Saturday, September 23, 2017

A quick lesson on pet food nutrition

Ellie loves her Lucy Pet Formulas for Life food
Last week a magazine writer (who was writing an article about Lucy Pet) called us for a few quotes about the company and our new Lucy Pet Formulas for Life dog food. She was writing a broader feature about what's new and truly innovative in pet food, specifically in the area of improving health for dogs and cats. She was particularly interested in our P.B.F. Prebiotic Balanced Fiber blend for Gut Health. Gut health, she said is emerging on the scene to be the next frontier of health benefits for animals, and follows the science in humans. We agreed, and were all too happy to share the science and extensive research that went into formulating our new Lucy Pet dog and cat foods.

The reporter was interested in learning about the role the fiber plays in gut health. I explained that the key is in the variety of fibers used in the food. Since all pet foods contain some fiber, having a prebiotic fiber isn't enough to claim gut health. Lucy Pet is able to claim gut health benefits to dogs and cats because of the extensive research on fiber and gut health by one of the world's leading experts on gut health and fiber, Dr George C Fahey. Our pet foods truly are revolutionary because we combine a variety of quality fibers (soluble and insoluble) along with a range of very high quality proteins and fats to yield a remarkable result in pets. I explained to the reporter that people often misunderstand the role of fiber, and also complex carbohydrates. Those who view them as "unnecessary" are misinformed and have an outdated view about animal nutrition.

Consumers today are searching for the latest and best for their pets. All they seem to find are the endless range of useless things with slick marketing campaigns, claims of "meat first", "high protein" or those raw and dehydrated diets. Those offerings often miss the big picture of what truly improves the health of pets. The reporter was curious to learn more about why "meat first" wasn't the most important indication of a quality pet food. I explained that it is the combination of ingredients in a pet food, when digested contribute to the body in some way. To think that just the meat based ingredients alone are what matter most is highly misleading. For example, if you made a cake and only asked about the flour, and ignored the rest of the ingredients, you would not be fully understanding what went into the cake and how to evaluate it.

Experts agree that having a high quality protein is important, but what is equally important is the quality and role of the fiber, fats, vitamins/minerals, and even the complex carbohydrates as well. Carbohydrates can contribute many things to a pet food; such as a source of energy, fiber, protein, amino acids, etc. Again- anyone who dismisses carbohydrates as bad or unnecessary out of hand is clearly misinformed and does not understand nutrition. Carbohydrates- particularly complex carbs can be very beneficial to dogs and cats when used in conjunction with other quality ingredients.

The fact is that pets are living in domesticated environments with humans and need to consume food that provides the nutrition they need. Pet food has been formulated to provide what is best for the animal, while at the same time making easy to serve, easy to digest, and easy for the human to clean up when our pets poop. Today's pet food diets were developed to meet these needs, and carbohydrates  play an important role in pet nutrition. Recently there was a wave of brands who started marketing against pet foods with carbohydrates, and it turned out to be nothing more than misinformed slick marketers trying to confuse consumers. Fortunately this has been addressed by regulators. AAFCO (The American Association of Feed Control Officers) who oversees pet food, recently ruled that there is no basis to make claims of glycemic levels in dogs and cats, and does not allow claims of "low glycemic" any longer on pet food.

 So just having a meat first formula--even if it is high quality meat, may not be giving your pet what they need to truly excel and be healthy. What should consumers look for in the sea of confusing shelves at the pet store? Read labels, research the brand, and look for what they focus on in their message. Don't be fooled by brands that claim only "meat first" or "high protein" as their key benefits. Look for brands that have high quality ingredients AND formulas based on science. Read brand websites to see if the company is using the latest nutritional science available, or do they seem to be following outdated nutrition from 30-40 years ago?

As we have launched our Lucy Pet Formulas for Life pet food, we have been flooded with testimonials from people telling us how much their cat or dog loves our food. Anecdotally, many veterinarians are reporting that they are seeing cases of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) clear up in pets who started feeding Lucy Pet Formulas for Life. It is exciting to be part of a company that is helping animals and delivering great nutrition.

At the conclusion of the interview, I thanked the reporter for taking the time to hear our story. Lucy Pet is the only brand marketing gut health for pets, and it is exciting to be on the frontier brining years of nutritional research to benefit our dogs and cats. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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