One of the most important pet food ingredients is protein. It is an essential component of pet food products for all specific lifestages.
Protein is crucial to daily sustenance. It plays an important part in major physiological processes in the body, including building muscles and repairing tissues, transporting oxygen and iron in the blood, promoting immune function, and creating enzymes and hormones. Proteins are also a viable energy source, and a major component of ligaments and tendons, cartilage, hair, skin, and nails. Dietary protein is broken down by the animal’s digestive system into its basic building blocks, the amino acids, before it can be used in the body.
Amino acids are divided into two main categories – essential and non-essential amino acids. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body; while essential amino acids can’t be made in sufficient quantities required by the animal thus it should be supplied in their diet. Although both dogs and cats require similar essential amino acids, cats need one more, which is taurine. Cats that lack taurine in the diet can suffer from a wide range of problems from blindness to poor reproduction to heart failure and inadequate immune response. Click here if you want to know more.