Natural Sources of Protein for Dogs
Nutrition is the cornerstone of health for our pets. Perhaps the most common question pet owners consider is, "What should I feed my dog?" When it comes to dog nutrition, natural carbohydrates, proteins and fats all play an important role. While different animals will have varying nutritional needs during different stages of their lives, a high-quality source of protein for dogs is recommended to help them stay healthy and active.
Let’s take a look at the role that protein plays in a dog’s wellbeing and one of the top sources to consider including in their daily diet.
What Role Does Protein Play?
Protein is one of the most important components to include in your dog’s diet. They are made of a collection of amino acids, which are considered the building blocks for various tissues in the body. It is a vital dietary component for dogs to stay healthy and happy. Different proteins supply different levels of various amino acids. Some of these amino acids are essential, which means they cannot be synthesized by the dog. As a result, they must be supplied in the diet.
Essential amino acids include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. The egg boasts all nine.
Like humans, dogs cannot store extra amino acids to use for later. Therefore, it must be supplied in their daily diet. If an amino acid is insufficient, it may lead to muscular degradation. Lysine, for example plays a beneficial role in balancing many conditions facing aging animals.
An adequate protein level is crucial to sustain daily life functions and can help to save lean muscle mass and repair tissues. Plus, proteins are also a source of energy and a major component for healthy hair, skin, nails, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It’s clear that a dietary source of high-quality protein is essential for your dog.
Complete Protein Sources for Dogs
Protein from animal sources will contain the most complete amino acids for dogs. Not only are they more bioavailable but they also contain a wide array of amino acids (both essential and non-essential). When it comes to the biological value of a protein, we look at how readily the amino acids are broken down and used by the body.
With a biological value of 100, eggs top the list. Eggs are also a great source of very digestible protein, riboflavin, and selenium. Following eggs, muscle meat (chicken, beef, lamb, duck) has a ranking of 92, organ meats (liver, hearts) have a ranking of 90. Lower on the list, you’ll find grains (wheat and corn) with biological values of close to 50.
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Your dog's nutrition is important for a healthy & happy life. But, keep in mind that when you introduce any new food into your pet’s diet, it may cause an upset stomach. Pet owners should always gradually introduce any new food to your pet’s diet and be cautious to only introduce one new food at a time to help identify any adverse reactions.
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