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Evaluation of the nutritional adequacy of recipes for home-prepared maintenance diets for cats

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  • 1 1Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 2Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

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.

DESIGN

Evaluation study.

SAMPLE

114 recipes (obtained from books and online sources) for HPMDs for cats.

PROCEDURES

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.

RESULTS

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.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

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.

DESIGN

Evaluation study.

SAMPLE

114 recipes (obtained from books and online sources) for HPMDs for cats.

PROCEDURES

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.

RESULTS

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.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Villaverde's present address is Expert Pet Nutrition, Fermoy, Ireland.

Address correspondence to Dr. Larsen (jalarsen@vmth.ucdavis.edu).