Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Guaranteed Analysis tell me?
The beauty of the guaranteed analysis is that it gives you a lot of information about what is inside the bag of pet food. Once you understand how to read it, you will be much better equipped to compare different varieties of pet food.??By AAFCO regulations, the guaranteed analysis is only required to list 4 nutrients: crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber and moisture. However, many pet food companies add additional guarantees not only to provide you with more information about the food, but also as a mark of quality. The more things that are guaranteed, the more things that regulatory agencies can test for and fault a company if they do not meet the level on the label. Because of variances between different types of laboratory equipment, sometimes foods can be faulted even if they truly are not deficient in 1 of their guarantees. Added guarantees mean that the company is working very hard to manufacture a precise formulation each and every time and you can be reassured that bag to bag, that product will likely be more consistent than a product that only guarantees the 4 required nutrients.??The first nutrient listed is crude protein. This is a measurement of the guaranteed minimum level of protein in the food. If the food guarantees a minimum of 21% protein, it is not going to contain 32% protein. By AAFCO regulations, a diet that states a guarantee of 21% protein, may have no less than 20.4% protein. There is not a specified maximum, but the protein is typically within 2% of the target. So a 21% protein formula would range from 21% to 23%, but would most often be right at 21% or slightly higher. Your dog will benefit from a food that has protein from animal protein sources. After you check the level of protein, look at the ingredient listing to see where that protein is coming from.??The next listing is crude fat. This is also a minimum guarantee, with a 10% allowed variance. So, if the guaranteed minimum fat content is 15%, the minimum allowed by AAFCO would be 13.5%. Most foods very closely target the fat level, so expect very little variance in this nutrient.??Next comes crude fiber. This is typically pretty low, 2 - 3%, and is a maximum level. In hairball formulas for cats and weight loss formulas, you will usually see a higher level of fiber, usually 6 - 8%. Higher fiber formulas will result in larger stools than low fiber formulas, but this is to be expected.??Finally, you will see the moisture guarantee. In dry formulas, this is typically 8 - 12% maximum and in canned formulas it is typically 75 - 85%.??Protein and fat will show the widest variance between different types of pet foods. Cat foods have higher protein than most dog foods. Formulas specifically designed for athletes, puppies, and low carbohydrate formulas for dogs will have high protein content and often high fat content as well.??
Does the heat of the cooking damage the nutrients in your food?
Yes and no. It is true that some of the nutrients in the food are diminished by the cooking process. Because of this, we make sure to add higher than necessary levels of these particular nutrients so that the finished product provides optimal nutrition and meets our guarantees.??The food must be cooked under certain conditions (including heat of approximately 200 degrees) to guarantee that the starches in the food are gelatinized. This means that the chemical structure of the starches (or carbohydrates) in the food are altered so that they are able to be digested by the animal eating the food. ??While there are some nutritionists who believe that raw foods are the only way to feed ourselves and our pets, we know that you can provide your pet excellent nutrition by feeding a high quality, convenient dry product like ours.
Have you made any recent changes to your ingredient decks?
As part of our commitment to provide the finest products possible, we recently made improvements to our kibble that significantly increased our nutritional levels and palatability. These improvements reflect our dedication to providing a premium, complete and balanced pet food that you can feel confident feeding to your pet. Click on any of the recipes listed below to see the differences in our our current and previous ingredient decks.
Does this food contain ethoxyquin?
Chicken Soup for the Soul sources all protein meals (chicken meal, fish meal, etc) from vendors that do not use ethoxyquin. As always, only natural preservatives are used in our manufacturing process to preserve the foods.
Is Chicken Soup for the Soul irradiated?
Food irradiation is a process in which foods are exposed to radiant energy, including gamma rays, electron beams, and x - rays to eliminate foodborne pathogens.We do not irradiate Chicken Soup for the Soul for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that it is not guaranteed to kill 100% of pathogens present. Irradiation also has the possibility to accelerate the oxidation of the fat in the food and make it spoil faster. If misapplied, irradiation has proven to be hostile toward vitamins, especially B1 (thiamin), activity. A thiamin deficiency in cats can cause numerous health concerns, including neurological disorders.
Are your meats hormone and antibiotic free?
Yes. All of our meats are purchased from food grade suppliers and are certified hormone and antibiotic free.
Do you use any chemical preservatives?
Chemicals are not used to preserve any of our formulas. We use mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) to preserve the chicken fat in our pet foods. Added ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and rosemary extract in some of the formulas also have preservative effects.
Why do you put salt in your diets?
The answer to this question is simple! Dogs and cats require it in their diet. Sodium and chloride are important minerals for dogs and cats, especially for young puppies and kittens. Dietary sodium must be at a minimum of 0.3% on a dry matter basis for growth and reproduction for dogs and 0.2% on a dry matter basis for cats. If we didn't add salt, we would not meet these minimum requirements. For Adults, the minimum required is much lower. However, there is some research that supports higher “recommended” amounts. For Adult to middle aged dogs, that amount is 0.2 - 0.4% on a dry matter basis. For cats in the same life - stage, it is 0.2 - 0.6%. As dogs reach senior status, the recommended amount drops slightly to 0.15 - 0.35%. As cats reach senior status, the recommended amount drops to 0.2 - 0.5%. Although our diets are not “salt restricted” like some prescription formulations, they are certainly not high in salt.