All foods deteriorate (oxidize) when it is exposed to air. This action can be slowed by various means, but it can never completely halted. Basically there are 2 forms of anti oxidants (preservatives) available to pet food manufacturers.
- Natural. A combination of vitamins E & C, usually in the form of citric acid, tochopherols, and rosemary extract.
- Chemical. Come in a number of forms, some are quite harsh and require protective clothing when handled.
Chemical preservatives generally have a longer shelf life than the natural forms, and are much cheaper. At Ultra, we use all natural antioxidants, and in minimal amounts to ensure the shelf life is maintained.
Our products are usually with the distributor within 10 days of manufacture, compared to up to 3 months with some imported products. This ensures the product is as fresh as possible, and with the absolute minimum of deterioration.
Minerals come in 3 forms, chelated (or proteinated), oxides and sulphates. Chelated are more easily absorbed by dogs than oxides and sulphates, but are a lot more expensive. At Ultra, quality is always paramount, so we use all chelated minerals.
The longer you cook food the more you reduce the nutritional benefits. At Ultra we extrude the food. This means it is cooked under pressure by direct steam injection in less than 30 seconds – compared to 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.
Manufacturers sometimes say 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 around 25% of the product contains the fats, vitamins minerals, fibre moisture etc, and the balance meat and grain.
- 40 parts beef, 35 parts corn. Beef is listed first.
Protein from beef is 20%
Protein from corn is 5% . Total protein 25%
- 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.