A superb business we are lovers of wet pet food, but that hasn't (yet) gotten us into a factory

The making of sausage and laws, goes the old expression, is hidden. Seemingly, the pet food sector feels the exact same manner about "wet" food for dogs and cats. We haven't yet managed to get into a cannery to see how the merchandise is made (but we are not giving up!). There really are several reasons for this. The first has to do with all the truth that there are hardly any wet food canneries in the U.S., relative to facilities that produce dry food. (As a matter of fact, the whole canning business--of pet food and human food--has found tremendous consolidation in the past decade. Many facilities are obtained by foreign companies and then shuttered, with their operations being offshored.) The pet food industry giants-- Hills, Purina, and the like--keep their particular private production facilities. (Representatives of both firms have told us that tours of the facilities are out of the inquiry, although we understand numerous veterinarians who had the ability to tour the plants when they were in vet school.) A large proportion of the businesses that produce the kinds of food we enjoy, nevertheless, use independent, "contract" manufacturing companies, and there are only about half a dozen of these in the U.S. remaining. The effect is, there's a somewhat small pool of wet pet food manufacturers we are able to request a tour. The biggest of these, Menu Foods, is the top North American contract manufacturer of wet pet food products sold by supermarket retailers, mass merchandisers, pet specialty retailers as well as other retail and wholesale outlets; they make a great a lot of the foods on our "Top Approved Wet Dog Foods" list. By all reports, they do an excellent job; a lot of the pet food companies we trust trust them. But oftentimes, not the executives of those firms will get a tour of a Menu Foods canned food plant. And when they do get a tour, it is on a night when the gear isn't working.

A Menu Foods representative told us the motive for this particular secrecy must do with preserving the privacy of the customers of Menu. When they let a tour of the plant, a representative of a single pet food business could possibly sleuth information regarding the proprietary formula to get fixings or a rival's product. Just seeing a rival's labels can support the opponent's contract with Menu--something that's allegedly secret. We find this very irritating, since in our experience, each of the pet food executives understand just where their rivals' products are made. We haven't yet requested the smaller contract manufacturers who make top quality foods--Merrick Pet Foods in Texas, for example, or Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Business in Illinois--for a tour of their facilities. They have been really forthcoming before, yet, as well as another time we are in Illinois or Texas, we guess, we are going to be able see wet pet food get made and to carry through our wish.


Sorts of food that is wet
There are several kinds of wet dog food, and, since you may have collected by our regular usage of the phrase "wet dog food," increasingly, wet food isn't canned but included in pouches or trays. The latter containers, particularly in miniature serving sizes, are popular with cat owners, since cats are generally more fussy about the freshness of the food. Plus, until lately, the single dog foods which are for sale in trays and pouches have a tendency to be what we consider to be somewhat low quality products. The pouched products produced by the Three Dog Bakery of Kansas City certainly are an amazing and welcome exception; the fixings are of outstanding quality. No matter what package can be used, all wet pet foods are heat-sterilized following the container is sealed. This procedure "cooks" the food, kills any pathogens, coagulates the proteins, and gelatinizes the starches, raising their digestibility. Wet food products break up into groups on the basis of the closing form of the food. The most expensive to make are the products described as "meat in jelly" or "meat in gravy." All these are comprised of balls of "actual" animal material in a sauce that is thickened with either a gelling merchandise (including locust bean gum and carrageenan) or xanthan or similar gums; products whose matrix more strongly resembles a gravy are usually thickened with guar gum or modified starches.

The not-quite-yummy-sounding "meat analogue" merchandises are extremely much like the products described above, together with the difference being that the "meat" has been finely ground and restructured into balls of the specified contour and size. These balls could be made from animal products or made using a mixture of cereal and meat. Usually some type of binder must aid the manufactured balls hold together--soy sequester or glutens are often used in this capacity; yet, in a few products, blood plasma and wheat flour are included to assist bind the balls, helping them keep a distinct contour. We were recently surprised to find out a business whose products we used to enjoy using blood plasma. Yuck!

"Loaf" products, which typically include substantial amounts of grain (for a wet merchandise) are the most inexpensive to make, grain being less expensive than animal products. Occasionally the loaf of bread features balls of meat.

Recent inventions
Two quite unusual varieties of wet food appear on WDJ's "Top Approved Wet Dog Food" list. One is Spot's Stew. As the name implies, this merchandise most closely resembles a "ball in gravy" merchandise but it is a lot more liquid, and there are plenty of vegetable balls in it, also; it is indeed a stew. The other food kind that is uncommon includes big chunks of fish or poultry . These products have been replicated in a few formulas by Merrick and were introduced to the marketplace by Active Life Pet Products and Evanger's. Dog proprietors that are not habitual to the practice of eating fresh, raw, meaty bones frequently panic when they discover the chicken leg bones in a few of these formulas. But, the bones softens to a feel that is digestible you could very quickly smush between your fingers.

The inclusion of even fruit, herbs, and vegetables has gained popularity, no doubt as the more of those fixings there are recorded on the label, the more it may attract the one who purchases their dog it. Certainly pet food manufacturing companies have been presented by the incorporation of the ingredients with production challenges; not only do they want the batter to be blended, they should be concerned about delivering some vegetable matter that was identifiable, also!

The selection criteria of wDJ
Here's exactly how we ascertain whether a wet food is actually "superior."
We remove all foods comprising artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives that are added. Canned food needs to not be low in animal proteins, and therefore, plenty palatable with no additional flavors. In addition, it needn't include any preservatives, given its sterilized and sealed containment.
We reject foods containing protein or fat not identified by species. "Animal fat" and "meat proteins" are euphemisms for low quality, low priced combined fixings of dubious source.

We reject any food including poultry or meat byproducts byproducts. There's a broad variation in the characteristic of the byproducts which are open to dog food companies. And there's no means for the typical dog owner (or anyone else) to find out, beyond a shadow of a doubt, whether the byproducts used are carefully managed, cooled, and used fresh within a day or two of slaughter (as some businesses have told us), or the cheapest, lowest-quality stuff on the marketplace. There's some, but much less variation in the grade of whole-meat products; they're not exceedingly cheap to be handled.
We remove any food containing sugar or alternative sweetener. A food including quality meats should not need added palatants to entice dogs.

* We look for foods with entire meat, fish, or poultry as the very first fixing (and probably the second and third fixings, also!) to the label. (Just as with food for humans, ingredients are listed on the label by the whole weight they lead to the item.)
When a nutritious meat, poultry, or fish broth can be used in place of the water which will be required for processing We enjoy it. Cooking meat, fish, or poultry bones, parts, and muscle tissue obtains broth.
* If grains or vegetables are used, we look for using whole grains and vegetables, as opposed to some reconstituted parts, i.e., "rice," rather than "rice flour, rice bran, brewer's rice," etc
* Speaking of grain ... We have discussed this many times, however there's nothing that says a canned food needs to include any carb or grain source.

Grains initially found their way to pet food since they were less high-priced than animal proteins; of course, their amino acid profiles are not as complete than those offered by animal-sourced proteins, so we are not wild in regards to using any grain or grain fragment as a protein source. And, unlike humans, dogs do not require carbohydrates to dwell; they can do great having an eating plan which has no carbs. We strongly favor dog foods that have no grain in the slightest or small quantities of grain.