Since most plant and animal feeds are good sources of pantothenic acid, deficiency of the vitamin should not ordinarily be any problem to dogs and cats. Cats in particular would not be expected to develop a pantothenic acid deficiency as their diets are usually higher in protein. High-protein diets would reduce pantothenic acid needs due to the decreased level of dietary carbohydrate, which would presumably require coenzyme A for metabolism. However, pantothenic acid is usually added to nutritionally complete cat and dog foods since it costs so little to be safe.
Even though dog and cat foods should be adequate in pantothenic acid, there are large variations in quantities and processing of foods that can further reduce the quantity present. Feed-grade pantothenic acid products are available in a number of potencies. Products that are sold on the basis of racemic mixture content can be misleading and confusing to a buyer who is not fully aware of the biological activity supplied by d-pantothenic acid. To avoid confusion, the label should clearly state the grams of d-calcium pantothenate or its equivalent per unit weight and the grams of d-pantothenic acid.
A straight racemic mixture (90%) is available to the feed industry but its hygroscopic and electrostatic properties contribute to handling problems. Because it readily picks up moisture, it sticks to bags, cans, and scoops and can become hard after prolonged exposure to air. Its electrostatic properties cause it to cling to metallic and other objects and losses can be significant. Through complexing procedures, several companies now market free-flowing and essentially non-hygroscopic and non-electrostatic products.
Pantothenic acid is reportedly fairly stable in feedstuffs during long periods of storage (Scott et al., 1982). The authors indicate that heating during processing may cause considerable losses, especially if temperatures are 100° to 150°C for long periods of time and pH values are above 7 or below 5. Loss of the vitamin in dairy products during processing and storage is about 30% to 35% (Song et al., 1990). Gadient (1986) considers pantothenic acid to be slightly sensitive to heat, very sensitive to moisture, and not very sensitive to oxygen or light. Pelleting was reported to cause only small losses of the vitamin. As a general guideline, pantothenic acid activity in pelleted feed stored for a period of three months at room temperature should be 80% to 100% of the original value. Pantothenic acid stability in a vitamin premix was 98% after six months; however, when the premix contained choline and trace minerals, the quantity of the vitamin retained was only 58% (Gadient, 1986).