Marketed dog food passes rigorous chemical and biological tests, all of them to determine that they cannot cause toxicity due to an excess of certain nutrients. In addition, they must be palatable, that is, dogs like them.
It is important that they go through controls, in which it is verified that the concentration of the different levels of nutrients is within the ranges marked by the law.
Experiments should also be performed where it is determined whether the dog prefers that feed or any other.
In the labeling of the nutritional information of the food products that we give our pets, we can check the analytical components that they entail. These components usually vary according to the age of the dog to which it is intended, its physical activity, and its state of health.
What are the essential nutrients contained in dog food?
Each animal species has different nutritional requirements. We can see this clearly if we compare the feeding of a dog with that of a parakeet, but perhaps it is more complicated to identify if we oppose the feeding of a cat and a dog. However, they have different requirements. For example, the extra contribution of an amino acid called taurine is essential for cats.
The essential nutrients contained in commercialized feed and that cannot be lacking in dog food are:
- Proteins, of which the amino acids are: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, methionine + cystine, phenylalanine, phenylalanine + tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
- Animal fats that include essential fatty acids: linoleic acid ( omega-6 ), arachidonic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).
- Minerals : calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride and magnesium.
- Trace elements : copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.
- Vitamins : Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12, niacin, folic acid, biotin, choline, vitamin K.
Where do vitamins and minerals come from in dog food?
Vitamins and minerals are included in the food matrix. This means that these substances are found within the natural structure of fresh foods. If natural foods are processed by mechanical, chemical, or physical procedures, as is usually the case with feed, these substances tend to break down.
In dog feeds, some of these vitamins and minerals remain unchanged, but in most cases, they are lost. It can also happen that the natural product with which the feed is manufactured is not of good quality, so the feed will be even worse.
To cover these deficiencies, minerals and vitamins are synthesized and added later, until they reach the permitted levels according to the regulations.
Are synthetic vitamins and minerals harmful?
Provided that the different levels of these added substances are controlled by laboratory analysis, the synthetic minerals and vitamins do not harm the animal’s health. All substances that are added in animal feed are previously tested on animal models in laboratory conditions.
There are substances, such as additives, preservatives, and dyes that are added for different reasons to food, and that, in certain quantities, could be harmful.