Often when the benefits of ingredients harvested from our oceans, lakes and rivers are discussed, the sustainability of such products is the focus. And although important to both green-conscious pet parents and bottom-line-meeting manufacturers, pets themselves benefit from the nutrition and palatability of these from-the-sea additives. From fish meal and fish oil to solar-dried seaweed, these are the novel ingredients caught fresh and ready to be formulated into your next functional companion animal edible product.
BioOregon Protein, for example, develops, manufactures and markets novel fish-based ingredients for petfood. According to the company, their products are derived solely from the fresh cuttings of seafood that was originally harvested and processed for human consumption. Three fish-based petfood ingredients manufactured by BioOregon Protein and distributed by LaniPet are available for commercial petfood production: SeaPro 75, SeaPro Shrimp and SeaProCrab.
- SeaPro 75 is a de-boned, high protein, low ash Whitefish meal. This ingredient is utilized in dog and cat foods to boost the level of highly concentrated and digestible protein, supplement levels of omega-3 fatty acids and reduce levels of ash and magnesium, according to the company.
- SeaPro Shrimp is a shellfish meal derived solely from Pacific Ocean Pink Shrimp and is a concentrated source of minerals, contains supplemental levels of protein and provides a dietary source of chitin and astaxanthin.
- SeaPro Crab is a shellfish meal derived solely from the Pacific Dungeness Crab. It is a concentrated source of minerals, contains supplemental levels of protein and provides a dietary source of chitin.
Lortscher Animal Nutrition also offers Smoked Fish Concentrate made from naturally smoked North Atlantic Herring, which provides a natural source of omega fatty acid, says the company. The fish concentrate also contains no added flavor enhancers and no aroma.
Alaska Naturals pet products are formulated using all-natural fish ingredients like whitefish meal, salmon meal and herring meal, with no chemical preservatives, synthetic flavoring or artificial colors, says the company. Products like Wild Alaskan Whitefish, Salmon and Herring Treats for dogs, and Wild Alaskan Salmon and Pollock Oil for dogs and cats, are an important source of omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, which can help to maintain a healthy skin and coat, and promote strong immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems in companion animals, says Alaska Naturals. “The best source for EFAs is seafood,” claims the company's website. “While some plants (such as flax seed) do contain EFAs, they do not contain the important omega-3 (EPA and DHA) fatty acids which can be found in fish.”
Acadian Seaplants Limited delivers seaweed-based solutions and products that are available in more than 80 countries around the globe and distributed by Trouw Nutrition. The company is known for harvesting only the highest quality seaweed for animal feed made from pure Ascophyllum nodosum. “More than 30 years in this business gives us an unparalleled depth of understanding of seaweed—its properties and active ingredients, how best to harvest, how to process it in ways that fully preserve its nutritional value and how to incorporate it for optimal results,” says Acadian.
Tasco is a natural ingredient that helps pets maintain gastrointestinal tract health and allows them to get through times of stress, claims the company. The product contains 100% Ascophyllum nodosum: the most researched specialty marine plant on the market. Tasco is harvested June through September, when the presence of many important bioactives (sulfated polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, beta1-3-glucans [laminarans], polyphenols [phlorotannins], carotenoids and other antioxidants) in Ascophyllum nodosum is generally highest. Tasco is backed by over 20 years of research and the benefits of the ingredient are supported by numerous published peer-reviewed scientific journal articles on the health and production benefits of the product like bioactives and mode of action for several of the observed health benefits in animals, including prebiotic effects. Tasco also has patent protection for immunity enhancement, E. coli reduction, shelf life and marbling.
Tasco’s other nutritional benefits:
- Supports proper balance of normal intestinal microflora.
- Protects pets from oxidative stress by reducing free radicals.
- Provides support to GI tract health, including in young or mature/geriatric pets with developing or challenged immune systems, pets under extreme stress, pregnant and lactating females and pets suffering or prone to chronic conditions.
Omega Proteins offers two fish-based ingredients for companion animal diets: Virginia Prime Gold Fish Oil and Special Select Fish Meal. Omega Protein’s fish oil contains approximately 35% total omega-3 fatty acids with a balanced concentration of EPA and DHA. “Our refined oils have been fractionated and filtered to improve viscosity and handling characteristics,” says the company. “Virginia Prime Gold is also alkali refined to reduce free fatty acids and bleached to reduce color and odor.” Special Select premium fish meal is a protein made from menhaden. Unlike sources of plant proteins such as soybean meal, Special Select fish meal is a complete source of highly digestible, low-allergenic protein, has a superior amino acid profile, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and is a natural protein source for animals and fish, claims Omega.