All foods deteriorate (oxidize) when exposed to air. This action can be slowed by various means, but never completely halted. There are basically 2 forms of anti oxidants (preservatives) available to pet food manufacturers.
- Natural. These are a combination of vitamins C & E, usually in the form of tochopherols, citric acid, and rosemary extract.
- Chemical. These come in a number of forms, some of which are quite harsh and require protective clothing when being handled.
Chemical preservatives generally give a longer shelf life than the natural forms, and are considerably cheaper. At Ultra, we use only natural antioxidants, and in the minimal amounts to ensure the shelf life is maintained.
Our products are usually in the hands of the distributor within 10 days of manufacture, compared to the up to 3 months with some imported products, thus ensuring that the product is as fresh as possible, and therefore with the absolute minimum of deterioration.
Minerals come in 3 forms, chelated (or proteinated) sulphates and oxides. Chelated are more easily absorbed by the dog than oxides and sulphates, but however are a lot more expensive. At Ultra, quality is paramount, so we use all chelated minerals.
EXTRUDED v BAKED
Most of us know that the longer you cook a food, the more you reduce the nutritional benefits. At Ultra we extrude the food, which means that it is cooked under pressure by direct steam injection in less than 30 seconds, compared to the up to 40 minutes required to bake a biscuit. This ensures minimal nutritional loss, particularly with the vitamin content, a lot of which is subject to damage when heated for too long a period.
In these days of tight economic conditions we all have to get best value for money. Because we manufacture in New Zealand, from locally sourced raw materials, we save international freight costs, biosecurity and custom clearance charges, and the importers costs. These saving are passed on to you, the pet owner. We also do not incur the costs of expensive packaging, nor so called “free” giveaways. Our aim is to supply a quality pet food at an honest price. It is interesting to compare (via the internet) retail prices of imported pet foods between their country of origin, and New Zealand.
COMPLETE V PREMIUM
A complete food contains all the necessary nutrients (protein, fats, minerals vitamins etc) necessary, but there is no control over where those nutrients are obtained. One batch may have most of the protein from assorted meats, the next from assorted cereals. These products are normally price driven, and therefore the cheapest raw materials are regularly used. A premium product must source some 90% of protein from animal sources, as canines absorb animal protein a lot better than vegetable protein. Premium products also must have a fixed formula, so the raw materials are not affected by price fluctuations.
LIST OF INGREDIENTS
Some manufacturers say that the first ingredient must be meat based. This is not true. Two of the first three should be meat based. Consider the following formulae.
For these we assume that some 25% of the product contains the fats, vitamins minerals, fibre moisture etc, and the balance meat and grain.
- 1. 40 parts beef, 35 parts corn. Beef is listed first.
- Protein from beef is 20%
- Protein from corn is 5% Total protein 25%
- 2. 30 parts beef, 35 parts corn, 10 parts dried blood. Corn is listed first
- Protein from beef 15%
- Protein from corn 5%
- Protein from blood 8%
- Total protein 28%, the majority of which is sourced from meat.
Also a product that has 20% meat, 19% rice, 19% corn,17% barley has the meat listed first, but is obviously grain based.
GRAIN v VEGETABLES
In their natural environment, canines (unlike felines who eat only muscle meat) ate all their prey, including the offal, stomach and intestines and their contents. Their prey was normally grazing animals, so the stomach etc contained partially digested grass. Grains are cultivated grasses, therefore canines ate grains. Certainly the grain was partially broken down, and not as harvested, but we do the same in processing our dog foods.