Importance of Antioxidants in Dog Food
If you like buying processed dog food, you must have asked yourself why it has an extended shelf life. This is because the food remains on the shelves of your favorite convenience store for several months until it’s picked up by a dog owner. And that’s not all; the food doesn’t go bad even after the packaging has been opened at home. The truth is that dog meals are preserved using antioxidants. A lay man may not understand the logic behind these substances because there is some science involved.
The Real Magic
In the natural, any food would go bad after being stored for sometime. This is because the food comes into contact with air, resulting into oxidation. Oxidation can be defined as a process where oxygen mixes with food or any other matter. The process causes food to change its color and taste. Such food is usually useless and dangerous because it doesn’t have any nutrients and contains disease causing bacteria. Antioxidants are therefore added into dog meal to ensure that it doesn’t go bad. The substance also helps in retaining food nutrients, color, taste and smell.
Sources of Antioxidants in Dog Food
There are two categories of antioxidants used in dog food. Antioxidants can only be natural or synthetic. The natural substance is basically obtained from plants that are rich in vitamin E, C and citric acid. Citric acid is sourced from fruits such as lemon, oranges and limes. On the other hand, vitamin C is sourced from vegetables and fruits such as cranberries, apples, tomatoes and blueberries among many others.
Vitamin E is obtained by blending nutrients from various plants. It’s actually indicated as “mixed tocopherols”. Synthetic antioxidants are manufactured in the lab by mixing various compounds. They are usually abbreviated as BHA and BHT. They are actually an equivalent of vitamin E. Moreover, ethoxyquin is used instead of vitamin C.
The Bottom Line
Both natural and synthetic antioxidants are used to extend the shelf life of dog food. While natural antioxidants are better because they don’t contain any chemicals, they don’t offer a long shelf life like their synthetic counterparts. When buying dog food, you should be careful not to purchase food stuff that is almost going bad. It’s actually recommended that you examine each package to see the expiry date. Dog food should be kept in air tight containers to ensure it’s not exposed to heat and dumpiness.