(Press-News.org) MANHATTAN, KAN. -- While natural food is a rising trend among humans, pet owners should be careful before feeding similar types of food to their pets, according to a Kansas State University veterinarian.
All too often pet owners assume that because certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthy for them, they are also healthy for their pets, said Susan Nelson, K-State assistant professor of clinical services.
"Natural and veggie-based pet foods are based more on market demand from owners, not because they are necessarily better for the pet," she said.
Natural pet food isn't necessarily unhealthy for pets, and there are good brands on the market. But cats and dogs have specific nutritional needs that some of these foods may not provide, Nelson said.
For instance, a natural dog food may provide antioxidants through fruits and vegetables, but it may be deficient in other nutrients the dog needs. If pet owners opt for natural pet food, it's important to make sure pets still receive a well-balanced diet, she said.
Before buying any pet food that is labeled natural, owners should make sure it comes from a reputable company. Nelson said the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, sets guidelines for the production, labeling and distribution of pet food and sets minimum standards for the nutritional adequacy of diets.
To ensure that food contains the proper nutrients a pet needs, pet owners should only buy pet food that has at least one of the two AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements on its label, Nelson said. The association's standards determine whether a pet food company's product is complete and balanced for a specific life stage according to one of two criteria: the diet's formula meets the minimum nutrient requirements established by the association or the diet has undergone association feeding trials.
Feeding trials, while not perfect, generally give the best assessment on how well the food performs for a specific life stage, Nelson said. Owners should look closely at the feeding statement on the label, as some foods are intended for intermittent feeding or only for specific life stages, and they could be detrimental to a pet if fed long-term.
Nelson said it is important to differentiate between terms such as natural, organic and holistic. Organic and holistic currently have no specific definitions for pet foods under the Association of American Feed Control Officials guidelines. Organic is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for human food, but the department has no definition of natural foods for humans.
The feed control association defines natural products as those that don't contain any chemically synthesized ingredients except vitamins or minerals. The labels for natural products containing any of these ingredients must state: "Natural with added vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients." Consumers should be wary of any pet food company that claims to have organic or holistic food because they don't exist by the association's definition, Nelson said.
Consumers should also pay attention to food ingredients. For instance, cats and dogs should not eat onions or garlic. While flaxseed oil can provide fatty acids for dogs, cats can't use it for this purpose. Any manufacturer that uses these ingredients should be avoided, Nelson said.
"Most reputable companies have a veterinary nutritionist on hand," Nelson said. "These companies also conduct nutritional research and have their own internal quality control in place."
Because dry pet food needs preservatives, there is often debate about whether artificial or natural preservatives are better. Studies show that synthetic preservatives seem to work better and aren't bad for pets at the levels contained in the food. However, market demand is for using vitamins E and C because they are natural preservatives.
As with any pet diet, pet owners who opt for natural pet food should keep an eye on their pets to make sure the food is not negatively affecting them, Nelson said.
"Assuming the diet you have chosen meets AAFCO minimum standards of nutritional adequacy, and if your pet looks healthy, has good coat quality, is in good body condition, has good fecal consistency and is able to do its job, the diet is probably adequate for him," she said.
The ability of phase-change materials to readily and swiftly transition between different phases has made them valuable as a low-power source of non-volatile or "flash" memory and data storage. Now an entire new class of phase-change materials has been discovered by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley that could be applied to phase change random access memory (PCM) technologies and possibly optical data storage as well. The new phase-change materials – nanocrystal alloys of a metal and ...
In 2008, Reuben Granich and his colleagues at the World Health Organization published a paper in the medical journal The Lancet that proposed a new strategy for combating HIV in South Africa, a country staggered by the virus, with as much as 18 percent of the population estimated to be infected.
Based on a mathematical model, the study suggested a "test-and-treat" strategy. This would involve, among other steps, testing the entire population of South Africa for HIV and immediately beginning anti-retroviral therapy for all who tested positive. The current standard of ...
UCLA physicists have taken a significant step in controlling chemical reactions mechanically, an important advance in nanotechnology, UCLA physics professor Giovanni Zocchi and colleagues report.
Chemical reactions in the cell are catalyzed by enzymes, which are protein molecules that speed up reactions. Each protein catalyzes a specific reaction. In a chemical reaction, two molecules collide and exchange atoms; the enzyme is the third party, the "midwife to the reaction."
But the molecules have to collide in a certain way for the reaction to occur. The enzyme binds ...
For the first time in more than ten years, there has been a confirmed sighting of one of the rarest and most mysterious animals in the world, the saola of Laos and Vietnam. The Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (also known as Laos) announced on September15 that in late August villagers in the central province of Bolikhamxay captured a saola and brought it back to their village. The animal died several days later, but was photographed while still alive.
This is the first confirmed record of the species since two photographs of wild saola were taken ...
DALLAS – Sept. 17, 2010 – UT Southwestern Medical Center investigators have uncovered new insights on adolescent fighting: what triggers it, and how to stem it.
Varied real-life factors pile on daily to put teens on edge: destructive behaviors like drug abuse, drinking or high-risk sexual encounters; poverty; academic troubles; and even depression. Data analyzed by researchers at UT Southwestern suggests that when teens perceive support from their families and/or schools, it can help mitigate violence.
"Our findings tell us that it's unlikely that traditional cookie-cutter ...
Terrorist networks are complex. Now, a mathematical analysis of their properties published this month in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, suggests that the best way to fight them is to isolate the hubs within the network rather than trying to destroy the network as a whole through short-term battles.
According to Philip Vos Fellman a Lecturer at Suffolk University, Boston, and member of the New England Complex Systems Institute, USA, tools used to analyze complex systems can also be used to study terrorist networks with a view to undermining ...
LIVERPOOL, UK – 17 September 2010: Research at the University of Liverpool could lead to faster and more accurate diagnoses of liver damage.
The team used paracetamol as the basis for the study: research indicates that paracetamol can place temporary stress on the liver in around a third of people who take a normal dose (4g per day) but the liver returns to normal when the drug has left the system. Overdoses of the drug are a major cause of liver failure in both the UK and US.
Scientists have discovered that the presence of specific proteins in the blood are indicative ...
"A sedentary lifestyle has become one of the major public health problems in developed countries", Juan P. Rey-López, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR), tells SINC. "During the week, one-third of teenagers said the watched more than two hours of television per day. At weekends, this figure exceeds 60%".
The results, published in the July issue of the journal Preventive Medicine, show that teenagers devote more time to sedentary behaviour (in front of a screen) at the weekend.
The study, which forms part of the European ...
The increase of artificial night lighting is only one of the consequences of intense urbanization. There is no doubt that chemical and noise pollution can have a strong impact on ecosystems. To date, however, the more subtle consequences of light pollution on wild populations of animals have not received enough attention. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology have now shown that permanent night lighting alters the reproductive behaviour of birds. In those habitats that are affected by artificial light, males started to sing earlier and females advanced ...
PHILADELPHIA – On average, one hundred billion cells in the human body divide over the course of a day. Most of the time the body gets it right but sometimes, problems in cell replication can lead to abnormalities in chromosomes resulting in many types of disorders, from cancer to Down Syndrome.
Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine have defined the structure of a key molecule that plays a central role in how DNA is duplicated and then moved correctly and equally into two daughter cells to produce two exact copies of the mother cell. ...