Natural Ingredients in the Pet Food Industry
From breakfast cereals to skin care products, natural ingredients are becoming increasingly popular as the safer choice among health-conscious consumers. This preference for all-natural products has made its way into the pet food realm, prompting people to re-evaluate familiar dog and cat food labels. Many pet owners are switching to foods that meet their pet’s nutritional needs without exposing them to potentially harmful substances.
Why Pet Owners are Avoiding Synthetic Ingredients
Most pet foods are packed with synthetic ingredients that make them more palatable or extend their shelf life. However, various studies show that some artificial preservatives, colorings, and flavors may have negative health effects over time.
Ethoxyquin (E324), BHA (E320), and BHT (E321) are preservatives that prevent fats from going rancid in dry pet food. These ingredients have carcinogenic effects that may cause cancer and have been banned as food additives in many countries.
Propylene glycol is a chemical that maintains moisture in dry pet food and can cause Heinz Body Anaemia with regular consumption. The FDA banned this ingredient for use in cat food. However, it is still common in many low-end dog food brands. Additionally, artificial colorings, such as carmines, tartrazine, and erythrosine, can cause allergic reactions in cats and dogs.
How To Choose Better Treats for your Pet
Educating yourself on the contents of your pet’s favorite treats can help you make more informed decisions in the dog food aisle. The best formulations contain recognizable ingredients – if you can’t read most of the label, it likely contains synthetic preservatives or other additives.
Seeing “vitamins” on the label means the manufacturer added a powdered pre-mix to the recipe to enhance its nutritional content. Beneficial natural vitamins include riboflavin, thiamine, pyridoxine, and cholecalciferol.
Avoid brightly colored pet treats – cats and dogs use their sense of smell to detect flavor and nutrition and do not find colorful snacks more appealing than plain ones.
Natural Ingredients That Make for Healthier Pets
- Vitamin E – this ingredient often appears on pet food labels as “tocopherols”. Vitamin E is a natural preservative that prevents fats from going rancid and helps keep pet food fresher for longer. It is an antioxidant that supports a healthy immune system and liver function and helps dogs and cats grow strong and shiny coats.
- Vitamin C – this ingredient is often listed as ascorbic acid or ascorbate on pet food labels. It is a natural preservative that keeps dry food fresh and contributes to its nutritional content. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production, maintaining healthy bones, joints, and connective tissue.
- Rosemary extract – rosemary is a natural preservative and powerful antioxidant many manufacturers add to dry pet food. It has antimicrobial properties, preventing bacteria and mold from spoiling the food and helping cats or dogs build a healthy immune system and fight infection. It is also rich in phytochemicals that can improve eye health and liver function.
- Fish and plant oils – fish oil contains the omega-3 (EPA and DHA) fatty acids that support cognitive functioning and boost your pet’s overall health. These oils also fight inflammation, which can help manage arthritis and allergies. Plant oils like canola and flaxseed contain the third type of omega-3 – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Choosing dog or cat food that contains natural ingredients and no synthetic additives may help extend your pet’s life by boosting their physical health. As more owners switch to healthier options, the pet food industry will need to adapt their recipes to include cleaner ingredients.
Advanced Biotech is a leading supplier of natural and certified-organic flavorings and aromatics suitable for pet food formulation. Please contact us for more information.