Ash Levels and their Role in Pet Nutrition
If the cat or dog food in your pet’s diet mentions a certain ash level in the contents, you may be curious as to what this denotes. Ash level in pet food is considered as a form of measurement, and refers to the amount of mineral nutrients (like phosphorous, calcium, zinc and iron) available in the food. A way to calculate ash levels is by burning the cat or dog food, which destroys the organic material (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), and leaves behind the inorganic, non-combustible minerals known as ash.
Oftentimes, this mineral content, or ash, comes from the amount of bone, cartilage, tendons and the like that’s been ground into the meat meal (this does not include muscle, which has low ash levels). It can also come from the mineral additives in the product. As there are many variations in the quality of meat meals, many look to ash levels in a meal to denote the quality of pet nutrition; The lower the ash level, the better quality of food.
But don’t write off ash just yet. Dogs and cats require roughly about 2% ash in their diet to meet their mineral needs. In the wild, these animals may gnaw on bones or vegetables to get the minerals that are essential to their diet. In commercial pet food, ash levels that surpass 2% is extra space taken up or could even be looked at as a filler that doesn’t add to your pets health. It isn’t uncommon for ash levels to exceed 10% in low-quality pet foods.
As too much of one type of mineral can inhibit the uptake of another, too much ash in your pet’s diet can impede his ability to absorb other vital nutrients. Excessive phosphorus can lower calcium absorption, while excess calcium can interfere with normal, healthy bone mineralization.
Dr. Tim’s is a brand of dog food that proudly uses low-ash meat meal in their pet food, with an average of 7.5% ash level across their products. Dr. Tim’s All Life Stages Kinesis Formula Dry Dog Food is an example of a complete, wholesome meal for dogs made with chicken meal that has an ash level of only 5.2%. This formula also contains prebiotics and probiotics for a healthy immune system, and optimal vitamin nutrition to help optimize you dog’s skin, coat, paws and overall pet health.
For active dogs, there’s Dr. Tim’s Active Dog Pursuit Formula Dry Dog Food, which has an ash level of only 6.5%. Besides the low-ash chicken meal standard in Dr. Tim’s products, this food also contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fats and antioxidants, plus fiber for gastrointestinal health. Dogs with grain allergies can enjoy Dr. Tim’s Grain-Free Kinesis Formula Dry Dog Food. With an ash level of 6.9%, this high-quality diet is something you can feel confident about feeding your dog. Plus, the slow cooking method creates a delicious dish that has minimal pet nutrient loss and maximum digestibility.
For cats, there’s Dr. Tim’s Chase All Life Stages Formula Dry Cat Food. This recipe contains a low ash level of 7.25%, low magnesium levels and methionine, which is ideal for maintaining an acidic urine for urinary health. Plus, this cat food has a unique fiber combination that can aid with immunity and limit hairball production.
Now that you know more about ash levels, we hope you’ll use this information to improve your pet’s diet!