Where do you source your ingredients?
The quality of our ingredients is extremely important to us. We source our ingredients from valued and trusted suppliers who are dedicated to providing the very highest-quality ingredients available on the market today. The majority of our ingredients are locally sourced near our manufacturing facility in the state of Texas. We are one of only a few pet food manufacturers that uses the amino acid complex minerals from Zinpro Corporation, which has the research to prove its minerals are better absorbed and provide a well-documented response when being fed. Many of the big-name brands still use predominantly inorganic forms of trace minerals or less bioavailable forms of organic trace minerals.
Where can I find feeding guidelines & ingredients?
You can find our feeding instructions in two places. Our feeding instructions are located on the back of every bag of kibble as well as on our website where feeding guidelines for each of our formulas are listed. Let's keep in mind this is the suggested feeding amount for an active adult dog. The serving size may increase or decrease a bit depending on your dog's physical activity, metabolism, and age. If you are looking to promote weight loss, go with the lesser recommended amount according to weight. If you are looking to increase weight, go with the greater recommended amount.
What should I look for in a pet food?
Read the label! High quality ingredients are essential for a healthy food. The first ingredient should always be a meat or fish protein. Whole meats, whole grains, and natural preservatives are key components of the healthiest pet food. Pay attention to the protein ratio. A pet food with 20-30% protein is ideal. The bag should also be dated for freshness. Every bag of Nature's Select pet food has a "best buy" date stamped onto the back of the bag. It is recommended that the bag is used before that date; however, the food is perfectly safe to feed to your pets after that date, it just loses some potency after that date. It's important to remember that a "best buy" date is not the same as an "expiration date".
All Nature's Select formulas are free from corn, wheat, soy, gluten, and any other processed grain by-products. We have NEVER been challenged on nutrition! At Nature's Select, we have kept our formulas current with the latest nutritional advancements to maintain a high level of nutrition. All Nature's Select formulas are formulated to meet or exceed the nutritional levels established by AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.
What should I avoid in a pet food?
Always read the label. Avoid inexpensive, less nutritional ingredients and fillers. Corn, wheat, soy, and animal by-products are fillers that lack the nutrition your pets need.
Meat by-products consist of organs and parts not desired for consumption. They can include bones, blood, intestines, lungs, heads, feet, and feathers. We think it’s important to use specific ingredients such as chicken meal or brown rice. That way, you always know exactly what you are getting. When brands use ingredients such as poultry by-products, the ingredients can change from bag to bag. You may get chicken in one bag and turkey in the next.
Changing ingredients suddenly can cause digestive upset. Most fillers can be linked to excessive waste, poor nutritional absorption, and skin problems like excessive scratching and hair loss.
Also make sure there are no chemical preservatives such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), or ethoxyquin. These preservatives are potentially cancer-causing agents. The long-term buildups of these chemicals in your pet’s body have not been thoroughly studied and may ultimately be harmful.
What’s better as a primary ingredient - chicken or chicken meal?
Although it is a quality ingredient, chicken is about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight. Ingredients on a pet food label are listed in descending order by weight. When you see chicken as the first ingredient in pet food, this is before it’s cooked. Once cooked, the percentage of chicken protein in the formula is much lower due to the loss of moisture. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken. Chicken meal does not contain by-products such as beaks, feathers, or feet.
Our meals are considered a meat concentrate that contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken, lamb, beef, or fish. They do NOT include bone or internal organs.
Has the formula for your dog food changed?
Effective Spring 2019, all of our dog food products were updated to comply with the latest Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) labeling requirements for “All Life Stage” products. To be labeled “All Life Stage including growth of large size dogs (70-lbs or more as an adult),” a food must contain less than 1.8% calcium. The previous calcium threshold was 2.5%. In compliance with AAFCO requirements where necessary, we reduced the amount of calcium in our formulas and made other slight enhancements to the ingredient profile depending on the product, including the addition of some new ingredients or the order of ingredients listed on the packaging.
These ingredient enhancements are based on the latest industry data and recent research on nutrition for dogs. We have validated through third-party testing that the updated formulas have comparable nutrient profiles to our previous formulas. As always, Nature’s Select continues to provide the unique core ingredients - four essential ingredients including selenium yeast, superior mineral complexes, prebiotics, and probiotics - that provide pets with superior nutrition.
Why have certain meat meals moved in the ingredient listings?
Ingredients are listed by dry matter weight on the package. We have a long history of using protein meal in our pet food products. Protein meals (and in this case dehydrated meats) are dried products which we believe are superior nutritionally to fresh meat products from a food safety standpoint. Also, protein meals allow us to add much more protein per pound than fresh meat.
Why has the order of ingredients changed in some of the formulas?
In compliance with AAFCO requirements, we reduced the amount of calcium in our formulas and made other slight enhancements to the ingredient profile depending on the product. In making these changes, the order of ingredients may have shifted. All Nature’s Select Pet Food formulas maintain the highest quality, complete and balanced nutrition for dogs.
Why is blood meal in some of the recipes?
Some of our products (High Protein Recipe, Farm Fresh Recipe, Range Hearty Recipe, and our Feline Recipe) contain blood meal, which we source from human-grade meat processed in USDA-approved facilities. Nutritional science increasingly supports a whole food, ancestral diet for most dogs and cats. This diet is high in protein, antioxidant-rich, and offers balanced fats and minerals. Blood meal is a high protein, low ash, low fat ingredient that provides a strategic source of nutrients and amino acids when used appropriately. Including blood meal in our products maintains protein levels and meets calcium requirements. Like every ingredient that enters our facility, our quality assurance team tests this product before it is accepted to ensure it meets our rigorous quality standards. Our formulas and production methods allow us to safely produce pet food products with a higher percentage of animal protein versus plant protein. The following kibble formulas do not contain blood meal: Classic Recipe, Multi Protein Recipe, New Zealand Recipe, Cold Water Recipe, Plus Recipe, and Coastline Catch Recipe.
Are your products gluten-free or GMO-free?
We are GMO-free except in the formulas that contain rice. The following products are GMO-free: Select Multi Protein Recipe (Beef, Pork, Chicken), Select Cold Water Recipe (Menhaden Fish), and our Grain Free Products (Farm Fresh Recipe, Coastline Catch Recipe, Range Hearty Recipe); all other Nature's Select Products are not GMO-free. However, we do have a complex diversity of ingredients in our products and in such ratios, that the GMO aspect is really very small. As for Nature's Select, we have been and will be prudent in using the finest and safest ingredients from the best sources we have available.
All our formulas are either grain-free or made from gluten-free grains.