Protein is a necessary part of a dog’s diet. Canines are classified as omnivores, which means they need both animal and plant matter for survival and good health. However, there are many websites and other sources of information that state high protein dog food causes kidney and liver disease in canines. This information, although highly inaccurate, inspires many dog owners to shun high protein foods in lieu of unhealthy substitutes that do not provide their pets with adequate nutrition.
Protein is a vital nutrient that is responsible for building the animal’s body tissues, hormones, enzymes and organs.
It is important to understand a bit about protein if one is to make an intelligent decision regarding the diet of his or her dog. Protein is a vital nutrient that is responsible for building the animal’s body tissues, hormones, enzymes and organs, making it essential to the health of any dog. Approximately 50 percent of a canine’s dry body mass is made of protein. In addition, protein is necessary to replenish amino acids in both puppies and adult dogs. As a dog’s life progresses, amino acids need constant replacement, and while the dog’s body is able to recycle some of its existing amino acids, a certain percentage will always need to be replaced entirely with new amino acids.
high quality protein is easily digested … which means no extra strain is placed on the dog’s kidneys
Many people who feel that high protein dog food is dangerous to their pets, are most likely confused about quality versus quantity. The liver is the organ that processes protein, and the byproducts of this process are filtered by the kidneys and eventually excreted in the dog’s urine. Poor quality protein does not digest easily in animals, which results in kidney stress and eventual damage. However, high quality protein is easily digested and creates a very minimum amount of waste, which means no extra strain is placed on the dog’s kidneys when the protein is metabolized.
The Role of Water
Another fact of which many dog owners are unaware is that the liver must have water in order to process protein efficiently. The reason for this is that water is the only way that the byproducts of protein metabolism can be carried to the kidneys. The more water the kidneys have to work with, the easier the process is on the animal’s system. For this reason it is important that one offer adequate amounts of water to his or her dog on a daily basis. Many individuals and various pet food companies state that a canine will instinctively drink the appropriate amount of water with no encouragement from its owner, but this is not the case. If a dog’s diet consists mostly of dry food, it is best to add water to the food in order to ensure the dog consumes the appropriate amount. In many cases, a high protein diet is blamed when a dog experiences liver or kidney trouble, when the real culprit is inadequate hydration.
Quality Versus Quantity
Many of the misconceptions stem from the fact that most dog owners have no clear understanding of the difference between high quality and low quality protein.
High protein dog food has acquired a somewhat negative reputation, but this is entirely unwarranted. Many of the misconceptions stem from the fact that most dog owners have no clear understanding of the difference between high quality and low quality protein. Many dog food manufacturers add unhealthy fillers to their products which have the potential to harm the dog’s health and cause digestive problems.
Such fillers include low quality protein sources such as blood meal, byproducts, corn and soy, which are very hard to digest. It is even easier to understand when one considers wild dogs that essentially live on protein that comes from the prey that they kill and eat. Such animals are rarely afflicted with kidney disease; however this is not the case with domestic dogs, as they suffer far more frequently with such ailments. The reason for this is that the protein consumed by wild dogs comes from high quality sources such as the organ and muscle meat of the prey they kill, not from processed food stuffed with byproducts and fillers.
Raw meat also contains approximately 70 percent moisture, as opposed to processed dry foods which have a moisture content of about ten percent. It is not yet known what damage is being done to people’s pets through this type of food processing. Although certain improvements have been made in pet food quality since the 1970s, most manufacturers of dog food still produce bad foods from poor quality ingredients.
…food used in the study was made from the poor quality proteins.
Most people who are hesitant to feed their dogs protein are relying on outdated or flawed research and studies. For example, certain research conducted in the 1990s stated that high protein dog food can damage the animal’s liver and kidneys. However, when these studies are given a closer look one will see that the food used in the study was made from the poor quality proteins. The quality of the food’s protein content is the essential factor that determines whether or not the food is healthy, which makes it easy to see why such studies are not a reliable source of information.
…cheap dog food containing low quality protein is not the best choice of pet food.
Protein comes from either meat or plant sources, with the latter being the cheaper of the two. One ingredient used by most dog food manufacturers is corn gluten meal, a crude protein which is a byproduct of corn syrup production. However, crude protein is often very hard to digest. Many dog owners are unhappy to discover that the crude protein digestibility does not have to be listed on the dog food’s label. In addition, such protein can refer to substances one would probably never think of being in their pet’s food, such as cow hooves, chicken feathers and even leather. Although these things are considered protein in their rawest form, the digestibility of such substances is very low. It is for this reason cheap dog food containing low quality protein is not the best choice of pet food.
Assuming that most people really care about their pets and want to do the very best for them, there is really nothing more basic than providing the best food possible. Once the difference is known between low quality and high quality protein, the choice is simple. Feed the pet high protein dog food after making sure the food contains the very best high quality protein. The possible slight increase in the price of food will be more than offset by fewer vet bills for a healthier dog.