RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
Our Grain Free range is ideal for pets with sensitive dietary needs.
Whether your pet has sensitive dietary needs or you're choosing to cut grains from their diet, Grain Free is the ideal choice. We've packed in more meat and added the right balance of vegetables, herbs, vitamins and minerals, to maximise the flavour and nutritional benefits.
So why should my pet go Grain Free?
WITH DR. LEE DANKS AND LUKE HINES
The Grain Free range aims to hold back on certain ingredients, namely grains, because we know that some of our pets do respond much better to a diet that is free from wheat, oats, barley, rice and corn. We sub out these carbohydrate sources, replacing them with ingredients like potato, sweet potato and tapioca which have a great fibre blend and are generally 'lower GI', being digested in a different manner.
With the rise of natural ingredients in pet foods, you might have noticed plenty of interesting items popping up on the nutrition labels of the kibble you're buying. We look at several foods that are gaining popularity in the pet food world, and why they're used.
This herb is not only a flavoursome plant, but also packs a big health punch. Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants, helping to control free radicals in the body, which can play a role in cell damage and ageing. Rosemary is an effective natural preservative, so it’s often used as a natural way of keeping your pets food fresh.
This orange vegetable is a bit of a superfood. Its lovely, bright colour comes from beta-carotene, which the body needs to create vitamin A, also known as retinol, which is important for maintaining the health of the retina and good vision. Pumpkin is also loaded with fibre, which is great for keeping the digestive system healthy.
This tasty fruit has more to offer than just a sweet, crisp flavour. Apple is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre – these two help to slow the speed of food’s passage through the gastrointestinal tract, aiding digestion and promoting gut health. Apple is also a great source of vitamin C and potassium.
Real Australian beef is great for helping muscle development and blood health. It's a high quality protein and source of iron.
Beet pulp encourages healthy gut bacteria and firmer stools. It's also a rich source of natural fibre and prebiotics (which can can support a healthy GI tract and ultimately help your pet feel better).
Blueberries and cranberries are great for immunity and natural defence as they're packed with potent antioxidants and vitamin C.
Which help vision, immunity and tissue repair. They're rich in beta-carotene which is also a potent antioxidant.
100% Australian chicken for strong muscles and healthy joints. It's a hormone free protein and source of chondroitin and glucosamine, which has an anti-inflammatory effect for pets.
While some nuts are harmful to dogs, cashews are as healthy as they are tasty for our furry friends! Loaded with protein and healthy fats, cashews are a great source of omega 6 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Which helps intestinal well-being. It's a prebiotic super food that promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Dandelion helps support immune health and digestion, and is packed with goodness.
Eggs are a highly digestible protein containing all of the essential amino acids. They're great for muscle growth and repair.
Emu oil is known for its natural healing and anti-inflammatory properties. It's a rich source of omega fatty acids.
A novel and highly digestible protein that is rich in iron, thiamine and vitamine B12. It's great for vitality, brain and nerve health.
For thyroid gland and brain function. Sea kelp is a rich source of iodine, which supports your pets' metabolism.
Sweet potato is a novel energy source that is rich in complex carbohydrates, antioxidants and fibre. It's great for digestion and intestinal health.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why would I choose a grain-free diet rather than a product with grains?
Grain-free dog and cat diets are a great option for owners who are conscientious about the ingredients that go into their pet’s food, and would prefer to avoid wheat, rice, oats, corn and barley. These ingredients are not always problematic, but the Grain Free product range is often more appropriate for certain individuals.
Specific ingredient and nutrient-blends are suited to some pets, more than others. Whether this be due to gastro-intestinal tolerance, the pet’s responsiveness to distinctive ingredient-mixes, pet or even owner preference, our ambition is to make quality, complete and balanced products across the entire Black Hawk range.
We produce diets, both the Original range (first launched in 2007 in Australia, 2016 in New Zealand) and the Grain-Free range (in 2016) to suit pets' needs using a whole-food approach. This means we preferentially balance our diets by including naturally sourced, minimally processed, whole ingredients, and that it is equally what we leave out of our diets, as well as what we put in that makes them great.
Black Hawk® products have high levels of animal-derived protein as the primary ingredient. Grain-free products avoid grains, preferentially including tapioca, potato and sweet potato as carbohydrate sources.
We believe that it is our collective role to help pet parents care for their pets to the best of their ability. If they would like to do so by choosing grain-free option, we produce quality diets to the very best of our ability to answer their needs.
Why is Black Hawk® wet cat grain free?
Cats are carnivores and the grain-free approach means that products naturally have a high meat, lower level of carbohydrate inclusion, when compared with the Original product range. Carefully selecting our ingredients when creating these recipes, we were able to find non-grain raw materials which delivered the quality, highly available nutrients needed to more than meet the needs of cats and kittens. This is often a much more appealing approach, to both cat owners, and cats.
Should we be worried about the levels of taurine and other amino acids in your grain free products? Are field peas or legumes healthy ingredients? Are they nutritious, or potentially harmful? How about potato & sweet potato?
Questions and understanding about ingredients are important when assessing the nutritional value of a product. The decisions that we (and other pet food manufacturers) make in ingredient sourcing, level of inclusion, processing and cooking all determine how 'good' a food is for your pet. This relates largely to how much goes into their bowls and mouths vs. how much is absorbed and used by their bodies, which we describe most commonly as 'digestibility'.
The levels of amino acids (protein building-blocks) in every product are carefully balanced, to be sure they deliver what your dog or cat needs. This includes looking at taurine and its related precursors (known as cysteine and methionine) alongside the total 10 essential amino acids for dogs (11 for cats). These are balanced to well and truly provide and exceed the ‘essential amino acids’ and consider the additional amino acids which help keep your pet healthy.
You will see ingredients like field peas, potato and sweet potato in our ingredient lists because of all of the above considerations have been made in the 'raw material' selection and ongoing auditing process, and we know they will consistently deliver the quality nutrients we need to feed pets to the best of our ability. In the case of peas, protein and fibre fractions contribute to the overall balance they need, and for the potato and sweet potato ingredients, emphasis is more on delivery of carbohydrates and fibres, particularly when we’re looking to create a grain-free recipe. As not only single, but every ingredient matters, these come together in a blend, which is safely cooked to preserve nutrient quality and digestibility, and made into a kibble or canned or pouched food for your dog or cat to enjoy.
Do pet foods cause heart disease in dogs?
We are aware that there has been some talk of dogs developing dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in the news and across some social media streams of late, referencing concerns raised in America, not in Australia or New Zealand.
At Black Hawk®, we truly believe that Every Ingredient Matters and for this reason, animal protein sources are always our number one ingredient. We can confidently confirm that our diets deliver more than the required amino acid levels for your dogs (as defined by AAFCO), which supports heart health with naturally-sourced taurine, and taurine building-blocks. You may be more likely to see dogs develop this issue in diets that have a different ingredient-mix.
To put your mind at ease: please note that there is no link between Black Hawk and heart disease in dogs. If you have any concerns about the health of your pet, we always suggest that you consult your veterinarian and if you would like to know more about our diets, please contact us.
Why do you have so many different flavours of grain free product?
Black Hawk leads with real meat ingredients. This means that meat is always included in the products as the highest level, which can be seen in the product name and in the ingredient list. This approach also means that we deliver a high level of highly digestible meat proteins, as a preference over vegetable-based proteins. This allows us to provide a consistently digestible end product, with just the right features for your pet:
We use varied meat protein sources - namely Chicken, Lamb, Salmon, Kangaroo and Ocean Fish – in our Grain Free range - which carries the high-meat approach through the range, holding-back on the inclusion of grains such as wheat and rice, and providing you and your dog a number of flavour options, to help satisfy even the fussiest pet. Whether it be a 'gamey' or red-meat preference in the case of Kangaroo or Lamb products, or a 'fishy' diet like Salmon Grain Free, that may be more appropriate for pets with sensitivities, we hope to have them all covered.
Apart from offering flavour variants, different protein ingredients can be tolerated more or less than others by the pet’s digestive tract, so, by trialling alternative products, you'll be able to find the 'product of best fit' for your best friend.
Which fish do you use in your grain free puppy ocean fish formulas?
We use mixed fish sources in our fish-based recipes, in order to deliver an optimal balance of digestible nutrients appropriate to the specification of the diet. This mixed-approach also ensures continuity of supply of these products, depending on the catch and availability of these important raw materials.
It is worth highlighting how valuable fish proteins are, particularly given their high digestibility and that they allow us to move from the more typical chicken and lamb-based foods, to an arguably more ‘novel’ protein source.
We use seasonal farmed sources of fish, similar to what you’ll see in the human food market, and all are farmed locally, in Australia. The suppliers we use are audited to ensure they are giving us exactly what we need to fulfil the nutrient profile (% of macro- and micro-nutrients) of the finished products you feed your pets.
For more information on fish-based foods,click here.