All Proteins Are Not Created Equal

The DogGetting to know a bit about how a dog utilizes proteins is the first step in being able to more effectively and correctly evaluate the quality of the dog food you are choosing. One of the biggest mistakes that most owners make is to assume that the higher the protein content or percentage in the food the better the quality. In fact, it is not the percentage of the protein but the accessibility of the protein that is the essential consideration. Of course a minimum good quality protein is absolutely essential, but going above that protein level doesn’t mean a healthier or more fit dog.
Generally most adult dogs should have about eighteen percent protein in their diet, provided this is a good quality protein. If your dog is a working dog, in competitive training or a dog that is outside in cold weather a higher protein content of up to 25% should be considered the recommended amount. Dogs that are used in very heavy, intense activities such as sled dogs and racing dogs may need a higher protein level of up to 35%. Pregnant and lactating females will require a moderately higher protein level of about 28% over the last few weeks of the pregnancy and as long as the puppies are nursing.
The Best Types of Protein
All proteins are rated on a scale of biological value. This means the amount of the protein in the item that is actually useful to the dog’s body. The most perfect protein source is the egg, with a biological value of 100. However, feeding eggs to dogs is simply not reasonable, although a hard boiled egg chopped up in food is a great healthy addition for many dogs. Small pieces of egg are also a good treat, but avoid feeding raw eggs in large amounts.
Compared to the whole egg all other proteins are a lower biological value. Chicken and turkey are next at 79, with fish just behind that at 70. Beef falls at 69 with the lean cuts while whole milk is at 60. Wheat and whole grains also have protein ratings in the forties, but typically this protein is relatively unusable by the dog unless fully cooked.
Too Much Protein?
Too much protein in your dog’s diet is typically not a concern unless you have an obese or ill dog or a dog that is highly inactive. With a healthy dog excessive protein is simply removed from the body in the urine or it will be stored as energy in the fatty tissue. However, if your dog does have diabetes excessive protein or even average protein levels may be problematic so a low protein high fiber diet is often recommended to help regulate blood sugars.
It is important to keep in mind that your dog’s overall energy level, coat and skin condition and health can be good indicators of a balanced diet. Lack of protein in the diet results in sudden weight loss, weakness in the muscles, fatigue and general lack of energy coupled with poor coat or hair loss. A blood test for protein levels can help determine if this is a problem.

Article by Terry Patterson, go to Petflow.com for Taste of the Wild dog food online! 1

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