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Moonlight Natural Pet Store is a Vancouver Pet Store focused on the best dog food. We do the research so you don’t have to. These are the best and most nutritionally sound dog food brands based on our analysis. We typically recommend feeding a raw diet for dogs whenever possible. For customers interested in kibble we’ve selected brands that have minimal to no synthetic ingredients and are whole-foods based. Our raw foods for dogs are sourced primarily in Canada. Raw dog food brands we carry are ones such as BC's Best Pet Food, Spring Meadows Natural Pet Food, Carnivora Pet Food, Primal Dog Food, K9 Natural, Stella & Chewy’s, Red Dog Blue Kat, Ziwi Peak and more! Shopping online? Know that we offer local pet food delivery in the Vancouver area.
What nutrients do dogs and cats need from pet food
Dogs and Cats need good biologically-available protein
The first basic necessary building block for dogs and cats is protein. Proteins are only important because of the 22 amino acids that both dogs and cats need to be healthy. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Dogs can produce 12 of these amino acids on their own while cats can only make 11 amino acids. The remaining amino acids that pets need from pet food are arginine, histidine, lysine, leucine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, trytophan, valine and taurine for most dogs and all cats:
The best sources of all these amino acids for dogs & cats tend to be meat, animal organs & in some cases fish.
However, not all proteins are created equal.
For example, your pet’s food could have 40% protein but a portion could be provided by soy, peas or meat by-product. Meat by-product could include animal hide and hooves. Although you have a high protein content (called biologic value (BV)), these are not easily digestible forms of protein for cats and dogs.
Soy has been used as an inexpensive way of adding protein (BV of 67%) to pet foods. However, it is not a species-appropriate pet food, which means dogs and cats won’t naturally seek this out as food. Using soy also ignores that it can cause food sensitivities, potential hormonal issues, and interfere with thyroid function.
In terms of plant protein, Soy is a good source of Lysine and Tryptophan. Note that as your dog gets older, their requirement for proteins go up even in animals with kidney disease.
Sources of good Fats (Omega-3 fatty acids) for Dogs and Cats
Next in terms of need is Fats, which is rich in energy and provides the essential fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6s).
Omega-3 fatty acids tend to have an anti-inflammatory benefit and common sources tend to be flaxseed oils and fish/krill oils.
We’d suggest the krill oils are better as they have the antioxidant Astaxanthin but you could rotate between these sources.
Vitamins and minerals in our pet’s food
Vitamins and minerals in food are essential for life. There are 2 types of Vitamins:
- Fat soluble Vitamins – (Vitamin A,D, E and K) which can accumulate in the body and become toxic.
- Water soluble Vitamins – (Vitamin C and the B vitamins i.e. thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid, cobalamin) – they are not stored in the body and can be eliminated through pee.
It is important to note that vitamins are sensitive to light, heat and oxidation so pre-packaged vitamin mixes must be handled carefully.
Sources of Fat Soluble vitamins for your dog or cat
|Good Sources of Vitamins for dogs and cats||Key function of the Vitamins in dogs and cats|
|Vitamin A||Liver, fish, eggs||Vision, skin and hair|
|Vitamin D||oily fish (tuna) and liver||Bone growth, calcium and phosphorus regulation|
|Vitamin E||Cold pressed vegetable oils, liver||Antioxidant|
|Vitamin K||Intestinal bacteria in pets can produce this but not in sufficient quantities. Liver, meat, kelp, egg yolk||Blood clotting and normal blood functions|
Water soluble vitamins for dogs and cats:
- Vitamin C is not required as dogs and cats can make their own. However, Vitamin C has been considered to prevent hip dysplasia and urinary tract infections. Common sources include citrus fruits.
- The B vitamins, play a wide role in nerve function, skin, hair, growth, cell energy and formation of blood cells. Good sources of these vitamins tend to be found in organ meats, tripe and from yeast as well as wheat germ.
Minerals are the inorganic component of the diet, which are necessary for bones, blood, skin and other important functions.
Minerals are usually referred to as ‘ash’ which is what is left over after the food is burnt.
Here is a quick list without going into too much detail about what each is for: Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Chloride, Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Iodine and Selenium.
Common sources of minerals include animal bone, meat, fish, eggs and for some minerals, you can find them in green vegetables e.g. broccoli and spinach.
Is Carbohydrates required in pet food for dogs and cats?
Technically, it is not an essential nutrient for dogs and cats as they make their own glucose from amino acids. So why is it added to many brands of dry pet food? Aside from being a cheap source of energy, it is used as a binder to get those little kibble shapes and also provide some fiber. There has been some evidence that dogs and cats are getting fatter on diets with carbohydrates and there is more evidence of diabetes.
Is that all that pets require nutritionally?
Usually at this point, other analysis on pet food stop their research. Look at the back of most dry pet foods and you will see that they are likely missing the next 2 components: guaranteed probiotics and enzymes.
- Enzymes – these are typically made by your pet’s body (pancreas) or can be found in pet food. Enzymes help digest and use food efficiently. They are responsible for a countless number of functions related to the immune system. Without the help of enzymes, your pet will have problems digesting proteins (protease), carbs (amylase), and fats (lipase). When your pet’s body is depleted of enzymes, there is no going back. Note that like most of the other necessary building blocks, enzymes are destroyed by heat.
- Probiotics – these are the helpful, beneficial bacteria in your pet’s intestines that ensure good health and digestion. Two sources of probiotics are:
- your pet’s food (if it is not subjected to heat) and
- within your pet’s intestines.