FAQ

Company

Where are the Natural Balance and Delicate Care products made?

All of our dry pet foods are manufactured at an affiliated plant located in Naval Base, Western Australia.

What are your Food Safety Accreditation?

The manufacturing facilities possess a HACCP accreditation which is independently audited annually.
An independently audited HACCP accreditation is the highest level of internationally recognized food safety and quality program.

Who owns Natural Balance/Delicate Care?

Natural Balance was established in 1998 by avid pet lovers Shirlyn Riemer and Peter Atsaros, two foodies that operate a successful food export business in Perth.
Peter and Shirlyn combined their love for food and their pets to make Natural Balance available to other pet lovers in Australia.

Where can we find your products?

A current list of Veterinary Clinics that stock Natural Balance/Delicate Care can be found by clicking here.
We are constantly expanding our list of outlets and regularly update our website.
If your veterinarian does not carry any of our products, please send us an email and we will endeavour to convince the clinic to make our products available to you.

Who designed the Natural Balance/Delicate Care formulations?

All Delicate Care products are formulated by emeritus Professor Nick Costa, who for many years was the Head of Biochemistry and Nutrition at one of Australia’s leading Veterinary Schools. Professor Costa is regarded as one of Australia’s most well respected Animal Nutritionists and has consulted for a number of multinational companies in the area of pet nutrition.
All Delicate Care formulations are professionally formulated incorporating the latest nutritional science
to address the nutritional needs of your beloved pets

Why is your product not available at pet shops/ Why Vets Only?

We believe that veterinary care forms a big part of caring for our pets.
Your veterinarian understands the nutritional needs of your pets and will be able to provide the most appropriate nutritional solution for your pet.
There may also be some special conditions that need to be managed in your pet that require the expertise of your veterinarian.

What is your company philosophy?

Your pet’s health is our most important concern. We care! Like you, we are pet lovers.
We understand the joy of pet ownership and the unconditional love that comes from that special pet in your life.
The foundation of Natural Balance is to enhance your pet’s life by helping him or her to live a long, healthy and active life.

What is your policy on animal testing?

We are against invasive animal testing. We do not keep kennels or catteries or laboratories where animals are used for testing.
Whenever a new products is developed, we enlist the assistance of a trusted group of breeders and Veterinarians who can complete the assessments for us based on their expertise and knowledge of each animal.

Products

What is your complete product range?

Delicate Care High Energy
Delicate Care Regular Energy
Delicate Care Lite Energy
Delicate Care Skin or Stomach for Dogs
Delicate Care Mobility
Delicate Care Skin or Stomach for Cats

Why are your products expressed in Energy?

Expressing our products in Energy is the scientific way of addressing the nutritional needs of your pet.
We have expressed our formualtions in Energy as this is the basis on which all other nutrients are calculated in order to obtain balance.
Rather than formulating to life stages or to specific breeds, we have instead looked at the energy required for each stage of life taking into account the condition of your pet and expressed our formulations based on energy required.
For example, a puppy, pregnant/lactating female, show dog or working dog will require a lot more energy than a normally active adult dog, so we would recommend the High Energy formula.
A regularly active adult dog that is exercised regularly will have a vastly different metabolism and energy expenditure to a sedentary adult dog that is prone to put weight on.
A scientifically formulated pet food is nutritionally appropriate for all breeds.

Why do I see a variation in kibble size and colour?

In the manufacturing process, we do not add any colours or dyes to our products.
This means that we are subject to slight variations in raw materials with each batch of pet food we manufacture.
Our main focus is to uphold the nutritional integrity of our products rather than making them look consistent in appearance.

What does “Natural” mean?

Natural means no aritificial colours, flavours or preservatives (such as BHT, BHA or Ethoxyquin) are used in any of our formulations.
Our raw material suppliers are also required to use natural antioxidants in their manufacturing process so that we could carry this natural theme throughout our entire range.

How do you preserve your food if you are all natural?

The entire Natural Balance Delicate Care range is naturally and carefully preserved with natural antioxidants which contain mixed tocopherols (Vitamin E) and rosemary extract.
In order to keep our products fresh and stable, we also utilize state of the art plastic films and oxygen absorber pads when we pack our products. These packaging materials ensure that no light, water vapour nor oxygen comes into contact with our products once they are sealed in the bags.

What can I expect to see in my pet when I feed Natural Balance Delicate Care?

As Natural Balance Delicate Care is highly digestible, you will immediately notice a reduction in stool size and odour.
You will appreciate the easy cleaning resulting from smaller, firmer stools.
As your pet’s coat naturally regenerate, you will also notice the gloss that comes with the new coat.

Ingredients

Meat is not your number 1 ingredient – why?

This causes a lot of confusion with our customers, however, it is important to note that the manufacturing process is very different between our products and foods that claim meat as their number one ingredient. For the Natural Balance Delicate Care formulations, we use meat meals as our protein source.
This raw material contains 8% moisture (so it is a very concentrated product).
When fresh meat or offal is used, this form of protein already contains about 80% moisture.
More water is added to the “fresh meat” to make a paste or slurry prior to the meat entering the manufacturing process.
It is the presence of the water that makes this raw material heavy, thus enabling companies to claim that meat is their number 1 ingredient.
As water or moisture is evaporated in the oven, the resultant proteins left in the dry matter is quite low.
If you read the ingredient listing you will find that formulations with meat as their number one ingredient need to be supplemented with additional protein sources (like meat meal, or vegetable protein sources) in order to meet the target protein content of the food.

Do any of your raw materials originate from China?

We do not source our raw materials from China.

Where do you source your ingredients?

Wherever possible, our ingredients are sourced from Australian producers and suppliers. Our ingredients are GMO-free, naturally preserved and free from irradiation treatment.
This ensures that all nutrients are protected so that we can deliver the best quality, natural nutrition for your pet.
Where a particular ingredient is not available from Australian sources due to availability or seasonality, we have to sometimes reluctantly source from overseas.

Higher Protein = Better Value for Money – is this statement true?

Instead of focusing on the level or percentage of protein, we choose our protein ingredients based on
their quality, digestibility and mix of essential amino acids, with the aim of delivering the best mix of nutrients to your pet.
Our levels of protein are carefully structured so that this meets your pet’s requirement for optimum growth and maintenance.
All nutrients like protein must be balanced to energy in order to deliver the best nutrition for your pet.

Corn Gluten Meal (CGM) – I have read that it is a bad ingredient – why is it in Natural Balance?

Corn gluten meal sometimes gets a bad press that is unwarranted. CGM is a safe, nutritious source of protein and amino acids.
CGM provides a good source of sulphur-containing amino acids that help to acidify urine that dissolves some types of bladder stones such as struvite. The corn gluten meal present in our formulations is GMO Free and sourced from New Zealand.

What is digest?

Digest refers to food material from animal sources (meat and offal) that has been treated with acid to help breakdown or “digest” the protein into smaller products such as peptides and dipeptides. Digests are perfectly safe and are used as a palatant for pet food which make the food taste delicious to your pet.

What is tallow?

Tallow simply means beef or lamb fat which has been cooked from fat trimmings. Our tallow is beef based and sourced from an export accredited abattoir that processes tallow for us on site from the human food chain.

What are essential and non-essential amino acids? If it is not essential, why is it in the food?

The term ‘essential’ in nutrition means that this nutrient is essential in the diet because the body cannot make it from other means.
“Non-essential” means that the body can make this amino acid if your pet has sufficient energy and total protein in their diet. Amino acids both “essential” and “non-essential” are equally important in meeting your pet’s protein needs for muscle, bone and metabolism.

You have Omega 3 and 6, but not Omega 9 – does this mean the food is inferior?

Omega-6 and omega-3 must be included in the pets diets becasue they cannot make these fatty acids in their body; they are “essential” for your pet’s nutrition.
Omega-9 fatty acids are made in your pet’s body mainly from carbohydrates like glucose, so they are not essential.
The Omega Magic™ oil blend is a potent blend of Omegas 3 and 6, delivered in the optimum proportion that produces a healthy skin and shiny coat in your pet.
So a pet food like Natural Balance Delicate Care that does not contain Omega 9 is definitely not nutritionally inferior.

Are grains really bad for our pets?

No, grains are not bad for pets. Modern day dogs have evolved to have the necessary enzymes for efficient digestion of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are present not only in grain based but also in grain free diets (potatoes, sweet potatoes or legumes).
Cats have a lower tolerance for carbohydrates and quality cat foods like Delicate Care Skin or Stomach for cats deliver a low carbohydrate loa of 20gms or less per day if cats are fed according to the recommended feeding guides.

Do you add salt in your formulation?

No salt (sodium chloride) is added to Natural Balance Delicate Care formulations. Salt, if present in our formulations, is naturally occuring.

What is EPA and DHA?

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic Acid) are both essential omega 3 fatty acids. High quality fish oil is the best sourceof EPA and DHA. EPA plays a critical role in regulating many body processes including skin/coat, reproduction and immunity.
DHA is critical for neural developemtn specially in young animals . DHA is also important in maintaining neural and cognitive function in older animals.

Nutrition

When do I change from High Energy to Regular Energy?

Delicate Care High Energy is recommended for the following life stages due to the dog’s increased energy needs:
Puppies of all breeds including large breed puppies until the dogs reach adult size.
Pregnant and nursing females of all breeds.
Show dogs and working dogs.

Puppies can be switched from High Energy to Regular Energy when they reach their mature size as adult dogs. The time period as growing puppies vary from relatively short periods in small breeds (e.g. 8 months for breeds such as Maltese) to much longer periods for giant breeds (e.g. up to 2 years for Great Danes). Nursing females can be switched to Regular Energy once the puppies are whelped and be fed High Energy again once the female is being prepared for mating. Show dogs and working dogs can be switched to Regular Energy once they retire from show or work.

I have a large breed puppy – you do not have a large breed puppy food.

The followiing Delicate Care Formulas are suitable for Large Breed Puppies:
Delicate Care High Energy
Delicate Care Skin or Stomach for Dogs
Delicate Care Mobility
All the above formulations are carefully designed with the large breed puppy in mind as these breeds have the most stringent requirements when it comes to nutritional balance. Our High Energy, Skin or Stomach and Mobility formulas for dogs are suitable to be fed to all breeds including large breed puppies. The protein, calcium and phosphorous levels fall within the safety limits as recommended by AAFCO and are designed to meet the nutrient requirements of all breeds of puppies with a scientifically supported safety margin to deliver optimal nutrition as recommended by expert nutritionists.

What is Energy?

Energy is the first and most important nutrient which provides the power that drives all the body’s processes such as building muscle, using the brain, keeping the heart pumping and lung breathing. Energy is essential to all life.
In pet foods such as Delicate Care, food energy is often called metabolisable energy (ME) which is the energy available for metabolism. This energy is measured in calories or joules.

Is Natural Balance Delicate Care safe to feed to pets with allergies or intolerances?

It is important to first determine what allergies your pet has and whether or not the allergy or intolerance is in relation to food.
Sometimes allergies can be brought about by environmental factors such as grass seeds, fleas or even mosquito bites.
We highly recommend you involve your Veterinarian in diagnosing the basis of your pet’s allergies to determine if food is the cause.
Delicate Care High, Regular and Lite Energy formulas are hypoallergenic and do not contain the most common food allergens such as chicken, beef or wheat.
The Delicate Care Skin or Stomach formulas for dogs and cats utilizes novel ingredients such as kangaroo, duck and sorghum and may be suitable as an elimination diet.
The Delicate Care Mobility formula utilizes the same base as the Skin or Stomach formula with the added benefit of supplements to target mobility issues Your veterinarian will be able to provide valuable insight, support and evaluation on which of the Delicate Care range is best suited to your pet.

My dog needs to lose weight. Which formula is best for my pet?

Overweight dogs risk many problems including diabetes, pancreatitis and painful osteoarthritis.
Losing weight is not easy but even small weight losses eg 3-5% can ease the pain of osteoarthritis.
Controlling the amount of calories is important, and can be supported by feeding Delicate Care Lite Energy (a lower energy density food) or Delicate Care Mobility. These two formulations contain L-carnitine which assists
with the conversion of dietary fat into energy rather than being stored in the body as fat.
Please also be careful with the amount of “treats” or additional food given to your pet on top of Delicate Care as these supply extra calories.
Your veterinarian will be able to provide valuable insight, support and evaluation regarding a suitable weight reduction plan for your pet.

Do I need to give additional supplements like calcium when feeding Delicate Care?

All Delicate Care formulations are complete and balanced, containing all nutrients including calcium
which is added at exactly the scientifically recommended amounts to ensure optimum nutrition without supplementation.
Prior to using extra supplements, we would highly recommend you seek advice from your Veterinarian.

Is it safe for my dog to eat the cat’s food and vice versa?

Should the dog get into the cat’s bowl or vice versa, there is no cause for alarm.
However, the nutritional needs for dogs and cats are different and all Delicate Care formulations are designed with these specific needs in mind.
In order to ensure that your dog or cat’s nutritional needs are being met over the long term, dogs should be fed dog formulas and cats should be fed cat formulas.

What does “All Life Stages” mean?

“All Life Stages” means that the food is formulated for all pets ie puppies and kittens, adult dog and cats, breeding bitches and queens, working dogs and show dogs. Thus, an “All Life Stage” food will suit any dog or cat at any life stage without the need for any supplementation.
Delicate Care Skin or Stomach for Dogs, Delicate Care Mobility for Dogs and Delicate Care Skin or Stomach for cats are suitable for “All Life Stages”.

What is AAFCO?

AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO is the internationally accepted official body for recommending nutrient requirements for pets. AAFCO relies on a panel of nutrition experts to decide upon the nutritional recommendations for dogs and cats.
Each year AAFCO publishes tables of these nutrient requirements for Growth & Reproduction (i.e. puppies, kittens and reproducting females) and Maintenance (for adult dogs and cats). All Delicate Care formulations meet and safely exceeds all AAFCO nutrient specifications.

How about Grain Free Dog Food?

This is a marketing trend that has gained popularity in Australia in recent years. It is important to note that grain free does not mean starch or carbohydrate free.
The carbohydrate in grains, just like the carbohydrate present in grain free formulas, are digested by pets and used for energy.
Whilst some pet owners may be of the opinion that their pets have difficulty in digesting grains, scientific research shows that modern day dogs have evolved and have the genes to digest starch rather efficiently. Modern day dogs have developed copies of the gene for producing amylase, an enzyme that assists in the breakdown of starch in the gut. Most grain free dog foods have replaced traditional grains such as wheat and corn with potatoes or legumes, all of which are not starch or carbohydrate free.

Does the heat of cooking damage the nutrients in your food?

Delicate Care is produced though steam and pressure cooking. This is an important step to sterilize the final products and make them safe for your pets.
The heat treatment immobilizes microbacteria and pathogens like e.coli and salmonella so that the final products are shelf stable without the need for refrigeration.
Although cooking may affect some of the nutrients in the food, we compensate for this by including a scientifically based “safety margin” for nutrients in our formulations in order to deliver optimal nutrition to your pets.

Is Delicate Care Skin or Stomach for Cats safe to give to cats that have a history of FLUTD?

Delicate Care Skin or Stomach for Cats is suitable for cats suffering from chronic struvite accumulation in their urethra and bladder.  
The  low magnesium content decreases the propensity for struvite crystals to form and the Ammonium Chloride acidifies the urine which dissolves any struvite crystals that might have formed in the urethra.
The combination is the safest way to reduce the risk of struvite-based feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).

Why is it important to control the calcium and phosphorous levels?

When calcium and phosphorous levels are too high, this will affect the growth of puppies, in particular large breed puppies where it is critical to keep these two nutrients at the right levels. Too much calcium and phosphorous will have a negative effect on bone development in a growing puppy. Additionally, too much calcium will affect your pet’s ability to absorb the mineral zinc, which is extremely important in maintaining skin and coat condition.

What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? What does Delicate Care contain?

Probiotics are live bacteria, and are present in foods such as yogurt or probiotic supplements in tablet form.
Although the live bacteria can be beneficial, heat (such as the process of cooking) and stomach acids kill these live cultures.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are an indigestible fibre being both heat and acid stable. Prebiotics act as a food for the good bacteria already present in your pet’s gut.
As these good bacteria are nourished, this improves the ratio of good vs bad bacteria in the gut and can be beneficial as a first line of defence against diseases.
Delicate Care formulas all contain Prebiotics in the form of Fructo-Oligosaccharides (FOS) derived from inulin, as well as Mannan-Oligosaccharides (MOS) from yeast.

Feeding

How many times a day should I feed my dog/cat?

it is preferable to split your dog or cats daily feed into 2 equal amounts and feed them twice a day.
A puppy’s daily feed can be split into 3 equal portions and given 3 times per day.
Adult cats can be fed either small amounts through the day, or for some cats feeding once a day and letting them choose how often they eat can work.
Dogs that tend to overeat or put on weight or don’t like to exercise should be restricted to two or three small meals per day.
Deep chested breeds such as Basset Hounds, Rottweilers etc. should be fed several small meals per day especially in hot weather to reduce the risks of bloating.

How do I transition from my current food to Delicate Care?

When changing to Delicate Care pet food from another diet, we recommend that you allow 7-10 days for transition. Introduce Delicate Care pet food slowly by mixing with your pet’s previous food and gradually increase the amount of Delicate Care until you are feeding this exclusively. This gradual transition will reduce the chance of stomach upsets. A careful, progressive transition allows the gut to adapt to the new food, especially the gut microbiome and water balance.

Why is water very important?

Water is often not classified as nutrient by some nutritionists. The body is 65% water and must be kept in balance.
Water is essential for life, so water is critically important.
When feeding a dry food such as Delicate Care, please ensure that your pet has access to fresh water at all times.

My pet has soft stool after eating Delicate Care. What’s wrong?

Soft stools are an indication that the transition to Delicate Care has not been carefully staged. On the other hand if loose stools persist for more than a few days, then check with your veterinarian for possible infections, parasites or allergies.

My dog just vomited after eating Natural Balance. What’s wrong?

The most common reason for your dog vomiting is that your dog has eaten too much food, too quickly.
If restricting the amount of food does not resolve the vomiting or if vomiting persists for a few days, please check with your veterinarian.

Can I give treats to my pet while on Delicate Care?

Many pet parents offer treats to their pets as treats give joy to both giver and recipient.
It is important to look at the ingredients and nutritional panel of the pet treat being offered to your pet and take into account your pet’s condition and special dietary requirements if there are any. Treats are not complete and balanced food and should not be given as a sole or major source of sustenance for your pet.

Can Delicate Care be used as a long term diet or is it a limited usage diet?

All Delicate Care formulations are complete and balanced, so they can be used for long term nutritional sustenance.

Packaging

Why do the bags look vacuum packed?

Each bag of Delicate Care is hand packed at the factory. Our packing crew ensures that each bag is “de-aired” to remove as much oxygen from the bag prior to sealing.
You will notice that there is a small oxygen absorber pad/sachet inside each Delicate Care bag.
This sachet is included in the sealed bag to absorb whatever oxygen is left in the bag to keep the product fresh.
Oxygen is the main cause of oxidation and rancidity. As this little pad absorbs oxygen inside the package, the bag can look vacuum packed.

My dog just swallowed the oxygen absorber pads!

While this is not ideal, there is no need to panic as the oxygen pad is not toxic to your pet.
The sachet contains iron, carbon, salt and calcium carbonate which are all non-toxic when ingested by your pet.
The only danger in your dog swallowing a sachet is the potential of this being a choking hazard.

How does the packaging keep the products fresh?

All Delicate Care products are naturally preserved without the use of any artificial preservatives.
The main culprits in spoiling dry pet food are oxygen, humidity and light. Our aim is to preserve the freshness of our products through the use of the most up to date technology in packaging.
All our plastic bags are multi-layered plastic laminates, with a metallized layer in the middle.
This metallized layer delivers the lowest oxygen, light and water vapour transfer rates, which serves to protect our pet food.
You will also notice that in each bag of Delicate Care, there is an oxygent absorber sachet. Once the bag is sealed, the oxygen absorber pad will absorb all the remaining oxygen in the bag, so much so that sometimes our bags look vacuum packed.

What is the best way to store the products?

Dry pet food should always be kept in a cool, dark place, away from sunlight. Once open, the bags should be resealed to maintain freshness. If the bags do not have a resealing feature, it is ideal that the food is transferred to an air tight container.

Use by dates – is it still safe to use the product post use by date?

The Use by dates printed on our products are conservative to ensure freshness. If the product is stored properly prior to opening, the products may be used for up to 6 months past the printed use by date. We would recommend that you smell the product and check for signs/smells of rancidity and discard products that smell rancid.