Nutrients matter, not ingredients
In a recent review of plant-based pet nutrition research, Dr. Sarah Dodd noted: “In accordance with the current understanding of pet nutrition, the importance of nutrients, not ingredients, is emphasized. A diet that can supply all required nutrients in accordance with the current nutritional standards (AAFCO) – plant- or meat- based – should be sufficient for health maintenance of cats and dogs.” 1
In other words, nutrients matter. Nutrients support the life the functioning of bodily systems and they can be easily derived from plant sources, where they are present in abundance. A balanced combination of plant ingredients with supplemented nutrients creates healthy, nutritionally complete formulas for dogs and cats, such as a popular Maximum Life Kibble.
Plants are excellent sources of protein
According to the AAFCO, adult dogs require at least 20% protein content in their food, adult cats – 26%.2Kittens under 1 year of age require a higher 30% protein for growth and development.2 Protein requirement is easily fulfilled by addition of high-protein plants as main ingredients in dog and cat foods - soybean meal, corn gluten meal, etc).
Plant protein sources in pet nutrition is a hot research topic, and many studies demonstrated validity and excellent value of plant ingredients for dog and cat nutrition.3 In fact, it was found that amino-acid profile of soy is comparable to that of meat, and almost all essential amino acids for dogs and cats can be obtained from a combination of soy with other plant ingredients (with exception of taurine).
Peas and lentils are also great protein sources, with a balanced profile of digestible amino acids.2 Peas, in particular, provide most of the essential amino acids for dogs and cats, and are also an excellent source of carbohydrates and several essential vitamins and minerals.
Unlike animal protein, plant proteins are not common allergens and have not been associated with negative reactions in dogs and cats.3 According to Dr. Armaiti May, a vegan veterinarian, allergy to meat protein is one of the most common food-related allergies in dogs, causing a host of skin issues. Transitioning to plant-based food alleviates the symptoms and improves quality of life of these animals. For these and other reasons, plant-based formulas are often considered hypoallergenic.
Other healthy ingredients in Evolution Diet products
Sunflower seeds – this ingredient has many benefits for health of cats and dogs. It contains vitamins B and E, which prevent and remedy skin conditions in companion animals. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and is good for the cardiovascular system.
Grains - oats and corn are among the most commonly used grains in pet foods. Dr. Sarah Dodd, a veterinarian, notes that while soy is probably the best ingredient from the amino-acid perspective, corn is a great source of several other essential nutrients, such as essential fatty acids, antioxidants (beta-carotene), vitamin E and lutein. Dogs and cats easily absorb essential nutrients from grains as shown by quite many research studies.4
Yucca Schidigera root benefits functioning of the liver and the immune system, strengthening the whole organism. This root also improves functioning of the intestine, as well as significantly reduces the odor of excrement.
Cranberries protect the urinary tract system from bacteria and infections, and promote normal functioning of the kidneys and adrenals.
Tapioca provides non-toxic starch that binds ingredients in dry kibble – a natural, healthy binding agent.
Nutritional yeast – this type of yeast used in our kibbles was specifically formulated for companion animals. It’s more acidic than the regular store-bought yeast and is very beneficial for urinary health. It also contains B-complex water-soluble vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, and B9 to support the nervous system, and is a natural source of chromium and high quality protein. Pets love its taste and become less prone to fleas with help of this amazing non-GMO, human-grade ingredient.
Vitamins and minerals
Both animal- and plant-based diets rely on supplementation of minerals to be nutritionally complete and balanced.1 Most vitamins and minerals required by cats and dogs are readily available in plant-based ingredients, and some are supplemented to provide complete nutrition.
Vitamin A requirement is achieved by addition of vegetables that contain precursor provitamin A carotenoids (in red, yellow, green and orange vegetables). Supplemented vitamin A analog is also added to plant-based diets.
Vitamin B complex includes a number of essential nutrients, such as thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin (vitamin B7), folate (vitamin B9), and cobalamin (vitamin B12). All vitamins in the B-group are readily available in plant sources, except cobalamin (vitamin B12). For this reason, all plant-based formulas are supplemented with vitamin B12.
Cats and dogs (unlike rats and other herbivores) do not convert UV rays to vitamin D and so all plant-based formulas are supplemented with vitamin D.
Vitamin E is also added to our formulas, which has many health benefits. This vitamin has the potential to protect cell membranes from damage and maintain their elasticity, inhibit oxidation and promote growth and regeneration. Vitamin E is the source of additional strength and energy for your animal.
All essential minerals for dogs and cats are also added to our formulas in correct proportions. A recent research study looked at how dogs digest supplemented minerals from meat-based and vegetable-based diets, and found that digestibility of essential minerals (such as iron, calcium and zinc) was equal to or greater in dogs fed vegetable-based diet. 5 In other words, dogs on plant-based diet easily digest and absorb all essential minerals.
Evolution Diet uses only high-quality, fresh ingredients, grown in the United States or Canada. Maximum Life Dog Kibble and Maximum Life Cat Kibble are 100% non-GMO formulas, and Ultra Life Dog and Cat kibbles contain organic ingredients. These carefully balanced products meet or exceed AAFCO2standards for growth and adult maintenance, and contain all the nutrients required by growing, adult and senior cats and dogs.
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- Dodd, S.A.S., Adolphe, J.L., Verbrugghe, A. Plant-Based Diets for Dogs. Timely Topics in Nutrition. 253:11, 2018.
- Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) LINK
- Dale A. Hill. Alternative Proteins in Companion Animal Nutrition. ADM Animal Health & Nutrition. LINK
- J. Nery, V. Biourge, C. Tournier, V. Leray, L. Martin, H. Dumon, and P. Nguyen. Influence of dietary protein content and source on fecal quality, electrolyte concentrations, and osmolarity, and digestibility in dogs differing in body size. J. Anim. Sci. 2010. 88:159–169. doi:10.2527/jas.2008-1666 LINK
- Callon Meghan C., Cargo-Froom Cara, DeVries Trevor J., Shoveller Anna K. Canine Food Preference Assessment of Animal and Vegetable Ingredient-Based Diets Using Single-Pan Tests and Behavioral Observation. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 4:154. 2017 LINK