Understanding Animal-Based Proteins in Dog Foods
Dogs Need Protein
Protein has many functions in the body, but it is best known for supplying amino acids to build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Protein also plays a main role in hormone and enzyme production.
The protein in dog foods can be supplied by animal sources, plant sources, or a combination of the two. Common animal-based protein sources used in pet food include chicken, lamb, fish meal, and beef. Common plant-based protein sources used in pet food include corn-gluten meal and soybean meal.
Why Should Dogs Be Fed a Diet with Animal-Based Proteins?
Even though they are often fed plant-based diets, dogs are not herbivores. They are omnivores: animals that eat both animal- and plant-based foods.
The body structure of domestic dogs-- ideal for eating animal flesh—is similar to that of their carnivorous ancestors and relatives the wolf, coyote, fox, and jackal.
- Domestic dogs possess enlarged carnassial teeth, which are efficient for holding prey and after which carnivores are named.
- The gastrointestinal tract is simple and does not have the capacity to digest large amounts of plant products.
In addition, high quality animal-source proteins contain all of the essential amino acids dogs need, whereas some plant-based proteins might be deficient in some essential amino acids. So although dogs may be classified as omnivores, they are best fed as carnivores.
Recent studies by The IAMS™ Company examined how the type of protein in a diet affected body composition of adult and senior dogs.1
Adult and senior dogs were fed diets with varying amounts of protein from chicken and corn-gluten meal, and their body composition (muscle versus fat tissue) was analyzed. In addition, levels of key blood and muscle proteins were measured.
Compared with dogs fed a diet with 100% chicken protein, dogs fed diets with decreasing levels of chicken and increasing levels of corn-gluten meal had the following:
- Decreased lean tissue
- Increased body fat
- Decreased levels of blood proteins routinely used as markers of superior nutritional status
This was independent of the overall dietary protein level (12% or 28%), which was also examined in each of the four test groups.
As dogs age, body composition and muscle-specific proteins decline. Therefore, another study looked at the differences between feeding senior dogs a 32%-protein chicken-based diet, a 32%-protein chicken and corn-gluten meal diet, or a 16%-protein chicken-based diet. Senior dogs fed the 32%-chicken protein, chicken-based diet had better body composition and a muscle-specific protein pattern identical to that in healthy young-adult dogs. However, those results were not seen in either of the other two diets.
A Little Extra Time Goes a Long Way
Committing the time to maintaining your dog's coat will help keep his shedding under control. Frequent brushing and vacuuming, and feeding your dog a balanced diet such as IAMS ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks will have you worrying less about an overabundance of hair and more time enjoying your furry friend.
1 Data on file. The IAMS Company, 2001.
adp_related_article_block199 242 YOUR --spice-- MAY ALSO LIKE …
adp_related_article_block199 Continue scrolling for next content
- adp_description_block185How to Keep Your Adult or Mature Dog’s Heart Healthy
About 10% of all dogs develop some form of heart disease during their lifetime, and that risk increases with their age. We know you want to keep their heart healthy because they keep your heart happy. Here are some ways you can help your dog’s ticker stay in tip-top shape.
Feed a healthy diet.
A healthy diet affects every part of your dog’s body, including their big loyal heart. Being overweight makes the heart work harder, so make sure they eat a healthy, nutritious diet every day. And keep those treats to a minimum — no matter how much they beg.
Make sure they get regular exercise.
Dogs dig cardio, and it’ll do your heart good, too. Whether you both prefer fetch, running, walks, surfing, whatever ... it’s all good as long as it gets your dog’s heart pumping.
Be a heartworm-hater.
Heartworms are nasty — and sometimes deadly — parasites that infect dogs through mosquito bites. Like their name suggests, they live and breed in a dog’s heart, lungs and blood vessels. Fortunately, there are a number of preventive medications your dog can take to keep them safe. Check with your vet for options that work best for you and your pup.
Brush your dog’s teeth.
Plaque, tartar and bacteria in your dog’s mouth can get into their bloodstream and cause heart issues. Brushing their teeth and giving occasional dental treats can help keep their smiles bright and hearts healthy.
Know the dog breeds most susceptible to heart disease.
Some breeds, such as Chihuahuas, miniature and toy poodles, boxers, English bulldogs and Great Danes, are more prone to heart disease. If your pet is one of these breeds, keep a watchful eye out for the signs of heart issues, and talk to your vet about possible preventive measures you can take.
Know the signs of heart disease in dogs.
Some symptoms of heart disease in dogs include:
- Frequent coughing
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of energy
- Tiring easily or not wanting to play or go for walks
- Changes in weight
- Trouble sleeping
- A swollen abdomen
However, these symptoms could be indicative of many health issues, so you should consult your vet to be sure.
Go to regular vet checkups.
One dog year is about five to seven people years, and a lot can happen in that time. Regular vet visits, especially for older dogs, can help identify problems early on so you can start treating them sooner.
adp_related_article_block494 393 YOUR --spice-- MAY ALSO LIKE …adp_related_article_block494Continue scrolling for next content