on May 2, 2013

Meeting nutrient requirements in dog food production

When properly formulated, frozen, canned and dry complete foods all sustain a healthy and long life in dogs.

["Although the three foods are very different, they all can be considered appropriate nutrition for healthy dogs.", "There are no indications that one food variant is unequivocally superior over another when fed to healthy dogs."]

Ingredient mixtures of industrially produced, complete canine foods can vary markedly, but still be equally good. Feeding of dogs should aim at supplying adequate amounts of nutrients in an available, palatable and safe form that supports a healthy and long life. This rational approach, combined with practical experience, allows dogs to be fed on a wide variety of formulas. Clearly, the complete foods for dogs of various ages and physiological states must accommodate the nutrient requirements.

Dog food must contain  fats to meet the requirement of essential fatty acids, but the fat level is flexible. Most foods contain carbohydrates, mainly as starch, but carbohydrates are not indispensable. The fiber fraction also contains carbohydrates. Fiber is not a required nutrient and its energetic contribution is neglected. Here, the term carbohydrates excludes fiber. With regard to digestion and metabolism, dogs can handle a wide range of dietary amounts of fat and carbohydrates. This makes it possible to produce different, but adequate foods, provided that the recommended allowances of amino acids (protein), minerals, trace elements and vitamins are met.

The distribution of total food energy over proteins, fats and carbohydrates can be calculated from their contents in the food concerned and their accepted energy values. Table 1 illustrates the energy composition of typical, complete maintenance dog foods…

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