It seems that there is always a lot of discussion and disagreement surrounding the proper diet for our furry friends, including a lot of false information and contradicting ideas, so determining the perfect diet can be somewhat challenging. But in the case of protein, there’s a trend going around that claims “too much” protein is bad for your pet, which ultimately just confuses pet parents in terms of their animal’s diet (1).
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Here’s why high protein is actually good for your pet!
According to Dr. Karen Shaw Becker, the goal of your pet’s diet “should be to mimic your pet’s ancestral diet as closely as possible. I recommend feeding a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet, which means food containing high-quality animal protein, moisture, healthy fats and fiber, with low- to no-starch content” (1, 2).
Becker stresses in her research that there’s a strong difference between animal protein levels and plant protein levels (1). She explains that if one is referring to plant proteins, then it’s correct to say too much protein is bad, as “there is no peer-reviewed scientific research on the long-term effects of biologically inappropriate protein sources on dog and cat health” (1). Animal proteins, however, are entirely different!
Plant Protein Vs. Animal Protein
Becker explains clearly that animal protein and plant protein are in no way equivalent forms of nutrition for dogs and cats, no matter how many “experts” would like to convince the public otherwise (1). Different ingredients obviously have different nutritional and biologic value with vast differences in amino acid content. For instance, eggs have one of the highest biologic value (100%), with fish coming in a close second (92%), and feathers coming in last (0%). Even though corn and soy are very popular ingredients in pet food, as they are cheap ingredients, they provide poor nutrition to your pet even though they have a reasonably high biologic value (67%) (1).
Broken down to the simplest forms, animals are essentially made up of protein and fat (3). This makes it highly important to include protein in your pet’s diet. Protein is vital to the growth and development of your pet, as well as their structural makeup and immune system (4). Protein is able to be burned as calories or converted to and stored as fat (4). Dogs are naturally carnivores, and when left to their own devices they tend to lean towards a diet that is primarily made up of protein gained by other animals (3).
While it is incredibly fortunate that dogs and cats remain to be some of the most resilient animals on the planet, meaning they are able to survive on a diet that they were not naturally designed to eat, it’s naive to assume that depriving them of a nutrient sufficient diet won’t result in poor outcomes (1). Plant protein based diets are simply lacking the proper nutrients needed in your pet’s diet (1). Raw food is one of the best options available to your dogs (1, 3). Raw food not only provides the right nutrition for your dog, it also helps with allergies and it is a clean source of high quality protein.
Your dog needs protein (1, 3). Raw food is an excellent way to provide this! Be sure to check our raw food diet plan for dogs and also give this calculator a try to see what sort of raw diet specifically could work perfectly with your canine companion.