Dental care and hygiene has become one of the main focusses for veterinary and nutritional professionals over the past 20 years. For pet parents, periodontal disease is one of the most obvious early indications of health problems.
Along with the physical, abrasive action of BonaCibo crunchy kibbles and the saliva-stimulating effect of chewing, a number of ingredients and additives can have beneficial effects on oral health.
Alkalising substances can be used to adjust the pH in the mouth to also reduce the mineralisation of plaque. A number of fruit and vegetable extracts, like blueberry and marigold, have powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant activities, which can help to reduce bacterial proliferation as well as protect the gums against attack by free radicles and hydroperoxides.
2. HEALTH OF SKIN & FUR
There are a number of physical attributes that we can see in our dogs and cats that indicate their health status and breed. A beautiful, quality fur which is the most important one among them usually means that the pet is healthy. Which is why BonaCibo includes:
Rapidly reproducing tissues have a high demand for zinc, hence it is a critical nutrient for the skin. Zinc is also involved in the biosynthesis of fatty acids and the metabolism of vitamin A, both of which are also involved in the health of skin and fur. Chelated zinc is a particularly effective dietary source of this mineral, as it is easily absorbed from the digestive system and transported efficiently to the dermal cells where it is needed.
Copper is required for the conversion of the amino acid tyrosine to melanin, which is required for skin and hair pigmentation. One of the early signs of deficiency of this mineral is depigmentation of the coat. It is also an important component of antioxidant enzymes and hence protects the skin oxidative damage.
VITAMINS A & E
Vitamin A is involved in the repair and maintenance of epithelial cells, and deficiencies and excesses can lead to epidermal conditions such as dandruff, skin infections, hair loss and hyperkeratinisation. Whilst vitamin A can be stored in the body, a good but not excessive dietary supply is required.
As a scavanging antioxidant, vitamin E protects the cell membranes from damage by reactive oxygen species. These harmful substances, such as free radicles, target rapidly reproducing cells, such as those in the skin, and so vitamin E is an important protective nutrient. Also, supplemental vitamin E in excess of the minimum nutritional requirement has been shown to be effective in treating some skin disorders.
This water-soluble vitamin is needed by the body in minute quantities every day and, in healthy cats and dogs, this requirement is usually met by its microbial synthesis in the intestine. In cases of ill health or antibiotic treatment, this microbial production can be reduced, and dietary supplementation is required. Biotin is a key nutrient in keratin synthesis, and deficiencies can cause dermatitis, alopecia and skin depigmentation. It is also required for lipid metabolism in the dermal layers, and so is important for skin integrity.
OMEGA 3 OILS
Skin inflammation can be caused but many factors, including flea bites or environmental pollution and causes the skin to stretch and tighten. This in turn causes it to become hot, dry and itchy, and can also increase the risk of lesions and infection. All of these factors will produce a dull coat, usually accompanied by dandruff and frequent scratching. Omega-3 oils, such as those found in fish oil, reduce the inflammatory reaction but also, since they are integrated into cell membranes, provide strength and flexibility to epithelial cells. They are also involved in the regulation of sebum production, which is the waxy substance secreted from the skin.
3. WEIGHT MANAGEMENTL-CARNITINE
Excess energy is stored in the body as fat and when additional energy is required, the fat is mobilised and transferred into “fat-burning” mitochondria within the cells of the body. L-carnitine is an important nutrient that facilitates the transfer of these fats across the mitochondrial wall, and also assists the removal of the metabolic by-products. By increasing carnitine levels in the body the rate and efficiency of fat metabolism can be increased, which therefore aids weight loss.
CALCIUM & VITAMIN D
Although we know that calcium and vitamin D are important in the regulation of bone, they are also involved in the maintenance of body fat. Vitamin D stimulates the production of muscle and the creation and maintenance of fat cells. A nutritional deficiency is accompanied by a reduction in lean body tissues and irregular body fat deposits. Calcium has numerous roles in the body and has been shown to increase fat excretion from the body. It is thought that calcium binds to saturated fats to produce undigestible compounds which pass through the digestive tract to the faeces. Calcium is also essential for numerous metabolic processes.
Many pants are used in pet nutrition for their health benefits however, some can also assist in weight management. Recent studies have shown that extracts high in catechins, such as EGCG and gallic acid, can enhance the metabolism and stimulate fat oxidation. Popular examples of this are green tea and grape seed extracts. Other plants, such as ginger, can also increase metabolism, whilst spices like cinnamon are associated with the control of blood sugars. The psyllium seed also supports digestion and provides controlled energy output.
Correct hydration is essential for all of the body’s metabolic processes to function correctly and efficiently. With dogs and cats requiring around 5% of their bodyweight in water per day, the provision of sufficient fresh, clean water is often overlooked.
4. PAW & CLAW INTEGRITY
One of the most common causes of poor skin condition in paw pads is insufficient keratinisation, leading to dryness and cracking at the surface.
Nutrients included in BonaCibo such as biotin, zinc and vitamin A are integral in this process and, although acute deficiency symptoms are rare, underlying chronic conditions are thought to be common, where suboptimal levels are reaching target tissues.
In addition, as with skin coating the rest of the body, omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the suppleness and integrity of paw pads.
Claws are hardened and keratinized modification of the skin’s epidermis which our pets use for scratching, digging, climbing and catching prey. Claw tips are constantly renewed to maintain their sharpness. Like the skin, without proper care and attention, and appropriate nutrition, they can become brittle and cracked, resulting in pain and infection.
In general, we can say that any nutrient that benefits the skin also benefits the claws.
5. STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM
As our pets enter the outside world they become exposed to a wide range of new threats of disease and infection. Socialising with other animals and encountering foreign substances challenge the immune system but also educate it. Vaccines and therapeutic drugs provide essential support however, our pets’ diet plays a major role in enabling them to resist and overcome immune challenges themselves.
FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS
These three fat soluble vitamins A, D and E are essential for the correct functioning of the immune system. Vitamin A is involved in the functioning of phagocytes and the activation of T- and B-lymphocytes, and so is essential for the body’s ability to learn from new threats. It is also essential for the maintenance of healthy mucous membranes, which are the body’s first layer of defence. Vitamin A is generally added to the diet to ensure a plentiful supply, but can also be found in ingredients such as animal fats and proteins.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin, that primarily exists in cellular walls, where it protects cells from damaging by-products of infections. It is also important in the production and function of lymphocytes, and an increase in dietary vitamin E has been shown to boost their levels.
Vitamin D modulate the activity of T- and B-lymphocytes and other immune cells, to ensure that their actions are appropriate and in control. Vitamin D deficiency can produce an overactive immune system. It is also important for the movement and targeting of macrophages, as well as their ability to fight certain bacteria.
WATER SOLUBLE VITAMINS
Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid are essential for cellular metabolism and multiplication, and so are necessary for the generation and activity of immune cells, such as phagocytes. Thiamine and vitamin B1 are also important for the maintenance of the body’s external barriers, and so helps to protect against initial infections. Vitamin C is also an important immune vitamin. Its antioxidant actions, particularly within white blood cells, helps to destroy foreign bacteria, and a deficiency has been linked with immune suppression.
Healthy dogs and cats are able to generate sufficient vitamin C within their bodies however, in cases of illness or recuperation, its synthesis can be impaired and dietary supplementation can be beneficial.
Almost all minerals contribute in some way to the body’s immunity. Iron, zinc, selenium and copper are particularly important in that they are central to a number of antioxidant enzymes that help to protect the body from free radicle attack.
These free radicles, which are natural by-products of metabolism, target and damage sensitive organs and tissues in the body, such as the reproductive organs, heart and brain.
Antioxidant enzymes directly neutralise these substances, as well as protect organs and tissues from further attack. These minerals also form part of enzymes that influence the primary and secondary immune responses, and their deficiency can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system.
6. STRONG BONES & JOINT STRUCTURE
For dogs and cats a lack of exercise can lead to numerous other health issues, and so the more active we can maintain our pets, the healthier they will be.
If we provide our pet friends to be active by supplying them foods that contain the right nutrients, we can offer a happy, healthy and enjoyable life not only to them but also to ourselves as their parents.
Throughout life, bone is continuously being created and strengthened, but is also being broken down to liberate the stored calcium and phosphorus for other purposes in the body.
The correct dietary levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D are particularly essential to maintain bone formation. Vitamin D stimulates the body to create bone tissue, whilst calcium, phosphorus and magnesium make up the solid bone matrix. It is particularly important to achieve the correct ratio of calcium and phosphorus in the diet, and this ratio should closely match that of bone itself.
Joints consist of bones protected with cartilage layers encapsulated within a fluid-filled chamber. The cartilage and fluid both act to lubricate the joint movement, and protect against abrasion and collision between the ends of the bones. Dehydration can cause the fluid to be reduced, leading to an increased risk of friction between the bones, and poorer lubrication. In both cases, the joint will become stiff and painful. It is therefore essential to maintain good hydration by providing plenty of clean, fresh water, but also to provide sufficient and balanced quantities of minerals and electrolytes in the food, such as sodium, chloride and potassium.
In addition, inflammation outside and within the joint chamber places additional pressure on the joint, which again leads to pain and reduced mobility. Causes include infection, excessive weight and injury, and all can be aided by the inclusion of omega-3 oils in the diet, which act to reduce the inflammatory response. Fish oils, such as anchovy, provide the most effective and concentrated source of these essential oils.
Finally, good cartilage health is essential to maintain flexibility and movement. Healthy cartilage is soft and smooth, and absorbs any impact and friction between bones. As our pets age their cartilage becomes drier, thinner and less flexible, leading to increased friction and abrasion which, in turn, creates inflammation. Joint conditioners, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, promote the production of cartilage, and inhibit its breakdown, thereby helping to maintain supple and flexible joints.