Pet parents are not always aware of the palatability concept and role, but it is safe to say they want their beloved furry friends to enjoy their food and be happy; they care about providing their pet with a meal which is both delicious AND, importantly, healthy. As a result, they are increasingly trying to acquire more knowledge about petfood ingredients, good nutritional content or specific dietary needs, by looking for information and seeking advice — and who could help better than a trusted veterinarian?
The thing is, though, most of the times even veterinarians — especially at the beginning of their working career — might well be nutrition experts, but their knowledge about palatability can be rather limited. The two aspects might seem unrelated, but they indeed are strictly connected: the greatest petfood formulation won't provide any of its nutritional benefits if the dog or cat won't eat it! That's why it’s key to fully grasp palatability impact and function.
And it is also why AFB International — by General Manager Europe John Vergeer and Business Consultant Stefania Pes — was very happy to accept the invitation to hold a half-day seminar on the subject, dedicated to advanced undergraduates and postgraduate students of the Veterinary Medicine Faculty in Teramo, Italy. The seminar was a module of the specialist training course called Nutrition and Clinic Dietary Feeding of Dogs and Cats, aimed to enrich the know-how of current and to-be veterinarians beyond the more traditional topics of their regular academic path.
In the first two hours, AFB introduced and answered questions on the main theoretical aspects and factors, handling issues such as what palatability is, what a palatant is made of and how it is developed and processed, which are its effects and why, how palatants work differently on dogs and cats and — last but not least — how palatability can be measured. In the second part, AFB conducted an interactive workshop presenting real samples of several palatant components and finished liquid and powder palatants, allowing the students to sniff, compare, evaluate and give feedback on what was previously discussed, challenging them to identify key points via a questionnaire and true/false answers through a Mythbusters-like exercise.
We experienced an enthusiastic and interested response from the students and, as concerns the last part of the afternoon, even more from the two dogs also present in the classroom!
AFB is always available and willing to support continuing education and act as a trusted source of advanced learning for all those wishing to know more about palatability and palatability-related subjects. To learn more about the importance of palatability literacy and to explore potential e-learning opportunities, read our palatability training resource blog post by Brooke Eiler, Senior Director of Sales – Europe.