How to Use the Food Search ToolI'm going to explain this too one step at a time, going through each of the criteria that it asks for (underlined text). If you're still confused, feel free to contact me and ask questions.
---Search in foods designed for:
Pet food is always made 'species specific', and often 'lifestage specific'. They make cat food, dog food, kitten food, ferret food, etc, but many people find that between ferret food and kitten/cat food, quality of ingredients is more important to them than the picture on the bag. Check off which kinds of foods you want to include in your search. If you don't check any, your search will include foods intended for ALL of the species available.
---Search in these varieties of food:
Dry kibble isn't the only complete and balanced diet on the market. Canned food, semi-moist, freeze dried, raw food, etc are often available also. Select which of these you want to include in your search. If you don't select any, ALL available varieties will be included.
---Protein should be between (min) % and (max) %. Reward points for it being as as possible within that range.
Alright, this is where it starts to get tricky. We're going to start building a score for these foods.
First off, the search will ONLY include foods that are between the min and max ranges. Typically dry kibble will never be less than 20% and never more than 55%. If you're including foods with a lot of moisture (ie. raw) you'll need to set the range low enough to pick them up. Moist foods are typically 8-15% protein. Honestly the easiest thing to do is to just set the range as 1-100.
Now we start the score. Any time you see a box like this: we're dealing with the actual points. Whatever you put into that box will be the maximum number of points a food can be awarded if it is perfect on this category.
For example, if you set the range from 1-100, and awarded 30 points for it being as high as possible, a food would need to be 100% protein to score 30 points. At half that level (50% protein) it would get half that score (15 points).
If we're looking for a high protein food, the points it gets from this section are determined by the following formula:
For those that don't like math, that means that the points given to a food for this section will be percentage of the value you asked it to reward, directly based on where the food's protein level falls between your min and max ranges
---Fat should be between (min) % and (max) %. Reward points for it being as as possible within that range.
Same deal as protein. Dry kibble will typically be between 15 and 35% fat as a rule. More moist foods may be as low as 4%. Setting the range at 1-100 is the easiest.
---Weighted scale points for the top 6 ingredients:
Now you'll be able to add up to 10 custom point modifiers.
Weighted scale means that ingredients at the top of the ingredient list are going to make a bigger impact in the points than ones that are lower down. This weighted scale looks at the first 6 ingredients only.
A 21 point scale looks like this:
1st ingredient: 6 points are awarded or deducted (as specified) if the food meets the criteria you set
2nd ingredient: 5 points
3rd ingredient: 4 points
4th ingredient: 3 points
5th ingredient: 2 points
6th ingredient: 1 point
I'm going to use "Royal Canin Babycat 34" to do an example. The first 6 ingredients are: Chicken meal, rice, chicken fat, corn gluten meal, chicken, corn.
Say we fill it out like this:
In the top few ingredients I want to points, max for ingredients in this category
We'll get: 6 points (chicken meal) + 0 points (rice) + 0 points (chicken fat) + 0 points (corn gluten meal) + 2 points (chicken) + 0 points corn = 8 points
Clicking the button will give you space to add up to 10 of these criteria. For more information about which ingredients fall under which categories, visit the ingredients page.
---Additional points for the entire ingredients list:
This one is more self expalnatory. If the phrase you entered in the box exists anywhere in the entire ingredients list, the points you entered will be awarded or deducted. This only happens once. If you put in 'potato' and the food has 6 potato ingredients, the points will be applied once, not 6 times.
I was thinking more along the lines of point deductions when I made this part. For example, you could deduct 15 points if the food has a preservative you don't like. Or if your pet has a rice allergy, you could deduct say 600 points to push all the rice foods to the bottom of the list, regardless of quality.
Clicking the button will give you space to add up to 6 of these criteria.