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Pet Care : cats

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Ash and Your Pet's Health

Ash is not an individual ingredient that pet food manufacturers add to your pet’s diet, however, it is present in all pet foods at varying levels. Dry meat protein sources, such as chicken by-product meal, chicken meal, lamb meal, or meat meal, all contain ash, or bone. Chicken by-product meal contains the lowest amount of ash of these ingredients, as it has the least amount of bone. Meat meal is the highest in ash, as it contains a higher amount of bone. Ash contributes essential nutrients to the formula, such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. While these minerals are required nutrients, they should be present in the diet in appropriate, not excessive amounts. Excess ash contributes excess minerals to the diet, which not only makes the food less digestible it can also adversely affect the health of your pets. Most cat owners are aware of the potential problems that may result from feeding an adult cat a high ash diet, but dogs are also susceptible to the health effects of a high ash formula. Excess phosphorus, especially when fed over long periods of time, can harm even the healthy kidney. Look for phosphorus levels for adult dogs or cats to be less than 1.0%. In cats, phosphorus can be harmful to the kidneys but also may contribute to crystal formation in the urine. Excess calcium can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb other nutrients, can cause eclampsia in females that have recently delivered puppies or kittens, and can contribute to the formation of calcium oxalate stones in the kidneys or bladder. For rapidly growing large or giant breed puppies, excess calcium can cause bone and joint developmental abnormalities. Excess magnesium causes problems primarily for adult cats, by contributing to the formation of struvite crystals in the urine. However, severe restriction of this mineral may promote the formation of calcium oxalate crystals. So, it is important that this mineral be present in appropriate amounts, usually 0.07% - 0.10%. Ash is something that is present in all pet foods. Do your research and find a diet that offers the healthiest option for the long-term health of your pet.

Please note that this information does not replace professional veterinary care. It is solely for educational purposes. Your pet's medical condition should be evaluated by a veterinarian before any medical decisions are implemented. If there is a potentially life-threatening emergency involving your pet, take your pet to a veterinarian or veterinary facility immediately.

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