The broadening knowledge of pet nutrition and food technology has transformed the pet food industry remarkably over the years. It is now widely recognised by the veterinary profession that pets are living longer, healthier lives as a result of improved nutrition.
MEAT & ANIMAL DERIVATIVES
Meats are generally good sources of protein, essential fatty acids, iron and some B group vitamins. They also increase the palatability of a product and have a high digestibility.
FEDIAF members use by-products of the human food industry that come from animals slaughtered under veterinary supervision. These materials meet the very high safety and quality criteria laid down by regulations. Please see the legislation section on our website.
Members only use materials from species, which are generally accepted in the human food chain. The members use materials of beef, lamb, poultry, pork, fish, rabbit and game.
Fish is a good source of high quality protein. Fish muscle contains iodine. Because bones are frequently ground when preparing the fish, a good source of calcium and phosphorus is also provided. The flesh of oily fish contains vitamin A & D and omega 3. Fish are commonly divided into two groups; white fish - haddock, plaice, cod, whiting and sole; oily fish - herring, pilchards, mackerel, sardines, tuna, salmon and trout. If you would like to find out more about the specific fish used in a particular pet food, please contact the manufacturer.
DAIRY PRODUCTS & EGGS
Dairy products and eggs provide high quality and digestible protein. Dairy products also provide calcium and a number of vitamins. Examples of dairy products used in pet food include cheese and milk products.
Vegetables provide a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Soya beans are commonly used to provide a source of protein and energy, omega 6, B vitamins fibre and minerals.
CEREALS & CEREAL BY-PRODUCTS
Cereals provide an important source of energy, a proportion of protein and other nutrients including thiamine and niacin. Although cats have no absolute dietary requirement for carbohydrates, they present an excellent energy source in an easily digestible form. Good sources of carbohydrates in pet foods are usually cereal based such as corn (maize), rice, wheat, barley or sorghum. Certain fibres, for example - moderately fermentable fibres such as beet pulp or rice bran, can also have additional beneficial effects on the health of the digestive tract.
FATS & OILS
Fats and oils provide a supply of energy and essential fatty acids. They can be from vegeatble or animal sources and are important for optimal health, including kidney function, reproduction and a glossy coat. There are 2 different types of essential fatty acids (EFAs) – omega 3 & 6. Some fats also supply a source of vitamins A, D, E & K.
SODIUM & CHLORIDE
Sodium is an essential nutrient and along with chloride is important for fluid balance in the body. Good sources of sodium in pet food include meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Sodium may also be included in prepared pet foods in the form of table salt (sometimes listed on the ingredients panel as salt) to enhance taste.
The National Research Council lays down guidelines on sodium levels for dogs and cats. Although sodium levels in human food can present a human health issue due to the risk of hypertension, sodium levels in prepared pet food are not a cause for concern in healthy adult dogs and cats. The physiological make up of a pet animal is quite distinct from that of a human. Healthy dogs and cats are actually able to consume diets with higher sodium levels than those found in most prepared pet foods without any adverse effects such as increased blood pressure or gain in body water. While a higher sodium intake may cause increased thirst and water consumption, the extra sodium is excreted without problem in the urine. In pets with disorders such as heart or kidney disease reduced salt diets may be advised. Such disorders must be discussed with a vet and appropriate dietary advice followed.
The term "various sugars" is a category description, which may refer to sucrose (cane sugar, commonly known as table sugar), fructose and glucose, all of which are natural products present in fruit, vegetables and cereals.
Some manufacturers may add sugar to pet foods as an energy source. Dogs and cats can easily convert sugar in to usable energy through normal digestion.
Manufacturers may also add very small amounts of sugar to assist with the cooking process. When sugar is cooked along with meat it results in browning of the meat and the production of natural sugars, (just the same as those produced in the cooking of the Sunday roast), this provides a pleasing colour and enhances palatability.
If sugar is included in addition to that which naturally occurs in the ingredients, levels are carefully controlled to ensure nutritional balance and palatability.