Attention, Canadians! Healthy, home-grown dog foods are more available than ever.
A healthy diet is the foundation to a healthy life. So giving your pooch a good quality dog food means you’re giving him a big boost towards a long and happy lifetime of optimum wellness. Canadian-made pet foods abound, and because an ever-growing number of manufacturers are factoring wholesome nutrition into their formulas, there are lots of amazing options out there for your dog.
Buying Canadian is especially important these days, given the proliferation of harmful ingredients found in pet foods that source ingredients from countries where food safety standards are a lot lower than they are here. In addition, the rocky state of our trade relations with the US over the last year prompted many Canadians to look closer to home for food and other product choices, both for themselves and their pets. Sustainability also plays an increasingly important role for many people, and more manufacturers are looking for ways to help reduce pollution and preserve our country’s natural resources.
Let’s take a look at the world of Canadian-made dog foods, and how you can ensure you’re buying the best for your best friend.
A smorgasbord for your dog
When it comes to dog foods, there’s more to choose from than ever before — from canned and dry diets, to frozen raw and dehydrated or freeze-dried selections, not to mention diets crafted for dogs with problems such as allergies, food intolerances and other health conditions. These may include alternative protein sources such as rabbit, venison, bison, and salmon.
Sourcing quality ingredients
As with anything, dog food quality varies between manufacturers, so it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the best you can afford, for the sake of your dog’s health and well-being. Look for companies that use high quality whole food ingredients that are sourced as close to home as possible. Chemical additives, synthetic colourings and preservatives should be avoided. Yes, premium foods cost more than commercial brands, but you’ll save money down the road with a healthier dog and fewer vet bills.
Buying dog foods that source their ingredients as close to home as possible helps ensure that the diet you’re feeding your best friend is safe and healthy.
Factoring in sustainability
Food production, including dog food, uses up a lot of resources, including land and water to grow or raise the food, as well as fossil fuels to process and transport it. It also entails the deployment of tons of pesticides and herbicides on crops. Resource depletion and degradation, along with environmental contamination and rising concerns about climate change, are spurring many companies to implement practices that reduce their carbon footprints and make them more sustainable.
Sourcing local ingredients is one major step to sustainability, of course, but some Canadian pet food companies are going further than that, by following humane animal welfare practices, utilizing renewable energy resources to dehydrate foods, and using organic or fair trade ingredients in their formulas.
How is pet food regulated in Canada?
“In Canada, regulations exist for the protection and welfare of companion animals and to provide assurance to consumers of proper nutrition in the pet foods they purchase at retail stores and online,” explains Julie S. Washington, Chief Marketing Officer of Champion Petfoods. “Pet food manufacturers and suppliers in Canada must belong to the Pet Food Association of Canada (PFAC). Further, PFAC members are required to comply with the nutritional standards maintained by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). From a product safety standpoint, it should be noted the Canadian Government’s enhanced animal health safeguards make it illegal for any ‘specified risk materials’ to be fed to any animal, including dogs.”
“Pet food sold in Canada must also comply with the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, administered by the Competition Bureau of Industry Canada,” adds Christine M. Mallier, PR & Community Relations Manager for Petcurean. Christine goes on to say that when Canadian pet food manufacturers export their foods, they are required to comply with the individual regulations of each country they’re exporting to. These companies also have to undergo multiple food safety audits to meet the high regulatory standards.
This article only touches the surface of the many good quality, regionally-sourced, Canadian-made dog foods you can serve up to your four-legged friend (click here to see The Great Canadian Pet Food Guide). By giving him safe, nutritious choices, you’re investing in his health and well-being, and taking steps to ensure he’ll be with you for many years to come.