Comparison of methodologies for fat determination and evaluation of calcium and phosphorus content in snacks for dogs
In recent years, the relationship between humans and companion animals has tightened considerably and resulted in the expansion of the range of pet food industry products available in the market. In this context, snacks have gained greater popularity as pet owners seek to please their animals by providing such foods. Due to the growing importance of the snack segment, a need exists for accurate information on the nutritional composition of these products, such as fat concentration. No studies were found that evaluated the effectiveness of different methods applied for determining the content of this nutrient in dog snacks. In addition, too much mineral content can pose health risks. Thus, the objective of this study was to compare three methodologies for determining fat in pet snack products. The moisture, calcium and phosphorus content of each was also determined to compare the obtained results with each value stated on their product labels. Fat determination methods evaluated were ether extract (EE), ether extract after acid hydrolysis (EEHA), and fat content obtained from Ankom XT15 analyzer (ANKOM). Twenty-four snacks produced by 17 companies were evaluated. The results of the three methodologies were compared using the Tukey test. The comparison between the results of the laboratory analysis and the values stated on the labels was performed using descriptive statistics. There was no difference between the three methods evaluated (p = 0.34) regarding fat content. Regarding the nutritional compliance of the labels, 25% (n = 6) of the snacks presented higher moisture content than the declared amount, 50% (n = 12) presented lower fat content, 25% (n = 6) lower phosphorus content and, in 50% (n = 12), the calcium content was not within the minimum and maximum range stated on the label. Therefore, due to the absence of difference between the results, any of the three fat determination methodologies could be used. Regarding compliance of labels for calcium, phosphorus and fat content, greater control over the nutritional composition of these foods is required since most pet owners tend to supply large quantities of snacks to dogs, leading to excessive daily energy intake.
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