What do you think of when you hear the word nutrition? We are not born with a comprehensive knowledge of nutrition. Our knowledge is gained from Life Skill classes in school and from the media. Unfortunately lessons learned in Life Skill classes are often ignored or quickly forgotten. Most people perceive nutrition as complex topic and difficult to understand and thus through out our lives we rely on the media and advertising to guide us through our diets.

The media has taught us that vitamins and minerals are the cornerstones of nutrition, but these are only two of the 45 plus nutrients in foods that are essential for growth and the maintenance of your pets health. Every day your pet’s health is challenged by the air it breathes, the water it drinks and through diets composed of agricultural by products stripped of nutrients both during the initial processing and again when these ingredients are cooked, extruded and dried during commercial production. To replace these damaged nutrients, fat ladened with heat sensitive vitamins, amino acids and flavours is sprayed on during the cooling and drying process. The pet food industry is a multi-billion dollar business with an annual growth rate of four to seven percent. Each year hundreds of new products are introduced into the market place as well as new concepts in marketing pet foods (weight loss diets, premium diets. growth diets, life stage diets, the list goes on). What is amazing is that this complex industry operates using data from only two sets of nutrient requirements for dogs and cats set out by AAFCO, one set for growth and reproduction and one for adult maintenance.

For the majority of pet food, either canned or extruded, the ingredient lists have more similarities than differences. Where the differences exist are in packaging. price and marketing.