Among the information that manufacturers must include on the label, there are ingredients (meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, etc.) used for the manufacture of the food, as well as the analytical composition, that is, the proportion of each nutrient, chemical compounds that the body uses to function and grow.
In addition to water, a complete and balanced diet should provide five key nutrients in optimal proportions:
Proteins are the structural units that make up organs, muscles, bones, blood, immune defences, hair and nails. Proteins are composed of amino acids. There are hundreds of different amino acids, some of them are considered non-essential since they can be synthesized by the bodies of dogs and cats. Other amino acids are essential since they cannot be synthesized by these animals and must be provided in the diet. The proteins in pet food come from different ingredients, either of animal origin such as meat, fish, egg or of vegetable origin such as legumes. Ownat uses protein sources that are easy to digest and absorb, to ensure that the animal has its protein needs covered. Therefore, all our recipes include fresh meat since its proteins are of higher nutritional quality, more easily digested and more appetizing.
There are two major types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates (sugars) and digestible complexes (starch) provide the energy necessary to perform bodily functions. That is, they are the fuel needed to carry out the reactions of metabolism and also brain and nervous system functions. On the other hand, complex indigestible carbohydrates (fibre) are essential for keeping the intestinal microbiota in an optimal condition, to guarantee intestinal motility and good consistency of the stool. They can also help in weight control since they provide very few calories and are very satiating. Ingredients rich in easily digested carbohydrates are of vegetable origin: cereals (rice, corn, wheat, barley, oats), tubers (potato, sweet potato, cassava), legumes and fruit. Ingredients rich in fibre include fruit and vegetable pulps, chicory and wheat bran. It should be mentioned that, thanks to the processes of milling and cooking (extrusion) of the raw materials that take place during the manufacture of the food, there is a change in the structure of the starch (gelatinization) that makes it easily digestible by dogs and cats. Ownat has the most modern machinery on the market, and using it, we are able to optimize the ease of digestion of our products.
In addition to their outstanding energy supply (each gram of fat contributes more than twice as many calories as a gram of protein or carbohydrates), fats are a source of essential fatty acids necessary for the synthesis of certain hormones, maintenance of cell membranes and absorption, transport and storage of some vitamins (A, D, E and K). Fats are also used to improve the taste and texture of the food. The fat-rich ingredients most commonly used in dog and cat food can be either of animal origin (e.g. poultry fat, fish oil), or vegetable oils. There are two families of essential fatty acids that require special mention, omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 fatty acids are structural components of cell membranes and have anti-inflammatory properties. Ingredients rich in these fats are oily fish, shellfish and flaxseeds. Omega-6 fatty acids are involved in the repair of body tissues and can be found in various seeds and their oils (corn, sesame, sunflower), whole grains, eggs and poultry.
Finally, vitamins and minerals are chemical components that the body needs in very small quantities in relation to the other nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) but are essential for the maintenance of vital functions. Vitamins are divided into two groups: fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and water-soluble vitamins (C and B-complex). Meanwhile, the macrominerals needed for the body are calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chlorine and magnesium and the trace elements needed in smaller quantities are iron, copper, zinc, manganese, iodine and selenium. Both vitamins and minerals can be obtained directly from the ingredients or, if necessary, can be added as nutritional additives.
To understand the list of ingredients, they can be indicated by categories (e.g. cereals, meats and by-products, fats, etc.) or individually (e.g. rice, wheat, chicken, dehydrated pork, fish oil, etc.), and they are usually ordered from highest to lowest percentage of inclusion in the food formula.
In the analytical composition table, the concentration of each nutrient in the food is expressed as a percentage. This information can be useful to give an idea of how much of each ingredient is incorporated into the food (if not specified).