Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Pet food—mostly dog food

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The NY Times has an interesting article on pet food, though it’s mostly about dog food, since dog food is the big challenge:

Dogs can get along just fine on a daily ration of corn and soybeans. “That’s about the cheapest diet you could put together,” Fahey said, and it provides all the vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates a dog needs. But it wouldn’t sell to broad segments of the modern market.

“People buy diets on the basis of two things,” Fahey said. “The first is palatability. You put it on the floor and the dogs clean up the bowl.” He lifted a pencil from a desk and held it in the air. The second thing, he explained, is the appearance of the stool. “It should be half as long as this pencil, picked up as easily as this pencil, Ziplocked — and away we go.” He added, “We have to have that if they’re keeping the dog in the condo on the 34th floor and they have a white carpet.” All the more so if the dog is in bed, under the sheets.

The reason Fahey has spent his scientific career investigating all manner of starch, carbohydrate and fiber, the reason he has put tubes inside dogs to analyze what they have digested before they have finished digesting it — that reason suddenly became clear: George Fahey has been confronting the myriad challenges of controlling canine bowel movements. Premium dog foods contain at least 30 percent protein and 20 percent fat, he said. “Do we need to feed that much? No. But this way, you have a total tract digestibility of 88 percent, which is good if you don’t want that dog to go in your house when you’re out for the day. A corn-soy diet can’t do that. The dog can’t hold it.”

Cats use a litter box, so their food doesn’t have the outcome requirements, if I may state it that way, that dog food has.

The article includes a history of pet (dog) food, and also discusses the emergence of smaller brands that (like Innova, for example) use human-grade ingredients instead of industrial by-products. Worth reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 September 2007 at 10:46 am

Posted in Cats, Food

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