Why it is essential to include plant-based proteins in dog and cat food?

Dogs and cats naturally gravitate towards meat and seafood because they are carnivores. However, in 2022 more people are switching their diets towards plant-based foods because of their vast health benefits. And because of this, pet food companies want to offer the same for cats and dogs. Although they can use plant-based products, long-term feeding on a strictly vegan diet as it is not physically appropriate for cats and dogs due to their distinct nutritional needs.

That does not rule out the possibility of including more plant-based elements in pet food. Plant-based proteins can be combined with animal proteins to create a highly appetizing, high-protein snack or treat for cats and dogs alike.

Why prioritize plant-based proteins?

The trend toward using plant-based components in pet food is primarily focused on using ingredients with proteins that are sustainable in order to meet the nutritional needs of cats and dogs. Finding healthy animal sources of protein has grown increasingly difficult, not only for humans but for the pet food industry as well.

Plant proteins have the benefit of having a very stable nutritional content. Plant proteins were once thought to be a cheap way to increase protein in both human meals and pet foods. This could not be further from the truth in today’s market.

This typically makes working with plant proteins easier. Furthermore, most pet meals already contain vitamins and minerals, therefore fortification is already a part of the formulation process.

Top ingredients for plant-based pet foods

There has been a flood of new and revised pet products using meat as the primary ingredient. Simultaneously, we’re witnessing an increase in products with plant-based sources of protein in pet feeds, matching the rising popularity of plant foods in human foods.

Pet foods, just like human food, require complete protein sources, which contain the required levels of all important amino acids. Why? Because Amino acids are essential for the health of the animal’s organs and muscles, as well as many other growth processes. According to the amino acid profile, soy protein is the first complete plant-based protein that can be utilized in pet diets to give high-quality protein.

Soy, pulses, and peas are examples

·        Soy

Soy components can be used in cat and dog food to offer protein and functionality to extruded products and a variety of reward items. Soy is a low-fat, low-cost plant protein that helps prevent oxidative flavor development during shelf life.

·        Pea

Pea protein is also becoming increasingly popular in pet foods. While pea protein includes all of the essential amino acids, it is not called a complete protein since methionine and cysteine are limiting amino acids. Pet ingredient suppliers can, however, combine pea protein with another protein source, such as chickpea, rice, soy, or pumpkin. Rice is a popular choice since it contains more methionine and cysteine than pea protein. To make a complete protein, combine rice and protein in the appropriate proportions.

  • Pulses

Pulses, which comprise dried peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans, are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Pulses are adaptable and act as a taste sponge. They complement all types of vegan and vegetarian recipes and match well with animal proteins.

To conclude

New plant-based proteins will be identified, produced, and refined into safe, high-quality components for usage in pet and human foods. Perhaps one day, meals will be purposefully tailored to suit both nutritional needs at the same time, giving new significance to this type of food.

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