The National Research Council (NRC) of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academy of Sciences and the United States National Academy of Engineering, carrying out most of the studies done in their names. NRC has prescribed the nutrient requirements for pet food; however it is not mandatory for pet food manufacturers to list the NRC requirements on their labels; however, as per state and federal regulations, they should label the ingredients contained in the package irrespective of whether it is a can, bag or box.
In addition, the consumer should be made aware of the source from which these ingredients are derived.
As per NRC, there are twenty six nutrients required in a pet food for its growth and development and these can be derived from many sources. For example, protein is available in soybean meal, fish, cottage cheese, yeast or other plant or animal protein.
You should realize that meat does not have all the energy requirements of a dog; it has very low carbohydrate content and carbohydrates are a must for supplying energy to a dog. Many manufacturers use grains such as corn and rice which have the necessary carbohydrates.
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is an easily absorbed micronutrient with a key role in maintaining health in animals. This promotes growth. Riboflavin is available commonly in liver and brewers yeast. Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid or vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin and plays essential roles in energy metabolism in the living cell and DNA repair. This is provided by certain meats, poultry, cereals, and even peanuts and yeast. Vitamin B6 is available in wheat germ, egg yolk, fish and whole wheat. Meat, meat by-products, certain vegetables and cereals supply necessary amounts of pantothenic acid.
The dog food ration is “complete, “balanced”, or “complete and balanced nutritionally” if all the 26 nutrients are in the proper proportions. The manufacturer’s canine nutritionists, technicians and laboratory scientists are responsible for proper nutritional balancing.
The dog owner makes his final selection in the supermarket after scrutinizing all the pet food products available in the shelf and takes it home; the next thing he does before feeding to the dogs is to mix the balanced dog food with table scraps. This completely defeats the purpose. The research made extensively to prepare a balanced food for the dog by the manufacturer’s research staff of highly paid dietitians and scientists is in vain.
Addition of ingredients to the scientifically prepared pet food, the dog owner makes the intricate, interrelated balance of nutrients topsy-turvy. Many people are of the opinion that they are masters in their pet foods knowledge and believe that they know what is best for their pets. One thing they forget is that large amount of money has been spent on research and development on arriving at the proper nutritional balance for your dog have gone down the drain because of such pet food manufacturers.
This should not be misconstrued to indicate that there is no need for the vitamin and mineral supplements; if needed it has to be provided. Vitamin and mineral supplements are one of the important constituents in the nutrients required for dogs; if you do not provide vitamin and mineral supplements, the dogs in the world will be unhealthy and unsound. water soluble bag manufacturers