Ingredients: We look at the quality and digestibility of the ingredients for the biology of the dog. We look carefully at the ingredient sources of the nutrients. All ingredients in the foods we carry have a sound nutritional reason for being there. We won’t stock foods made with ingredients of poor nutritional quality such as meat by-products, meat and bone meal, anonymous meats and unnamed plant products, artificial preservatives, sugars, or coloring agents.
Nutritional validity and approach: In addition to ingredients, it’s important to consider the formula’s foundation. Why were the formula’s ingredients chosen? How does the combination further the health of a dog? Is the formula up to date or on the leading edge of veterinary nutritional science? We prefer to carry foods made by companies that have a veterinary nutritionist on staff, available to answer our questions, and whose food formulas are designed to stand up to nutritional goals for dogs.
Manufacturing: Whenever possible, Mud Bay staff visit the manufacturing plants of the companies whose foods we carry. We prefer to stock products from companies that make their own foods. They tend to have on-site testing labs and a high degree of quality control, which affects everything from the integrity of ingredient sources to batch consistency.
People we trust and know: More than ten agencies regulate the dog food industry, but none guarantees that what is on the label is actually what is in the bag (or can). Labeling laws allow only certain minimum descriptions of ingredients. As a result, to completely know the quality of a dog food, you have to know the integrity of the people who make it. We prefer to work with people who care about the quality of the food they make, stand behind it, have a reputation for excellence and are forthright and honest in all their communications.
Environmental and social contribution: Just as important as nutrition and quality is the environmental and social impact of the foods we choose to carry. We look for companies that do business and buy from suppliers that work in planet-friendly ways. And we look for organic ingredients, local suppliers, and companies that charitably contribute to the well-being of dogs and the people who take care of them.