Understanding Animal Based Proteins in Dog Foods
Understanding Animal Based Proteins in Dog Foods

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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.

 

 

Research Findings

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.

  • Small dog eating lamb and rice recipe dog food from bowl
    Small dog eating lamb and rice recipe dog food from bowl

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    The Top 3 Things That Make Lamb & Rice Recipe Dog Food Great

    There are a number of reasons lamb-first dog food like IAMS™ Large Breed Lamb & Rice Recipe and IAMS™ Minichunks Lamb & Rice Recipe could be a great choice for your dog. Here are our top three.

     

     

    1. It's packed with high-quality complete protein and essential amino acids.

    Protein in dog food plays a critical role in the creation, healing, and maintenance of muscles and helps support your dog's immune system. Unlike plant-based proteins, animal-based protein also contains essential amino acids to help them achieve optimal health. That's why proteins like lamb are known as "complete proteins."

     

     

    2. It has the right amount of fatty acids.

    Lamb, like other meat sources, provides dietary fats, which serve as a source of energy and help transport essential fat-soluble vitamins to be digested and appropriately utilized. They're also needed to support your dog's growth and overall health.

     

    Healthy dogs enjoy lamb and rice recipe dog foods that produce more energy

     

    3. It tastes great!

    Your dog needs specific nutrients, but sometimes it's really all about the taste, especially if you have a picky eater on your hands. Since lamb-first recipes still have all the nutrients your dog needs, they're delicious alternatives to chicken-first dog foods.

     

    Packed with protein, fatty acids, and other nutrients that help keep dogs happy, healthy, and ready for anything, it's no wonder pet parents are choosing IAMS™. And with that crave-worthy meaty flavor even picky eaters will gobble down, it's no surprise dogs are excited to make the switch to Lamb & Rice Recipe dog food. That leaves us with just one question: What's not to love?

     

    Want to chat with an expert about the benefits of our Lamb & Rice Dog Food Recipes? Chat with our Pet Parent Partners by clicking the chat icon at the bottom of your screen.

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