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I am the Owner/President of Snaggle Foot Dog Walks & Pet Care in Round Lake Beach, Illinois. I live there with my puppy Bandit. I love reading stories and information about pets which could help both owners and animals.  Please feel free to check out our dog walking and pet sitting services.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Learn About Your Pet Food and Nutrition


Pet foods have been a preferred option for many pet lovers. The focus is usually on the balancing of nutrients available in these foods. However, there are many factors and aspects revolving around these feeds. For instance, what are the additives, the nature of ingredients used and the manufacturing process? In terms of nutritional composition, the percentages of individual components are important in prevention of diet related disorders.

What Makes Pet Foods
Due to marketing strategies, advertisers encrypt attractive embroidery of the supposed components of the feed. However, the actual components of pet feeds are human leftovers or food that is unsafe for human consumptions. In order to increase pet’s palatability, certain odors and aromas are added to the food. Other feeds contain supplements, mainly micronutrients that help boost the health and proper growth of the pets. 

Rendering is one of the major processes that lead to production of food. This process involves utilization by products from human food through cooking processes, to make them edible by animals. The ingredients in this case range from livestock carcasses to human food leftovers. Although this process serves many purposes, sterilization through elimination of pathogens is important for safety of consumption. The main ingredient utilized by the manufacturer is the dry protein, while the rest of the products end up in disposal.

The dried protein undergoes grinding, to increase the surface area for addition of other diet components. Energy giving foods and micro nutrients are included into the meat meal in different percentages, depending with the intended use and targets. In order to add that natural flavor, the pet foods may contain digest matter. Digest is a product of chemical synthesis of edible meat and other products, which have that natural umami taste and flavor. 

The Process and Yields
With rendering involving high temperatures, there is a tendency of destruction of nutrients in the vats. Just like humans, animals have digestibility rates of certain products, based on the availability of the subject nutrient. For instance, the whole process of making pet food may either increase or reduce the availability of digestible proteins to the body. This means that the expertise of the manufacturer determines the success of the pet food.
However, not all processes will yield the same composition of nutrients. Generally, these foods come as either natural or synthetic, based on the ingredients used. Natural feeds are recognized by Association of American feed Control Officials since they utilize ingredients from the natural environment. On the other hand, synthetic foods contain of in-vitro made supplements, which occur in higher percentages and presentations than that of natural foods.

Functional Pet Foods
Just like there are functional foods for humans, pets also have functional feeds. The main aim of these advanced foods is reviving the health or nutritional attributes of the pet. However, the label composition and the ingredients used are important, with regard to possible side effects. Manufacturers are adding important nutrients to form supplements for pets. In as far as, you feel your pet requires these boosters, it is important to understand the carrier properties and reactions.

For instance, antioxidants and omega-3 supplements are available in the market. Some of the manufacturers claim their meat meals contain these properties. However, the percentage composition may have little impact on the expected results due tom presence of antagonistic nutritional properties in the foods. Some foods that have intestinal benefits simply increase the fiber content reducing the likelihood of constipation and colon blockages. 

Additives and their Impacts
Since pet foods come from byproducts, sometimes the rendering process leads to loss of their characteristics. It is obvious that highly processed foods have a shorter shelf life especially with the destruction of enzymes through heating. Among the additives you find in these foods are preservatives in form of antioxidants, to reduce the deterioration levels of the food. Vitamin E and C are the most important inclusions due to their nutritive addition as well as preserving attributes.

Other additives include minerals such as Calcium, Iron and Phosphorous and essential vitamins to boost the strength and immunity of the pets. The rest of the additives add no Nutritional value but can increase the organoleptic properties. They include colorants, flavors, stabilizers and emulsifiers, all that focus on the palatability and suitability of the foods to the pets.

Final Scope

The labeling of pet foods as super or premium may not necessarily reflect on the nutritional benefits. It is important to check the percentage composition of natural ingredients in the food, to enjoy maximum benefits.

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