The Lucy Pet Nutrition team has over 200 years combined experience in dog and cat nutrition and animal health. We have a team of experts across various fields who understand what pets need to thrive. We rely on sound nutritional science combined with innovative formulas and the very best quality ingredients. We want to help you understand some of the basics of nutrition and what goes into making a pet food.
Dogs and Cats have certain nutritional requirements. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is the non-profit organization that sets standards for both animal, feeds and pet foods in the United States. They are responsible for developing and implementing uniform and equitable laws, regulations, standards, definitions and enforcement policies for regulating the manufacture, labeling, distribution and sale of pet foods. All Lucy Pet Formulas for Life™ are formulated to meet AAFCO requirements as complete and balanced as the primary diet. See our specific product labels for more details.
Since pets have relatively short lifespans compared to humans, feeding the best quality nutrition is the first step toward a healthy, happy, longer life for your pet.
Dog and cat foods consist of these general categories of nutrients:
- Vitamins & Minerals
*Carbohydrates are not considered an essential nutrient but play an important role in dog and cat kibble.
Protein is the basic building block of your pet’s nutrition. A protein consists of a variety of amino acids which serve as the building blocks for all tissues in the body, including muscle. Protein is essential for the important stages of early growth and development, to help build skin, nails, and fur, to build and maintain lean muscle, and repair tissue.
Not all protein is equal, and using high quality proteins is important. However, it is also important to understand that quality protein can come from animal, fish and plant sources. Depending on the source of protein, there are different amounts and varieties of amino acids. For example, quality proteins from animals and fish (duck, chicken, salmon) all have complete amino acid profiles, which means they already contain all the amino acids your pet needs when fed at specific levels. Other ingredients in pet food can contribute protein and amino acids, and good pet foods provide a variety of ingredients that contribute to total protein.
Until recently the importance of the gut in overall health wasn’t understood. Today we know that the digestive tract goes far beyond just processing the food your dog or cat eats. That’s why we developed our Lucy Pet P.B.F. Prebiotic Balanced Fiber ™
We all know that fiber is important because it promotes the movement of food through the digestive system and produces consistent stools. However, new research shows that having a carefully selected variety and blend of fiber sources can produce an optimal environment in the digestive tract, which stimulates probiotics to perform at their peak capacity.
Fermentable fibers include prebiotic fiber sources along with resistant starches. Resistant starches are dietary fibers naturally found in foods like legumes such as chickpeas, peas, beet pulp and kelp and chicory root.
Your pet’s gastrointestinal system uses acids, enzymes, and other secretions to break down food as it passes through the digestive tract. As the fibers break down and ferment, they produce prebiotic bacteria. The fermentation product helps support an environment that feeds the gut bacteria. Your pet needs bacteria in the gut for a variety of reasons such as improving digestion, keeping the body healthy, and help other systems perform efficiently. The prebiotic fiber ingredients will ultimately encourage nutrient absorption.
Fats are essential for dogs and cats because they provide energy and fatty acids. Fats help support and maintain a healthy skin and coat. The Omega 3’s can help reduce inflammation, which is important to your pet’s health. The essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids) are added to a diet to supply the fatty acids they don’t produce on their own naturally. Our formulas include ingredients such as flaxseed, duck, duck fat, salmon, salmon oil, and quinoa, which are all excellent sources of Omegas.
Vitamins and Minerals
To ensure our foods are complete and balanced, Lucy Pet adds a blend of vitamins and minerals to our diets. None of our vitamins or minerals are sourced from China. Vitamins and Minerals work with the other nutrients for normal growth and overall health of your pet. Some vitamins also provide antioxidant properties, (vitamins A, C, and E) and some minerals help build bones and cartilage ( with specific levels of Calcium and Phosphorus). We use a blend of chelated minerals, which are easily absorbed during digestion.
Water is an essential nutrient for all dogs and cats. Dry food kibble only has about 10% moisture; Therefore, it is important to ensure that your pet always has access to fresh water. In fact, many cats do not consume enough water so it is especially important that cats have multiple water bowls available to encourage water consumption. Pets are often attracted to gentle “running water”, a pet water fountain may be a convenient option to encourage your pet to drink more water. Always monitor how much water your pet consumes. Since water is an essential nutrient, changes in water consumption are critical to observe as a potential indication of other health issues.
Carbohydrates do not supply building blocks for the formation of tissues in the body, and therefore carbohydrates are not considered essential nutrients. However, carbohydrates in dog food and cat food serve many important purposes in the body.
Energy: Carbohydrates are energy supplying nutrients, providing the body with four calories also known as kilocalories(kcal) for every gram consumed.
Texture and form: When the starch in carbohydrates is cooked with other ingredients, they help bind the mixture to produce kibble with a specific texture and shape that is appealing to dogs and cats.
The texture and shape are also important to support healthy teeth and gums. Carbohydrates in pet food can come from many sources, such as chickpeas, peas, and pea flour.