Pet Food & Nutrition

Today there is a lot of information available about the nutritional requirements of cats and dogs, the ingredients in pet food and the importance to choose the right food for your cat or dog. GAPFA members are committed to helping pet owners get the information about the food they choose for their pets.


The Science of Pet Food: Role of Fat


Essential fatty acids are those that must be provided in the diet as they cannot be produced in the body. The cat and dog’s requirement for fatty acids may change according to their life stage e.g. during growth or due to a specific health condition.





The Science of Pet Food: Role of Protein


Protein has several functions in the body. These include being a structural component of body tissues and organs such as cartilage, muscle fibres, skin and hair; they make up active components of the body including blood, cells and antibodies in the immune system, enzymes and hormones. This makes it an extremely important nutrient for all body functions.

Read more in our dedicated factsheet

The Science of Pet Food: Role of Carbohydrate


Carbohydrates, protein, fats, and added vitamins and minerals all play important roles in a commercial dog or cat food recipe, and provide key nutrition for pets. Although not an essential nutrient, digestible carbohydrates provide a source of energy and glucose, which allows for the formulation of moderate fat diets and low-calorie diets to manage weight problems. It also helps to spare the use of animal protein, which is a limited resource in pet nutrition.

Read more in our dedicated factsheet


Nutritional needs of cats and dogs

Pet food must provide the right balance of nutrients and it can be complete or complementary. Complete pet foods are nutritionally complete: providing all the nutrients in the amounts and proportions your pet needs. Complementary pet foods (e.g. treats) are designed to be only a part of the diet and they won’t meet the nutritional requirements when fed alone. Read more in our dedicated factsheet

The benefits of commercially prepared pet foods

Pet owners recognise and celebrate that pets are individuals and owners generally decide on what foods meet their particular circumstances. Prepared pet foods from reputable pet food manufacturers come with a reassurance of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety. There is a wide variety of recipes, varieties and textures to choose from, and they are convenient to use. Read more in our dedicated factsheet

Choosing the right food for your pet

This variety means that pet owners can choose the foods that provide their pet with the nutrition it needs and the product form that they and their pets prefer. The array of options of prepared pet foods provide a great basis for your pet’s diet, delivering balanced nutrition, variety, palatability, sustainability, consistency and safety, making for a satisfied pet and owner. Read more in our dedicated factsheet

The importance of water in your pet's diet

Without water all those other nutrients found in your pet’s food will be rendered useless, as water is needed in digestion for the absorption of those nutrients and all the way through to elimination. Read more in our dedicated factsheet

Can I feed dog food to my cat?

Complete and balanced pet foods provide all the nutrients required in the correct ratios for the pet. Dog foods provide all the nutrients a dog needs to stay healthy but they are not formulated to provide the additional nutrients that cats need in their diet. Read more in our dedicated factsheet

Incidence, risk factors & managing obesity

However, deciding whether a pet is overweight can be a challenge for some owners and your veterinarian can assist by weighing your pet and determining your pet’s body condition score. Read more in our dedicated factsheet


the first one is to provide nutritional benefits, e.g. vitamins, the second purpose concerns technological additives for safety and maintaining the desirable features of texture, stability and resistance to spoilage and lastly there can be sensory additives providing the right color and flavor. Read more in our dedicated factsheet