Short Primer on Amino Acids for Dogs and Cats

If you read the “Digestive Tidbits on Dogs and Cats” that we put up here recently you may recall that food passes fairly quickly through their systems.    They have short digestive systems and therefore do not have the benefit of billions of microorganisms along their gastrointestinal tract synthesizing amino acids for them.    They therefore require these to be fed to them.    There are now 22 amino acids identified (when I was in college there were 20) of which 10 are considered “essential” meaning they must be obtained from their diet.    You can add one more (taurine) for cats.    The others can be synthesized internally as long as the necessary “pieces” are present and are called “non-essential”.   That’s not exactly an appropriate term because all the amino acids are necessary for a healthy sustainable life.   It’s just that some of them do not have to be fed directly.     Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which plays a critical role in almost all biological processes.

      Amino Acids Utilized by Dogs and Cats

 

“Non essential” (not required in the diet)

Alanine

Asparagine

Aspartate

Cysteine

Glutamate

Hydroxylysine

Glycine

Glutamine

Proline

Serine

Hydroxyproline

 

“Essential” (is only obtained via the diet)

Arginine

Histidine

Isoleucine

Methionine

Phenylalanine

Tryptophan

Threonine

Valine

Leucine

Lysine

Taurine (cats)

 

A holistic diet will utilize all natural biologically appropriate sources of the essential amino acids in it’s recipe(s).     While we ourselves are not nutritionists at Wholesome Pet Essentials we do business with companies that utilize extensive research in nutrition to satisfy your pet’s needs.    Because of the relatively short period of time your pet’s food is in their digestive system it’s important that it be a nutritiously balanced product.          Of course there’s a lot more to it than amino acids….more later.

Free Holistic Select Offer

Bring in your empty bag from any competitor product and we’ll give you  a free 3# Cat or 5/6# Dog bag of any Holistic Select product we have in stock.    The Holistic Select recipes are manufactured in Mishawaka, Indiana by Wellpet.    They are a lifestyle product and include  puppy,  small breed,  large breed, adult,  and senior health formulas.   There is also  a very popular weight management product and two total grain free formulas.

 

www.holisticselect.com

 

Why we don’t have Taste of the Wild….and some other brands….

From time to time we get inquiries from customers looking for a brand we don’t carry.   One of these is Taste of the Wild.    Why do we not sell Taste of the Wild?   It’s a nutritionally sound product, in a very attractive bag, very effective marketing….there’s every incentive for us to carry it.    Except, TOW is manufactured by Diamond Milling.    A co-packer that has an extensive recall history.

This from Dog Food Insider:

The Taste of the Wild site gives no indication that the food is made by Diamond and many people who feed this food are unaware of the connection. Diamond has had a history of recalls due to aflatoxins, concerns about Salmonella, and production issues at least since around 1999-2000, including a large recall in 2005, and many consumers have lost confidence in the company and the products they produce. Nevertheless, Diamond manufactures or co-packs food for many other brands including CanidaeSolid GoldCostco’s KirklandDick Van Patten’s Natural BalanceTractor Supply’s 4Health, and NutraGold.  Since their earlier recalls, Diamond says today they use 151 quality checks to ensure the quality of their products. However, the company issued a recall in May 2012 for many of their products, including Taste of the Wild, after a Salmonella outbreak linked to their South Carolina plant.

Most consumers have no reason to closely check for this kind of information so we have taken it upon ourselves to offer only products we have the highest confidence level in.    Wholesome Pet Essentials owners have an extensive background in the animal nutrition industry (including dog and cat) including years of involvement in ingredient purchasing and quality control at multiple feed operations.     We understand the difference in ingredient quality and will not knowingly sell you an inferior or unsafe product.       We carry brands that will meet or beat any of the nutritional specifications on the brands we don’t carry and will provide you with peace of mind that they are made with wholesome safe ingredients.   Your pets health and well being is our focus!

Digestive Tidbits on Dogs and Cats

In the future we’ll be presenting more specific nutritional information on dogs and cats.   But first here is a short primer and interesting tidbits on their respective digestive systems:

Dogs are classified as carnivores and are well adapted to eating meat.   However, they can consume and manage on a diet of an omnivore.   Still, the more meat the better.    There sense of smell is estimated at 10,000 times more sensitive than humans.   Therefore an appetizing aroma on their meals is important and why small amounts of hot water on kibble will tease their appetite.    They have 42 teeth designed for cutting and tearing.   They have fewer taste buds than humans.    They have very little salivary amylase (an enzyme) so therefore very little pre-digestion of carbohydrates occurs unlike humans.    They have a very expandable stomach adaptable to eating large meals.   Their stomach ph is more acidic than humans to assist in digestion of small bonelike substances and to protect against harmful bacteria.   The time food spends in the digestive tract is 12-30 hours compared to humans which is usually considered 30 hours to 5 days!

 

Cats are classified as obligate carnivores.  They absolutely have to have meat in their diet.   They have 30 teeth designed for cutting and tearing and have no sideways movement of the jaw at all.   They have even fewer taste buds than dogs and cannot taste sweets.   They have NO salivary amylase.   Their stomach is relatively small and designed for several small meals per day.   Which is why you can leave food out for the cat….unless your dog can get at it!    Like the dog the stomach is a more acid environment than humans.   Transit time through their system is 12-24 hours.   Their small intestine is well suited to digesting proteins and fats.   They need a protein rich diet.  Thus protein levels in cat food exceed the protein level in  dog food recipes.

 

The most essential nutrient for both is of course WATER!   Water can be obtained through drinking of course but also through their food.    Feeding a cat canned food will result in a very noticeable reduction in the amount of water they drink.   Canned foods are about 80% water.

Lotus Brand Dog Food

If you have a fussy or picky eater in your furry friend we’d invite you to try our Lotus Brand dog food.   The holistic formula is BAKED rather than extruded and I can personally testify that our very picky Teddy Bear “Murphy”  loves this food!!!  In the near term we will be expanding our varieties.

Another idea for a fussy eater is to moisten the kibble with HOT water.   It probably only takes a teaspoon per 1/2 cup of kibble to really release the tantalizing aroma of the food.

Is Your Pet “chipped”?

What happens if your family pet suddenly turns up lost?    You may have a tag on them and the finder may decide to do the decent thing and contact you.    But what if that tag has been lost  (they frequently are)?   There’s a good chance there is no tag.    Regardless, a microchip provides permanent identification that cannot fall off, be removed or become difficult or impossible to read.    A microchip may just serve as the conduit to reunite you and your pet.   Dog or cat.       A microchip is not a GPS.   It’s not a tracking device.   They are instead a radio-frequency identification implant that does not require a power source.   There is no battery in it.   The microchip gets power from the external scanner and then transmits the number to the scanner.    Veterinarians and rescue centers all have scanners that can read the chips.    The microchip is inserted under the loose skin between the shoulder blades with a sterile applicator.   It only takes a few seconds as though it was a simple vaccination.    The chip has been compared to a grape seed.    Once microchipped the number needs to be registered with a pet recovery service.   If your pet is recovered by any of the multitude of rescues, etc. out there they will scan for a chip and report the number to the recovery services which will then contact you.

Bonus benefits of microchipping your pet

Some microchip registries offer additional services for your pet’s care:

  • Specialists available 24/7 to assist with advice and support if your pet is lost
  • Travel assistance for pets found far from home
  • 24/7 Emergency Medical Hotline
  • Lost Pet Alerts sent to a network of animal shelters, veterinarians, and concerned citizens around where your pet was lost.

Remember as long as there are pets, even those belonging to the most responsible parents, they will go missing.   That is why we are happy to sponsor a microchip clinic at the store on June 6 from 1-5 pm.    The cost is just $25 for the chipping and all proceeds will go to the Animal Protection and Education Charity.