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What's wrong with dog food: Mainstream and natural diets (Proceedings)

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Aug 01, 2008

There is no such thing as the one and only ideal diet. Why?
• More than one possible type of animal (young, old, different breeds, etc.)
• More than one possible ideal diet
• They have to like it and eat it
• It has to agree with their system
• It has to be good for any problems they may have

Dogs vs Cats
• Cats are obligate carnivores
• Cats need animal-source vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids
• Cats need more protein than daily protein turnover suggests
• Dogs can be vegetarians and scavengers
• Dogs are "carno-omnivores"

Problems with Commercial diets
• Artificial flavors, colors, preservatives
• Glutens and byproducts
• Contamination (China)
• "Natural" diets that aren't natural
• Based on MDR rather than the optimum daily requirement

Optimum Daily Requirement
• Usually different from MDR
• Based on findings in animals older than original research, or with different problems.
• Taurine for cats
• Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are lower in dry food
• Zinc—may need more
• Iodine level may be too low

Definition of By-Products
• Any part except hair, horn, hoof, or hide
• From rejects from human food, 3 Ds (dead, diseased, dying)
• Can include euthanized animals
• Rendered
• Some rendering plants do not take dead animals or downer cows

Meat Meal
• Rendered
• Skeletal muscle, some fat and bone allowed
• Cooked in steel vat until dry, fat drained off, then ground
• Volatile amino acids gone, some cross linkages

Effect of heat on protein
• Cooking lightly has the least effect on protein quality. Canned has the next least.
• Rendering causes loss of some volatile amino acids, and cross-linkages of others, creating substances with much less digestibility

Cats: Obligate carnivores
• Can't use flax oil (check the vegan cat diets)
• Need animal source of B 12
• Require higher level of protein than apparent maintenance level
• All cats in one study had PBDEs in blood but hyperthyroid cats had more
• 20 wet and dry cat foods: all have PDBEs
• Canned, fish-flavored cat food has up to 12 times as much as dry food
• Canned, fish-flavored cat food has up to 100 times as much as human diet