My name is Dr. Stefan Mandel and I was born on 07.06.1962. My wife and I have two children, a dog and a cat. We live in Geldern on the Lower Rhine, in the direct vicinity of the MERA production plant.
I completed a degree at the University in Bonn, where I received my doctorate from the Institute of Animal Nutrition in 1992. I have been working for MERA pet foods since 2003. My main fields of activity are research and development, quality management and nutrition consultancy.
Your dog’s health is a topic which is particularly close to my heart! I pass on my knowledge and experience directly to your dog via our products. I vouch for the quality of our products – for the welfare of your dog. I’m happy to answer all your pet food-related questions!!
With all good wishes
Dr. Stefan Mandel
WHAT IS ODOUR-STOP?
You know the problem: your dog smells more strongly than usual, sweating intensively via skin, coat and while exhaling, thus affecting your domestic and private surroundings. However this continual smell of “dog”, which we find so unpleasant, does not arise because the dog is dirty or filthy, but is the result of digestive processes during which a surfeit of undesirable decomposition products are produced. These subsequently spread throughout the dog’s metabolic system and result in this overpowering smell.
The solution to this problem naturally lies in optimum digestive processes. For example, if it is possible to promote and stabilise the intestinal flora chiefly responsible for digestion, and, moreover, to bond the odour molecules in a natural way, odour reduction is virtually guaranteed.
In light of this, we have developed a combination of active substances using a purely natural, vegetable basis, which we can use to bond the odorous substances and considerably limit their regeneration. All our high-premium products contain the odour-stop formula.
WHAT IS CRUDE PROTEIN?
Above all, crude protein is a term used in the field of chemical analysis and the Pet Food Directive, and refers to the protein the food contains.
Protein is a vital main nutrient which is found in each muscle, each organ and each somatic cell. We need protein in order to maintain our bodily substance, and require more protein during the growing phase or during periods of high physical activity. This is the reason why puppy food generally contains more protein than food for adult dogs.
Protein itself comprises 20 different individual components, so-called amino acids. The dog uses the protein in its food, or the individual amino acids, in order to build up its own bodily tissues (muscles, organs, etc). So, in purely scientific terms, we don’t refer to a protein requirement, but to a need for specific amino acids which the protein contains.
High protein levels in food are not always a sign of need-driven, high-quality protein – on the contrary, too much protein places a strain on the liver, kidneys and the entire metabolic system. We take account of this consistently when developing our recipes – only as much protein as necessary, but with an ample supply of all necessary amino acids.
What is crude fat?
Crude fat is a term used in chemical analysis and in the Pet Food Directive, and refers to the various oils and fats the pet food contains.
We are familiar with fat as a highly-concentrated source of energy. Fat contains the highest energy level per volume unit of all sources of energy. The different levels of fat included in the various pet food products always make it possible to choose a suitable pet food and tailor it to your dog’s activity levels. This, too, is need-driven nutrition.
However, individual fat components perform other important bodily functions, namely the so-called essential fatty acids. They have an effect on cell metabolism, influence the cholesterol levels and are extremely important for healthy hair and skin. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are concrete examples here – sufficient amounts of these must be present in the fat or in the pet food. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids thus play a central role in our Meradog CareConcept.
WHAT IS CRUDE FIBRE?
Above all, crude fibre is a term used in chemical analysis and the Pet Food Directive, and refers to the total amount of vegetable fibres which the pet food contains. However, these fibres are now known, more accurately, as dietary fibre, or roughage.
Without thinking particularly deeply, most people would wish for dog food to be as digestible as possible. But let’s take a moment to consider precisely what 100% digestibility would actually mean. You’ve guessed it – namely that the consumed food would no longer be excreted. The intestines would be laid low, and this would have serious effects on the dog’s health.
However, dietary fibres are, by nature, largely indigestible and are additionally extremely prone to swelling. They thus ensure that the intestinal peristaltics, or the digestion, is stimulated. The swelling also helps your dog to feel fuller for longer, an effect which is used with success in low calorie pet foods.
WHAT IS CRUDE ASH?
Crude ash is another term used in chemical analysis and the Pet Food Directive. In this case the term “ash” does not describe something that has been burnt. When used in the field of pet food, it refers to all the minerals the food contains. Examples of minerals are bulk elements such as calcium, phosphorus, salt, magnesium and trace elements such as iron, copper, zinc and selenium.
The way in which the minerals function in the body is as varied as it is complex, ranging from bone mineralisation and water balance to muscle metabolism, nerve activity, fertility, involvement in enzyme activity and much more.
These complex functions mean that both an imbalance and a surplus of minerals may have serious consequences. This is why I would urge you not to give your dog any mineral supplements in addition to our pet food. Too many minerals can easily cause damage – particularly in the case of puppies. Our pet foods contains the correct levels of all the minerals a healthy dog needs.
THE AMOUNT OF MEAT IN DRY FOODS
Dried meat products are generally used in order to produce dry pet foods. This is both easier to handle and more hygienic. I would like to explain the link between fresh and dried meat with the following example:
If we take approximately 1 kg of fresh beef, around 70 % of this is pure water. If I were to dry and shred this piece of meat, then a small amount of dried meat would remain. We subsequently include this amount in our pet food recipes. We therefore only remove the water from the meat; all other nutrients and ingredients remain unchanged.
As an example, let’s take a look at one of the products in our PURE range – i.e. PURE Turkey & Rice. Here, 20% dried turkey meat corresponds to an original amount of 50 % fresh meat.
However, it is not always productive to include a large amount of meat in the food, as this means that the protein levels inevitably increase and could be too high.
THE OLDER DOG
Growing older is a natural process and hard to pinpoint. Generally speaking, small breeds are deemed “old” from 10 years upwards; medium-sized breeds from 9 years upwards and larger breeds from 7 years upwards.
Typical canine symptoms of old age may include the following: joint problems, failing digestive processes, excess weight, kidney failure and heart diseases and a more powerful inherent odour. This naturally poses a challenge when creating a really high-quality, effective food for older dogs.
We add clam powder for the joints, prebiotic inulin for the digestive system, lower levels of sodium and phosphor – which are gentler on the kidneys, carnitine to break up the fat content, the odour-stop formula as well as additional vitamins. Our formula for older dogs is therefore a physiologically complex solution, as the various aspects of ageing are all taken into account.
THE OVERWEIGHT DOG
Many of us are well aware of the link between nutrition and excess weight. Dogs, like all other living creatures, gain weight if they absorb more energy than they burn. Dogs exceeding their average breed weight by 20% are considered obese. It has become clear that there are often risks associated with being overweight.
What can be done? The most important thing is maximum activity and controlled feeding, so no snacks or left-overs. It goes without saying that a special low-fat or “Light” dog food is a good idea.
Meradog Light has a reduced fat content and an increase in dietary fibres, which makes it less calorific, while the fibre ensures that your dog feels fuller longer. Carnitine also helps break down the fat deposits. The food contains all the important nutrients to ensure that no long-term deficiencies develop.
However, this does not mean that the dog owner is not responsible for feeding his pet in a sensible, controlled manner. Meradog Light will certainly help to relieve the symptoms, but not the causes.