Dog Nutrition FAQs

Facts, Advices and Plenty More?


Dog Nutrition FAQs

Facts, Advices and Plenty More?



ImperialFood offers a wide range of dog food made specifically to meet dogs’ carnivorous needs. ImperialFood dog biscuits contain mainly animal proteins, with a lower percentage of proteins from a number of different high-quality vegetable sources. This protein mix is essential to creating complete, balanced and highly assimilable food.
The percentage of meat in dog food is not the only parameter to consider when trying to determine quality: meat listed as the first ingredient on the label is not an automatic indication of the quality and purity of the protein sources it contains. Quality is defined by:

  1. inorganic matter, i.e. the percentage of crude ash, which if excessive can contribute to gastrointestinal issue; crude ash is one of the best indicators of the purity of protein sources in dog food (lower the percentage of crude ash, higher the purity of the ingredients used);
  2. the nature of the meat, i.e. whether it is fresh or dehydrated meat; the latter is more concentrated and has a higher yield.

ImperialFood products are made using top quality dehydrated meat. The drying process makes meat meal more concentrated compared to the equivalent amount of fresh meat. Fresh meat contains 80% of water, which is eliminated during the dry food manufacturing process, therefore does not add any nutritional benefits: 5 kg of fresh meat are needed to make just 1 Kg of dehydrated meat!

ImperialFood dog food is made with high-quality dehydrated meat, low percentages of ash (inorganic matter) and, therefore, contains high levels of protein. Lower the percentage of proteins in dehydrated meat, greater the amount of meat required to prepare the food; on the other hand, higher the percentage of proteins in dehydrated meat, lower the amount required in the formulation.

In the second case, a smaller amount of pure and concentrated meat with a low percentage of crude ash will be used, resulting in a more balanced and healthier food, easier to assimilate.
For all its product ranges, ImperialFood has chosen to use only top quality dehydrated meat, guaranteed to be pure and healthy.

Absolutely NOT, as long as it is processed properly!

As long as they are cooked properly, cereals are perfectly digested by all dogs, unless they are intolerant and/or allergic to specific types of cereals.

During the preparation of dry foods, cereals are subject to an extrusion process that cooks starches at extremely high temperatures. As a result, cereals become highly digestible and can be easily assimilated by dogs.

Cereals, like maize and rice, are an ingredient with great nutritional characteristics because not only do they slowly release carbohydrates, they also are the source of numerous nutrients such as proteins, fat, minerals, vitamins, and fibre, ensuring optimum nutritional balance and great digestibility.

In determining the good quality of dog food, dog nutrition science has highlighted the importance of the nutrients just mentioned as well as the good quality of the ingredients used.

The proteins contained in cereals are not among the main allergenic proteins; in fact, scientific studies show that the percentage of dogs intolerant or allergic to this type of proteins is really low.

If clinical tests show an intolerance or allergic reaction to certain types of cereals, for example gluten (a protein present in some cereals that normally dogs digest perfectly well), eliminating these ingredients from the diet and choosing different food formulations, is the right thing to do.

For these specific cases, ImperialFood offers highly tolerated hypo-allergenic products that contain gluten-free carbohydrates, such as rice and potatoes.

Dogs are considered the direct descendants of wolfs but the two species cannot be compared: over millennia, dogs have been tamed by humans and have adapted to living with them.

Unlike wolfs, who are predators and have always mainly eaten meat and carcasses (therefore their bodies produce small amounts of amylase, an enzyme used to digest the starches contained in cereals), over the centuries dogs’ genes have changed as part of the natural evolution of the species and adapted to the new style of life they have been offered by humans.

There is no scientific evidence that proves that cereals should not be part of dogs’ diets. On the other hand, a study carried out by the University of Uppsala, Sweden, on 12 wolfs and 60 dogs of different breeds, after having analysed their whole genome, showed that the genomes of the two species are very different and that dogs, compared to wolfs, have developed a greater number of genomes dedicated to synthesising amylase (dogs: between 4 and 30 copies; wolfs: 2 copies). Therefore, dogs are perfectly able to assimilate cereals.

Fat is fundamental in a dog’s diet: the right amount and type of fat is essential to the vital functions and the overall health of our pets.

Despite being our most loyal and affectionate companions, dogs’ specific nutritional needs are very different from ours!

Our bodies are completely different, and our organs and processes often work in opposite ways: a component potentially harmful to humans could be essential to dogs, and vice versa.

Considering the carnivorous origins of the species, dogs’ metabolism is designed to digest fat in significant quantities.

Therefore, choosing a balanced and complete diet also in terms of quantity and quality of fat intake, is essential to the general health of a dog.
As a matter of fact, fat:

  1. Is a pure source of energy and provides almost twice as much energy compared to carbs and proteins.
  2. As a structural component, it contributes to building cell membranes
  3. It provides mechanic protection in the form of elastic cushions in the articulations
  4. It helps the absorption of the right amount of liposoluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
  5. It is essential to the health and good condition of dogs’ coats, which require not just a good amount of fat, but also a correct balance between different sources of fat. The lipid sources we use for our dog food are of the highest quality and are the right combination between animal and vegetable fat, offering the best lipid balance and the right amount of essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), a very important part of the diet also because they are essential to fighting efficiently against inflammatory processes and for the good health of the dog’s coat.
  6. It is used by the body to keep warm
  7. It helps puppies grow and develop
  8. It contributes to the dog’s capacity to reproduce

To make sure pets don’t eat too much, digest their food properly, and don’t overload their systems, it’s important to follow the recommended doses shown in the tables, with a 5-15% flexibility that owners will be able to determine over time, based on the individual needs of their dogs.

Our recommended doses are a useful indication that must be adapted to the specific nutritional needs of each dog and depend on individual characteristics (age, level of activity, size, breed, metabolism, illness, gestation), and on external factors (season and temperature). Owners play an essential role in determining how much their dog should eat, because they know them well and are aware of the specific factors that could have an impact on their nutritional needs; they can determine the right amount of food based on their physical condition and body reactions.

The suggested amount is calculated based on the number of calories, i.e. metabolizable energy (ME), expressed in kilocalories per kilogram: the more energy a food provides, smaller the amount of food required.

Our dog food contains highly metabolizable energy values in small amounts of food, thanks to formulations that provide the right balance of nutrients and are easily assimilated by dogs.

This has numerous benefits:

the digestive process of dogs is much longer than ours; therefore, it’s best not to give dogs big portions, and choose naturally caloric products, whose formulation is designed to maximize the assimilation of the nutrients.

reducing the number of times in a day a dog defecates to one, maximum two, besides being an important advantage, is testimony to the digestibility of the product, the high quality of its ingredients and the low content of waste, fibre and crude ash.

it is important not to over feed dogs, especially large size dogs, to avoid health issues that in extreme cases could be lethal, such as in the case of a twisted stomach.

overtime, choosing a highly digestible product that provides the right number of calories, helps save money.

At ImperialFood, we recommend that our customers understand the principals in our formulations and use each one of our products sensibly, making the most of our food in terms of quantity, assimilability, and health.

Food plays an essential part also on a dog’s capacity to reproduce.

Underweight and overweight dogs, and more in general dogs with nutrient deficiencies, can have fertility problems and often this can also affect the development of the puppies in the womb.

Underweight pregnant dogs may not produce the normal amount of gonadotropins (FSH and LH), i.e. the hormones that regulate the activity of the ovaries, have protracted anoestrus and a reduced number of ovum cells.

This condition can affect puppies, causing them to be underweight before and after birth and, in extreme cases, it can increase mortality during gestation and in the early weeks of life.

In the same way, excessive weight can affect fertility as it normally translates into higher levels of androgen in circulation and in the alteration of protein metabolism in ovaries and during heat, causing a lower quality of ovum cells.

Even dogs that have an ideal weight can have fertility problems due to nutritional deficiencies. For example, if they have an unbalanced diet or one that lacks one or more nutrients.

The correct amount of nutrients and the selection of high-quality ingredients are essential to a dog’s hormonal balance.

Vitamin, mineral and fatty acid nutritional deficiencies are the main cause of reduced fertility.

Therefore, it essential that dog food contains the correct amount of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

The most important components are:

  • Vitamin A – essential to the corpus luteum, responsible for the production of sex hormones
  • Vitamin E – a natural antioxidant, a deficiency of this vitamin could cause complications during gestation or cause a miscarriage due to an alteration in the corpus luteum and the placenta
  • Folic Acid – helps prevent cleft palate in puppies
  • Selenium – supports Vitamin E action
  • Fatty Acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 – essential to the development of the puppy’s nervous system before birth and improve functions of the placenta, the organ that connects the mother to the foetus.

Cereals are a complete, natural ingredient that plays an important role in creating a balanced and nutritionally correct diet.

Normally cereals tend to be associated only with carbohydrates, but this is a rather narrow view. Rich with carbohydrates, cereals are no doubt an extraordinary source of energy, but in terms of nutrition they are complete because they contain proteins, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and fatty acids.

The nutritional power of cereals is supported by many scientific studies and consolidated over 30 years of direct experience in the field. On the other hand, there is no scientific evidence to support their exclusion from a dog’s diet, unless in cases of clinically proven intolerance and/or allergy. Luckily, recent studies have highlighted the fact that negative reactions to food caused by cereals in pets are extremely rare and often due to genetics and type of breed.

Based on deep knowledge of the nutritional power of cereals, ImperialFood has always chosen to include this category of ingredients in its dog food formulations.

The main types of cereals included in ImperialFood formulas are maize and rice. Both have beneficial properties for dogs, as explained below.

MAIZE is an extraordinary source of CARBOHYDRATES (74 – 78 %), PROTEINS (8 – 9 %) and FAT. It’s an ingredient that contains high levels of energy (350 kcal/100g); therefore, it’s essential to maintaining the right energy intake. It has a high biological value, because it contains proteins (zein and zeatin) high in essential amino acids and, last but not least, it is rich with lipids, monosaturated and polysaturated fat, soluble and insoluble fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals, of which the most important are vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, which support the nervous system and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

From a nutraceutical point of view, MAIZE is also an extraordinary source of biologically active substances as it contains carotenoids, tocopherols and phenolic compounds that despite not having a nutrition function as such, play a significant role during food digestion and assimilation.

Once MAIZE has been properly cooked and subject to an extrusion process that gelatinises its starch, it can be assimilated quickly and is highly digestible. In fact, the level of digestibility of vegetable proteins (maize, soy, rice, etc.) is estimated between 75% and 54%.

Additionally, other beneficial effects of MAIZE include the following: it slows metabolism, strengthens the immunity system, helps purify the liver and kidneys, improves intestinal functions, and improves skin and coat condition.

RICE, like MAIZE, is considered one of the best cereals for a dog’s diet, because it is rich with precious nutritional properties.

By nature, RICE is a highly digestible cereal. This special characteristic is enhanced by the cooking and extrusion process the cereal undergoes during the preparation of dog food.

Strictly from a nutritional point of view, RICE is a great source of slow release carbohydrate energy (91%).

Additionally, RICE provides a wide range of minerals (iron, calcium, potassium, iodine, zinc, magnesium, sodium), fibre, proteins (7.5%) and a number of vitamins (including vitamin A, vitamin C and some B vitamins).
RICE is a great ingredient to include in all dogs’ diets and is particularly good for dogs that have chronic or temporary digestive and/or assimilation issues.

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