Quick answer? The best stuff you can! Long answer? A good food should contain the following:
Our custom, proprietary formulas are created in consultation with our Board Certified Animal Nutritionists and Veterinarians. We get the best brains we can find together to ensure our foods contain all of the ingredients necessary for a long healthy life for your pet. And the experts agree- our foods have made Whole Dog Journal’s list of approved dog foods for the past several years.
Protein is a critical component of your pet’s overall nutritional needs. But not all proteins are created equal. There are several things to consider when choosing a protein source, like amino acid profile and the digestibility of the protein. There’s also something called “biological value”, which is the ability of protein to be used by the body. Both chicken and turkey have a very high biological value. Did this stop making sense a long time ago? Don’t worry. Here’s the important part to remember: we carefully select the ingredients that go in our foods to ensure an optimal balance of essential nutrients for your dog or cat, and that includes chicken and turkey.
The first ingredient in all of our dry foods is always an animal-based protein. Because chicken and turkey contain a high percentage of water, we follow it with a high-quality meal, which is protein-rich and highly digestible, and a great compliment to the chicken or turkey.
Our meal is made from USDA inspected chickens and turkeys, which are cooked to melt the fat and remove much of the water. The fat is then separated by pressing it from the meat, then the dried product is ground into meal.
Our meals are excellent sources of essential amino acids, as well as minerals such as calcium and phosphorous. They are exceptional ingredients in terms of protein quality and digestibility and provides optimal nutrition for optimal health.
According to AAFCO, the regulatory body that governs pet food, “Natural” means the product comes from plant, animal, or mined sources that are either unprocessed, or processed without synthetic chemicals.
"Organic", on the other hand, is kind of like"natural-plus." Being certified organic takes"natural" to a whole new level given the extremely rigorous regulations that form the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). For example, Castor & Pollux ORGANIX must meet extremely detailed and difficult third-party organic certification requirements for each and every ingredient, for our production process, for organic ingredient storage and handling, and more. The USDA’s National Organic Program regulates the way organic food and ingredients are raised or grown, handled, processed, and stored. The NOP also governs what can be said on packaging, an additional requirement that Castor & Pollux has consistently applied. For more on the requirements of the USDA’s NOP, visit www.ams.usda.gov/nop or www.ota.com.
No, but there are strict labeling requirements that enable consumers to know the differences between products. A product with 70% to 94% organic ingredients can say on its label, “Made with organic….” but it cannot include the USDA logo (however, it is still certified by an independent third party). Products with 95% to 100% organic ingredients can use “organic” in the product name, and will bear the USDA logo. Both categories of organic products must include the name and contact information for the organic certifying agency on the back of the package.
Our Organix formulas contain organic, free-range chicken as the #1 ingredient followed by chicken meal – outstanding sources of highly digestible, animal-derived protein. At this time, there are no sources of organic chicken meal. We are working closely with our suppliers to source this organic chicken meal, but until that time we are not prepared to compromise the nutritional integrity of our dry Organix formulas with plant/vegetable sources of protein to then apply the USDA organic seal to appear on our bags. Most important is providing the best possible nutrition utilizing the organic animal sources of protein available today; that’s Organix, and that’s good news for your pets.
The ingredient dec for the ORGANIX® Grain-Free formula states poultry meal, rather than chicken meal due to the organic certification regulations. The ORGANIX Grain-Free food is actually formulated with chicken meal, which is of the same high quality as our chicken meal in all of our ORGANIX diets.
Our product is certified in the “made with organic” category and there are specific regulations about how to label or communicate to the customer which ingredients are organic. We are allowed to list 3 specific organic ingredients or organic food groupings in the “made with organic“ statement. This is why the front of our bags call-out “made with organic chicken, peas, flaxseed”. Part of the regulations also require that if the organic ingredient is a call-out on the packaging that all ingredients in that category are organic.
Since our packaging references “made with organic chicken”, it is required that all chicken ingredients in the ingredient dec are organic. This seems like a simple problem to solve. Just use organic chicken meal. The problem is organic chicken meal does not currently exist. There are multiple reasons why it is not available, but the main point is we cannot purchase organic chicken meal, yet our formulas were formulated to contain chicken meal in order to provide a wholesome balanced nutrition for our pets. This is why chicken meal is listed as poultry meal in ORGANIX Grain-Free.
We thought long and hard about what our options were to get around this complication, but at the end of the day it seemed most important to communicate clearly to our customer the food is made with organic chicken. The poultry meal was a definition that allowed us to meet organic regulations and yet was still more specific than meat meal.
We strive to provide not only a wholesome balanced diet for our pets, but to be forthcoming and compliant to our regulatory partners.
ORGANIX and Natural Ultramix are made in the USA. Our Good Buddy treats are made in our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada.
We use an independent third party for all of our testing. Our ingredients are tested upon arrival, samples are tested throughout production and all finished product is tested for toxins and contaminants before we release it for sale. Sound a bit obsessive? We don’t think so. After all, pets are family, and what could be more important than the quality, health, and safety of their food?
What? You mean things like Trichoderma longibrachiatum? Ok, some of them are a little strange sounding. But, they provide many benefits for your pet. These Prebiotics and Probiotics help maintain a healthy intestine, which in turn aids with food digestion. They help adjust the pH of the GI tract to make it good for “friendly” bacteria, and uninviting for “bad” bacteria. And we suspect occasionally they may make it into the final round of national spelling bees.
Animal protein is naturally low in salt, yet salt is an essential dietary nutrient needed for electrolyte balance, acid base balance, osmotic and water pressure around and in cells, nerve function, proper digestion and reproduction. That’s a lot of important stuff! In order to provide your pet with a complete and balanced diet and to comply wit the level of salt required by AAFCO, we add trace amounts of sodium chloride (the same as table salt) to our formulas. We never add salt simply as a flavoring agent.
We use both farmed and wild salmon in our foods.
We add brewers dried yeast for its nutritional properties. The cell walls of the yeast are known to possess specialized sugars (mannans) which have been demonstrated to out-maneuver pathogenic bacteria. But that science stuff can be hard to remember, so here are some user-friendly bullet points about brewers yeast:
Rosemary is part of the natural preservative system. Additionally, it supplies fiber, iron, calcium, antioxidants and several phytochemicals known to improve immune function and act as anti-inflammatory agents.
Because our ingredients are minimally processed and we don’t add any artificial colors or flavors, the appearance of our products may vary from batch to batch. What you see in our cans and bags resembles the natural ingredients that went into making the food and treats. Rest assured, our products go through a rigorous quality control process and are not released for sale until they have been tested for a long list of toxins and possible contaminants, and we are satisfied that they meet our nutritional standards.
Castor & Pollux does not currently make any prescription foods. Because our foods are made with natural ingredients, and in the case of ORGANIX, organic ingredients, many pets with compromised systems do very well on our foods. However, if your pet has a medical condition and you are considering a change in diet, we recommend you always consult your veterinarian first.
No. For our naturally preserved fish meal there is no use of ethoxyquin on the boat or in the processing. The fish are caught and placed in refrigerated holds. They are then processed immediately upon return to port and naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols.
The most common form of animal testing that pet food companies engage in is for “palatability,” (in other words, a taste test). A taste test is done to make sure that any changes in the food are better than or equal to the current food. The taste test is quite simple and is conducted by simply presenting the food for consumption. The amount of food eaten is then recorded and compared to what was eaten of the other food. This is how we know any changes made to the food to make it more nutritious are still yummy to the animal! We also send food and treats home with our staff and friends to feed to their own four-legged friends and the results are consistent— pets love our stuff!
Proponents of raw diets believe they mimic how dogs and cats ate in the wild. Most raw diets served today, however, don’t include all of the parts of the animal that a wild cat or dog used to eat. Raw diets tend to be too high in fat and there is the potential for a dietary imbalance. There is also a risk of bacterial contamination, or that your pet could become a carrier for pathogens, which could affect people in your household, such as pregnant women or very old or young family members.
The cooking process used in commercial pet foods has been continually improved over the last 50 years. Cooking actually improves nutrient digestion and absorption, plus it destroys bacteria and parasites.
Trick question. They’re not necessarily more expensive. Remember, it’s not the cost of the bag that matters; it’s the daily feeding cost. Castor & Pollux diets are more calorically dense, highly digestible, and the nutrients tend to be more bioavailable. That means the amount of our food that your pet needs -- to get a complete and balanced diet and feel satisfied -- could be anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less than other pet foods! So do the math. First, consult with the manufacturer of the product you’re buying today, to find out how many ounces are actually contained in an 8-ounce measuring cup; the size, shape, and density of the kibble can make a big difference. Then figure how many servings are in the bag, and divide the cost of the bag by that number to get the true value of what you’re buying.
Gradually! Start by mixing a small amount of Castor & Pollux food in with their current food. Then, over the course of seven to ten days, increase the amount of the new food while decreasing the amount of the old until you have 100% Castor & Pollux food in the bowl. You can refer to our recommended schedule for a transition to a new food. Review the package for recommended daily feeding amounts.