As with most aspects of nutrition, experts emphasize that the quality and quantity of protein are very important to your dog’s health. But what makes it so important?
“Protein is one of the most important parts of your dog’s well-balanced diet, along with healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.” Dr. Ernie Ward, a certified veterinary food therapist in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. “Protein is needed to maintain a dog’s immunity by synthesizing hormones, enzymes and antibodies, to keep skin and hair healthy, and to build strong bones and muscles. Protein also acts as a valuable source of energy to keep your dog active all day.
How Much Protein?
Dr. Ward said, “Theo American Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrition guidelines, adult dog food must contain at least 18% crude protein. The majority of dry dog food is sold in the United States. contains about 21 to 27% crude protein. Dog food with a protein content of 28% higher has been labeled as ‘high protein’, although that term has no actual legal or medical significance. “
But what is the right amount for your dog? Like many things, it depends.
Dr. Valerie Parker, associate professor of the Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Small Animal Nutrition at Ohio State University in Columbus, points out that each dog’s protein needs “vary from person to person.” “The minimum amount of protein established by AAFCO to maintain a dog’s maturity is 4.5 grams of protein per 100 calories ries (kcal). Puppies need more; (5,6 g / 100 kcal). “
Johnna Devereaux, CPN, director of nutrition and health at Bow Wow Labs, based in Novato, adds: “The amount of protein a dog needs can vary depending on a number of factors such as age, level of activity, growth stages and stress. California. “For example, as dogs get older in their later years, their protein requirements increase to fuel their muscles and maintain muscle mass. Dogs that also need extra protein include puppies, pregnant or nursing mothers, and dogs that are healing. “
“Healthy, active dogs are easy to handle and can benefit from a diet containing 28 to 32 percent protein,” said Dr. Ward. “This amount of protein, when combined with higher fiber, may also help prevent obesity.”
But there can be too many good things if your dog has certain diseases. Dr. Cailin R. Heinze, board-certified veterinary nutritionist on Petfoodology, a nutrition blog run by the Cummings School of Animal Health: “For certain health conditions, excess protein can do aggravate the course of illness or make the pet feel worse. Massachusetts. “Two common diseases that occur are kidney disease and some type of liver disease.”
Another consideration: Johnna says, “The overall belief when dealing with dogs with kidney problems is to pay attention to the quality of protein, which is often overlooked. High quality protein, minimally processed from animal meat allows phosphorus to bind with other minerals and be excreted in the digestive tract, minimizing the load on the kidneys.
Is the source important when it comes to dog protein?
Referring to animal meat, people often think of raw materials for preparing dog food first. “Normally, animal protein has a higher overall protein quality than plant protein, but even in animal protein sources commonly used in animal feed, there are many differences in protein quality, ”Said Dr. Heinze. “To maximize protein quality, proteins of both plant and animal origin can be combined to overcome the limitations that proteins can have independently.”
“In general, animal protein will always provide the essential amino acids and be the best source of protein in a dog’s diet,” adds Johnna. With that said, circulating the source of animal protein will help ensure that your dog receives a balanced amount of amino acids; Each source of animal protein differs in the amount of amino acids it provides. ”(Here is more about amino acids.)
What is a Meat Meal?
One common ingredient listed on many dog food labels is not only meat, but meat meal as well. “Meals with meat can be a good source of protein,” says Dr. Parker. “It just means the water has been removed; it is not related to ingredient quality or protein quantity. “
Johnna gives some considerations: “These meals may include tissue from animals that are considered unsuitable for human food and, although they provide protein, are very well-processed. Before feeding the diet with a meal, call the manufacturer and find the source of the meat. There are a number of high-quality food companies that use dehydrated meat for human consumption ”.
Protein nonmeat for dogs
Some people are vegetarians and vegans having trouble feeding your dog animal products. It is understandable, but often seen as a mistake. Think of a dog’s relationship with meat similar to your relationship with toilet paper – a must for everyone, but not necessarily both of you.
“It is generally accepted that plant protein sources have a lower digestibility than animal protein sources; however, studies in dogs have found that the total digestibility of soy protein is equal when the soy product is fully processed, ”according to an article reviewing the vegetarian diet in the Journal of the Association. Veterinary Medicine United States (JAVMA).
Dr. Heinze warns: “Pets are fed on a diet that does not contain animal protein (i.e., a vegan diet) or pets are fed a poorly engineered home-made diet. the risk of a protein deficiency or amino acid is higher.
That doesn’t mean that animal protein is the only thing that will benefit your dog. And plant proteins can also help the planet. Protein, especially animal protein, is a resource intensive industry, says Dr. Heinze. “It takes a lot of land, water and food crops to produce. Avoiding diets that are too high in animal protein and offering a complementary mix of plant and animal proteins can help reduce the environmental burden while maintaining good health for your dog. “
And there’s a vegetarian dog protein that is really effective. “Eggs have the highest biological value of any protein and are also very digestible,” says Johnna. “Eggs are an excellent source of protein for all dogs, especially sick ones, as eggs are the easiest protein for the body to process.”
Acid and BVD trips (Description of biological value)
Two important things to consider when it comes to protein quality in dog food are amino acids and BV.
“Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins – when an animal eats protein, its body breaks down the protein into these amino acids, which can then be used to make proteins,” Dr. Heinze explains. new protein or “burned” for energy. “Not all proteins are the same in type and amount of amino acids. The best quality proteins will have the highest amount of essential amino acids and will be the most easily digested pet ”.
“Of the 22 amino acids, 10 are considered essential for dogs,” says Johnna. When an amino acid is needed, it means that the body cannot synthesize it and it must come from its own diet. All dogs regardless of breed, age, … all require the same 10 essential amino acids ”.
AAFCO sets the minimum requirements for each amino acid. (See AAFCO Dog Food Minimum Protein and Dog Guidelines chart.) The 10 essential amino acids for dogs are Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Valine.
And now BVD: “Biovalue is based on the unique combination of proteins with amino acids and the measurement of the protein’s potential quality,” explains Johnna. “When a protein contains the right amino acids, in the right amounts, it is said to have a high biological value. Animal protein has a much higher biological value than most plant proteins and dogs are also easier to digest; therefore, you should always find ways to feed your dog a protein with a high biological value (preferably above 74) as well as a protein that is easy to digest.
Every food has Biological value. Here are some common ingredients for dog food ingredients:
- Eggs = 100
- Fishmeal = 92
- Fish = 88
- Beef = 78
- Chicken = 78
- Soybeans = 74
Sometimes it seems that there are many different sources of protein, such as in dogs. “Before you make significant changes to your dog’s diet, always consult with your veterinarian,” says Dr. Ward. Establish a “meat way” early so you know that your dog is on the best possible diet – and that doesn’t mean the most expensive.
AAFCO Dog Food Minimum Protein and Amino Acid Guidelines
|Nutrients||Unit per 1000 kcalME *||Minimal growth & reproduction||Minimum maintenance for adults **|
* The caloric content in dog food is expressed in Kilocalories / Kilograms Metabolic Energy. ** Recommended concentration to maintain body weight at the average caloric intake for dogs if given a certain optimal weight.