The role of antioxidants as a natural pet food preservative

By Sophie Lavallée M.Sc., Agr.

We’ve all heard of antioxidants, right? But did you know that the shelf life of pet food can be extended to 18-24 months when antioxidants are used during the manufacturing process?

Because dog and cat food products contain such raw materials as animal bonemeal, oils and fats, they can easily become rancid as fat molecules begin to oxidize. And once the oxidation process starts, it becomes autocatalytic, meaning that it increases at a faster rate. Unless the process is stopped, oxidation will denature fats and oils, thereby destroying essential fatty acids and other fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A and C. Not only does this process make the fats smell horrible but it can also lead to the production of toxic compounds.

Fortunately, there are natural and effective ingredients that ward off oxidation. Many natural pet food products contain mixtures of tocopherols, citric acid, rosemary extract and green tea.

These antioxidants are first used by raw material suppliers to make animal bonemeal, oils and fats, and then pet food manufacturers will use them to make the finished product.

Since heat, light and oxygen are the main causes of oxidation, be sure to store your pet food in a clean, dry area, as this will greatly help prevent oxidation and keep the product fresh.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the role of antioxidants as a natural pet food preservative. Feel free to contact us should you have any questions on this subject.