What’s New in the App – Food Ingredients and Ranking
Today we will focus on our new features relating to your dog’s food: 1) an expanded dog food database, 2) addition of ingredients and an ingredient search capability, and 3) our new SlimDoggy Dog Food Ranking Index.
Expanded List Of Foods
We have updated our data to include an additional ~ 500 new foods and treats, bringing the total number of foods to more than 2,100. We will be continually updating and adding to this list. If you use a food that you don’t see in our data, please let us know in the comment section below or via our contact form.
Food Ingredients and Search Now Available
We now provide the ingredients for most of the foods and treats in our database as well as a search capability so that you can easily see what is in your dog’s food and find alternative foods based on ingredients. Below are some screen shots of how it works.
When searching for a new food by brand, once you select the desired formula, tap on the food and you will see a new food summary page. Tap the ingredient list and you will see the ingredients on your screen.
You can also search for foods based on ingredients. This can be very helpful if you are looking for a food with or without a specific ingredient, the latter case most often used when your dog has a known allergic reaction to a specific ingredient (e.g., if your dog is allergic to lamb, you can search for foods not containing lamb). Start at the add food page and tap Choose Brand.
To enable the ingredient search, tap on the search icon on the top right.
Once you tap the search icon, you will see the ingredient search page. Choose which food type (dry,can,treat) and which ranking index range (more on this below) and which ingredients to include or exclude. In this case, we wanted to find a list of Dry foods with a High ranking (more on this below) that do not have Lamb as an ingredient. Notice that the buttons for “Dry” and “High” (reverse homage to Def Leppard!) are greyed out which means that they have been selected as part of the search.
We have plans to improve the ingredient search function to make it even easier to navigate through ingredients lists. These enhancements will be automatically included in future app updates.
If you want to see the ingredients of a food that you already have chosen for your dog, simply tap on the food from your previously saved food list and you will see the food’s summary page. Tap on the Learn more icon and then the ingredients icon and you will see the list of ingredients.
SlimDoggy Dog Food Ranking Index
We are very excited about the new SlimDoggy Food Ranking Index (SFRI), which we have created to help people easily rank and compare foods. Today we wanted to provide a brief introduction to the SFRI (note- we will be writing a lot about our Ranking system in future posts).
The SFRI is a mathematical ranking index that is based on the ingredients of a dog food. In short, the SFRI rewards for “good” ingredients and penalizes for “bad” ingredients. For example, food containing real, named, meat are rewarded while by products and artificial colorings are penalized.
The SFRI ranges from 1-10 with 10 being the best score possible. It is made up of about a dozen components to account for things such as protein, fat, and carb sources, artificial colorings and dyes, and sweetener additives. In real simple terms, the more ingredients in the food that you are able to recognize, the better. Sort of like the “Paleo” diet– your dog should be eating more things that are found in the environment naturally and less things that are chemical creations.
You can see in the screen shots above how we represent the SFRI for a food. We use the numeric value, a paws graphic (how many paws out of 10 are lit up), and the SlimDoggy icon which shows up as a happy SlimDoggy, an ambivalent SlimDoggy, and a “mad” SlimDoggy for high scores, medium scores , and low scores respectively.
There are a few other things to keep in mind when using the SFRI:
1- It is based on the ingredients as reported by the dog food companies on their sites. We make every effort to ensure that the ingredient lists are accurate and up to date. If you notice a food with ingredients that look wrong, please let us know and we will confirm accuracy.
2- It does not account for the amounts of each ingredient in the food as this information is proprietary and confidential to the food companies.
3- It does not account for the relative quality of the sourced food ingredients (i.e., where are the ingredients sourced, are they “human grade” or not) because this information is not generally available.
4- It is an evolving system and we would expect to make improvements in our methodologies over time.
5- It is currently calculated for foods only, not treats. We are currently working on our Treat ranking system which will have a different methodology than foods.
6- A human food analog is the NuVal index that is used by some grocery stores to help consumers make healthier food choices when shopping.
We are always interested in your thoughts about the App and our new features – please add them to our comments below: