By Sherry Warner
The old adage, you are what you eat, is as true for pets as it is for people. With numerous pet food recalls and questionable ingredients making headlines it’s no wonder pet guardians are confused about what food to buy for their beloved pets. But, if you do your homework and learn what constitutes a nutritious, safe pet food, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about what to put in your pet’s food dish.
“There is a lot of fear in the industry right now,” says Christine Walsh, western Canada account manager for Horizon Pet Nutrition. Two indicators of that fear are the reluctance of people to purchase pet food containing ingredients from China, and a preference for Canadian brands.
The pet food industry doesn’t have enough regulations in place to really protect consumers, says Christine. And the bag rarely tells the whole story with respect to what’s in the bag and where the ingredients come from. “If you don’t know what’s behind that bag, ie: company practices, you’re falling short in terms of your research,” she says.
Since 2006, Horizon has self manufactured its pet food from its plant in Rosthern, SK. Horizon is one of only a handful of Canadian companies that produce their own pet food, and the rest of the hundreds of pet food brands that line the shelves of pet supply stores are manufactured by co-packers — companies that mass produce multiple brands of pet food from the same facility.
“Co-packing has inherent problems built into it,” says Christine. One major problem is that pet food companies that hire co-packers to produce their pet food for them, relinquish the ingredient sourcing to the co-packer. “Many co-packers don’t source their own ingredients, they go out to market and have an agent source the ingredients for them,” says Christine. “You’re trusting someone else to do it for you and that person has a business motivation of their own.”
Horizon sources its own ingredients locally whenever possible. “About 90 per cent of our ingredients are sourced from within 100 km of our plant,” says Christine. And anytime Horizon has to go outside this area for ingredients, the company buys Canadian first. “We don’t source from anywhere that has lower standards than we do,” she says.
The quality of ingredients used in Horizon pet food is as important as where the ingredients come from, says Christine. “Our ingredients are whole and unprocessed.” Horizon sets the bar with respect to the amount of named animal protein in its formulations, ranging from 66 per cent in its Pulsar line to 81 per cent in its super-premium Legacy brand.
In addition to quality animal protein, Horizon pet food includes, depending on the formulation, complex carbohydrates such as peas, red lentils, whole, unprocessed grain and a variety of fruits and vegetables that are low glycemic and nutritionally dense.
All Horizon brands offer the best “in class” value, says Christine. “We are $15 to $20 less than our next closest competitor — always.”
Horizon has broken ground on its second plant, located right beside its existing plant in Rosthern. The new plant will give the company the flexibility to augment its current pet food lines and meet increased consumer demand. Horizon is available across Canada and in about 30 states in the U.S. For more information visit www.horizonpetnutrition.com.
Horizon Pet Nutrition Brands:
• Value-priced grain-free line
• Ranked number one by dogfoodadvisor.com in the value-priced category out of thousands of brands
• 66% named animal protein (single source chicken, turkey or fish)
• includes peas and red lentils
• $45 for 25 lb. bag
• Ideal for the consumer who’s tired of giving up quality to stay in their price comfort
• 71% named animal protein
• Includes three types of whole, unprocessed grain along with a variety of fruits and vegetable
• $37 for 25 lb. bag
• Value-priced, grain-free, premium kibble
• Offers the most animal protein you can get in a kibble
• 81% named animal protein (tri-protein or single source salmon)
• Includes a long list of fruits and vegetables
• $60 for 25 lb. bag (Next closest competitor is $80 and up)
• Value-priced, specially formulated for small breeds
• 76% named animal protein, (tri-protein: salmon, chicken, turkey)
• Includes a variety of fruits and vegetables
• $20 for 5.5 lb. bag