Inspiration: For Our Salmon and Potato Dry Dog Food
As pet owners and vets, we know that some dogs prefer different flavours over chicken, whilst others may even show signs of an adverse food reaction (sensitive skin or digestion) to chicken. Many owners like to give their dog variety and this ‘rotational feeding’ (alternating varieties) has been shown to be beneficial for dogs by reducing the likelihood of developing allergies. So after launching our adult Chicken & Brown Rice diet, we decided that it was time for another recipe.
Knowledge and Expertise: Food For Healthy Skin and Coat
At Vet’s Klinic we see dogs with skin conditions and poor coat quality come in on a daily basis. With this in mind we decided to formulate our new recipe using salmon. Salmon is a type of oily fish, rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that omega 3 is one of the only nutraceuticals proven to reduce the signs of dermatitis in dogs and is also one of the only supplements shown to have a positive effect on joint health. Salmon is also a novel protein (one many dogs have not eaten before) so it is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction and is highly digestible, making it suitable for sensitive stomachs.
Research: Choosing The Best, Natural Ingredients
Using the latest research and knowledge from our in-house veterinary practice, Vet’s Klinic we also strive to create diets using ingredients proven to promote and maintain health. This includes adding functional ingredients, such as joint supplements, prebiotics and other beneficial foods to make our recipes as healthy as possible.
In addition to using highly digestible sources of protein and carbohydrate (salmon & sweet potato) in this food we also included a source of Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and Mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS) prebiotics. Unlike FOS, which is used as an energy source for ‘good’ or beneficial bacteria as well as inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, MOS works by preventing harmful bacteria form colonising. It does this by inhibiting the attachment of harmful bacteria to the intestinal wall and promotes the excretion of this disease causing bacteria from the body.
In addition to the omega 3 provided by the salmon, salmon oil and seaweed oil extract in our food, we also looked at other joint supplements and their possible benefits. Glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM and collagen are all molecules that are the building blocks of healthy joint fluid and cartilage and regular supplementation aids good joint health. For those dogs that are already showing signs of joint stiffness, supplementation has demonstrated positive improvement for dogs with arthritis. This research helped us to decide that we would add some supplements to our diets. You can read more about different types of joint supplements in our blog here.
In addition to being a hypoallergenic diet we have added Beta glucans to support those sensitive dogs. Beta Glucans are naturally occurring carbohydrate molecules found in the wall of brewer’s yeast; which is also an excellent source of B vitamins and additional prebiotics. Beta-1,3/1,6- glucans have been shown to reduce chemical messages that stimulate inflammation and increase the anti-inflammatory messages to white bloods cells. These types of chemical changes are thought to be beneficial to the control of allergic skin disease in some dogs.
If you turn over the pack to read the ingredients you may also notice that our Salmon and Potato Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice and our Puppy recipe all contain nucleotides. Nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA (genetic instructions for cell production and repair) and we’ve added them to help support and maintain a healthy immune system.
We (and our pets) naturally make nucleotides from the food we eat. However, in the body’s cells that are dividing the quickest and most frequently (i.e. gut and immune cells) it has been proven that by supplementing the building blocks (nucleotides) for cell replication when the defences are challenged - the response is quicker and greater. Therefore by supplementing your dog’s food with nucleotides enabled them to respond quicker and more efficiently to what life throws at them.
Formulation: Creating Healthy and Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Using salmon as the protein source in this diet was not only a good choice for dogs with sensitive skin, it also has a huge number of benefits for healthy, fit dogs too. One specific type of Omega 3 called DHA is especially useful for its anti-inflammatory roles but you will also read about how it benefits brain function in our article about Oscar and Vet’s Kitchen Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice.
Studies have shown that omega 3 is one of the only nutraceuticals proven to reduce the signs of dermatitis in dogs and is also one of the only supplements shown to have a positive effect on joint health
Adding oily fish or fish oils to your dog’s diet increases their requirements for vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant with several functions including maintaining a healthy immune system and skin health. All our recipes contain added vitamins, including Vitamin E to ensure your dog is getting a complete and balanced food.
By using salmon instead of chicken this variety is naturally lower in protein and fat than our adult Chicken & Brown Rice diet. However, the overall energy levels of both diets are similar and for owners that wish to alternate between the varieties this can be useful.
We also created this diet to have sweet potato as the main carbohydrate source. Sweet potato is a gluten free source of complex carbohydrates that is highly digestible and full of essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. However, as dogs can easily digest rice and can utilise energy from it we have also included a little brown rice in this variety of food. This helps to balance the recipe, including the fibre levels. Even for sensitive dogs, a little rice is usually fine. This is because most adverse food reactions are caused by ingredient intolerances (which unlike allergies don’t involve the immune system) or sensitivities rather than an allergy. Dogs that cannot tolerate the larger amount of brown rice in our dry Chicken & Brown Rice diet will often be fine on this variety (however for dogs that require a totally grain free diet we do offer our Sensitive Pork and Potato diet).
Unlike other grains such as wheat, rice does not contain gluten and rice allergies are still rare. We’ve avoided using ingredients known to trigger allergies e.g. wheat, dairy, soya and beef and therefore this diet (and all of our foods) are hypoallergenic.
Dry dog and cat foods need to have preservatives. This is to stop the oils and fats from going off (oxidising). However, there are many different types of preservatives available, including chemicals which have been linked to adverse health conditions such as cancer. We believe it is better for our pets’ health to only use natural preservatives and therefore all our dry foods contain a combination of tocopherols (Vitamin E) and Rosemary Extract to protect the fats. A common concern amongst owners of epileptic dogs is the inclusion of Rosemary in the diet, as it was thought this could be problematic. However, there is no current research to back up this claim. (article on the safety of rosemary oil extract here?) Combined with our resealable bags, this keeps our food fresher for longer.
Apart from being healthy, we need to make sure our food is also delicious! Our taste-testers get to try the food before anyone else and we only ever use willing volunteers – usually staff pets or client pets from Vet’s Klinic. Only, once they’ve given their ‘empty bowl approval’ do we go on to produce a new recipe. If you are interested in how taste testing works, we’ve written a handy guide to explain
Why not read more about why dogs love Vet’s Kitchen Salmon and Potato here.
We are proud to use real pets on the front of our packaging. We call these our brand ambassadors because not only do they eat the food, it has made a difference to their long term health too. The beautiful dog you see on the front of our Salmon & Potato dry dog food is called Pebble… here’s Pebble’s story:
“I'm very fussy and we love Vet's Kitchen! We have been having it now for quite a while and look and feel great! ” Pebble (owned by ELLIE READ).
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