WSAVA's Recommendations On Picking A Dog Food

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association Has Some Advice About Selecting Pet Food. Here's How Sundays Stacks Up.

by Dr. Tory Waxman

In 2013, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) published a set of questions to ask when selecting a dog food. Below are the WSAVA questions and Sundays answers.

Sundays answers are highlighted.

A. The Manufacturer's Name and Contact Information

Sundays for Dogs, Inc.
675 Alpha Park Drive
Cleveland, OH 44143
Email us at [email protected]
Call us toll-free at 1-844-630-DOGS
Or text us at 706-SUN-DAYS

This allows a member of the veterinary team or the pet owner to contact the manufacturer to ask the following questions:

1. Do you employ a full time qualified nutritionist?

Appropriate qualifications are either a PhD in animal nutrition or board-certification by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) or the European College of Veterinary Comparative Nutrition (ECVCN). What is this nutritionist’s name and qualifications?

We employ a veterinarian nutritionist (boarded with the ACVN) and an animal nutritionist part-time. They formulate and review all of our recipes. Our primary nutritionist is Dr. Renee Streeter, DVM, DACVN, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Nutrition. We also work with two PhD's in Animal Nutrition whose names are available upon request.

2. Who formulates your foods and what are his/her credentials?

Dr. Renee Streeter, DVM, DACVN.

3. Are your diets tested using AAFCO feeding trials or by formulation to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles?

If the latter, do they meet AAFCO nutrient profiles by formulation or by analysis of the finished product?

Yes, formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles, both by formulation and by labratory analysis of the finished product.

4. Where are your foods produced and manufactured?

Sundays is manufactured at a single USDA-monitored human grade food facility in the Midwest.

5. What specific quality control measures do you use to assure the consistency and quality of your ingredients and the end product?

Sundays has one of the world's most stringest quality control processes for dog food. First of all, we manufacture our food in a human grade facility, which is monitored by the USDA and has higher food safety standards than a pet food facility. We test key ingredients both inbound and outbound for their vitamin and mineral content; we test every batch for foodborne diseases such as Salmonella and E. Coli; and we conduct a complete nutrient analysis on each recipe. We also test the beginning, middle, and end of batches to ensure even mixing and nutrient distribution.

6. Will you provide a complete nutrient analysis for the dog food in question?

(Can they provide an average/ typical analysis, not just the guaranteed analysis which is only the minimums or maximums and not an exact number)? You should be able to ask for any nutrient - e.g. protein, phosphorus, sodium, etc. - and get an exact number. This should ideally be given on an energy basis (i.e. grams per 100 kilocalories or grams per 1,000 kilocalories), rather than on an ‘as fed’ or ‘dry matter’ basis which don’t account for the variable energy density of different foods.

Yes, we have complete nutrient analyses, and are happy to share them upon request.

7. What is the caloric value per gram, can, or cup of your foods?

4.25 kcal/g. 450 kcal/cup.

8. What kind of product research has been conducted?

Are the results published in peer-reviewed journals?

We have not yet published any peer-reviewed studies on our dog food, but we hope to.

B. AAFCO Adequacy Statement

In some countries (including the US), the AAFCO adequacy statement is included on the label. This statement confirms three important facts:

Whether the diet is complete and balanced.

All over- the-counter foods should be complete and balanced. If the statement reads ’for intermittent or supplemental use only,’ it is not complete and balanced. That may be acceptable if it is a veterinary therapeutic diet and is being used for a specific purpose - e.g. in a case of severe kidney disease - but should be avoided in over- the-counter pet foods.

Yes, Sundays is Complete and Balanced.

If the food is complete and balanced, what life stage is it intended?

AAFCO provides nutrient profiles and feeding trial requirements for growth, reproduction, and adult maintenance, but not for senior/geriatric pets. A food that is formulated to meet the AAFCO profiles for all life stages must meet the minimum nutrient levels for both growth and adult maintenance.

As of June 2019, Sundays is only intended for adult dogs. We're hard at work on an All Life Stages version.

If the food is complete and balanced, how did the company determine this?

Labels may include one of two statements regarding nutritional adequacy: “[Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog (or Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles for [life stage(s)].” (Analysis of food.), “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate [Name] provides complete and balanced nutrition for [life stage(s)].” (Feeding trial evaluation of food.)

Sundays Everyday Food for Dogs is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for maintenance.

Formulated foods are manufactured so the ingredients meet specified levels, either based on the recipe or on analytical testing of the finished product, without testing via feeding trials. While feeding trials help to test for the food’s nutritional adequacy, the use of feeding trials does not guarantee that the food provides adequate nutrition under all conditions. It is important to ensure that the criteria in section A also help to ensure that the food is made by a reputable and knowledgeable company with strict quality control measures.

About the author

Tory Waxman, VMD

Co-Founder & Chief Veterinary Officer

Dr. Waxman is a practicing small-animal veterinarian.

She received a BS in Animal Sciences with Distinction in Research from Cornell University and her vet degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she did original research at the Penn Working Dog Center. Tory completed her internship in veterinary medicine at the world-renowned Animal Medical Center in New York City where she treated an actual lame duck and saw a hungry snake that hadn’t eaten in a year.

Tory grew up outside of Chicago with chocolate labs. She’s not sure why she ever gave up her first job, which was as a dog beach attendant on Lake Michigan. Almost 5 years ago she rescued a mixed breed terrier named Mabel who is obsessed with tennis balls. Mabel is also her tireless running buddy who completed a 14-mile run while Tory was training for the Chicago Marathon. Tory enjoys dog training and competing in dog sports such as agility and dock diving.