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Collaborative research team identifies safe upper level for vitamin A consumption for puppies
Significant step forward in development of science-based recommendations for vitamin A levels for puppies
A collaborative team of researchers, working on behalf of the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF), has identified a safe upper level for vitamin A consumption for puppies. The research marks a significant step forward in the development of science-based recommendations for vitamin A levels for puppies and sheds new light on their distinct nutritional needs.
This research was conducted by scientists from the Free University of Berlin (Germany), the University of Potsdam (Germany), and the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition (UK).
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for dogs and is particularly important for vision, growth and the immune system. It is found naturally in liver, a key ingredient in many pet food products. However, there is currently no consensus regarding how much vitamin A puppies can consume and nutritional guidelines vary significantly on this topic.
In order to assess how puppies respond to varying levels of vitamin A, the researchers in this study examined 49 dogs aged between 8 and 16 weeks over a period of 8 weeks. The puppies were randomly assigned to one of four groups, and each group was fed a different amount of vitamin A. The levels of vitamin A fed to the puppies in each group were based on existing guidelines set by the three main industry bodies: 12,500 IU; 75,000 IU and 100,000 IU/1000 kcal metabolisable energy (ME), with a control group fed vitamin A levels at 5,000 IU/1000 kcal ME.
The results showed that there were no differences in health outcomes across the four test groups. This finding highlights that puppies are able to metabolise higher levels of vitamin A than previously thought. The research therefore provides valuable new insights into puppies' nutritional needs and demonstrates clearly that levels of vitamin A in line with FEDIAF guidelines are safe for puppies.
Commenting on the findings, Thomas Meyer, Secretary General of FEDIAF, noted: "These findings validate the long-standing recommended levels of vitamin A in the FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines for Cats and Dogs. They confirm that the European pet food industry's choice of ingredients that are naturally rich in vitamin A, such as liver, is based on sound science for ensuring the healthy growth and development of puppies."
"This collaborative study underlines the European pet food industry's responsible, self-regulatory approach to safe and nutritious pet food products and highlights the importance of the FEDIAF guidelines as a reference for cat and dog nutrition that should be considered alongside other publications, such as those of the National Research Council (NRC)," Thomas Meyer added.
Study author Dr. Penny Morris from the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition commented on the involvement of WALTHAM® in the research: "For over 50 years, WALTHAM® has been driving scientific advances to advance and share knowledge in pet health and nutrition. In collaboration with FEDIAF and leading experts from the University of Potsdam and the University of Berlin, we are part of a team working to establish science-based recommendations for vitamin A consumption for puppies that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of dogs worldwide."
This research was conducted by Penny Morris and Carina Salt from the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition, Jens Raila and Florian Schweigert from the University of Potsdam, Thomas Brenten from Mars GmbH, and Barbara Kohn and Jürgen Zentek from the Free University of Berlin. The study was reviewed and approved by the WALTHAM® Ethical Review Committee, the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) and independent veterinarians.
The research has been published in the British Journal of Nutrition and is available online here: http://journals.cambridge.org/bjn/waltham
Established in 1970, FEDIAF represents 18 national/regional pet food industry associations in 26 countries before the European Union and other international bodies, and promotes the views and interests of approximately 650 European pet food producing companies. The organization supports a legislative framework for the production of safe, nutritious and palatable pet food.
For more information about FEDIAF and the FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines for Cats and Dogs, please visit: http://www.fediaf.org
About the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition:
The WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority in pet nutrition and wellbeing and has been advancing the frontiers of scientific research into the nutrition and health of companion animals for nearly 50 years. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute focuses on the nutritional and behavioural needs of companion animals and their benefits to humans, enabling the development of innovative products which meet these needs in a practical way. WALTHAM® has pioneered many important breakthroughs in pet nutrition, and in collaboration with the world's foremost scientific institutes, supports leading Mars brands such as WHISKAS®, PEDIGREE®, NUTRO®, TRILL®, CESAR®, SHEBA®, KITEKAT®, AQUARIAN®, WINERGY® and the ROYAL CANIN brand.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Abigail Stevenson, Head of Value Transfer, WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition
Tel: +44 1664 415 400 Email: Abigail.Stevenson@effem.com