Complete or supplementary food – which is best for my dog?  

Complete food contains all of the ingredients, vitamins and minerals that your dog requires for a balanced nutrition. Supplementary foods are designed to complement or enhance your dog’s daily diet.

What do the terms "crude ash", "crude fat", "raw fibre" and "crude protein" mean?

When you look at the ingredient list of many pet foods, you will spot a section labelled "analytical constituents". This is a quantitative chemical analysis of the substances contained in the food. In most cases, this section will show the percentage of crude protein, crude ash, crude fat, raw fibre and moisture in the food, and may also give an analysis of the vitamin and mineral content. Crude ash represents the sum total of all minerals and trace elements in the food, whilst raw fibre includes plant-based, indigestible constituents. Crude protein measures the total amount of vegetable and animal proteins, and crude fat measures the total animal and vegetable-based fat content.

What does "grain-free" mean?

A dog’s digestive system works in a similar way to that of its ancestor, the wolf. It is designed to digest mainly animal proteins. Most dogs do not suffer any ill-effects from the inclusion of cereal in their food, however dogs with sensitive digestive systems can suffer from allergic symptoms as a result of eating grain, as their systems struggle to process the starches in common grains. Grain-free dog foods, such as those without wheat or maize, can help to alleviate these symptoms.

Which type of food should I choose for my sensitive dog?

Dogs with sensitive digestion respond well to easily digested dog foods with a single source of animal protein. These types of food help you to monitor exactly what type of meat your dog is eating and can also help you to pinpoint and avoid ingredients that cause a reaction. Grain-free foods can also help.

Secondary plant compounds or phytonutrients – what are they?

Secondary plant compounds or phytonutrients are naturally occurring compounds that are created in certain types of plant cells. Phytonutrients have beneficial effects in promoting good health and are increasingly being used to improve foods for humans and animals. These compounds have been found to help regulate digestion, work as antioxidants and reduce blood pressure. Domestic dogs’ ancient ancestors took advantage of these nutrients through selective eating of different plants and plant constituents.

How much food does my dog need?

How much food your dog needs depends on what type of food you choose, as well as on the dog’s age, breed, activity levels and feeding habits. Please consult the food packaging for feeding guidelines.

What should I feed my puppy?

Puppies have particular needs when it comes to nutrition. A good puppy food should provide all of the right nutrients for harmonious development, healthy bone growth and a long, healthy life. As well as being vitamin-enriched, their food should also contain a higher dose of calcium to promote good bone development. Puppies also need to consume more calories than adult dogs. MATINA offers a variety of different foods that have been specifically developed for growing puppies and young dogs of all breeds and sizes.

What does my older dog need?

As your dog ages, it may start to suffer from age-related aches and pains. Senior dogs tend to be less active, which means that they do not need to consume as many calories. However, they still need good nutrition. The ideal food for an older dog is a lower-energy option, that is full of essential nutrients and easy to digest. As many older dogs suffer from dental problems, a specially designed kibble can help them to eat dry food.

When should I feed my dog treats, and how many?

Dog treats and snacks make a great reward for between meals, but they should only be a small part of your dog’s daily diet. How many you should feed depends on your dog’s age, breed and activity levels, as well as on their general feeding habits. Check the packaging for further advice and tips.


Why is protein so important for cats?

Cats are carnivores, designed to feed on small prey animals, and this has remained unchanged since before they were domesticated. It means that cats thrive on animal protein, and get little nutritional value from plant proteins such as soya.

What makes a good quality cat food?

Good quality cat food has a high animal protein content. As cats would naturally only ever consume a small amount of grain, they can only tolerate it in very small quantities. Cats cannot digest grains properly and this results in high levels of waste products in the cat’s system and can cause unnecessary pressure on their kidneys and digestion. A good cat food should only contain very limited amounts of plant-based ingredients.

How much food does my cat need?

How much food your cat needs depends on what type of food you are using, as well as on its age, breed, activity levels and feeding habits. Please check the packaging for feeding guidelines.

Cats are desert animals. Why do I still need to give my cat water?

Your cat’s ancient ancestors lived in the deserts of Africa, which means that the cat’s system is perfectly adapted to deriving all of the moisture that it needs from the small prey animals that it eats. Although the body of a mouse is up to 70% water, commercially produced cat foods do not have such a high moisture content, so you should ensure that your cat always has fresh water to drink, especially if you are feeding it dry food.

Why is taurine so important for cats?

Taurine is an essential amino acid. Cats are not able to effectively produce taurine themselves but rely on food to supply what they need. It is mainly present in red meat, but a mouse contains proportionally higher amounts of taurine than beef, for example. Taurine is vital for healthy heart function in cats, so a taurine deficiency can be fatal. A good complete cat food should be taurine-enriched, to make sure that your cat always gets the required amount.

Should I feed my cat wet or dry food?

Although cats do not naturally eat ‘dry’ food, that certainly does not mean that dry food is bad for your cat. Whether a food is species-appropriate for your cat or not depends entirely on the ingredients. When feeding your cat dry food, you should always ensure that it has a supply of fresh water available.

What is the difference between ‘complete’ and ‘supplementary’ food?

Complete foods contain all of the ingredients, vitamins and minerals that your cat requires for optimum nutrition. Supplementary foods are designed to enhance or complement your cat’s daily diet.  

I would like to feed my cat a different food. How do I go about changing its diet?

Cats are well known for being sticklers for their preferred food, often ignoring any alternatives that are offered to them! If you want to change the food that you feed your cat, it is worth doing it step by step, to avoid your cat going hungry. At first, serve your cat a mix that contains approx. 10% new food, mixed in with the old food. The following day, increase the proportion of new food to around 20%, and so on, until the old food has been entirely replaced with the new alternative.

How many snacks are healthy for my cat?

Cat treats and snacks make a great reward for between meals, but they do not contain all of the nutrients that your cat needs, so should only be a small part of your cat’s daily nutrition. How many snacks you should feed depends on your cat’s age, breed and activity levels, as well as on their general feeding habits. The packaging offers further advice and tips.

What different types of cat litter are available?

Cat litter is available to buy in clumping and non-clumping varieties. The most popular type of clumping cat litter is bentonite or clay litter. This type of litter is made from natural clay, which softens in contact with liquid and then forms clumps, which are easy to remove from the litter tray with a scoop. Silicate cat litter is also becoming increasingly popular. The unique structure of silicate means that it absorbs odours and liquids very quickly, holding up to its own weight in liquid. Natural cat litters are made from 100% biodegradable materials, such as wood, paper, straw and other plant-based materials, and are available in clumping and non-clumping varieties.