As with humans, various diseases such as obesity, digestive disorders, skin irritations, intolerances and allergies, organic diseases, joint and autoimmune diseases and cancer are on the increase in our beloved pets. These are just a few of the diseases that are increasing at an alarming rate, sometimes even reaching epidemic proportions. The right pet food is crucial.

At first glance, you might think that the above ailments have little in common. But they all result from inflammation at the deepest levels of the animal—in the cells. The question is: What is causing the inflammation? A decisive factor is the pets’ lifestyle and the topic of modern pet food, which has become adapted to the lifestyle of their owners.

A dog and a cat in a meadow of yellow flowers.
Improving health with the right nutrition, so that our pets can enjoy life.

You must remember that dogs are originally descended from wolves and domestic cats from wild cats, which in the wild would go hunting. Of course, over time the digestive system of the animals has also changed and adapted as a result of domestication.

The concept of healthy pet food is not new, but the question of how nutrition affects the deepest level of the animal body, i.e. the cellular level, has only been addressed in recent decades.

Inflammatory processes in the body

Inflammatory processes in the body are a significant factor in the development of diseases. However, it is not external or visible inflammation, but inflammation at the cellular level. This inflammation is part of the body’s defences and is divided into acute and chronic inflammation.

Acute inflammatory processes are reactions of the immune system to pathogens and usually subside quickly. But chronic inflammatory processes do not disappear when the pathogen or suspected pathogen is destroyed. They continue, often in a weaker form. These chronic inflammatory processes are responsible for the development of many diseases.

By using anti-inflammatory foods or avoiding those that promote inflammation, you can counteract chronic inflammatory processes by positively influencing gene expression. For example, antioxidants, some B vitamins, zinc, iron, manganese, and magnesium are linked to genome stability.

Better health with nutrigenomics

An infographic explaining the terms genome, gene and gene expression.

Nutrigenomics (nutrition = nutrition, genomics = relating to the genome) is about the interaction of nutrition and the genes or genome of an individual. Research is being conducted into how food and bioactive nutrients affect gene expression. The DNA of our animals contains the genes, which provide the building instructions for the synthesis of proteins. These determine everything about the pet, from sex and coat colour, to its ability to ward off disease. The complete set of DNA of an organism contains all of its genes and is known as the genome. Every cell in the organism contains a complete copy of the genome. That is why it is important to have a natural diet, as it can positively influence not only the genes of the parents, but also those of the offspring. Impulses are provided by high-quality food and easily absorbable nutrients.

What does this mean for pet food?

To create a nutritional food concept that is as functional as possible, toxic products must be avoided (chocolate, grapes, xylitol, avocado, etc.) and other factors that reduce the functionality of the food must be considered.

In particular, pet owners should avoid the following:

  • Foods to which the animal shows intolerance.
  • Genetically modified foods
  • Foods contaminated with antibiotics and hormones
  • Factory farmed meat
  • Spoiled and mouldy food
  • Lots of carbohydrates and large amounts of plant proteins
  • Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index
  • Artificial additives such as preservatives, colourings and flavor enhancers

The next issues will contain more about pet food and important nutrients for dogs and cats.