Benefits of fruits and vegetables in pet food
Ever wonder why many pet foods, treats and supplements contain fruits and vegetables, or if there is actually any benefit to these ingredients in diets? The short answer is yes, there are many health benefits to your pet that come from them eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Below, we will dive into the benefits of fruits and vegetables in your pet’s diet.
Whole Foods Concept
Holistic diets contain fruits and vegetables that benefit the animal in a multitude of ways. Fruits and vegetables benefit the animal by providing micronutrients. Micronutrients are nutrients that benefit the animal but do not necessarily have an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) defined value. An example is carrots, which provide beta carotene, that the body converts to vitamin A Research has shown vitamin A is a vital nutrient for vision, plays a critical role in cell growth and in maintaining healthy organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in many of the nutrients that are required by AAFCO to meet your pets’ nutritional needs. Spinach is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, iron and potassium; papayas have vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, and the list could go on and on.
Antioxidants from fruits and vegetables provide natural health benefits to your pet. Antioxidants from fruits and vegetables can include vitamin C, vitamin E and citric acid. The natural antioxidants in fruits and vegetables fight free radicals that cause aging and allow for diseases to progress in pets. Some great options for high antioxidant fruits and vegetables include blueberries, cranberries, broccoli and spinach.
Fruits and vegetables are rich fiber sources which aide in digestion. Fiber contained in fruits and vegetables can be soluble or insoluble. Soluble fibers are fermentable, which mean bacteria in the gut use it as a source of energy. Insoluble fibers are poorly fermented in the animal, but aide in transit through the digestive system. Fiber serves many important roles, including but not limited to, increased stool quality, decreased instance of disease, water absorption, food source for good bacteria and provides the feeling of fullness to your pet. Pumpkin powder, apple powder and dried apple fiber are great examples of fiber sources that can benefit your pet.
Formulations of all kinds including dry, canned, treats and supplements can utilize fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are well received by consumer because of their known health benefits and they provide a clean ingredient on the label. When formulating dry diets with fruits and vegetables, they are typically included in the diet at a level varying between 0.1% to 3% depending on form and use in the diet. When using fruits and vegetables in treats or supplements, these levels can be much higher as the product design can utilize these ingredients to help meet nutritional/health benefits for the animal.
Why Fruits and Vegetables?
Feeding your pet a holistic diet with a multitude of fruits and vegetables, supports the animal through all stages of life, starting as a puppy all the way through their senior years. They can also help reduce the likelihood of disease and increase your pet’s quality of life. Contact your Seatarra representative for a full list of fruits and vegetables that are available to help meet your formulation and nutritional needs.
Written by Kent Cooper and Lisa Schole of Evolve Consulting Group