We know, as humans, that what we eat impacts our physical health. Cats and dogs are no different. In particular, eating large amounts of processed food can not only deny the body the essential nutrients it requires but also lead to a variety of health issues – for both humans and our four legged companions. Switching to a less processed diet can be relatively straightforward for us but when it comes to our beloved pets, most of us don’t have the time or knowledge to make their food from scratch. So how do we know what’s good and what’s not when it comes to the pet food on the shelves? The first step towards understanding this is to be aware of what foods our pets need to be healthy, and what foods can cause issues for them.
So what makes good pet food?
The simple answer to this question is ingredients. The recipes and quality of ingredients used in commercially produced pet food vary wildly and it’s often hard to know what you’re really getting for your money.
One of the most essential elements in every pet’s diet is protein: both cats and dogs need protein to thrive. Each protein is actually made up of a chain of essential nutrients called amino acids. All mammals need 22 amino acids in order to metabolise energy effectively. Whilst some of these amino acids can be produced internally, others need to be acquired through food. Cats require 11 of these from their diet, and dogs need 10. If these nutrients are missing from your pet’s diet, they could develop health issues in the long-term.
Although protein can be found in various different foods such as meat and grains, your pet does not absorb all protein in the same way. A dog’s digestive tract, for example, is only 20cm to 80cm long – much shorter compared to the average human (150cm): it is not designed to effectively break down grains to extract essential amino acids. This means dogs cannot metabolise energy from cereals and grains in the same way that we do.
In today’s pet food market, many of the leading brands use recipes that largely consist of grains like corn, rice, sorghum, wheat and barley. These are cheap ingredients that are useful for bulking out the food, but are not always beneficial to the animal -especially if fed over a long period of time. A diet heavy in grain can lead to a poorly functioning digestive system which may manifest in your dog as:
Coat and skin issues
Hyperactive or repetitive, agitated behaviour
Weight & joint issues
At Applaws, we believe that a dog’s food should closely mimic their natural diet, the diet that their bodies are designed to digest. We focus on offering products with a high percentage of meat protein combined with natural fruits and vegetables, which provide essential vitamins, carbohydrates and fibre. Every ingredient we select has a benefit for the animal to optimise their health and wellbeing. We choose not to use grains and cereals to bulk up our products as we don’t believe they provide essential benefit for your pet.
Our feline friends are also obligate carnivores, and they too lack the necessary enzymes to effectively break down grains and cereals. As such, our dry cat food, like our dry dog food, is also grain free with 50% meat protein – much higher than most other brands you will find.
Cats also have an essential need for one particular amino acid: Taurine. This nutrient can be found in fish and meat, and cats are very sensitive to it, because Taurine is responsible for their eye and heart health.
Many cat foods have synthetic Taurine added into them to meet pet food standards. At Applaws we don’t need to use additives. We use only the finest cuts meat and fish in our wet cat (and dog) food, and these naturally contain a potent source of nutrients, including Taurine – so no additives or preservatives are needed.
So what can you do to keep your pet well? It’s simple.
Choosing the right diet for your pet’s does not need to be complicated. Most health issues can be improved by feeding a good quality diet that contains meat as a main source of protein. So when choosing your pet food, turn over the pack and read the ingredients listed on the back: they are listed in order of quantity. Look for products that list meat early on in the ingredients, and avoid recipes with long lists of different grains. Make sure the food you are feeding is a combination of “complete” and “complementary” foods (this will be stated on each pack) so you know your pet is getting the right balance of nutrients. Always make sure your pet has access to fresh water, and if you do decide to change your pet’s food, transition it gradually over 7-10 days to help their digestion adjust.
Happy pet, happy owner.
Helping our pets be their best, their healthiest and happiest is our ultimate goal as pet parents. We hear often from owners about the dramatic physical and emotional improvements they have witnessed in their pet’s health since switching to a premium and natural pet food like Applaws.