food, examining factors like bio-appropriateness of ingredients and nutrient quality, bio-availability, balance & synergy better than ever before.

The algorithm now also factors in how the food was processed (extrusion, pasteurisation, baking, cold pressing etc) and how that processing is likely to have affected the nutrients contained within the ingredients.

What you'll notice:
  • Nutritional ratings are now given as percentage scores
  • Every product has been re-analysed with the new algorithm and a new score awarded
  • The bar for the maximum score has been raised considerably so A LOT of products have come down relative to the maximum
  • I've also been making a few aesthetic changes to the directory and review pages to make them more intuitive and easier to navigate
As always I'd really like to hear your thoughts on any of the changes or on what you think the next changes should be!

More wet foods that DO contain carrageenan:
Cambrian (including all of their private label ranges - i.e. Europa, Ci, Country Kitchen, Huntland etc)

Natures Menu and Carnilove wet ranges are confirmed carrageenan FREE.

Brands that have so far confirmed that their wet foods are carrageenan free:

Almo Nature
Barking Heads
Billy & Margot
Bob & Lush
Edgard & Cooper
Millies Wolfheart
Natures Menu
Soopa Pets
Wellness CORE

List last updated 30/01/2020

Millies Wolfheart and Bob & Lush wet ranges also confirmed carrageenan free.
Forthglade and Arden Grange wet foods do contain carrageenan.


Thanks to the recent upsurge in interest on the matter, Forthglade are now trialling alternative stabilisers so I'd say that's a great result.

Several companies that use carrageenan in their wet foods have pointed me towards this study which found that carrageenan is safe for animal consumption. Although this is certainly worth consideration, there are also a ton of studies that indicate the contrary (there's a good summary here) so it's really up to each of us to make our own judgements.

Personally, I have no confidence in the safety of the ingredient. The weight of evidence against it coupled with the numerous stories just like Shingigz's that I have come across over the years - digestive problems that grew worse on foods with carrageenan and better on foods that were carrageenan free, just make it too much of a risk, especially for dogs with any history of digestive upsets.

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