With so many options on the market, how do you tell what is the right food for you and your dogs? It is so tricky to disseminate the information, what is true and what is not, and how do we really know what claims are really benefiting our dogs? At Rocketo, our team is really passionate about helping dogs, their parents and the planet. Here are a few things that we think make Rocketo different.
No Synthetic Vitamins and Minerals
Rocketo is one of the few ‘complete’ (FEDIAF Compliant) foods on the market that only uses 100% naturally occurring ingredients. We do not use any ‘man-made’ or synthetic vitamins and minerals in our products. Many companies do, and this can have a significant impact on your dog’s health, especially when fed long term. When synthetic vitamins and minerals are used, often the body does not recognise them as ‘the real’ thing. So, on paper, they look good, but in practice, they are not!
Rocketo only uses whole (not isolated) real ingredients, and exceeds the FEDIAF requirements by doing this. This is very unusual.
Like all animals, dogs have evolved to eat ‘real foods’ produced by nature, not made in a lab. Man-made vitamins & minerals are often not recognised by the body as ‘real’ vitamins and minerals, and therefore can cause more stress on the body than good when ingested, and they can be difficult to digest and assimilate. In addition, many synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements contain harmful fillers, binders and preservatives which can do far more damage than good! It is really difficult to tell from the packaging if you are buying synthetic vitamins and minerals, so establishing a trusted list of suppliers is key. One way to check is that the ingredient list will not include ‘vitamins and minerals’, or a ‘pre-mix’, and the ingredients should only list real whole food ingredients.
Alas, there have been lawsuits affecting the pet food industry that has been caused by synthetic vitamin and mineral mixes causing harm, and in some cases death, so these should be avoided at all costs. Using organic, or wild-sourced, free from pesticides and herbicides, also has a great effect on the quality, and impact in the body, of the ingredients, used. Any time the body sees a man-made substance, whether it be a chemical used in food production or a chemical substitute for food, the body triggers a response to eliminate that substance from it. Obviously, we want dogs to absorb the required nutrients from the food, so keeping all the ingredients in a natural, unpolluted form, is crucial. This is what we achieve.
As the name suggests, whole food vitamins and minerals are derived and made from whole foods & herbs. In this form, the dog’s body can see for what it is – food. Therefore, the body is able to properly digest, assimilate, and use the nutrients for the body’s good. When your body consumes any whole food, the body recognises it as ‘food’ and therefore knows exactly how and where to use it! When vitamins are synthetic they’ve been isolated from the food source thereby eliminating the vital information needed by the body to recognise, and hence be able to use it. This means the body is able to use only very little of the already compromised nutrients in the supplement. So even if you are faithfully giving a ‘fully balanced’ food to your dog, if it contains synthetic ingredients, your dog may not be getting very much nutrition at all.
It’s About What’s Missing and What’s Added
Whole Food Vitamins from natural sources offer:
- Uncompromised essential nutrients – no heating above 40 degrees means no vital compounds are altered or destroyed in any way.
- No toxins formed because there is no heating or alteration of food structure.
- Important enzymes remain intact to aid in the digestion and assimilation process
- Choosing a whole food / herb supplement instead of a synthetic supplement is like eating raw, whole food as opposed to a highly processed one.
What you want to avoid is important as well. Be sure your whole food multivitamin does not contain any of the following:
- Artificial Colours
- Fillers and Binders
- Allergens such as dairy, gluten, and soy
So, we use 100% natural ingredients – no synthetics, no additives. Just as nature intended.
100% Organic or Wild Sourced Ingredients
As a civilisation, we have overused our land. The food produced therefore is not only nutritionally deprived, meaning that it lacks essential minerals, but it can also come with unwanted toxins, such as glyphosate, growth factors or antibiotics to name but a few.
We try to avoid all of these, as they can cause harm to the dog’s body. This is why we only use certified organic products or wild produced ingredients where they are away from chemicals used in their production.
It seems that, as a society, many people, including some professionals advising on dog care, have lost all common sense and succumb to our current beliefs and trends in the food and supplement industry. This is bad enough when making food choices for ourselves, but the situation is even worse for the poor animals that depend on us, their human guardians, to make choices for them.
Why is it now so difficult for us humans to make healthy choices for our food, for us and our animals? When I am talking about ‘we’ here I am not talking about individuals that are doing their best to make informed choices, I am talking about ‘we’ as humans. What is clear is that most human and animals ‘food’ and ‘supplement’ producers often make it deliberately difficult for us to make healthy choices.
So how has it gone so wrong?
Have we as a collective stopped asking sensible questions and been too accepting – is it easier for us to believe what we are told rather than to question?
- 🟡 When did we decide that spraying our food with toxic poisons (that require full protective clothing to spray!) was a good idea?
- 🟡 When did we decide that genetically modifying crops so that they (the crops) can survive having more toxic chemicals sprayed on them was OK?
- 🟡 When did we think that we needed to invent highly toxic food colourings and flavourings when nature provides such a fantastic array?
- 🟡 When did we let the food manufacturers get away with convincing us that a breakfast cereal (for humans) or kibble (for dogs / cats / rabbits) is real food?
- 🟡 When did we think it was OK to eat animals that have been pumped full of antibiotics, growth hormones etc.?
- 🟡 How can we turn a blind eye to the complete devastation of the palm oil industry – and think that our convenience foods justify species extinction and complete habitat destruction?
The philosophy behind our food is simple – as nature intended. So what would a dog eat in the wild, and how do we need to adapt this to take into account the modern challenges faced by dogs in a human environment?
Does This Problem Affect Animals too? YES!
Every week we happily spend hours giving advice to people about the harm their animals’ diets are doing to them. The sad thing is that most people really do believe that what they are feeding their animals is good quality, but this is rarely true.
Virtually every chronic illness that we and our animals are suffering from can be linked to pesticides and herbicides, and / or non-species appropriate diets, as one of the main causes – from cancer, diabetes / metabolic issues, gastrointestinal issues including pancreatitis, allergies, behavioural issues, structural issues including hind limb paralysis, eye and teeth issues – the list goes on!
So, in summary, organic is not just a buzzword for the rich, it is the best control we have, on a very polluted planet, to try and ensure that the food we and our dogs eat is not full of harmful contaminants.
Rocketo Food is Raw Dehydrated – How does this Processing Maintain the Goodness in the Food?
A lot of enzymes, vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins, are really sensitive to heat. Since we keep the heat in all stages of the process below 40 degrees, we avoid vitamins and amino acids changing their form. By keeping the food in its original form, the intestinal tract and microbiome of the dog can recognise, absorb and utilise all the nutrients. This means that all the goodness is available to the dog, and the dogs’ digestive system and organs don’t have to overwork to access these.
What do we mean by Dehydrated?
We simply slowly remove the moisture from the food,. This helps to naturally preserve the food and to kill harmful parasites and bacteria, without destroying the integrity of the nutrients. This is one of the oldest and safest forms of food preservation, but the way we do it, at low temperatures is VERY different from others. Most companies dehydrate at much higher temperatures, which then destroys many enzymes, vitamins and minerals and has a detrimental impact on the nutritional value of the food. Adding the water back into the food before feeding ensures that the perfect moisture levels are fed for health.
Why is this important to dogs? Although humans are really efficient at digesting carbohydrates, most dogs are not. As dogs evolved from a common ancestor with wolves, they also evolved to digest some of the starch and sugars, but that doesn’t mean they thrive on it – there is a BIG difference between thriving and surviving.
The only carbohydrates that a dog would eat in the wild are those that are already partially digested in the stomach and gut of their prey, and some grazing on fruits and vegetation when needed. Alas, most modern dog foods are highly processed and many contain very high levels of carbohydrates.
If the food fed is high in carbohydrates, the pancreas has to work very hard to produce enough juices and enzymes to break these down – leading to the problems such as IBS and pancreatitis. From a financial point of view many pet food companies use high carbohydrate levels, as they are the cheapest way of providing high energy foods. Alas, a dog simply can’t digest a high amount of carbohydrates. However, as the dog is very adaptive, many owners can feed inappropriate diets for long periods without realising the harm they are doing. Eventually, the body will reach a tipping point and problems will show, but by that time it is harder to rectify!
Dogs also lack digestive enzymes like amylase in their saliva. Amylase is a specialized enzyme most herbivores and omnivores produce in their saliva. It helps begin the breakdown of starchy carbohydrates into simple sugars before they enter the stomach. Although dogs do produce amylase, the enzyme is added further down the digestive tract, in the pancreas and small intestine. This is one of the reasons why dogs find it much harder to digest carbohydrate levels than humans.
A lot of chronic diseases have been linked to poor, starch-rich diets, overly cooked and processed starches and in general not enough protein in their food. To avoid this, we keep the carbohydrates very low, most in the form of fibres, and a few fruit sugars, which is necessary for glycogen metabolism. So, rest assured all our recipes have very low carbohydrate levels.
Sustainability Throughout our Supply Chain
Most of our customers are passionate about helping the environment, and so are we. How do our food, and the way we produce it, help the environment? We are passionate about our beautiful planet, and all that lives on it. Because our food is dehydrated with air, it does not need to be frozen after production, in transport or when with the customer. This has huge energy savings at each stage of the food’s journey. It also makes it much more convenient and cost-effective for the owner to store at home., It can be treated like any dry food, just kept away from heat and light sources, and just adding fresh warm water (from the kettle, not the hot tap!) before feeding to give the perfect water levels for health.
Our food has a 1-year shelf life, so managing to produce food that is still fresh, highly nutritional and 100% no artificial ingredients or preservatives, in such an environmentally friendly way is something we are really proud of.
Supply Chain Quality
However good quality the ingredients are, controlling what happens to those ingredients at every stage of processing is key to a high-quality final product. We spend a lot of time sourcing the best quality raw ingredients. To ensure they stay this way, controlling the production and processing is critical to final product quality. To get the best food we can deliver to the clients and the dogs we have to have control and quality checks on every stage of the production – sourcing, transportation, processing, packaging, storage and of course the manufacturing process. Luckily our process is very straightforward, but we control every stage to ensure nothing goes wrong. That way you can relax and enjoy!
We check every certification, and we test the food before, during and after manufacturing to ensure the dogs are getting the cleanest and best food that we can deliver
How do we ensure the food is safe, and also nutritionally balanced? The nutritional balance is easy – we don’t cook, overheat or extrude any of the ingredients, so we keep all the nutrients inside. This means, unlike many others, we then don’t have to add synthetics to make up for what has been lost during processing. We also exceed the nutrient requirements of the base FEDIAF guidelines.
Our vets and biologist make sure that every ingredient is chosen carefully, for its nutritional input and species appropriateness. Sometimes, we add things like coconut fibres, as a great low carbohydrate fibre source, as the safest replacement for what would be found in a preys gut. However hard we try; we can never match nature in its raw form! In practice, most dogs have no opportunity to wild hunt for their food, so we are happy that we provide the next best alternative.
For safety, we buy the best quality raw ingredients. This means that we know that the raw products going in are as high quality and safe as possible. Because our manufacturing processes are so gentle, we then make sure we do as little as possible to alter them, so that your dog gets them in as natural a state as possible.
As we said above, we test our ingredients before manufacturing and our final products after. We also undertake tests such as water activity monitoring, during the gentle drying process.
We are proud to be, as far as we know, the only dog food company that tests our recipes for glyphosate!
Mimics a Real Prey Composition
Of course, we know it would be much better for our dogs to catch their own prey. This is not only for nutritional benefit, animal welfare but also because, from a behavioural and emotional level it is what dogs are designed to do. In practice, many dogs do not get this opportunity, and indeed many domesticated dogs would not actually be able to catch and kill their own prey. So, we have to step in and provide them with their food. This may be a big relief to most of us!
Our vet tried not to over-engineer the food, after all, nature always knows best. We take approximately 70% of the raw meat and organs. To this, we add ingredients that would be naturally present in the prey’s intestines. We have to substitute some things, we live in an industrial world, so we can’t commercially reproduce exactly what prey would have (and each prey would vary). We do ensure that all the ingredients are appropriate for a dog’s needs and digestive tract, to support a healthy natural microbiome, which is key for physical and emotional health and vitality.
We then add a few extras, such as organic herbs and algae, to support the dog in today’s stressful environments. That simple!
So, we use 100% natural ingredients – no synthetics, no additives. Just as nature intended.