How many kcals do your recipes contain?
If you need to know how many kcals you are giving your cat or dog every day, the calculation is simple:
- Weigh the amount of food (dry, semi-dry or moist) you feed them per day.
- Multiply the grams of food by the kcals on the box for the recipe concerned on our kcal table (the kcals can come per 100g of food or per kg of food, so be careful when taking this data from one brand or another).
- Divide the result by 100, if the table shows kcals per 100g; or by 1000 if it shows kcals per kg of food.
Example: My 3-month-old puppy takes 170g/day of Natura Puppy Junior (spread over 4 meals). If the food has an energy density of 4000kcal/kg, then:
(170x4000):1000= 680 kcal/day.
If the kcals of the product are shown per 100g, rather than 1000g, then it will be shown in the table as 400kcal/100g, so the calculation is as follows:
(170x400):100= 680 kcals/day.
Remember that if you give them treats or moist food in addition to their dry food, you will need to reduce the amount of dry food ration. If you are mixing foods (also known as mix feeding) you will need to calculate the kcal provided by the treats or moist food and adjust the grams of dry food you give them that day.
Example: My adult dog weighs 10kg and I give him half of his Mhims chicken in the morning and in the evening when I get home I want to give him his dry food. So, knowing that the energy density of Mhims chicken is 1065kcal/kg and that his ration for the whole day should be 550g (because it is a complete food), if I give him half in the morning it would be 225g...:
(225x1065):1000= 239 kcal ingested from Mhims in the morning intake.
Now I would have to subtract those kcal of Mhims from the kcal he takes in from his dry food to know how much kibble to give him that night. Let's say I usually give him 175g/day of Natura diet Daily food and the energy density of the Daily food is 4018kcal/kg, then:
(175x4018):1000 = 703 kcal/day of Natura diet Daily food.
703 kcal (Daily food) - 239 kcal (Mhims)= 464 kcal of Daily food you should give him that night.
To find out how many grams of dry food to give him for the night, multiply by 1000 (if the kcals of the product were given per kg) or by 100 (if they were given per 100g) and divide by the kcals of the energy density of the product:
(464X1000): 4018 = 115g of Natura diet Daily food at night.
How big are your kibbles?
(It would be a good idea to design a product table with the sizes in cm to make it more visual. For example, design small, medium and large sizes and put cm next to them; and even show the shape of the kibble for each reference)
How many times a day should I feed my pet?
The way you feed your pet depends on several factors, but to simplify things, let's start with the basics...
Do you have a dog or cat? For dogs, the ideal would be to divide the ration (the grams shown in the recommended daily ration table) into 2 meals over the course of the day.
For puppies, our recommendation is always to start with 4 meals (up to 4 months of age) and then 3 (up to 6 months of age). If you want to know more about the feeding pattern for puppies, we explain it all in the following article.
If your dog is overweight or nervous, it may be useful to divide the recommended dose into several doses (more than 2 per day), to help reduce nervousness by providing a relaxing stimulus, to reduce the sensation of hunger and to avoid binge eating. To find out if your dog is overweight or obese, we have put together a quick reference guide to help you find out their body condition easily.
In the case of cats, the ideal would be to mimic at home their natural way of feeding in the wild (hunting several times during the day). The easiest way to do this is to offer unrestricted feeding (i.e. food always available), but this has the risk of encouraging overeating, which, coupled with the low physical activity of many cats, may lead to overweight (which is a health risk for cats). Unrestricted feeding can be inadvisable, as boredom or lack of stimulation can lead to overeating, so in such cases it would be ideal to spread the daily ration over several meals over the course of the day (4-8, for example).
In order to adapt their wild habits to our home, it is also advisable to include moist food in their daily diet (as often as possible), to ensure proper hydration and reduce the risk of crystal and kidney stone formation (as cats by nature drink infrequently because their wild diet is live prey, which provide all the water they need, so an exclusively dry diet is a risk factor for urinary problems).
Therefore, the best way to feed cats is to provide approximately half of their daily calorie requirements with dry food and half with wet food, divided into several small meals. Food and water should be made available overnight.
I usually feed him a dry food (kibble), but sometimes I include moist food (tins, tubs, etc.). How should I combine these two types of products?
Mixing dry food (kibble) with moist food (tubs, briks, tins) or semi-dry food (such as our treats) is a great way to keep your furry friend happy. Mix feeding, or mixing different types of food, encourages varied nutrition, awakens their instincts and curiosity and makes mealtimes enjoyable and entertaining.
In the case of cats, moist recipes play a key role in their daily diet, so don't be afraid to make them part of their routine. We recommend a quick read of our cat feeding tips to learn more about what these fascinating animals need.
We always encourage mixing recipes of different moisture levels or feeding them separately in different meals over the course of the day, whether they are dogs or cats, as long as they are balanced products, made with care and using quality ingredients.
When offering a moist food (whether mixed or separate) do not wait too long to remove the leftovers (these types of recipes contain much more water and water encourages the proliferation of undesirable micro-organisms from the environment, your pet's coat or the containers where you put their food). Also remember to clean the container you have used thoroughly to avoid leaving any residue that could make the food go off.
If your dog or cat is overweight and you offer them treats or moist food frequently, remember that it is important to readjust the daily dose of their complete food (their kibble) to avoid unbalancing their diet. To do this, it is important to check our product kcal table and follow the steps we indicate to recalculate the daily portions.
I want to try another product, how do I make the transition from one food to another?
Provided that it is a change between two of our recipes, a gradual transition is not usually necessary, as they are made according to the same quality and production criteria. But if you have to switch from one brand of food to another, we recommend that you make a progressive change.
A simple way would be:
- Days 1-2: 75% old recipe + 25% new recipe.
- Days 3-4: 50% old recipe + 50% new recipe.
- Days 5-6: 25% old recipe + 75% new recipe.
- Day 7: 100% new recipe.
If your four-legged friend is prone to vomiting or diarrhoea or has any allergy symptoms, it would be ideal to prolong this changeover; or even just offer a pinch of the new kibble or a tiny tip of a dessert spoon of the moist food for 3-4 days. This will ensure that the change in food will not cause a major disruption (bear in mind that any change affects your pet in terms of digestion, such as when you travel to a place where the food is different from ours, so be patient when making the transition).
For a more detailed explanation of dietary changes in dogs and cats we have prepared a very useful article.
Can I mix your recipes with homemade food or raw food (BARF diets)?
We do not advise you to do so. If you do decide to do so, it is important to remember that:
- Your pet may really enjoy a home-cooked meal, but it often contains too much fat or ingredients that are not good for them (such as salt, onion or garlic).
- Raw meat and fish diets can be very appealing in certain cases, but it is essential to know how to prepare them (they are sometimes too fatty or lacking in certain minerals and vitamins), as well as how to handle such raw ingredients (keep in mind the importance of defrosting, cleaning utensils and contact surfaces). Health alerts associated with this type of products are becoming more and more common, with the presence of bacteria and parasites that are dangerous for the health, not only of your pets but also of immunocompromised people, the elderly and small children. Therefore, if you like to offer raw diets, please check the safest and most balanced way to prepare them, as well as the manufacturer's quality controls (if you do not prepare them yourself at home).
If you decide to mix our recipes with homemade or raw food, please remove leftovers as soon as possible to avoid bacterial growth and clean the containers you use thoroughly.
Do you use ingredients fit for human consumption?
There is often some confusion on this issue, perhaps due to translation errors (in foreign products) or lack of knowledge of European regulations.
There is a tendency in the natural food market to say that the ingredients used in your pet's food are fit for human consumption. This claim can lead to some confusion, especially when contrasted with the term "by-product" (it gives the impression that if an ingredient is fit for human consumption, it is not a by-product).
In the European Union, all manufacturers and marketers of pet food must follow a number of manufacturing and labelling regulations, including one concerning the ingredients permitted in the manufacture of pet food (Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002). According to this regulation, only ingredients of animal origin known as category 3 can be included in pet food. These ingredients of animal origin are considered by-products by the regulation (so a chicken liver or a chicken neck intended to be an ingredient in pet food and which may have been fit for human consumption are by-products and are therefore category 3).
Without going into detail (which is what the regulation is for), within this category 3 there are countless types of ingredients and nutritional qualities. To give you an idea, the regulation establishes that the following can be used as ingredients:
1. Those that are fit for human consumption but have been taken off the market for commercial reasons.
2. Parts of slaughtered animals rejected for consumption, but which come from animals fit for human consumption.
3. Skins, hooves, fish or shells (etcetera, etcetera).
Thus, when purchasing an ingredient of animal origin, we can find very poor low-quality material (for example, beaks or feathers; or meat meal of very low digestibility) and very high-quality material, so much so that these ingredients would have been fit for human consumption at the time (for example, chicken breasts with a bruise; or chicken kidneys and livers; or fish with an excess weight that would increase their price in the supermarket).
In any event, an ingredient intended for animal feed can never be presented as fit for human consumption, even if it is originally fit for human consumption, because it has already been allocated for animal feed by being used in a pet food factory, and is therefore automatically considered as category 3.
Having said that, and to answer your question, we use ingredients in our recipes that "would" be fit for human consumption if they were not already legally intended for use in pet food.
Do you use by-products in your recipes?
Another common misconception is that a "by-product" is a bad thing. Just as the phrase "fit for human consumption" can lead to confusion, the word "by-product" has been used in a negative way, probably because of a difference in definition between countries or because of translation and interpretation errors.
According to European legislation (Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002), only ingredients (by-products) of animal origin designated as category 3 can be used in pet food. The legal definition of by-product, which appears in this regulation, is very broad and does not refer to the quality or nutritional value of these ingredients. Thus, we find by-products (ingredients) with very little nutritional value (such as feet or beaks) and others that are very valuable from a nutritional point of view (such as highly digestible dehydrated meat, fresh meat, viscera, etc., ingredients that we include in our recipes).
Therefore, all pet food containing ingredients of animal origin (such as "meat" or "protein from" or "liver", etc.) will contain by-products (according to European legislation).
So the most important question in this case is not whether or not they contain by-products, but what kind of by-products our recipes contain, and whether they are of good quality and high nutritional value for your pet (in our case they are).
What is the difference between fresh meat and dried meat? What about raw meat? What about meat meal?
In the pet food market you will find a thousand different names for different ingredients.
Sometimes you may find that the same ingredient is called by two different names even though it is the same thing. At other times, ingredients that look the same may be given different names because their quality is not the same and this is the only way to convey to the consumer that, nutritionally, one is more valuable than another (this is the case with meat meal or dehydrated meats, for example).
To try to clarify your doubts in this regard, we will use the definitions given in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 with certain clarifications on our part:
- Fresh meat: meat that has not been subjected to preservation processes other than chilling, freezing or deep-freezing, including vacuum-packed or controlled atmosphere packaged meat.
* Therefore, fresh meat is always raw meat (so there is no point in making a distinction). Likewise, it makes no sense to differentiate between fresh and frozen meat. They are all the same.
- Viscera: the organs of the thoracic, abdominal and pelvic cavities, as well as the trachea and oesophagus and, in the case of poultry, the crop.
- Mechanically separated meat (MSM): the product obtained by removing meat from flesh-bearing bones after boning, or from poultry carcases, by mechanical means resulting in the loss or alteration of the muscle fibre structure.
* This type of meat started to get a bad reputation after the Mad Cow crisis (it is forbidden to obtain this ingredient from ruminant animals as a preventive measure).
*In human food it is frequently used in the production of sausages, hamburgers, nuggets, etc.
- Meat meal: product obtained by heating, drying and grinding whole or parts of warm-blooded land animals, from which the fat may have been partially rendered or removed by physical means. The product must be practically free of hooves, horns, bristles, hair, feathers and digestive tract contents (Directive 92/87/EEC).
* The quality of a meat meal depends on its original ingredients, the heat treatment used and the method of fat extraction. So you can buy very good quality meal (with a high nutritional value and a high cost, such as dehydrated meats and proteins) or very poor quality meal (which is what has contributed to the bad reputation of this ingredient).
If you want to know more about any of our ingredients, you can always contact us.
Do you use local ingredients?
Whenever possible, we try to work with farmers and breeders who are as close as possible to our manufacturing plants. This way we reduce our carbon footprint (by minimising the time it takes to transport the ingredients from the supplier to our facilities) and we contribute a little more to taking care of the planet.
But it is true that with some of our ingredients (such as salmon oil), we are forced to source them wherever we can find a supplier that meets our quality standards and nutritional requirements.
Do you manufacture your products yourselves?
At Dingonatura we are very fortunate to be involved in all stages of the manufacture of our products. From the selection of ingredients and sourcing of suppliers, through recipe design, to the procurement of machines for our plants, supervision and quality control, and the distribution and marketing of all our products.
Are you a sustainable company?
Of course, that's why we like to say that we cook values beyond just nutrition.
We could not consider offering healthy and natural food to our pets without being responsible with the way we produce it and being committed to the environment.
To give you a little insight into why we are natural and sustainable:
- Our ingredients are from ECO-responsible sources. In our recipes you will find some of them from controlled fishing (Friendo of the sea, MSC and ISSF); others from organic farming; and other ingredients from local sources (farmers and livestock farmers near our facilities).
- We control our CO2 footprint thanks to the use of a very clean energy called liquefied natural gas (currently one of the cleanest energies in terms of fossil fuels). We also slow cook our ingredients (steaming and at low temperatures), thus helping to reduce the production of atmospheric CO2.
- Closed water circuit in certain factory processes and rainwater collection (which we redirect to an outdoor pond refurbished as a watering place for local livestock or for use in the event of fire).
- We use packaging that can be recycled (through Ecoembes) and whose procurement has a minimal impact on the planet (certified against deforestation).
- Gradual substitution of plastic materials for recycled ones (in the warehouse and offices) and reduction in the use of paper (changing work methodologies).
- Certified by PETA for not testing on animals.
- And aware that we have to improve in several ways and learn every day to take better care of our planet, we are a member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition, an organisation that is responsible for disseminating, promoting and developing ways to improve in the field of sustainability.
Do you collaborate with animal shelters and associations?
Whenever we can, in a thousand different ways (food, training talks, vaccination campaigns, etc.). And although we would like to do more, our efforts are mainly focused on "supporting entities and programmes that actively help to improve the lives of people and dogs".
(We could insert the logos of La Cátedra de Animales y Sociedad, Huellas Compartidas, Perros y Letras, Hoope, Pets Aid, etc.).
Do you experiment with animals?
For us, taking care of dogs and cats means not only working every day to create natural recipes that take into account their origin and meet their needs, but also respecting their life in every way. That is why we have never experimented with laboratory animals in our design and development process. That is how many years ago we managed to make it onto PETA's list of pet food companies that do not carry out research on animals. An honour we want to continue to live up to.
Of course, the great tasters of the final recipes are at home. We work hard to get their approval before launching our products on the market, and they are not easy to please.
What quality controls do you carry out?
We are never allowed to relax our standards. Our in-house team of veterinarians and biologists implement strict quality control programmes. And we have an in-house laboratory for immediate analysis of samples (outsourcing other more complex analyses to an independent laboratory).
In addition, all our plants and warehouses are subject to regular inspections by the various governmental bodies to ensure that we comply with the regulations imposed by the European Union on the manufacture and distribution of pet food.
European legislation is extensive and very strict to ensure that everything is done correctly. In fact, there is a monitoring and warning system, in the event of an error or fault that could affect the health of pets, which allows us to immediately set the corrective measures in motion.
Is it possible for the kibble to be a different colour from one bag to another?
Yes, they may even be different in size (a slight difference).
This is because we don't use artificial colourings or strong chemical stabilisers, so our recipes have certain variations in their appearance. Don't worry, it's quite natural.
My pet is allergic to an ingredient, what should I do?
Allergies are a complicated subject that continues to cause a lot of debate. In many cases we believe it is a food allergy and it may have been a combination of factors that led to an allergic response (or it may have looked like an allergy without actually being one).
If you think your pet has an allergy or intolerance to an ingredient, consider the following:
- First take him to the vet to rule out other causes of allergies (problems with environmental allergens or reactions to flea bites are more common) and if it is to an ingredient, determine whether it is an allergy or an intolerance (being multifactorial, it is a complex process and it is very difficult to draw reliable conclusions).
- Analyse the factors that may have affected their intestinal flora and offer pre- and probiotics.
- Offer foods with high digestibility and rich in bioavailable omega 3.
If you are worried about using any of our recipes for fear of reproducing a past digestive problem or allergy, don't hesitate to call us, we have a team of vets who can answer any of your questions or at least try!
Should I feed my dog a food with a lot of protein and fat?
In the natural food market you will find a wide variety of messages. We are constantly bombarded by the debate of whether dogs are omnivores or carnivores and struggle to decide which type of food is best for our four-legged friend.
We know that dogs are first cousins of wolves, whose diet is mostly meat. But we also know that dogs, genetically speaking, have evolved into an independent branch and have adapted to be able to take advantage of nutrients derived from cereals (for example). Likewise, the way of life of our dogs today (their hours of intense activity - which are practically zero -, their lack of fasting days or the extreme temperatures they no longer suffer) is a far cry from the life of their ancestors.
Therefore, if you consider that your dog has average requirements (i.e. is not a working dog, sled dog, rescue dog; or is outdoors living in the snow; or does intensive training, etc.) then a diet rich in fat and protein is probably not a good alternative in the long run. A dog may occasionally eat such food, but if it does not burn off the excess energy, this can end up taking a toll on its body.
A dog that runs around the park for two hours a day is not a dog that has a wild life like a wolf or a coyote, so we recommend that you weigh up the possibility of giving it daily rations that are very concentrated in terms of energy.
At Dingonatura we have recipes for all tastes (with or without cereals, with medium levels of protein and fat or with high levels, etc.) but we believe that, in order to be able to make better decisions, everyone should have access to information. Therefore, we recommend you to read more about the use of cereals in dog food and about the debate on whether dogs are omnivores or carnivores. After that, it is up to you to decide what to feed your dog.
I don't know how to interpret the dosage chart for puppies - how many grams do I give him, what weight are they talking about?
Puppy RDA charts can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you learn how they work, you'll know exactly how much to give your puppy.
There are two ways to reflect the recommended daily allowance of a food for puppies:
- The simplest way: You will only see two columns, one column will show the puppy's weight (current weight as a puppy). The other column will show the grams of food you have to give the puppy. So you only need to weigh your dog to know what amount of food to give him.
- The way that makes you have to think a little: The vertical axis usually shows the weight that the puppy will have once it has stopped growing. This is known as the "adult weight of the puppy", and the horizontal axis usually shows the age in months.
This type of table is more accurate and allows you to take into account the growth curve of the puppy (very important in dogs because of the great diversity of sizes).
Example: my dog is a 3-month-old female German Shepherd. As far as I know (from talking to my vet or checking the Internet), female dogs of this breed can weigh between 22-32kg. If you decided to give her Dingo Puppy you would have to give her between 300-345g/day, and if you wanted to give her Natura Diet Puppy Junior you should give her between 260-315g/day.
It is important to remember that these allowance thresholds (300-345 or 260-315, for example) are due to the difference in weight that females of this breed can reach. It should also be noted that allowances are always calculated on an approximate basis, so it is always advisable to start with the lowest dose and increase the allowance if necessary.
In the case of mixed breed dogs, your vet will be able to help you predict an average adult size by looking at certain physical characteristics of your puppy. So don't worry, it's all under control.
I want to give Mhims to my dog but I see that, according to the table, he will eat very little. Am I interpreting it correctly? Will he go hungry?
The Mhims range has complete food recipes so Mhims briks contain everything your dog needs to eat on a daily basis without the need for dry food.
Moist food is a very good option to feed your dog on a daily basis, either exclusively or alternating it with other types of recipes, as long as they are made with quality ingredients, balanced and cooked with the utmost care (a decisive factor in ensuring maximum assimilation, good nutrition and no future dental or digestive problems).
At first glance, the tables on the Mhims briks may seem wrong because they give the impression that the amount dogs will eat is too small and they will go hungry. What's more, the bigger the dog, the less food you have to give him. Sounds crazy, right? But if you look at the header in the left-hand column, we show you the dog's weight in grams / kg. So, all you have to do is multiply the grams of food to be given by the weight of your pet.
Example: I would like to give a moist food to my 2 and a half month old puppy because I want to make a smoother transition from suckling to dry food (for example). A very good option would be to give him Mhims Puppy on a daily basis (divided into 4 portions). Let's say my dog now weighs 5kg, then:
160 (g of ration) x 5 (kg of weight) = 800g of Mhims Puppy (about 2 briks a day).
If you have never opened a Mhims, you don't know what your dog is missing out on.
My dog needs to lose weight: how many grams of the weight control recipes should I give him?
At Dingonatura we have two specific recipes for dogs that need to control their weight. Either because they are overweight and need to lose weight, or because they have a tendency to put on weight and we need to help them stay in optimum condition.
To find out the daily ration you should give your pet, all you need to do is weigh it. The dosage tables for both recipes are based on actual (not ideal) weight. So grab some scales and weigh your pet.
Remember that overweight and obesity are factors that can have a very negative impact on your pet's health and quality of life. If you want to find out how you can help, read our advice on this subject.
When I add up the percentages of each ingredient in the "Composition" they do not total 100%
As you know, the "Composition" on the labelling shows the list of ingredients in decreasing order of quantity. In other words, the first ingredient will be the most important one and the last one will be the one that appears in the smallest quantity in the recipe.
Sometimes you will see that one ingredient has its percentage of inclusion written next to it and another ingredient does not. This is because, according to European regulations, only those percentages of ingredients that are highlighted in some way on the packaging (by a photo, a drawing or a trade name, for example) must be shown. Therefore, it is possible that you may be missing information to complete the calculation of the total percentage.
You also have to take into account that non-dried ingredients contain water, which will increase their weight and therefore the percentage of that product. So a recipe containing both dehydrated and non-dried ingredients can be difficult to interpret in terms of percentages.
For example, fresh meat has between 60-70% water, so it has a lower concentration of nutrients than dehydrated meat, but its overall weight may be higher due to the water content. So if fresh meat is dehydrated, it may (or may not) occupy a lower position in the composition.
Remember also that moist foods have a higher water content than dry foods because they contain mostly fresh ingredients that are not dehydrated (sometimes water is even added to the recipe to create sauces or to increase the final weight of the product and sell water at the price of meat).
Therefore, it is always difficult to calculate the total percentage by adding up the different percentages of the composition.
We are sorry we can't help you with this. What we can do is explain in a little more detail the secrets of labelling.
Where can I buy your products?
On our website you will find a section entitled Where to buy where you will find all the information you need. If, for any reason, you find it difficult to buy our products, do not hesitate to contact us.