Dogs need protein to grow and develop properly because they provide stability for the immune system and used to store fat. However not only is protein not created equally, too much is bad for the overall health of the dog.
Protein, when taken, eventually gets broken down into amino acids but the amino acid levels provided by food differ – depending the protein source. For instance, if you give your dog egg which has a biological value of 100, your dog gets the full amount of usable amino acids compared to beef which has a biological value of 78 or corn which has a biological value of 45.
The amount of protein your dog needs would depend on how old your dog is and the general health of your dog. A puppy would need at least 22% protein in his daily diet but no more than 32% while an adult dog would need at least 15% but no more than 30%. Only lactating or sick dogs need a high amount of protein daily (up to 35%) however dogs with kidney disease most definitely need to be on a easily digestible protein diet.
What is Digestible Protein?
Commercial dog food generally exceed the amount of protein per meal serving because they want to make sure that the dog gets enough protein but this is the very reason why dogs who should not take too much protein should stay away from commercially-prepared dog food.
You can do a simple protein test on your dog if you want to get an idea that protein intake should be adjusted.
First, check the label for the overall protein content and compute for 70% of that figure – the answer will represent the digestible protein percentage. If the percentage is 60% or lower, the food quality you are giving your dog could be improved.
Sometimes, protein is broken down into different ingredients so it would be a good idea to know what ingredients contain protein. To give you a general idea though, lamb and chicken are better quality than bone meal and meat because they are easier to digest.
When To Shift to Digestible Protein Diet
This would depend on the health and condition of your dog. The only reason to be caution about protein intake is if the dog cannot process the protein whether it is due to young age or a kidney condition. This is very common with rendered pet food so if your dog has been taking this kind of food, the kidneys have probably been working overtime and now need to find relief – fast!
Rendered dog food has been called the worst kind of food you can give to your dog because it contains indigestible protein. Rendered dog food are leftover meat from slaughterhouses that are mixed with a synthetic binder-vitamin. grain and vegetables. Fortunately, very few, if any, dog food manufacturers sell rendered dog food.
If your dog is mature and aging, you actually have to increase digestible protein in their diet because the protein helps them maintain their weight and prevent muscle wasting. Older dogs have to take in less phosphorus in their food since it is this element that the kidneys cannot process.
Thus, your loyal and elderly dog should get natural, raw, and whole foods. This means nothing processed or dehydrated.