By Sophie Lavallée M.Sc., Agr.
Dietary studies on pet nutrition provide a lot of information on vital nutrients like protein, fiber, amino acids and fat, but you don’t hear that much about the dietary role of essential minerals in pet nutrition. And since pets can’t synthesize minerals, they must be provided through their diet, as a mineral deficiency or excess minerals in the body could lead to health problems.
Micro- and Macro-minerals: Minerals can be broken down into two types: macro-minerals and micro-minerals. Macro-minerals include Calcium (Ca), Phosphorus (P), Sodium (Na) and Potassium (K). These essential minerals are found in their natural form in pet formulas, in does reflecting the pet’s stage of life and size. For their part, micro-minerals are only found in trace amounts in an animal’s body but are vital to maintaining various biological processes.
Micro-minerals like Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), and Selenium (Se) are closely linked to the structure and proper functioning of proteins and other biochemical processes. While micro-minerals are essential to life, only small amounts, dosed in “parts per million” (ppm), are required for optimal health; excess micro-minerals can be toxic to pets. Here, the correct dose and the bioavailability of the micro-minerals are what matter when it comes to meeting your pet’s nutritional needs without creating health problems.
Mother Nature knows best
The secret to ensuring that your pet is given the right dose is choosing a formula with the right type of micro-mineral, i.e. that imitates what Mother Nature does by making the molecule bio-available, in a dose that is right for your pet. The use of organic, chelated or proteinated micro-minerals should, therefore, be favored. A proteinate is a molecule that surrounds the micro-mineral through links and that stabilizes it during the digestive process. This type of molecule is soluble and mobile, allowing your pet to better assimilate it when it is given in the right dose.
The next time you check out the list of ingredients on a pet food formula, look at what types of micro-minerals are used. Proteinated minerals are among the best because they mimic what Mother Nature does best!
We hope you enjoyed learning more about the role of minerals in your pet’s diet. Feel free to contact us should you have any further questions on this subject.
Trouw Pet food Nutrition Outlook 11 Janvier 2017