Updated: Sep 9
Why are vegetable ingredients important in pet food?
Vitamins and Minerals
A long and healthy lifestyle is what pet owners try to accomplish for their pets. A well-balanced and high quality nutritious diet with health benefits is a key factor in achieving this.
Vegetable ingredients are a fantastic source of fibre, minerals and vitamins. Vitamins keep a pet’s skin and coat healthy, strengthen bones and teeth, and give them the overall energy to function. They also help to aid the body’s ability to resist disease.
Research shows that vitamin A, is a fat-soluble vitamin that mainly occurs in the liver. Dogs are able to produce vitamin A from carotenoids (pigments in plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. These pigments produce the bright yellow, red, and orange colors in plants, vegetables, and fruits).
Vitamin B is very important for dogs to convert carbohydrates into energy. However, the way in which it needs to be added to the pet food varies.
The benefits of sweet potato.
Sweet Potato’s are included within all of our recipes. Although this is a key ingredient within the range, what are the benefits of Sweet Potato and why is it added?
It’s Superfood! Packed with a wide range of vitamins and minerals and naturally gluten free.
Great for digestion as sweet potatoes are high in fibre which helps to promote a healthy digestive system and good stool formation. They are also soothing on the stomach so are great for more sensitive animals.
They have a low glycemic index which means that they release glucose more slowly into the blood stream unlike other starchy foods which release this more quickly once consumed. This means blood sugar levels remain more constant and provide a steady release of energy throughout the day to your dog.
They are one of the best sources of Vitamin A which is an antioxidant powerhouse and is thought to have anti-aging properties along with helping to maintain good eye sight and aid skin and coat condition.
Thought to have anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties as they are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant, along with other vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B complex, Iron, Phosphorus and Magnesium.
As sweet potatoes contain a lot of magnesium, it’s thought that this can help with stress and promote calmness, relaxation and good mood.
What’s the purpose of pea protein in recipes?
Pea protein is a concentrated source of protein which is very valuable in pet food as it is a highly digestible source of vegetable protein. It’s great when used in combination with animal based proteins as they can complement each other to meet an animal’s nutritional requirements.
You might wonder why some recipes within a range of products contain pea protein when others don’t, this is because different meat sources contribute different levels of protein to a recipe. So for example, if a lamb based recipe doesn’t meet the overall desired level of protein just from the meat ingredients, then we can include some pea protein to help increase the protein level of the recipe to ensure that the animal is getting enough protein in their diet.
We always look to include meat proteins as the main source of protein within a recipe as these are complete proteins which means that they contain all the essential amino acids required by an animal, however pea protein is a nutritious complementary protein source which is still easily digested and beneficial to the animal.
Why is there carrot in recipes?
Did you know carrots has a lot of benefits!
Carrot is known for being a good source of Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene which helps support eye health and vision within pets.
Carrots are also a good source of antioxidants, which can help support immune health and help to support oral health
Carrots can support oral health with antibacterial properties
Carrots can also help support cognitive function
What is Beet Pulp and what are the benefits?
Beet pulp has been criticised by some and referred to as a “cheap filler” with “very little to no nutritional benefit”, however this is not true!
Beet Pulp is a by product of the Sugar Beet industry, we extract the fibrous component of the sugar beet, eliminating the sugar and harvesting the fibre. Fibre is beneficial to pets.
Sugar Beet is a plant grown in temperate climates and is mainly grown for the sugar industry. Beet Pulp is also used in the equine industry in order to make up the fibrous component of horse feed. The equine industry has a much greater reliance on beet pulp, as horses require more fibre in their diet, for dogs and cats on average beet pulp is only included between 1 and 6%.
Great source of soluble and insoluble fibre. Helps to promote gastrointestinal movement. Encourages the production of small firm stools. Supports "good" bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Why is Fibre Important?
Fibre is an important component of a healthy balanced diet, it helps the digestive system to process food and steadily absorb nutrients. It supports the functioning of normal healthy micro organisms living in the gut and acts similarly to a prebiotic food source for maintenance and proliferation of the ‘good bugs’
Types of Fibre:
Helps the bowel to pass food by giving stools structure. This type of fibre helps prevent constipation and hairball (gut stasis). Includes cellulose, grains (wheat & rice) and tomatoes.
Acts as a food source for bacteria that aid digestion however too much can cause loose and watery stools. Includes oats, apples.
A balance of both soluble and insoluble fibre is essential for cats and dogs
What are the benefits of your additional ingredients?
Asparagus contains aspartic acid and a high amount of potassium making it act as a natural diuretic which means that it promotes urination. Asparagus is thought to help promote urinary tract health and prevent infections. Asparagus is also a good source of fibre which aids with digestion by helping food to move through the gut and is also high in B Vitamins which have a range of benefits but are especially important for aiding metabolism.
Apple is a source of soluble fibre, this acts as a food source for healthy bacteria within the digestive tract which aid digestion. Apples are also great for weight management as they have a low energy density and the fibre they deliver helps animals to feel fuller for longer.
Cranberries have a high content of vitamin C and antimicrobial properties. In medicine, cranberries can be applied to treat bladder and kidney infections. When used in cat diets, the valuable contents of the berry may aid the prevention of urinary tract infections.
Mint has been known for a very long time as a ‘medicinal herb’. The aroma of the herb is
thought to activate the salivary glands and also the glands which produce digestive enzymes in the mouth helping to facilitate digestion. It’s also believed that mint helps to sooth the stomach in times of indigestion or inflammation and can help to reduce gas production.
What are Oils and Fats and why are they in your recipes?
Fats come in all shapes and sizes and have a whole host of functions within the body. The most common form of dietary fats are triglycerides which are the bodys’ primary form of stored energy. Fat is found deposited in various locations in the pets’ body, surrounding vital organs, under the skin and surrounding the intestines. These deposits have extensive nerve and blood supply which is essential to be able to provide energy when required and store energy when intake is surplus.
Not only do fats provide energy, but they also have metabolic and structural functions, serving as insulators against heat loss and as a protective layer for the vital organs. When it comes to carbohydrates as an energy source, animals have limited capacity to store energy in this form, they do however, have a limitless capacity to store that extra intake of energy in the form of fat.
Dietary fat provides the pets’ body with the most concentrated form of energy out of all the nutrients they intake alongside this, the digestibility of fat is typically higher than that of proteins and carbohydrates. Dietary fat also provides pets’ with sources of (EFAs) essential fatty acids, these nutrients are called essential as the body has a physiological requirement for them. The body requires two distinct types of EFAS, omega 3 and omega 6. Omega 3 and 6 are essential for normal physiological functioning of the body, cells and cell structure.
Fat within pet food also contributes significantly to the palatability and texture of the kibble. Something which is critical to Dogs Life, as regardless of how well formulated our recipes are, it cannot be nutritious if it cannot be eaten! Although a higher fat content (25-40% fat) may be preferred over lower fat diets it’s important to realise that an increased fat level also increases the energy density of the kibble.Higher density kibbles with an increased energy density are required to be fed at a lower level, however it is important to note that this increased density teamed up with increased palatability of foods can encourage pets to over-consume which can very rapidly lead to over eating. For this reason, we ensure that your recipes are formulated to meet the individual needs of pets’ and are perfectly balanced with moderate fat levels that are still highly palatable! When it comes to senior and light diets, they are formulated to have at least 15% less fat content than the average product.
Where do I find the oil/fat level?
Oils and fats (sometimes referred to as lipids) come under the same category and are required to be listed as ‘Crude Oils & Fats’ under Analytical Constituents in accordance with the ‘Code of Good Labelling Practice for Pet Food (FEDIAF, 2011).
Hopefully this gives you a little more of an insite and understanding of what goes into your dog food and our recipes. Our dogs rely on us to look after them. As the saying goes, you are what you eat so feed them the best diet you can.