Dog Food Ingredients Info
For dogs to get a complete balanced diet they need...
PROTEIN, FATS, CARBOHYDRATES, VITAMINS, MINERALS and WATER.
To understand the differences between dog foods and to be able to compare the contents/ nutritional values we have to understand what protein, fats and ash etc actually are and their purpose for being part of the dog food. Below is a brief summary of each.
Amino acids are used in every cell of the body and are used to build the proteins you need to survive Protein is best known for supplying amino acids, to build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, build bones, help maintain and renew tissue and regulate metabolism. It is also a source of energy. The main food sources for protein are meat, fish, eggs, milk and cheese. Cereals and vegetables are another source but the quality of protein is not as good and harder to digest.
There are two main types of fats,
Saturated fat (animal sourced) and polyunsaturated fat (plant sourced). Fats and oils provide important vitamins and fatty acids which can be known as vitamin F. Fatty acids aids nutrient utilization and the movement around the body. Omega-3 and omega-6 are the names given to the two types of fatty acids in dog food. Fat is the main source of energy for dogs, saturated fat provides greater energy for dogs than carbohydrates. Fat in dog foods also aids in keeping the dogs coat and skin in good condition. It also makes the food more tasty.
The type of ash found in dog food is not the same as you would find in the fire place. Ash is the mineral content in the dog food.
Ash is produced by heating dog food at very high temperatures. By completely incinerating the dog food you burn away the protein, fat and carbohydrates which leaves behind just the foods minerals.
The minerals contained in ash include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and zinc, along with trace amounts of many others.
In order for a dogs body to function properly and aid towards good bone and tissue development they need these minerals.
There are two groups of vitamins fat soluble which are vitamins A, D, E and K. The second are water soluble the B group and vitamin C. It is not essential for dogs to have a daily consumption of fat soluble vitamins as they are stored in the body. A daily supply of water soluble vitamins are essential for dogs as these ones are excreted. If a dog is fed a well balanced diet you should not need to supplement the food intake with extra vitamins as the dog will receive all that it requires.
At certain times of a dogs life i.e. illness and pregnancy extra vitamins can be a benefit to a dogs health. In other circumstances too many vitamins can be detrimental to the dogs health for example fat soluble vitamins are stored in the liver, kidneys and as fat deposits within the body. Always seek vet advice.
Fibre helps to maintain the health of the dogs stomach and intestines and is necessary for the intestinal tract to function normally.
Also by having fibre in the dogs diet it can help with obesity as some fibre can increase the feeling of fullness. It can also help with diarrhoea, constipation, improve mineral absorption and diabetes mellitus in dogs and more.
Dogs can not digest fibre but certain bacteria found in the large intestine break down the fibre into short-chain fatty acids. (This Process is fermentation) Highly fermentable fibre results in poor stool quality. Moderately fermentable fibre results in adequate production of short-chain fatty acids and maintains excellent stool quality. Slow fermentable fibre is helpful in weight management. These fatty acids provide energy to the cells lining the intestine tract, the cells require high energy to work properly.
The energy the fatty acids give the intestinal cells aid digestion of other nutrients.
The type of fibre given to dogs in the dog food influences the transit time of the food through the gastrointestinal tract.
The fibre found in dog food is mainly sourced from the cell walls of plants and grain present in food. A lot of carbohydrates contain fibre.
There are two types of fibre soluble fibre which dissolves easily in water and insoluble fibre which doesn't dissolve in water, but retains water.
Soluble fibre foods for example are fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley and some beans these will increase absorption of nutrients, help slow digestion and satisfy the dogs appetite. Insoluble fibre foods are for example vegetables, whole grains and wheat bran these foods will help with constipation.
Is an inexpensive way to provide an energy source. (links with Fibre) Not essential for a dogs diet.
Fresh water should always be provided as the water intake solely from the dogs diet is minimal and insufficient to keep a dog healthy. If fresh water is not provided the dog will become dehydrated. Three other reasons why water is very important are: one-aids digestion, two-aids temperature control and three- aids in the elimination of waste.