“I’m strict with the brands I bring,” MacLean said. “I ask the manufacturers tough questions.” “Not only do we want to know that there are no chemical preservatives or artificial colourings, but we also want to know how they are obtained.”
McClain does her homework so she can help clients make informed decisions when it comes to the health and well-being of their pets.
Her enthusiasm inspired me, to the point that I made like a basset hound and… tried dog food myself?
No not quite. But I’ve become the best investigator of the four-legged friends of my life.
Under McClain’s guidance, I took a magnifying glass over the labels on my dog and cat’s food. Knowing the manufacturer is key. You can usually find this information listed under “Distributed by” on the back of the bag.
For example, Big Heart Pet Brands produces Kibbles n’ Bits and Meow Mix, among other pet food lines. A Google search will show you that the brand is owned by JM Smucker, which mainly produces food for people. MacLean takes this to mean that our pets are not their number one priority. She prefers independent companies that produce pet food exclusively in America and Canada such as Acana, Open Farm, and The Honest Kitchen.
After checking with the manufacturer, I moved on to the components. This is simple, says MacLean. You should recognize them by name, without chemical preservatives. The exceptions are wheat, corn and soybeans, which are major allergens for pets. If you have a friend who is prone to allergies, you’ll want to be on the lookout for these ingredients as well. Corn and soybeans are difficult for pets to digest properly. The grain is also suspect because it is the cause of many recalls due to the presence of aflatoxins, which are carcinogens produced by some types of molds that grow on decaying vegetation.