Cat & Dog Nutrition Glossary | Other Ingredients

Brewer’s Yeast

This is one of the most magnificent sources of vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niocin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin) and B9 (folic acid), aiding the function of your dog and cat’s digestive system, nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, mouth and liver. The yeast is also a perfect protein package.

This ‘complete protein’ contains all 9 of the essential amino acids required by our pets.


Cellulose, or in other words ‘dietary fibre’, is taken from the cell walls of plants and is indigestible by dogs and cats, offering plenty of roughage for a regular digestive system. Cellulose, from veggies like sugar beet, is a supreme quality supplement, whereas pure cellulose (a white odorless powder) is actually taken from paper or wood pulp! With zero calories but offering plenty of bulk, it is hugely popular in weight management dog and cat foods.

It’s a controversial ingredient due to the fluctuating quality, so if in doubt avoid it altogether.


Activated charcoal (charcoal that has been heated to a high temperature and steamed) is wonderful for relieving gas and bloating in dogs and cats. That’s a relief for the entire family!


An essential part of tri-glyceride fats, natural glycerin helps keep food moist and its sweet taste is appealing to those pooches and felines with a sweet tooth. The most extreme natural feeding advocates are sometimes anti-glycerin because it is not found on its own, and so is not considered to be natural. It’s up to each owner to make the right call for their dog or cat.


These terms usually refer to either the moisture found in wet food or the natural flavouring sprayed onto dry kibble after manufacturing, usually made up of meat and oils. Whilst these words can often be used to describe a luxury and enticing cuisine for your pet, some pet foods brands take advantage of the general term, hiding less attractive ingredients, such as digest, within. Watch out for any disguising language and contact the manufacturer directly for clear and accurate confirmation of the ingredients.


This is the German word for diatomite (a soft, highly porous, sedimentary rock). It helps to reduce gas and bloating by absorbing toxins in the tummy and digestive system. Its slightly rough exterior also helps to scrape the teeth, cleaning them and removing plaque.

Natural Flavourings

Such a vague term can refer to any food extract from herbs to veg to meat, to ingredients like digest, with the function of flavouring the food. If at any point you feel unclear about any of the ingredients contained within your dog or cat’s dinner, call the manufacturer to check that it is not just delicious, but also nutritious.

Oils and Fats

This term refers to any oils or fats from any plant or animal. Cats and dogs of course need fat within their diet, and whilst it occurs naturally within their meaty food, it’s so deliciously palatable that many pet food brands add slightly more then necessary. If your pet is a bit of a fuss pot, it could be worth opting for a food with a higher fat content to entice them in, yet be sure to watch their weight if you go down that route. With such a vague term, it’s hard to know whether the term contains beneficial oils or quality animal fats, or whether they’re rubbish, nasty, processed oils. If you’re unsure, assume the worst to be on the safe side, especially if your pet has ever experienced a food intolerance or allergy – it’s really difficult to identify the culprit when ingredients are labeled under a general bulk phrase.


Naturally present in the raw stages of your pet’s food, it’s generally unnecessary to add additional salt. However, it’s delicious! For this reason, pet food brands are prone to adding a little more than necessary. Avoid foods with a high salt content if your dog or cat has ever experienced heart troubles or high blood pressure. When it comes to salt and too much of it, pets can suffer in exactly the same way we can, so let’s take charge.


Seaweed is jam-packed full of calcium, iron, magnesium and tons of other wonderful nutritional delights. Importantly, it’s also dense in the rare mineral iodine. Though too much iodine is harmful for our pets, a small amount can work wonders and massively benefit thyroid function.

Special Ingredients

U.K. dog food brands are required to give a general description of the contents of their food; though this is waved if listing some of the ingredients will give away their ‘special formula’. Of course, ‘special ingredients’ could quite literally refer to anything, so if you’re facing an unbelievably vague ingredients lists, we’d advise opting for an alternative.


Sugars are added to dog and cat food, because lets face it, they’re delicious. They may be listed as sugar, caramel, syrup or sucrose, and could be taken from corn, wheat, sugar cane or sugar beet. As when you give a child too much sugar, dogs and cats respond in the same way to high quantities. Symptoms include hyperactivity, hypoglycemia, obesity, dental issues and a whole host of other health problems. We’re all for the occasional treat, and a small sugary energy boost can sometimes be just the ticket, but all in moderation. Monitor your pet’s sugar intake and watch out for the symptoms mentioned to ensure a healthy, happy pet from head to tail.