Articles by Greg Aldrich, PhD

Niacin: key compound in pets’ metabolism

Also known as vitamin B3, this ingredient is vital for healthy maintenance of pets' nervous tissues, GI tracts and skin functions
Niacin was the third B vitamin to be identified as a dietary essential for its role in treating the deficiency disease “black tongue” in dogs and a disease with a similar etiology, pellagra, in humans. The discovery was tied to pets and humans consuming diets nearly monopolized by grains and deficient in quality proteins.
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Salmon: nutrient-rich petfood ingredient

Wild caught or farm raised, salmon offers a source of digestible protein and omega-3 fatty acids for pet diets
Salmon, the supposed “last wild food” (Greenberg, 2010), has become very popular in petfoods. This may simply be marketing; however, there is some nutritional credence to the hype.
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Riboflavin: golden yellow heart of a pet’s metabolism

A key nutrient, riboflavin (vitamin B2) lies at the very heart of a dog or cat’s metabolism and health
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is one of those vitamins we don’t hear much about in petfood production. Unlike with several other vitamins, the requirement for dogs and cats has been relatively well researched, it hasn’t been implicated in unfounded controversy and petfood manufacturers fortify foods to the necessary level with relative ease.
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Bones: a not-so-novel source of essential pet nutrients

Niche categories as well as conventional petfoods increasingly depend on bone to meet many pet nutrient needs.
In human foods, bones have long been a staple for making ingredients like soup stock and gelatin; however, people don’t often eat bones directly. Rather, any bone that lands on our plates as a function of eating a steak, drumstick or chop often ends up being discarded or shared with the family pets.
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Bisphenol A: incidental non-ingredient

For petfood, the issue is its use in the epoxy resin that lines the inside of cans
In the production of petfoods—no different than human foods—there are a number of compounds that make their way into the food that aren’t a part of the formula/recipe or stated on the ingredient listing. This is nothing underhanded or disingenuous, merely a function of the process, package and regulations.
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Guar gum’s invisible presence in petfood

Found in nearly every brand of wet petfood, this ingredient is a real behind-the-scenes aid to the canning process
Guar gum is a common, but nearly invisible, ingredient in petfoods. It is found in almost every brand of wet petfood, whether marketed at a farm-and-fleet, grocery, big-box, indie or boutique store. However, you won’t find this ingredient on the shelf by itself at your local grocery, and it has low recognition with consumers.
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Tapioca: A novel starch source for petfood

This ingredient has become especially prevalent in no-grain and elimination diets
In the search for more novel ingredients to use in petfood, a new starch source, tapioca, has begun to find its way into some specialty foods. This ingredient has become especially prevalent in no-grain and “elimination” diets.
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PCB and dioxin: side effects of our industrialized world

A recent incident in Germany reminds us that these contaminants have the potential to enter our raw material stream
This column is usually reserved for a review of the various features of a specific ingredient used in petfoods. But this issue, the focus is on a class of contaminants that periodically find their way into food and feed for humans and animals. 
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Potassium chloride: popular potassium source for petfoods

Potassium chloride is nutritionally effective, reasonably priced and readily available
When balancing the macro-mineral portion of a petfood, calcium and phosphorus are usually the first priority, magnesium seldom requires adjustment, and sodium and chloride, if inadequate, are easily met with a pinch of salt (sodium chloride). All that remains is potassium.
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Pea fiber: a functional petfood ingredient

With a label-friendly name, pea fiber offers an effective, reasonable alternative fiber source for companion animal diets
Pea fiber can be found in an increasing number of petfoods, especially in the premium, holistic and alternative format products. This ingredient is relatively new to petfoods and may be a strategic addition to counteract a growing consumer discontent with beet pulp and an absolute resistance to any of the functional fibers derived from wheat (e.g., bran), corn (corn bran) or soy (soyhulls)—all commonly perceived as cheap fillers. While this impression about the functional utility of these standard fibers is a long way from the truth, it certainly underscores that consumer perception rules the day.
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