FAQ - Questions & Answers - 1st Choice Canada

We have answers for you!

  • Why should I choose 1st Choice instead of another brand?

    Our family-owned manufacturing company, founded in 1969, provides cats and dogs with premium quality food that is designed to meet their specific needs. Here is what sets us apart:


         -     All our products are developed and manufactured in our plant located in Boucherville (Quebec) Canada.

         -     Our Research & Development team, made up of experts in nutrition, remains on the lookout for the latest discoveries in animal nutrition. The team develops, evaluates and constantly improves formulas to produce high-performance blends with exceptional taste!

         -     Our laboratory analyzes quality at every stage of production: from raw materials to the finished product.

         -     Our E.U. certification allows us to export our products to European countries that require particularly high quality standards.

         -     Our formulas meet and even exceed the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

         -     We respect the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

         -     We were the first Canadian plant to receive the Canadian Food Inspection Agency certification in 2003. No quality recall on 1st Choice products since their inception in 1990.


    We work very hard to maintain these high standards of quality. You can offer our products to your animals with confidence!

  • Why do you offer several different types of food?

    We offer our consumers several different formulas because not all cats and dogs have the same needs! We can thus answer in a specific way to the nutritional needs of each one of them. Therefore, our foods are first adapted to the different stages of the animal’s life:


         -     Kitten / Puppy: aims for bone growth, stable intestinal flora and healthy organs, brain and sight development.

         -     Adult: aims for good vitality, easy digestion, healthy weight maintenance, healthy skin and coat.

         -     Senior: aims for healthy joints and bones, ideal weight stability, optimal dental hygiene, slowing down the aging process.


    Our dog formulas are also adapted according to the size of the animal, because small, medium and large breeds have different nutritional needs!


    Finally, we offer formulas rigorously adapted to the specific needs of animals according to the following criteria:


         -     Overweight, allergies, level of activity, hairballs (cat), sterilization (cat), dull coat, digestive problems (diarrhea, vomiting, constipation...), urinary problems (cat), skin problems (dandruff, dry skin, redness, itching ...), etc.


    At 1st Choice, we provide your pet with specific advanced nutrition that will ensure him a long and healthy life! To learn more about each available formula, check out the products for cats and dogs.

  • Is it possible to get free samples to try out your formulas?

    Unfortunately, we do not send samples by mail for testing purposes, because of logistical reasons... We know that free trial formats are usually too small to properly test the product. It’s impossible to know if the animal truly likes it or whether it will have positive effects in relation to its specific needs. Moreover, since it is important to make a gradual 5 to 7-day transition period when switching formulas, it is essential to have a sufficient amount of food so that the test can be carried out correctly.


    Therefore, the best option is to get a small sized bag in a retail store and try it risk free, thanks to our satisfaction guaranteed policy!


    If you or your pet are not completely satisfied with the tried product, you can return it to your retailer with your sales receipt (in the original packaging and with more than half of it left), in order to obtain an exchange or a full refund. It's that easy!

  • How can I make the transition between two brands or two different types of food?

    Any change of food (between two different brands or within the same product line) must be done gradually. As pets and especially dogs, are sensitive to dietary changes, sudden variations can cause them intestinal disturbances or digestive disorders (vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, loose or watery stools and stomach aches).


    Variations in the composition of the formula (type of protein, fat content, fiber content, presence or absence of grains, etc.) are responsible for the problems.


    For an adequate transition:


         -     Mix a small portion of the new formula with the old and gradually increase the quantity offered every day, while gradually decreasing the proportion of the old one;

         -     The transition takes place over 5 to 7 days at the end of which the animal can eat only the new formula.


    If the symptoms persist, do not hesitate to extend this adaptation period!

  • What is the average shelf life for 1st Choice products?

    All our 1st Choice formulas have a 18 months’ conservation period from the production date. Just refer to the expiration date labeled on the back of the packaging.


    However, it is important to know that once the bag is open, the product will slowly and gradually lose its smell and taste in contact with air. Therefore, it is easy to understand why animals sometimes seem to find the food of a new bag more appetizing!


    The ideal is to keep the product in a cool and dry place (between 15 and 26oC, with a maximum relative humidity of 60%) in order to optimize its life. Taking the time to properly close the bag between each use will help keep its freshness!


    Date of production

  • How do we read the "Best Before Date" on your bags?

    Here's a quick view on how to understand the dates printed on our packaging.

  • Are your bags reclosable?

    All our 1st Choice bags come with a locking system that makes them easy to use. Whether with our zippers or velcro closures, our bags effectively maintain the freshness of our products and are pleasant to use.


    We paid particular attention to the choice of our packaging. Made of high quality material, it has been specifically designed to maintain food freshness. You can therefore leave it in its original bag without worry. However, if you absolutely want to transfer the food into another sealed container, you are free to do so, but know that it is not necessary! No need to make an additional purchase, the original bag is perfectly adequate!


    Reclosable bag

  • How do I know how much food I have to feed my pet?

    When it’s time to measure the amount of food you should be giving your pet, it is better to rely on the information provided on the package. Suggested amounts were calculated based on age, animal weight, and average activity level.


    However, be aware that these daily ration tables were meant as guidelines only. In order to determine the optimal amount to give, it is important to also rely on the behavior of the animal:


         -     A very active pet spends lots of energy and can eat more without gaining weight;

         -     A less active pet consumes less energy and should ideally eat smaller amounts to avoid overweight.


    It's up to you to adjust the quantity of food available. If in doubt, do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for help!

  • Where do the ingredients in 1st Choice products come from?

    Our premium quality products are made from fresh meat and high quality ingredients. Each ingredient supplier is subject to the most stringent accreditation process to ensure their quality and safety.


    The supplier’s proximity is also taken into account because we are committed to reducing our ecological footprint. The ingredients used in the composition of our kibbles come mainly from North America and priority is given to the Quebec and Canadian suppliers (farmers and breeders) when they are available. In addition, we only accept partnerships with fisheries that are members of the Ocean Trust. This organization is committed to building partnerships with eco-friendly producers and is developing positive projects that help improve fisheries, marine environment and coastal communities that depend on the sea.

  • Why are there occasional variations in the color of the product?

    Physical characteristics (density, size, humidity, color) may differ from one product to another or within the same bag. Since 1st Choice does not use any artificial food colouring in the manufacture of its products as they may be harmful to the health of small animals, slight color variations are quite normal. These can be caused by several factors:


         -     Variations in the raw material’s natural color;

         -     Variations in the drying and extrusion parameters.


    All our foods are subject to strict quality controls, which allows us to ensure that they meet the standards and are of superior quality. Since the foundation of the company in 1969, our products have never been recalled. You can offer 1st Choice products to your pet with confidence!

  • Is it normal to find food crumbs at the bottom of the bag?

    Yes, it is perfectly normal. As for all dry food products sold in bags, the friction between food pieces during transport or handling can sometimes cause small breakages. Just think of your breakfast cereal or chips. Inevitably, there are smaller broken pieces at the bottom of the bag.


    We pay particular attention to finding solutions that minimize the crumbling effect in our pet foods. Quality checks are done on each produced lot to make sure we always stay within the accepted food industry standard, in terms of the amount of crumbs obtained.

  • What is your satisfaction guaranteed policy?

    All 1st Choice products are subject to our satisfaction guaranteed policy. If you are not fully satisfied with the product, whatever the reason, you can return it to your retailer for an exchange or refund. Just make sure that the product is in its original packaging (with more than half of its content) and bring the sales receipt.


    This policy allows you to try a new formula worry-free! Check out all the details on our site.

  • Why did you eliminate corn, wheat and soy from your formulas?

    Corn*, wheat and soy are ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or intolerances in certain animals. For sensitive cats or dogs, the consumption of any of these ingredients can provoke gastrointestinal disturbances, digestive disorders or skin problems. As a result, we decided to remove them from all our formulas, reducing the risk of allergic reactions.


    *Our Urinary Health cat formula has corn gluten within its formulation becaue it helps to keep magnesium at a very low level. Corn gluten will help acidify urine pH so it is ideal for a urinary formula.

  • Have any 1st Choice products been recalled?

    No. We are very proud to say that since the creation of the 1st Choice brand in 1994, we have an impeccable track record. Our plants meet the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards. It is our very high quality standards combined with the rigor of our controls that have ensured that our products have never been recalled.

  • I operate a shelter, can you sponsor me?

    We are always touched by organizations that passionately commit themselves to the well-being of pets in need. We are frequently approached by many organizations and shelters, whether in Quebec, in the rest of Canada or even elsewhere in the world, since we are distributed in more than 20 countries. Unfortunately, we cannot support them all.


    We chose to prioritize our assistance and to feed all animals from the following organizations, SPA de l'Estrie, Proanima, St-John's SPCA and much more. A part of our 1st Choice budget is annually dedicated to them.


    On the other hand, whenever possible, we do help other shelters sometimes! Each request is taken into consideration and evaluated individually. A decision is then made according to our possibilities. Just send us your request and we will gladly analyze your file.

  • I am a breeder, do you have a program for us?

    Yes, we have a program specifically for breeders. Our Research & Development team has developed an exclusive 1st Choice product line that is tailor-made for professional breeders. This team has done a colossal job, building on the latest discoveries in animal nutrition to create formulas that meet the distinct nutritional needs inherent to each stage of reproduction. This allows us to offer breeders the most nutritious top-of-the-range products on the market, which really improve performance and promote the longevity and health of small animals.


    For more information about our breeders' products, please fill out the form on the following page: https://www.1stchoice.ca/en-ca/breeder-program


    Promote the wellbeing of your animals and contribute to the success of your breeding establishment by teaming up with 1st Choice!

  • Can I buy your products directly at the plant or buy it online?

    You cannot buy our products directly at the plant nor order them online. But rest assured that you probably have several retailers very close to your home!


    You can visit our «where to find our products» page on the 1st Choice website by clicking here:




    If you prefer to receive your pet food directly at home, know that it is often possible to do so. Many retailers offer an online virtual store and do home delivery!

  • Is the food still good after the expiry date?

    We can guarantee the freshness of a product until the expiry date written on the bag only. After this date, we are unable to determine if this product can be consumed without risk tp pet's health. 

    One thing is certain, as time goes, it increases the likelihood that some products will be rancid. The level of vitamins may have gone down and the taste may be altered over time, drastically reducing palatability and overall performance of the food.

    We do not recommend to offer our foods beyond this expiry date.