Understanding pet food ingredients in detail from a manufacturer’s point of view

Have you ever taken a look at the ingredients list on pet foods? They are full of complicated and large terms. However, understanding the accepted definitions for those terminologies is critical so that you may make an educated selection on which ingredient to add to specific pet foods. Avoid making a decision based on perception. Here’s an explanation of some of the most popular pet food ingredients.

1.   Amino Acids

Essential amino acids are those that must be supplied by the pet’s food. They can be found in animal or plant protein sources, therefore they won’t be listed, or they can be added on their own by supplying it from industrial ingredients suppliers, in which case they will be listed.

There are ten essential amino acids for both dogs and cats, with one needed only for cats:

  • Arginine
  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • The mineral taurine (essential for cats)
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

Other non-essential amino acids may be added to the pet food, depending on the ingredients, to guarantee that the diet is nutritionally balanced and supports particular health features.

2.   Meat or animal products

Many people think of by-products as low-quality or even inedible animal parts like hooves, hair, or feathers. “By-products” in wet food are primarily organ meats such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, and spleen. Rather than being harmful, it is the first choice of animals when it comes to food. Many animal parts are used in the pet food industry that is not ingested by humans but are highly nutritious. This contributes to meat production becoming a more sustainable method.

Each can provide a rich source of protein and amino acids, and in sufficient supply, meet the protein requirement of dogs and cats.

3.   Fats and oils

Animal fat and plant oils are commonly used to provide fats in dog meals. Sources of fat that supply the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids will be listed in high-quality dog meals. Fish oils (herring, salmon, etc.) and flaxseed and canola oils are common sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Although fats have a bad image, they are required and provide numerous benefits in pet food:

  • Provide an excellent source of energy
  • More calories of protein or carbs
  • Assist in the absorption of vitamins A, E, D, and K.
  • Provide healthy fats.
  • Make the food more appealing.
4.   Gums

The following gums are commonly included in pet food:

  • Carrageenan
  • Cassandra gum
  • Xanthan gum
  • The gum xanthan

These are soluble fiber sources that increase the size and water content of the feces as well as the formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are significant sources of energy for colon cells and aid in fluid and salt absorption in the large intestine.

5.   Plant-Based Products

Depending on the type and method of processing, plant-based products also provide a source of protein and carbohydrates/fiber.

6.   Cellulose

It is generated from the pulp of fibrous plants and is a rich source of insoluble fiber. It is also known as “powdered cellulose.” This adds heft to the diet and provides satiation (the feeling of being full after a meal).

Cellulose is also included to cat meals to reduce the production of hairballs. It attracts water into the GI system and aids in the movement of hair eaten while grooming, which is expelled in the stool.

7.   Grains

Grains are an important source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They supply carbohydrates and aid in the preservation of the form and crunch of dry pet food. The following grains are commonly found in pet foods:

  • Corn
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Rye
  • Rice
  • Wheat
8.   Minerals

Trace minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese, iodine, selenium, and copper must be included in a pet’s diet. What role do minerals play in a pet’s diet? Both macro and trace minerals play important roles in pet health, supporting a variety of physiological systems that keep pets active and healthy. Some common minerals present in pet foods are below.

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Sulfur
  • Iron
  • Zinc

Now you know the actual meaning of these “complicated” terms. These terms are essential ingredients in pet foods. Pet manufacturers look at every ingredient from a scientific perspective and conduct in-depth research before coming up with ingredients that can be used in pet foods.

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