Objective—To determine measured crude protein (CP) and amino acid (AA) concentrations and assess labeling adequacy of vegetarian diets formulated for dogs and cats.
Sample—13 dry and 11 canned vegetarian diets for dogs and cats.
Procedures—Concentrations of CP and AAs were determined for each diet. Values were compared with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles. Product labels were assessed for compliance with AAFCO regulations.
Results—CP concentration (dry-matter basis) ranged from 19.2% to 40.3% (median, 29.8%). Minimum CP concentrations for the specified species and life stage were met by 23 diets; the remaining diet passed appropriate AAFCO feeding trials. Six diets did not meet all AA minimums, compared with the AAFCO nutrient profiles. Of these 6 diets, 1 was below AAFCO minimum requirements in 4 AAs (leucine, methionine, methionine-cystine, and taurine), 2 were below in 3 AAs (methionine, methionine-cystine, and taurine), 2 were below in 2 AAs (lysine and tryptophan), and 1 was below in 1 AA (tryptophan). Only 3 and 8 diets (with and without a statement of calorie content as a requirement, respectively) were compliant with all pet food label regulations established by the AAFCO.
Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Most diets assessed in this study were not compliant with AAFCO labeling regulations, and there were concerns regarding adequacy of AA content. Manufacturers should ensure regulatory compliance and nutritional adequacy of all diets, and pets fed commercially available vegetarian diets should be monitored and assessed routinely.
To evaluate home-prepared maintenance diet (HPMD) recipes for cats and compare the nutritional profiles with National Research Council (NRC) recommended allowances (RAs) for essential nutrients for adult cats.
114 recipes (obtained from books and online sources) for HPMDs for cats.
Computer software was used to determine nutrient concentrations of HPMD recipes for comparison with NRC RAs for essential nutrients for adult cats. Effects of recipe authorship (veterinarian vs nonveterinarian) and supplementation on the number of nutrient concentrations below RAs were evaluated.
Of the 114 HPMD recipes, 113 contained vague instructions regarding preparation, and 46 did not provide feeding directions. Only 94 recipes provided adequately detailed information for computerized nutritional analysis, although most (93/94) still required assumptions regarding ingredients, preparation, or supplementation. Nonveterinarian-authored recipes and recipes without supplement-type products had more nutrient concentrations below NRC RAs, but no recipe met all RAs. With assumptions, 5 veterinarian-authored recipes met NRC RAs for all assessed nutrients except choline; however, taurine adequacy in 2 of those recipes could not be confirmed. Crude protein concentration was below the RA in 6 of 94 (6.4%) recipes. Nutrients most frequently below RAs included choline, iron, thiamine, zinc, manganese, vitamin E, and copper (in 89.7%, 76.6%, 62.8%, 61.7%, 57.4%, 57.4%, and 45.7% of recipes, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Problems with nutritional adequacy were identified in all evaluated HPMD recipes. Appropriate formulation of HPMDs requires specialized knowledge of nutrition and use of computer software to avoid potentially harmful nutrient deficiencies.
Objective—To establish comprehensive reference ranges for plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations in healthy adult cats eating commercial diets and to evaluate the relationships of age, sex, body weight, body condition score (BCS), dietary protein concentration, and dietary ingredients with plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations.
Animals—120 healthy adult cats.
Procedures—Blood samples and a complete health and diet history were obtained for each cat, and reference intervals for plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations were determined. Results were analyzed for associations of age, breed, sex, body weight, BCS, use of heparin, sample hemolysis and lipemia, dietary protein concentrations, and dietary ingredients with amino acid concentrations.
Results—95% reference intervals were determined for plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations. A significant difference in amino acid concentrations on the basis of sex was apparent for multiple amino acids. There was no clear relationship between age, BCS, body weight, and dietary protein concentration and amino acid concentrations. Differences in amino acid concentrations were detected for various dietary ingredients, but the relationships were difficult to interpret.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—This study provided data on plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations for a large population of adult cats eating commercial diets. Plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations were not affected by age, BCS, or body weight but were affected by sex and neuter status. Dietary protein concentration and dietary ingredients were not directly associated with plasma amino acid or whole blood taurine concentrations.
Objective—To assess differences among reported maximum crude fiber (CF), measured CF, and measured total dietary fiber (TDF) concentrations, and determine fiber composition in dry and canned nontherapeutic diets formulated for adult maintenance or all life stages of dogs.
Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.
Sample—Dry (n = 20) and canned (20) nontherapeutic canine diets.
Procedures—Reported maximum CF concentrations were obtained from product labels. Concentrations of CF and TDF were measured in samples of the diets for comparison. For each diet, percentages of TDF represented by insoluble dietary fiber (IDF) and soluble dietary fiber (SDF) were determined.
Results—For dry or canned diets, the median reported maximum CF concentration was significantly greater than the median measured value. Measured CF concentration was significantly lower than measured TDF concentration for all diets. Median percentage of TDF (dry-matter basis) in dry and canned diets was 10.3% and 6.5%, respectively (overall range, 3.9% to 25.8%). Fiber composition in dry and canned diets differed; median percentage of TDF provided by IDF (dry-matter basis) was 83.4% in dry diets and 63.6% in canned diets.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Among the evaluated diets, measured CF concentration underrepresented measured TDF concentration. Diets provided a wide range of TDF concentration, and proportions of IDF and SDF were variable. In the absence of information regarding TDF concentration, neither reported maximum nor measured CF concentration appears to be a particularly reliable indicator of fiber concentration and composition of a given canine diet.
Objective—To evaluate recipes of diets recommended for animals with chronic kidney disease (CKD), compare nutritional profiles for those recipes to requirements for adult dogs and cats, and assess their appropriateness for the management of CKD.
Sample—Recipes of 67 home-prepared diets promoted for use in dogs (n = 39 recipes) and cats (28) with CKD.
Procedures—Recipes were analyzed with computer software to determine calories, macronutrient calorie distribution, and micronutrient concentrations and were assessed for appropriateness for the management of CKD.
Results—Assumptions were required for the analysis of every recipe, and no recipe met all National Research Council nutrient recommended allowances (RA) for adult animals. Compared with RAs, concentrations of crude protein or at least 1 amino acid were low in 30 of 39 (76.9%) canine recipes and 12 of 28 (42.9%) feline recipes. Choline was most commonly below the RA in both canine (37/39 [94.9%]) and feline (23/28 [82.1%]) recipes; selenium (34/39 [87.2%] canine and 9/28 [32.1 %] feline recipes), zinc (24/39 [61.5%] canine and 19/28 [67.9%] feline recipes), and calcium (22/39 [56.4%] canine and 7/28 [25.0%] feline recipes) concentrations were also frequently below recommendations. The median phosphorus concentration in canine and feline recipes was 0.58 and 0.69 g/1,000 kcal, respectively.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Many problems with nutritional adequacy were detected, and use of the recipes could result in highly variable and often inappropriate diets. Many recipes would not meet nutritional and clinical needs of individual patients and should be used cautiously for long-term feeding.
Procedures—Percentage of TDF as insoluble dietary fiber (IDF), high-molecular-weight soluble dietary fiber (HMWSDF), and low-molecular-weight soluble dietary fiber (LMWSDF) was determined.
Results—Median measured TDF concentration was greater than reported maximum crude fiber content in dry and canned diets. Median TDF (dry-matter) concentration in dry and canned diets was 12.2% (range, 8.11% to 27.16%) and 13.8% (range, 4.7% to 27.9%), respectively. Dry and canned diets, and diets with and without a source of oligosaccharides in the ingredient list, were not different in energy density or concentrations of TDF, IDF, HMWSDF, or LMWSDF. Similarly, loaf-type (n = 11) and gravy-type (4) canned diets differed only in LMWSDF concentration. Disparities in TDF concentrations among products existed despite a lack of differences among groups. Limited differences in TDF concentration and dietary fiber composition were detected when diets were compared on the basis of carbohydrate concentration. Diets labeled for management of obesity were higher in TDF concentration and lower in energy density than diets for management of diabetes mellitus.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Diets provided a range of TDF concentrations with variable concentrations of IDF, HMWSDF, and LMWSDF. Crude fiber concentration was not a reliable indicator of TDF concentration or dietary fiber composition. Because carbohydrate content is calculated as a difference, results suggested that use of crude fiber content would cause overestimation of both carbohydrate and energy content of diets.
Objective—To determine total dietary fiber (TDF) concentration and composition of commercial diets used for management of obesity, diabetes mellitus, and dietary fat-responsive disease in dogs.
Sample—Dry (n = 11) and canned (8) canine therapeutic diets.
Procedures—Insoluble and soluble dietary fiber (IDF and SDF), high-molecular-weight SDF (HMWSDF), and low-molecular-weight SDF (LMWSDF) concentrations were determined. Variables were compared among diets categorized by product guide indication, formulation (dry vs canned), and regulatory criteria for light and low-fat diets.
Results—SDF (HMWSDF and LMWSDF) comprised a median of 30.4% (range, 9.4% to 53.7%) of TDF; LMWSDF contributed a median of 11.5% (range, 2.7% to 33.8%) of TDF. Diets for diabetes management had higher concentrations of IDF and TDF with lower proportions of SDF and LMWSDF contributing to TDF, compared with diets for treatment of fat-responsive disease. Fiber concentrations varied within diet categories and between canned and dry versions of the same diet (same name and manufacturer) for all pairs evaluated. Diets classified as light contained higher TDF and IDF concentrations than did non-light diets. All canned diets were classified as low fat, despite providing up to 38% of calories as fat.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Diets provided a range of TDF concentrations and compositions; veterinarians should request TDF data from manufacturers, if not otherwise available. Consistent responses to dry and canned versions of the same diet cannot necessarily be expected, and diets with the same indications may not perform similarly. Many diets may not provide adequate fat restriction for treatment of dietary fat-responsive disease.