FAQ’s for Ingredients

What is AAFCO? – Association of American Feed Control Officials.

AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO Nutrient Profiles are protocol testing and are the recognized industry authority on dog and cat nutrition for the purposes of substantiation of nutritional adequacy in commercial pet foods. All of our formulas meet, or beat, AAFCO standards.

Does FRR provide Medical Advice?

Flint River Ranch does not offer medical advice. This is left to the professionals that know your pet.

What is Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide?

This is an organic compound of iodine and iodine is an indispensable mineral element.

Why use Canola Oil?

Canola is an oilseed crop grown in the USA and Canada. It has a high fatty acid profile (Omega 3) and a low level of saturated fat compared to all other oils. It is a very healthy oil to use, regardless of some internet “expert” opinions.  Canola Oil is 61 percent MUFA (monounsaturated fat), 32 percent PUFA (polyunsaturated fat), and 7 percent saturated fat.  It was first developed by a crossbreed of the rapeseed plant; a plant that’s lower in potentially dangerous erucic acid, back in 1978.

Canola is an oilseed crop from the Pacific NW, North Central and Southeast United States. Canola is approved by AAFCO as a Pet Food Ingredient by a publication by J K Daun and D I McGregor, and the Canadian Grain Commission Research Lab and information is on file at the AAFCO Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Food and Drug Commission. Canola Oil has the lowest level of saturated fat (7%) compared to all other oils on the market today. Any Heath Guide and Lifestyle publication will recommend Canola Oil as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that may combat cholesterol and protect from heart disease and in addition it is excellent for baking.  It also has a high smoke point: 400F, so it will not burn in our ovens.

This oil has it all: it’s higher in omega-3s than most other plant oils; it’s composed of mostly MUFAs, so it’s more resistant to heat-related breakdown; and it has a relatively high smoke point, so it’s great for all-around cooking.  It is an excellent source of Vitamin E and helps prevent the formation of blood clots.  It is high in monounsaturated fat, (61%) the kind of fat that does not clog arteries.  Along with Olive Oil, Canola Oil is a heart-healthy vegetable oils as reported by Complete Book of Alternative Nutrition by Prevention Magazine Health series.

What will help skin and coat problems?

Skin and coat problems are the most common challenges that pet owners deal with. As skin is the largest organ highly visible, the skin and coat can indicate the first signs of diet problems. Skin cells replace themselves about every 3 to 4 weeks, and they need lots of nourishment to supply the needed energy and raw materials for this process. The high quality ingredients used in making Flint River Ranch products help ensure the proper balance of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids to give your pet the best possible coat.

What is the product shelf life?

Flint River Ranch food has a shelf life of about 6 months once opened; depending on storage and environmental conditions. There is a “Best Used By” code on the package for maximum nutrition.  Our food, if it has been properly stored and unopened, can be fed for up to 6 months past that date.  After the 6th month, the nutritional value of the food starts to degrade and lessen.

We ask that you always keep your Flint River Ranch products in their original bag or box; rolled down and the top of the bag clipped shut.  These bags have our LOT coding on them and it may be needed to process your return.  These bags are also manufacture to hold and store our food, we cannot guarantee the freshness of our products if they are not kept in their original product bag when received.

What are our sources of White Fish?

Flint River Ranch used Herring-like fish found along the North Atlantic coast. They are an excellent source of protein, unsaturated fats, Omega 3 fatty acid for skin and coat. Includes Vitamins A, K and E, along with iodine, calcium, phosphorus, iron, methionine, selenium and lysine.

Where do you buy your grains?

From human grade food suppliers, exact sources are proprietary and not released.

What is meat meal?

Flint River Ranch uses protein specific meals in our formulas. The process of making our meals is that the animal is properly butchered, the meat flesh is cooked, and necessary amounts of water is them removed. Then the remaining meat is then ground for a uniform mixture. ALL ingredients used within any commercial prepared dry food has to have all the ingredients ground to be able to mix them within the formula. If a ingredient list chooses to list a “meat” in the ingredient panel…it is STILL ground up. We use meat-specific meals because of the higher concentrate of protein it provides our formulas. Using a “whole meat” in a formula lacks the process that the meat is still needing to be ground to be mixed into the “cook”. Therefore the actual percentage of that whole meat is reduced when the weight of the water is removed…and in such it should be considered lower in the ingredient lineup than a meat meal would be. There are no rendered, dead, diseased, disabled or by-product meats used in our meat meals or formulas. Ever. We have never used 4-D or By-product meat meals in our formulas.

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates serve primarily as an energy source while giving bulk to the diet. Plant material is made up of a high percentage of carbohydrates. Foods with high protein and fat have less carbohydrates. A quick way to calculate carbohydrate content is to add up the percentage amounts of the protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. Subtract that amount from 100% to find the approximate percentage of carbohydrates in the food.

What is Metabolizable Energy?

Metabolizable Energy (ME usually expressed in Kcals) represents the amount of energy in the food. Kcal/Cup indicates the amount of food energy in a standard 8 ounce cup.

What are Essential Amino Acids?

Amino Acids are component parts of all protein. There is not one ingredient source that contains all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts. Amino acids provide basic building blocks of muscle, skin, coat, bone, blood and the immune system. An “Essential” amino acid is one that the body will not produce on its own; the amino acid must be taken in by proper nutrition.

What are chelated minerals?

Flint River Ranch minerals are chelated (kee-lay-ted), which means they are bonded with amino acid protein. Chelated minerals are highly effective in providing metabolic absorption.

Why does FRR use Flax?

The different proteins in flax provide a high proportion base of unsaturated, essential fatty acids and dietary fiber. Flax is recognized for its potential in reducing the risk of some chronic diseases, as well as improving the thickness and sheen of the coat.

What are by-products?

By-products are recognized as being secondary products not fit for human consumption. Meat and poultry by-products can include chicken heads, feet, feathers, intestines, and bones. Filler by-products can include cottonseed, corn cobs, and breakfast foods by-products. It is funny that for so many years, “by-products” were the bane of industry. But now everyone willing feeds their pets by-product specific meals and treats. I guess if you just state what you’re feeding, everyone won’t worry about it however, the addition of cleansing and filter organs into your pets diet needs to be monitored. These are organs meant to trap and hold chemicals, materials, waste and impurities from entering into the body. Continual or over feeding of organ meat could lead to detrimental dietary issues with your pet.

Are Digestive Probiotics used in all of your foods?

Flint River Ranch’s products go through a final coating process where natural flavoring of that formula is briefly sprayed onto the finished kibbles & nuggets. Suspended in that coating are our digestive probiotics. This insures that they are stable and present when the formula is fed to your pet!

What is the difference between extrusion and oven-baking?

The extrusion process involves steaming the ingredients as quickly as possible, usually less than 3 minutes, then extruding it under extreme pressure though a metal die. This process expands the food with air creating a uniform shape. Extruding “puffs up” the dog kibble, leaving you with a less dense product with less weight per cup.

What about moths, bugs and insects?

The heat in the manufacturing process destroys any potential insect eggs that might be attached to grain after the cleaning process. If food is not stored properly, or if the bag is left open, it will attract all types of ants, bugs and flying insects that can lay eggs in the food.

We ask that you always keep your Flint River Ranch products in their original bag or box, and to roll the bag down and clip it shut.  These bags have our LOT coding on them and it may be needed to process your return.  These bags are also manufacture to hold and store our food, we cannot guarantee the freshness of our products if they are not kept in their original product bag when received.

What is your recommended food storage method?

Like any food product, pet food must be stored properly. We ask that you store your FRR products in a dry, cool place and sealed up in the original bag to reduce the chance of insect infestation. Pet food needs to be stored off the ground or garage floor to prevent temperature fluxuations. Food stored in air-tight containers can sweat or gather moisture, leading to possible mold growth.

It is always recommended to keep the food in the original bag that it came in for it is made for long term storage. Flint River Ranch pet food bags are a 3 ply bag that are manufactured to help expel air and keep humidity out if stored in the proper manner.  Please roll down and clip the top of your FRR bag to help keep out excess moisture and insects.

What are natural flavorings?

Flint River Ranch natural flavorings are made like any soup stock or bouillon cube. Meat trimmings, butchered carcasses and bones are cooked down to a very thick soup stock. The remaining bones and solids are removed leaving a “broth” for natural flavor. When an ingredient panel states “natural flavoring” it is the primary protein used in that formula.

What is Ascorbic Acid?

Ascorbic Acid is a crystalline Vitamin C found in citrus, fresh fruits, tomatoes, potatoes and green leafy vegetables.

What is Papain?

Papain is an enzyme which aids in digestion, usually harvested from pineapples and papaya.

What is BHT?

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a chemical preservative and has been implicated as a cause of liver damage, metabolic stress, fetal abnormalities and serum cholesterol increase. FRR does use any chemical preservatives in our products.

What is Ethoxyquin?

Ethoxyquin is a chemical preservative developed for the production of rubber and often used as a pesticide. It has been suspected of causing severe health problems in pets and possibly cancer. FRR does not use any chemical preservatives in our products.

Do we test our formulas on animals?

We primarily evaluate our product ingredients based upon formulation, industry history, computer analysis, certification, industry profiles and nutritional documentation of ingredients. Our feeding tests are concerned with palatability and proper feeding structure only, not on ingredient interaction with the host.  However we make visual observations on skin, coat and activity levels. All testing is done with an industry standard kennel and/or through volunteers who rate our formulations.

Why do we use salt instead of garlic in our food when both preserve the food for about the same length of time?

Garlic is not a satisfactory preservative. It helps eliminate worms, other parasites and control fleas, but most importantly it helps strengthen digestion and stimulates the intestinal tract. Garlic is also tasty to many pets, though it must be fed in moderate amounts.

While salt is a preservative, is used only in a limited basis. Most of the salt in our food is normally presented in the ingredients. We list salt as an ingredient to notify the customer that there is salt in the food to avoid any ingredient challenges.

What are the health benefits from whole wheat flour?

Wheat is one of the best grains for dog food. We use whole grains; one part fine ground to hold the food together and another part course ground for texture. We have researched wheat and you will find it one of the best possible grains. FRR has successfully fed thousands of pets our Original Formula; which contains wheat, since 1992. While we use other carbohydrate sources, our customers still make our Original Puppy & Adult Canine Formula our #1 selling product!  Our experience has found that not every pet is meant to be on a grain-free diet.  Flint River Ranch continues to support traditional dietary needs by offering canine formulas with wheat and rice in them, as well as our newer grain-free options.

If we can be vegetarians, why not our pets?

Vegetarian dog diets are possible, but not for cats. A cat is considered a true carnivore and clearly requires meat protein. A dog is omnivore; an animal that can meet its nutritional needs from a wide variety of sources. Even wild dogs and wolves with a strong meat diets end up eating grass, berries and other wild grains from digesting their prey. They continue to thrive with the addition of these chance ingredients. FRR does not advocate a vegetarian diet for dogs unless used in the short term within a allergen elimination dietary study. Once it is learned which proteins may have an detrimental affect on your dog, it is recommended to find a formula that contains the proteins that your dog can eat without reaction. FRR has many different diets for just such a need.

What is the source of our chondroitin sulfate?

Chicken Cartilage from butchering plants is used, ground up and added to our Senior Plus formula.

What is the definition of a by-product?

Parts of the animal not fit for human consumption. Some examples: chicken heads, duck bills, chicken and turkey feet, feathers and bones outside of normal butchering methods. Organ meats are also considered by-products, but some consumers are not as put off by the use when stipulated what the by-product is when used.

What preservatives does Flint River Ranch use in our products?

FRR preserves our products with mixed Tocopherols (Toe-Cau-fer-als). This is done with a combination of Vitamin E and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).  These mixed tocopherols; though synthetic in their nature, are safer to use compared to BHA, BHT and Ethoxoquin and are widely used in pet food production for those manufactures looking to find alternative stabilizers over chemicals.

What is an antioxidant?

A substance that inhibits oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen or peroxides. Oxidation is considered the stepping stone to “aging” and as a possible cause of some cancers. Rosemary is also used to help slowdown the oxidation of some of our products.

What is chicken meal?

Chicken which has been ground or otherwise reduced in particle size.

What is taurine?

Taurine is an essential amino acid necessary for the proper development and ongoing health of the heart and eyes in cats.

What organs need taurine to remain healthy in a cat?

Eyes, heart, nervous and reproductive systems

What is quinoa?

High protein dried fruits and seeds of this plant used as a staple and grounded into flour.

What are chelated minerals?

Minerals “wrapped” with an amino acid. Presenting our minerals in this fashion helps your pet’s body readily absorb these minerals for faster absorption.

What is the rate of absorption of chelated vs. non-chelated minerals?

The absorption rate of chelated minerals are much greater than non-chelated minerals. Studies show that non-chelated minerals are absorbed between 30%-40%. Chelated minerals are absorbed at around 95%.

Do most pet food companies use chelated minerals?

Chelation is an expensive process used by only a few pet food manufacturers.  It binds an ingredient to a protein thereby making it more attractive to the body’s digestive system and more readily absorbed.

What two ingredients do we use in certain products in the store to promote healthy joints in dogs?

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

What is F.L.U.T.D. and F.U.S.?

F.L.U.T.D formerly known as Feline urinary syndrome or FUS is the name given to a group of symptoms that occur in the cat secondary to inflammation, irritation, and/or obstruction of the lower urinary tract (urinary bladder, urethra, and penile urethra). A cat with F.L.U.T.D. can exhibit one, some, or even all of the symptoms. This disease is now known as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) and may still be referred to as F.U.S. FLUTD is NOT a specific diagnosis: there are many known and some unknown factors that may cause or contribute to FUS. Any cause resulting in particulate debris in the urine is capable of causing obstruction, especially in a male cat.

What are probiotics?

Live digestive plant enzymes. Live micro-organisms “friendly bacteria” increases the absorption rate of vital essential nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fat and fiber) necessary for complete digestion and a healthy digestive system.

What is the definition of enzymes?

These are helpful proteins within organic matter that the body assimilates for its nutritional needs. Meats and plants have different kinds of enzymes that are used.

Is there any corn in our dog foods?

Zero.  Zip. Nada.  While corn is an excellent grain; it is more difficult to digest by humans and dogs. Therefore, neither corn or corn gluten has never been an ingredient in our dog foods.  Cats can digest corn successfully and there are still brands available that use corn & corn gluten in their formulas.

Why do we use Canola Oil?

Canola is an oilseed crop from the Pacific NW, North Central and Southeast United States. Canola is approved by AAFCO as a Pet Food Ingredient by a publication by J K Daun and D I McGregor, and the Canadian Grain Commission Research Lab and information is on file at the AAFCO Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Food and Drug Commission. Canola Oil has the lowest level of saturated fat (7%) compared to all other oils on the market today. Any Heath Guide and Lifestyle publication will recommend Canola Oil as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that may combat cholesterol and protect from heart disease and in addition it is excellent for baking. It is an excellent source of Vitamin E and helps prevent the formation of blood clots.  It is high in monounsaturated fat, (58%) the kind of fat that does not clog arteries.  Along with Olive Oil, Canola Oil is a heart-healthy vegetable oils as reported by Complete Book of Alternative Nutrition by Prevention Magazine Health series.

What are Flint River Ranch’s source of grains?

Grains are purchased from established commercial suppliers, fully tested and retested by our lab on the production site. This testing insures the very best quality and reduces the possibility of toxic molds.   We ask that you always keep your Flint River Ranch products in their original bag or box.  These bags have our LOT coding on them and it may be needed to process your return.  These bags are also manufacture to hold and store our food, we cannot guarantee the freshness of our products if they are not kept in their original product bag when received.

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