Frequently Asked Questions

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Has Pinto Canyon pet food ever been recalled?
Is Pinto Canyon pet food safe?
Does Pinto Canyon cost too much?
Why oven-bake? Why not extrude?
Why is a single meat protein important?
Why is protein quality more important than quantity?
Is the kibble a good size for large or small dogs?
Should I alternate recipes?
Can I alternate recipes without a gradual transition?
Do you have a wet food?
Are any ingredients from China?
Where are Pinto Canyon ingredients from?
What is ash?
Are the minerals in Pinto Canyon pet food chelated?
Should I give my pet vitamin supplements?
Do Pinto Canyon Recipes have corn, wheat. or soy?
Why don't you have colorful plastic bags, zipper enclosures, and a flashy website?
Is Pinto Canyon pet food the same as Flint River Ranch?

Has Pinto Canyon pet food ever been recalled? Return to Top

Pinto Canyon pet food has never been recalled. Our baking facility is inspected and certified per Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC22000), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), FDA, and EU. Most importantly, our baking facility has never had a recall in over 20 years of baking pet food!

You won't find Pinto Canyon on this list: FDA List of Pet Food Recalls

Is Pinto Canyon pet food safe? Return to Top

Safety is our #1 priority. We test every batch beyond required testing, not only to ensure it meets the nutrient requirements, but also to be absolutely sure there are no contaminants, such as those that are causing sick pets and recalls.

Recent recalls have found pentobarbital (a drug used to euthanize animals) in pet food! We take no chances! See our test results below. We have absolute certainty that our foods do not have pentobarbital, mercury, lead, arsenic, aflatoxins, thyroid hormone, e. coli, salmonella, listeria... Pinto Canyon pet food is safe!

Test Results for batch with Best Used By date: BUB NOV 2018

Does Pinto Canyon cost too much? Return to Top

Do you want cheap food or do you want food that's healthy and safe? It costs 60-77 cents per day to feed Pinto Canyon Chicken & Brown Rice to a 25 pound dog (depending on how much you buy at a time). How much is your dog worth?

When comparing the price of Pinto Canyon pet food, it's important to factor in that you feed significantly less of Pinto Canyon.

And all of Pinto Canyon prices include shipping and tax!

Why oven-bake? Why not extrude? Return to Top
We've been selling oven-baked pet food since 1998—the feedback from our customers, veterinarians, and the health and vitality of our own pets speaks for itself. Our customers continually report fewer health issues, reduced vet bills, alleviation of allergy symptoms, and increased vitality and well-being when they switch their pet's diet to our oven-baked foods. Click here to read what our customers and their vets say about oven-baked food.

Most pet food is extruded—a method of cooking with high temperatures over a short time, forcing ingredients through a die to create the desired shape. Extrusion is faster and cheaper than old-fashioned baking, and is more efficient for mass production of a very consistent product; however, it affects starches, nutrients, proteins, and vitamins in ways that baking doesn't, making the food more difficult to digest, and even changing the structure of proteins, which may trigger allergic symptoms.

Many pets that experience allergy symptoms on extruded foods thrive on oven-baked food.

Our kibbles move slowly through multiple ovens at precise temperatures. This gentle process protects the vitamins and minerals and maintains the integrity of the ingredients while enhancing the aroma and taste. The resulting crunchy, yet light morsel has varying textures and colors due to the natural process of cooking—just like when you bake cookies at home!

Why is a single meat protein important? Return to Top

A single meat protein in each recipe is important because the meat protein molecule is a relatively large molecule and is often responsible for food sensitivies. Having a single meat protein, along with a limited variety of the major ingredients, is also referred to as a "Limited Ingredient" diet. Being able to feed one meat protein at a time is tremendously helpful in determining which protein is best for your pet, especially pets with allergies. It also allows for rotation of ingredients so that your pet doesn't develop allergies, which can happen if they eat the same ingredients repeatedly.

Why is protein quality more important than quantity? Return to Top

The Guaranteed Analysis on pet food labels shows the amount of "crude protein." You may be wondering why does this food have "not refined or processed" protein in it? The meaning of "crude protein" may surprise you. Crude protein is an estimated protein level. The estimate is derived from a chemical analysis of the amount of nitrogen in the food. The amount of nitrogen is then multiplied by a constant which yields an estimate of total protein. The problem with this estimate is that it includes nitrogen from all sources, which may be low-quality protein sources, such as beaks, and even non-protein nitrogen sources, such as melamine! (This is how melamine escaped detection in 2007, and why it was used to yield false protein levels.)

Protein is made up of amino acids. Essential amino acids can't be created by the body and must be obtained through diet; non-essential amino acids can be manufactured within the body as long as the diet is otherwise adequate. The protein quality of a food is determined by how closely the ratio of essential amino acids in the food matches the requirement, and by how easily the protein is digested and utilized within the body.

The amount of protein in Pinto Canyon foods exceeds the amount required according to AAFCO (the association that sets the requirements for cat and dog foods). We select a high-quality, highly-digestible meat as the main ingredient in each of our recipes.

"Proteins are the building blocks of the body and an absolute necessity for daily function. However, when a dog consumes too much protein in a meal it cannot all be utilized at one time, nor can it be stored for later. The body will then excrete the excess protein through the kidneys and out of the body via urine. Thus the quality of the protein actually becomes more important that than actual amount as a high quality protein is more bioavailable and can be better absorbed by the body." The Dangers of High Protein Dog Foods -

Is the kibble a good size for large or small dogs? Return to Top

Our kibble is a perfect size for all dogs. We've heard from Chihuahuas to Great Pyrenees, and they are all gobbling it up! The approximate size of each kibble is about a quarter of an inch thick, and a little less than a half inch in diameter.

Nutrient-dense oven-baked food is particularly helpful for tiny puppies and small breeds with small tummies unable to eat enough of other diets to fulfill adequate nutritional needs. With a higher metabolizable energy, your pet will absorb more energy from a smaller amount of food. They will eliminate less as waste—less waste to clean up! Pet foods with a higher metabolizable energy can also save you money because you feed less.

Also, our kibbles are crunchy, but not hard—delightfully tasty, yet easy on the teeth.

Should I alternate recipes? Return to Top

We recommend alternating between our recipes because dogs can become sensitive to their food if they eat the same food, especially the same meat protein, at every meal. We've carefully formulated our recipes with this in mind!

Most grain-free recipes have legumes instead of grains. The main non-meat ingredients in our Salmon & Sweet Potato recipe are chickpeas, tapioca, and green lentils.

The main non-meat ingredients in our Chicken & Brown Rice and Lamb & Brown Rice recipes are brown rice, oatmeal, and barley (no wheat!). These recipes are very similar other than the lamb and chicken—perfect for dogs that prefer a different meat only. And our whole grains are milled in-house minutes before baking to ensure maximum freshness and nutrition!

We recommend rotating between all 3 of our recipes because dogs benefit from a variety of meats, and also from both legumes and grains! And dogs love this variety! Not only are you providing a variety of lamb, chicken, and fish, you're also providing a variety of proteins, carbohydrates, starches, fibers, and nutrients from both grains and legumes. And you can alternate recipes without a gradual transition.

Can I alternate recipes without a gradual transition? Return to Top

Yes. You can alternate between any of our dog food recipes right away—there's no need to transition gradually because:

  • All of our dog food recipes have similar amounts of protein, fat, fiber, and calories.
  • None of our recipes have wheat, corn, or soy.
  • They're all baked, of course!

In fact, we recommend alternating recipes.

Do you have a wet food? Return to Top

Another great quality of oven-baked food is that it doesn't swell and get all gross when wet, so if your dog prefers wet food, or has sensitive teeth, just add a little lukewarm water over the kibble, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and your dog can enjoy a wet meal!

Are any ingredients from China? Return to Top

Nothing in Pinto Canyon pet food is from China. Many pet food companies use supplements from China, but still claim, "No ingredients from China!" Apparently, they do not consider vitamins and minerals to be ingredients. We don't use ingredients from China primarily because of the recalls of 2007: thousands of pets died because ingredients from China were tainted with the toxic chemical melamine; when tested for protein, melamine falsely shows as a protein because of its high nitrogen content, so products appeared to have high levels of protein when it was actually melamine (FDA: Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007).

When choosing a food, ask if anything at all in the food is from China, and specifically ask about the vitamins and minerals.

Where are Pinto Canyon pet food ingredients from? Return to Top

All of our ingredients are from the USA and Canada, with the exception of our free-range, grass-fed lamb, which is from New Zealand, our tapioca, which is from Thailand, and our wild-caught Pacific Salmon, which is from the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. Our vitamins and minerals are from the USA!

Should I give my pet vitamin supplements? Return to Top

No, please do not give your pet vitamin supplements without consulting your veterinarian. Our foods are complete and balanced; you do not need to feed your pet additional supplements unless recommended by your veterinarian. Your pet may receive harmful amounts of some vitamins and minerals if they're fed supplements in addition to their food. From the website: "Too much calcium can cause skeletal problems, especially in large-breed puppies; too much vitamin A can harm blood vessels and cause dehydration and joint pain. Excess vitamin D can prompt a dog to stop eating, harm bones, and cause muscles to atrophy." Is there any danger in giving my dog vitamins?

Do Pinto Canyon Recipes have corn, wheat. or soy? Return to Top

No, none of our recipes have corn, wheat, or soy.

What is ash? Return to Top

Ash is an indicator of the level of mineral in the food. Often we think, "Is there fireplace ash in my pet's food?" There is no fireplace ash in your pet's food, and it's not something to avoid in food. To the contrary, when referring to food analysis, the term "ash" refers to the mineral content of the food—minerals that are essential to life!

To determine the mineral content of food, a test is performed where a food sample is completely burned at a controlled temperature; the remaining "ash" contains primarily minerals (including calcium, phosphorous, iron, zinc and selenium) because they don't dissipate when burned. It was once thought that the level of ash was an important factor in the production of bladder stones, but it is now known that there are many factors involved, and ash is not useful in determining if the food will contribute to the formation of bladder stones.

Are the minerals in Pinto Canyon pet food chelated? Return to Top

Yes. All of the minerals in Pinto Canyon pet food are chelated for better absorption.

Why don't you have colorful plastic bags, zipper enclosures, and a flashy website with a lot of ads? Return to Top

Our goal is to provide high quality, safe nutrition for pets with the least environmental impact, and the ultimate convenience to you! Plastic bags are more expensive than paper, and do not decompose; artwork for plastic bags is expensive and just gets thrown away; while zipper enclosures are convenient, they are expensive; flashy websites are annoying and slow. Google ranks our site loading time as "Excellent"—we think that's important for busy shoppers! We focus on quality and convenience. Our website is easy to use, and chock-full of information.

"I love your site because it's clear and succinct. It is the BEST site that I'm acquainted with to order." Carolyn H.

Is Pinto Canyon pet food the same as Flint River Ranch? Return to Top
We sold Flint River Ranch pet foods for 19 years. We became passionate about serving pets the best food possible! The constant positive feedback convinced us that oven-baked food is the only food we'll feed our pets, and the only food we'll feed yours.

We designed Pinto Canyon recipes to have the qualities we loved about Flint River Ranch foods, but to be even better! Pinto Canyon has these excellent Flint River Ranch qualities:

  • Oven-baked
  • A single-meat protein per recipe
  • High-quality meat protein from human-grade sources
  • Similar nutrient profile and Guaranteed Analysis (percentages of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, and moisture)
  • No unnamed meat sources, no by-products, no synthetic preservatives

And Pinto Canyon recipes are improved:

  • Fresh, deboned muscle meat is the primary ingredient
  • Chicken, lamb, fruits, and vegetables are from human-grade sources
  • Free-range chicken and lamb; wild-caught fish
  • Wholesome fruits, berries, and vegetables
  • Prebiotics and probiotics—live bacteria essential for a healthy digestive system
  • No white rice, wheat, corn, soy
  • No GMO ingredients
  • Absolutely nothing from China, including vitamins and minerals
  • Our warehouse is climate-controlled—always super fresh!

Pets deserve only the best and safest food! Flint River Ranch made excellent food—Pinto Canyon is even better with higher quality ingredients and nothing from China. High-quality ingredients, with nothing from China, and oven-baking in small batches is not cheap. We think our pets are worth it, don't you?

Most other pet foods are extruded quickly at high temperatures in large batches, which keeps their costs down. Flint River Ranch tried to keep their prices comparable to cheaper extruded foods, and they ultimately went out of business. Nevertheless, we refuse to compromise. Quality is not cheap. There's truth in the saying, "You get what you pay for." When you see how happy and healthy your pets are, and have fewer trips to the vet, you'll know it's well worth it!

To read more about who we are, go to About Us

You might also be interested in what happened to Flint River Ranch.