Palatability Panel Training and Validation
All of the "taste testers" at Summit Ridge Farms have undergone extensive training and validation. We start by introducing two bowl feeding stations and then monitor the temperament of each animal, their acceptability of two bowl feedings, and the dogs or cats willingness to make a choice. Panels are periodically validated by presenting the same diets simultaneously in order to verify a null response. We then offer a highly palatable diet versus a standard diet in order to verify a positive response. Animals found not suitable for palatability testing are utilized for other types of protocols. At Summit Ridge Farms we feel it is imperative to the accuracy and validity of consumption data to have a large group of potential candidates to choose from and to put the time and effort into the selection and training process so that palatability dogs/cats are chosen using sound science and accurate validation procedures.
The variety of products available to the consumer adds a unique challenge to the evaluation of acceptability and preference. Through years of data collection and interaction with our animals, we have categorized our taste testing dogs and cats into those extremely suited towards specific types of evaluations. For example, at Summit Ridge Farms we have a large population of cats extremely adaptable towards eating canned, pouched, and semi-moist diets. Some cats and dogs have digestive difficulties with diets oilier than dry, and many are simply not suitable for use in evaluating the acceptability of different types of diets. Accurate testing is our main goal and constant interaction and data analysis is the only way to take the guess work out of preference testing.
Summit Ridge Farms has extensive expertise in the evaluation of treats for dogs and cats. Protocols have been developed for all types of feeding scenarios, including the evaluation of flavored medications, jerky treats, rawhides, and cat-nip toys, just to name a few. The technical staff at Summit Ridge Farms takes a hands-on, high-tech approach to all aspects of treat evaluation