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Pet Health

What are Essential Nutrients for Dogs and Cats?

A scientific research body called the National Research Council (NRC) established the gold standard on what nutrients dogs and cats need in order to survive.  Their work was published in the Nutrient Requirements for Dogs and Cats and the latest update to their publication was in 2006.

There has been 4 main categories of essential nutrients for dogs (other than water):

  1. Protein-there are 10 amino acids that both cats and dogs need. Cats need an extra one (taurine).
  2. Fat-lineolic acid is an essential fatty acid required for both cats and dogs.  Cats also need arachidonic acid.
  3. Vitamins-of the water-soluble vitamins, dogs require 8 and cats a 9th (biotin). Of the fat-soluble vitamins, dogs need 3 and cats one more (Vitamin K) to be healthy.
  4. Minerals-both cats and dogs need a total of 12 minerals: 6 are macro-minerals and 6 are micro-minerals.

Although carbohydrates are not essential, having a little bit of fibre in the diet of both cats and dogs promotes healthy bowel movements.

All the recipes at Tom&Sawyer have been built on the NRC Recommended Allowance for the essential nutrients for dogs and cats because they developed their nutrient levels using better quality ingredients and bioavailability.

We cross-referenced our nutritional results with the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) publication but because AAFCO simply adjusts the the NRC levels for poor quality feed ingredients found in commercial pet food, we reviewed the AAFCO nutrient profiles for information purposes only.

Learn about a dog’s sense of taste here

Learn about a cat’s sense of taste here