Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What the Terms on Your Dog Food Bag Mean

There are many terms on the dog food bag. Do you know what they mean and what their function is?
As I mentioned in my last article, every dog food label has the same basic information. The guaranteed analysis lists protein, fiber, fat and moisture contents along with vitamin and mineral information. Some of the words may look like a foreign language to those of us who have no chemistry background, but I assure you they are real words.
Protein breaks down into over 20 amino acids in your dog's body, and these are responsible for bone growth, skin and coat condition, and proper organ function, and this isn't even the whole list. So you want to have a meat protein listed as the first ingredient. Some of the amino acids in my Canidae dog food are: Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine Cystine, Phenylalanine-Tyrosine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Valine.
Fat is a concentrated form of energy that the dog's body uses and has about 2-1/2 times the amount of energy that protein and carbohydrates have. It is also a source of essential fatty acids. Polyunsaturated essential fatty acids are used for healthy skin and your dog's hair coat, and assist the immune system in its normal function. Some vitamins even need dietary fat for their utilization by the body. So even a dog that may be overweight needs a certain amount of fat in their diet to remain healthy, they just don't need to be eating a food with 30% protein and 20% fat.
Fiber is the part of the carbohydrates in a dog food that is hard for a dog to digest. So why is it in there? Well, fiber helps give a more solid form to your dog's stools for one thing. It promotes healthy cell function and is used by the intestinal tract walls as a source of energy, and a certain amount of fiber is needed to combat constipation. It is also sometimes added to senior and less active diets, to add bulk to the food to make the dog feel fuller and reduces the amount of calories an overweight dog eats.
Carbohydrates are no less important for your dog and can make up to 55% of some dry foods. Carbohydrates tend to come from cereal grains like rice, barley, wheat, sorghum, corn, or oats. They are usually cooked to make them more digestible for dogs. CANIDAE of course contains no corn, wheat, soy, or grain fractions at all.
Vitamins fall into two classes, water-soluble and fat-soluble. The water-soluble vitamins are the B vitamins and Vitamin C, and help the body metabolize the proteins, carbohydrates and fats in your dog's food. The fat-soluble vitamins include: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E. The fat-soluble vitamins are necessary for growth, reproduction, vision, proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus and as antioxidants.
Minerals are necessary for normal nerve and muscle function, as well as oxygen transportation by the blood, enzyme function, bone growth, blood clotting and hormone production. These include Calcium, Chloride, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium and Zinc.
Now the next time you look at a bag of dog food, you will understand what some of the ingredients do and how important they are to your dog. Skye loves her Canidae and so do I.

Ruthie Bently

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