Is There A Right Amount Of Ash In Cat Food
The mineral content, in cat food typically comes from the cartilage, tendons, and bones that have been blended into the meal. Additionally, it could come from the mineral additives in the product.
The quality of your pet food can be judged by its ash levels. In general, lower ash levels are indicative of the better quality of the meal.
However, this doesnt mean that ash is bad. Cats need to have at least 2% of ash in their diet to meet their mineral requirements. Commercial pet foods, ash levels over 2%, are generally considered a filler with no extra value.
Even in the wild, cats gnaw on bones and vegetables to get these essential minerals in their system.
Although, it is important to remember that too much ash can inhibit the cats ability to absorb other crucial nutrients. For instance, an excess of phosphorus can impede the absorption of calcium, and an excess of calcium can mess up healthy bone mineralization.
Heres a general guideline for the recommended amount of minerals an adult cat should receive daily:
Phosphorus: 0.16 g
Iron: 5 mg
Why Is There Ash In Cat Food
Ive mentioned at the beginning that ash content actually refers to the mineral content in cat food. These minerals include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium, which are all necessary for a balanced and healthy cat diet.
But why do we refer to these minerals as ash?
When testing the content of food in a lab, scientists burn a sample of the food to determine its nutritional value. Since all three macronutrients dissolve completely when burned, any ash that remains is the signifier of the foods mineral content. This is because when burned, minerals dont vanish completely like macronutrients, but instead, they leave a trace of ash.
Dont worry, this burnt food is not what you feed your pet. There isnt actually any literal ash in the food the ash youll see on the label is just a term to signify the amount of mineral content.
Does Dry Cat Food Cause Urinary Problems
In the past, people have heard about drying off meat while still inside because it prevents moisture from coming into the body. This is not true! The problem with curing meats until they are adequately cooked means that water gets trapped between a surface layer of fat and an interior membrane of proteina process called rinsing out your skin of all sorts like you wouldnt want to allow air through pipes after smoking cigarettes at work. You can see this happening during periods of high temperature on ovens where there are smoke rings ever.
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Ingredients in cat food cause crystals in urine when used as a shower, toilet, or washtub liner.
Its all good to have a little bit of fish in your cat diet. But if your cat is allergic to it, you should avoid it. If you have more than a few cats in a household, or if they are in multiple.
The ingredients in your cats food are toxic. These are no good to you unless you are allergic to them. If your pet is allergic, you have to take your cat to the vet for an exam and test to see any allergies.
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Low Ash Versus Low Magnesium
Don’t rely solely on low ash in a food to be good for your kitty if he’s prone to UTI’s. High ash in general is thought to be the problem for those sensitive felines, but it actually is the high magnesium content a high ash food has that causes crystals to form in cats’ urinary tracts. Look for low ash content, but low magnesium content as well. You want to serve your fluffy friend kitty food that has less than 0.12 percent magnesium to keep those crystals from developing.
The Right Amount Of Ash
In the 1980s ash content in cat food became important because it was thought it played a role in Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or FLUTD. In response, vets often prescribed special cat foods that were low in ash, thinking it would help the urinary tract health of a cat with FLUTD. As it turned out it didn’t do much at all to help the cats. In fact, it’s since been shown that the overall ash level in cat food is not important. There is no “right” amount of ash in cat food.
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Why Is It Called Ash
In a laboratory setting, pet food scientists submit samples of cat food to extremely high heat. All of the protein, fat, and carbohydrates burn off completely. This test procedure shows them the amounts of moisture, crude protein, crude fat, ash, and fiber in the food.
The term ash refers to the non-combustible material that is left behind. This residue constitutes mineral content that cannot burn. It is also called inorganic matter and is used to measure the minerals in the test sample of cat food.
The laboratory burn test is only to determine the total nutritional and ash content. The percentage of ash present is among the ingredients listed on the cat food. There is no burned ash added to the cat food. Ash is simply what the mineral content is named.
In general, high ash content is associated with a lower quality of pet food. This association is not because ash is dangerous to your cats health, but because higher ash content indicates lower a lower presence of meat protein. Simply put, a lower ash percentage implies a better quality of meat protein.
But dont disregard ash completely.
Best Low Ash Cat Food
Were going to cover 6 foods in total but if you want to get straight to the point and pick up some low ash food you can see our favorites here:
- Completely free of all thickening agents including xanthan gum, guar gum, and of course carrageenan
- Simple recipe with ingredients you can immediately recognize just by looking at the food
- Features sunflower seed oil as the third ingredient instead of more species-appropriate animal fats
- Some cats may prefer traditional pâté style foods
- 1.6% Max Ash Content
Tiki Cat is one of my favorite wet food brands on the market and something I frequently recommend. Theyre able to find a great balance of price and quality ingredients while staying true to your carnivorous cats natural way of eating. The best part of their line is the Puka Puka Luau cat food which looks more like a can of shredded chicken for human consumption than the traditional brown lump of cat food you might expect.
When it comes to ash, this cat food is well within our definition of low ash with a max content of 1.6%. This cat food is also one of the few that doesnt feature any of the traditional thickening agents like guar gum or xanthan gum which is an extra bonus for the cat owner thats looking to avoid fillers or preservatives as much as possible.
As always, lets take a deeper look at the first 5 ingredients to better understand the food.
2. Chicken Broth
3. Sunflower Seed Oil
4. Tricalcium Phosphate
- 16% Protein
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Can You Calculate Ash Content Yourself
If you want to shop for a low ash cat food, you may want to know how to find ash content in cat food. If it isnt listed on the guaranteed analysis, however, you probably wont be able to determine the exact amount. You would have to perform a scientific experiment to burn the cat food yourself and measure the leftover inorganic material. Because this is unlikely, you should assume an average of about 7% ash in most commercial dry foods and about 2.5% in wet foods.
Sometimes cat food manufacturers want to advertise that their product is a low ash cat food. If the ash content listed on the guaranteed analysis is under 8%, it is generally considered a low ash cat food. Keep in mind, however, that this applies to dry food only wet food should have no more than 3% ash.
Though it doesnt do you much good to know how to calculate ash in cat food, you can get a rough calculation of the carbohydrate content. This can help you determine whether one product might have a more significant impact on urinary pH than other.
To calculate the carbohydrate content, simply add up the protein, fat, fiber, moisture, and ash content and subtract from 100 to get a rough percentage. If the ash content isnt listed, assume 7% for dry food and 2.5 or 3% for wet food.
How Long Does It Take To Dissolve Struvite Stones
On the average, it takes about 6 weeks for a stone to dissolve. If the stone does not seem to be dissolving after a reasonable time, the stone may require surgical removal. Surgery to remove a bladder stone is called a cystotomy. Here, the bladder is opened and the stones inside are simply removed.
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How Can I Tell How Much Ash Is In The Food
Its not easy to figure out how much ash is actually in the food. While many brands will include the ash content right on the label many dont. Unfortunately, its not something thats easy to calculate either.
Ive done as much research as possible to figure out just how much ash is in each food including contacting the individual food company in some cases. But Ive also decided to play it safe in many instances and left out quality brands that likely have low but I just wasnt able to confirm the actual amount.
That means every food on this list has the amount of ash listed and if I couldnt find the ash content or I just wasnt sure then it didnt make it on this list.
Why Homemade Instead Of Purchased Dog Food
Myths and misconceptions abound on the Internet regarding homemade dog food. Also, there are a myriad of conflicting nutritional recommendations ranging from the 30-70% carbs found in commercial dog food to raw frozen foods that contains no carbs. Some owners feed raw meat and bones and say their dogs thrive.
However, many raw materials that are unfit for humans are legal for dog food. These may include spoiled supermarket food, slaughter house waste such as organs, heads, hooves, beaks, feet and other appalling ingredients. Ingredients often have vague names such as animal by-product meal and meat by-product meal. Read the article, The Shocking Truth About Commercial Dog Food by Dog Food Advisor. It will convince you that making homemade food is a safer alternative to much of the commercial food.
Before commercial dog food, dogs ate table scraps real food. During the Great Depression dog food companies marketed their products as an economical alternative. To boost their market, dog food companies advertised that their food was required for good health. Table scraps and real food suddenly became harmful. Pet food companies stepped up the onslaught and began using veterinarians to endorse their products.
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What Are The Best Low Ash Cat Food Options For Dry Kibble
Dry kibble may be tricky, but there are still great options to support your cats bladder and kidney optimal functioning. Weve selected the following products based upon our criteria and opted for brands that also provide quality pet nutrition overall. Do keep in mind that you may have to spend a bit more than you would with generic cat food.
In most cases, your best bet is going with a prescription cat food. Prescription pet foods must be directed by a vet, and are meant to address specific health or dietary issues. This also means that these cat foods have been tested to perform certain functions. Unlike everyday cat food you might pick up, prescription cat food must undergo certain standards and testing to perform certain results.
The reason why prescription cat food is your best option for low ash cat food is that it is generally focused on reducing minerals in excess that could contribute to the formation of kidney stones and other urinary tract disorders. These really are in the best interest of the health of cats whove had recurrent infections or who have been diagnosed with a more serious ailment.
In terms of preventive measures, it may or may not be necessary, and you will have to discuss with your vet whether or not these products, and a low ash diet, is right for your cat. Still, educating yourself and being aware of what your vet may recommend is essential so you can be the very best advocate for your cat.
What Is Ash In Pet Food
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When you see the word ash on the guaranteed analysis in your pets food, you may be concerned.
The guaranteed analysis is where the manufacturer lists guaranteed minimums or maximums for key nutrients like protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. These minimums are based on food nutrient profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials based on extensive feeding trials in cats and dogs.
AAFCO requires manufacturers to list the crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture content on the guaranteed analysis measured as fed . Anything else is up to the manufacturers discretion to include or omit.
But what is ash really?
Many pet owners mistakenly assume that ash is a filler used to add bulk to low-quality pet foods. In reality, it is simply a measure of the mineral content of the food. Manufacturers are able to measure the mineral content by burning the food the organic material burn off, leaving behind the inorganic minerals. This is known as ash.
In most cases, ash in pet food comes from animal bone, cartilage, and tendons. Fresh meat contains only the flesh of the animal but meat meals like chicken meal and beef meal may contain bone. Synthetic mineral additives can also contribute to the ash content.
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Benefits Of Low Ash Content
Quality cat food may put a bigger dent in your budget than cheap commercial kibble, but it can save you money in the long run by preventing a costly visit to the animal hospital’s emergency room. It can also prevent a painful and frightening experience for you and your pet. If your vet determines that your cat is suffering from urinary obstruction, he may recommend a switch to food with lower ash content. Canned wet food contains more moisture and less ash content than dry foods, so wet foods are components of most low-ash-content diets. Urinary obstructions are less common in felines who eat only wet food compared with those who eat dry chow on a regular basis, according to Battery Park Veterinary Hospital.
Why Is The Amount Of Minerals Important In Cat Food
Minerals are necessary for your cat, but high levels can have negative effects on your cats urinary tract health. Generally, an excess amount of minerals can gather to form crystals in your cats bladder and urinary tract. So keeping your cats mineral consumption at a healthy level is very important.
Of course, each mineral has a different effect. So instead of choosing food depending on the level of its general ash content, you may need to look out for the levels of separate minerals based on your cats needs
Considering each mineral separately proves especially important in cats with kidney issues. Feeding a diet that is low on phosphorus has shown to be beneficial for cats that suffer from kidney issues. On the other hand, the mineral potassium is very important for kidney health. In fact, potassium deficiency may even lead to chronic kidney disease.
So if you opt for a food with low ash content to decrease your cats phosphorus intake, you may end up denying her the potassium that her kidneys would benefit from.
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Which Cats Require Low Ash Content In Their Food
Cats with urinary tract issues: These cats require low ash content in their food because an excessive amount of minerals can build up in their system to cause crystal formation in their urinary tracts.
Cats with renal problems: Minerals are regulated through the kidneys, so low ash content in food is generally beneficial for cats with renal issues such as chronic kidney disease, renal infections, etc.
Senior and geriatric cats: As cats age, so do their kidneys. This means that the efficiency of their kidneys will most likely start to deteriorate. Feeding a low mineral diet to such cats will ease the pressure on their kidneys.
Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken In Chicken Consomme Grain
Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau offers an incredibly delicious and nutritional meal for your cat. Its packed with flavors of succulent shredded chicken breast simmered in real chicken broth. Since the food is prepared using real broth, it keeps your furry carnivore hydrated and supports urinary and digestive health. Moreover, this grain-free formula contains essential minerals, vitamins, omegas, and taurine, so it is a complete and balanced meal for cats of all ages. It doesnt contain gluten, grains, starches, carbohydrates, and flours, so its a perfectly healthy option. This is probably best non prescription cat food for urinary crystals.
- Aids digestion and light for the cats stomach.
- Packed with nutritional value to boost the health and overall wellness of your cat.
- Prepared with premium quality ingredients.
- A certified grain-free meal, so it doesnt irritate your cats digestive system or trigger an allergic reaction.
- The packaging isnt too practical from a consumers perspective.
- There have been complaints that the food has a foul smell.
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