High-protein food sounds like a good idea for your pet because they are primarily meat-eaters. But you will find so many protein sources on any dog food market today that choosing the right one for your pet becomes quite the challenge. There are so many questions that come to your mind as you stand there in the dog food aisle.
What is the right protein for your dog’s needs? Is there anything like too much protein? Should you stick to only one kind of protein or consider several sources? What about plant-based protein?
Given below are the five useful tips to select protein-rich food for your pets that will answer all your questions. So, read on to know more.
Understand the Amount of Protein Your Pet Requires
Your pet dog needs one gram of protein daily for each pound of his ideal body weight. So, if the pup is forty pounds, it will need forty grams of daily protein. But if your pet is overweight, its protein requirement will not change. In other words, if the perfect body weight is forty pounds, but your dog is forty-five pounds, you should not exceed forty grams of protein in any case.
The percentage of protein needed in the daily diet of a dog depends on his age. It varies between eighteen to twenty-nine percent at a minimum. A growing puppy usually requires about twenty-nine percent, while an adult dog requires eighteen to twenty-five percent protein to stay healthy. An adult cat needs 33.5 gm of protein every day, whereas 28 gm of protein is vital for a growing cat.
Consider Plant-Based Sources of Protein for Dogs
Plant-based sources of protein are suitable for your pet, but not in isolation. Some grain-free and grain-based plant protein sources increase dog food’s biological value when paired with high-quality meat. You can consider the U.S. Soybean Export Council products in this regard because soy has high biological importance as a legume.
Other plant-based protein sources are peas, potatoes, flaxseed, barley, quinoa, and oatmeal. Dog food usually has one or more of these elements to complement the meat proteins. It increases the biological value of dog food. But if any of these plant-based protein sources get listed before meat proteins, it means that the pet food doesn’t have enough meat protein to support your dog’s daily diet.
Avoid These Poor Sources of Protein for Pets
It is essential to inform you about the kind of food you should avoid because they are familiar protein sources. Bone meal and meat, and other such by-products are among the weakest proteins found in the market. These either don’t have enough amino acids, or the amino acid gets altered, leading to limited biological value.
The high ash content of meat and meat by-products makes them hard to digest. These meat types might have disabled, dying, diseased, and dead meat from road-kill, zoo animals, restaurant leftovers, and castoffs from supermarkets. Sources of this meat remain undisclosed, and their quality varies based on their origins. But these are the cheapest meats you will find because of their low quality.
Specific Types of Protein for Their Individual Needs
The protein-rich kind of food you get for your dogs also varies according to their specific needs. Therefore, an active dog and an overweight dog will not need the same type of protein. Let’s list out the right meat protein for dogs based on their needs:
● For pets with allergies: Dogs with allergies should have game meats. You can include bison, elk, lamb, duck, and pork in their daily diet. These types of protein will not lead to allergic reactions.
● For active pets: Active pets can have elk, duck, pork, chicken, salmon, and beef.
● For overweight pets: Feeding dogs about two to three percent of their body weight is ideal. Proteins like rabbits, elk, and turkey are suitable for their weight loss.
Factor in the Bioavailability of Protein to the Dogs
Bioavailability of foods changes with the way it gets cooked. So, cooking at high temperatures decreases the amount of protein that reaches your pet’s body. Freeze-dried, dehydrated, and raw food have maximum bioavailability. Slow-baked food comes after these options. The least bioavailability is present in foods that go through high-temperature processing, for instance, the extrusion process of dry kibble.
The extrusion process affects the amino acid structures, making the heat-sensitive amino acid bond, and reform with carbohydrates become unusable or less usable for bodily functions. The term used to denote this condition is Maillard Reaction. It reduces the capacity of the tissues to use amino acids effectively. Thus, even the same protein source can deliver less biological value when put through high heat.
The tips given above can guide you about choosing the right protein-rich food for your pets. These are general guidelines, and the specific needs of dogs vary widely. If you have any doubts regarding the type of food to give your dog, you should talk to a vet about it. The vet will help you get a complete idea of the right diet as per your dog’s needs