Articles by Greg Aldrich, PhD

Clay minerals: Do these ingredients have merit in petfood?

These ingredients already exist in small amounts in some animal feeds and petfoods, but are they truly serving a functional purpose?
There are several petfoods on the market that contain clay minerals such as montmorillonite and bentonite. Inclusion of these earth elements at small amounts are purported to benefit our pets.
Read More

Alfalfa: A smart choice for dog and cat food?

Alfalfa is found in a number of cat and dog foods, but its safety and nutritional benefits are still being debated.
The use of alfalfa in some dog and cat foods has created questions with consumers—specifically, whether alfalfa is an ingredient that belongs in these foods. Unfortunately, there isn't a compelling or definitive answer for the petfood company, veterinarian or pet owner.
Read More

Pyridoxine hydrochloride: The stealth vitamin B6

This important pet dietary requirement has gained near-universal market approval
Despite its being synthetically produced predominately by Asian countries with a chemical-sounding name, pyridoxine hydrochloride (a source of vitamin B6) is nearly invisible on popular blame-blogs or safety discussions. This is an important vitamin; it touches nearly every part of animal metabolism and pyridoxine hydrochloride is found on nearly every petfood label around the globe, and yet there is near silence regarding its addition to petfoods.
Read More

Salmonella: The ingredient no one wants in their petfood

Prevention, monitoring, and industry-wide adoption of best practices are key to managing this challenging bacterium.
While events that conspired to sweep petfood into the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 were not exclusively pathogen related, the net result has been an almost singular focus on eliminating Salmonella in petfood. Before 2007, the only area in the news that seemed to be affected by Salmonella was poultry products (i.e., chicken and eggs).
Read More

Petfood additive a leading dental health aid

Sodium hexametaphosphate a mineral sequestering agent, enhances ‘mechanical action’ of petfoods with a dental message
Today there are a number of dog foods and treats promoted as beneficial for dental health. Some sport the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal (VOHC Accepted) for having passed a rigorous product test.
Read More

Xanthan gum: Functional carbohydrate for petfoods?

This specialty ingredient used in vegetarian and gluten-free diets could have applications as a thickener and stabilizer in petfoods.
Xanthan gum is found occasionally in pet products, most commonly in wet foods and periodically in sauces and gravies, milk replacers and other liquid supplements. While one can find this ingredient in the specialty grocery aisle for vegetarian and gluten-free dietary needs, it is not what one would consider mainstream.
Read More

Ancient grains for today’s petfood: Amaranth and quinoa

While not mainstream petfood ingredients, these pseudo-cereals may be viable alternatives for specialty purposes
As more and more petfood brands strive for differentiation, the search for non-traditional ingredients intensifies. We have seen new meats and meals, tubers in many varieties and now legume seeds and beans becoming prominent.
Read More

Soybean oil: Food industry staple right for petfood?

Currently limited to therapeutic and specialty petfoods, this high-quality ingredient could be used in a broader array of products
Soybean oil plays an infrequent and peripheral role in petfoods. This is somewhat surprising given its popularity in human foods and its prevalence on grocery store shelves alongside corn and canola oil.
Read More

Yucca schidigera: Latin for odor-reducing petfood ingredient

Besides helping control fecal odor, this functional ingredient might have other nutritional and health benefits for pets
Periodically one finds an ingredient called Yucca schidigera extract on the label of a petfood—and not just on dog and cat food labels. You might even find it on ferret and rabbit food labels; and for those of you who consider your horse a pet, you may see it in horse feeds.
Read More

Organ meats: quality source of protein for pets

Opening our minds to using organ meats expands our base of raw ingredients and supports nutritional quality of a complete pet diet
Organ meats have been called a multitude of names like viscera, entrails, tripe, paunch, offal and giblets. Despite the 18th-century monikers, they are the working internal organs, the guts, of the pig, chicken, cow, sheep or fish from which they derive.
Read More