Owners are increasingly concerned about feeding their pets. Fortunately, the habits of feeding them with food scraps, raw entrails or meat offal, which gave rise to problems such as intestinal obstructions (bones), malnutrition (imbalanced diet) or parasitism (raw entrails), are being left behind.
In recent years, the production and marketing of compound feed for dogs and cats has increased, which is more convenient to feed our pets. However, the extensive offer of ranges, varieties and prices create great confusion when choosing which is the best option for our pets.
Not all feeds have the same quality, this has a direct relationship with the digestibility of the feed. Digestibility is the proportion of food that the body assimilates and that is not eliminated with the feces. This, in turn, depends on 3 factors:
- Good quality of raw materials
- Appropriate nutritional formulation (balanced)
- Proper cooking.
Therefore, we must bear in mind that good food must be complete and cover all daily needs. Its composition must be balanced, with all the necessary nutrients and in the right proportion to ensure a good state of health.
RAW MATERIALS AND THEIR BALANCE
The feed must be rich in protein, a condition that most industrial foods meet. The difference lies in the quality of it. The higher the quality, the more digestible and the higher the amino acid content, necessary to be used by the animal to synthesize its own proteins (hormones, enzymes, antibodies). Therefore, protein of animal origin from quality meat is the most appropriate.
In most cheap feeds, the proteins lack essential amino acids or have too much collagen (present in bones, tendons, meat trimmings), which is poorly digestible.
The cat presents a peculiar case, they have to incorporate into their diet an amino acid that they cannot synthesize, taurine, and that is only present in animal proteins. Its lack can cause blindness and heart problems.
A quality food provides highly digestible fats (unsaturated) and provides an aroma that attracts our pets. They also have in their composition a combination of animal and vegetable fats to achieve a balance in essential fatty acids.
These foods are rich in vegetable oils that provide linoleic acid, necessary to provide shine and softness to the hair. In the specific case of cats, they provide, together with linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, which they cannot synthesize and which is found exclusively in animal fats.
At the same time, they are in an adequate percentage, since an excess would produce obesity, and a deficiency would make the food less appetizing and would induce the organism to use proteins as an energy source, which could cause protein deficiencies.
Fiber is essential for proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Its digestion is carried out, through fermentation, by certain colonic bacteria, which produce volatile fatty acids in charge of keeping the intestinal epithelium intact. Quality feeds provide a moderately fermentable fiber (beet pulp, rice bran,…) in an adequate amount not exceeding 5%, since if it is found in excess it would produce many fermentations and with it a poor quality of feces. .
The main source of carbohydrates in feed comes from starch (corn, wheat and rice). While some manufacturers use leftovers, the highest quality ones use the whole grain. Like fats, their proportion is taken into account, since it must be adequate to avoid the use of proteins as an energy source.
Quality diets provide the right amount of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, so it should not be supplemented with pills, since in addition to being counterproductive, it is an unnecessary economic expense. In some cases, excesses produce poisoning and when they are not toxic they can trigger kidney problems, since this excess is eliminated via the kidneys.
In short, in the preparation of quality feed for our pets, good raw materials are essential, with a correct combination of those of animal and vegetable origin to obtain a balance that covers all their needs at each stage of their lives: growth, maintenance , pregnancy, activity, old age…
WHEN DO WE NOTICE IT?
Our objective way of assessing a feed is to compare the state of health of our pet before one diet or another. Certain characteristics that an animal that eats quality food presents are, among others:
- With a smaller amount of food, it satisfies all their needs.
- Eliminates fewer stools and flatulence because it assimilates food better.
- Her hair and skin are soft and shiny.
- Maintains your ideal weight (as long as we offer the recommended amount for your lifestyle).
- Maintains good dental, digestive, joint, skin, nervous,…