As responsible dog owners we want to give our best friends the best to ensure they are healthy, but when it comes to dog food, there are so many different ingredients to be aware of. Having said that, almost all dogs require at least a minimum of 20% protein in their food, but not everyone knows why, and depending on your dogs activity level, he may even require more than that. Therefore, in this article today we will be taking a close look at protein in dog food, and why your dog requires at least 20% protein, so that you can make an informed decision when buying dog food in the future.
Proteins are extremely important to dogs, because they are necessary for all aspects of development and growth, but dog food, whether in cans or bags (wet or dry), can be misleading. Having said that, there are proteins, and crude proteins and this is where it gets a bit confusing, because not all protein is easily digestible for our pets. Moreover, dogs require 22 amino acids, but they can only make up 12 of these, the remaining essential amino acids have to be consumed, and a deficiency of any of the amino acids can result in health problems.
When buying dog food, it is important to pay attention to the ingredients, because a low priced food is not necessarily a bad food and likewise an expensive food is not necessarily a good food. The source of protein is probably the most important factor, for instance, a food that has the main ingredient as lamb or chicken is usually a good source of protein, but a food that has the main ingredient as corn, or meat by-products is not so good. However, some companies may use lamb, or chicken as the first ingredient, but then the next three ingredients may be three different types of corn, and this means it is made up of more filler foods than good food.
Finally, proteins will vary from breed to breed and also for the various stages of a dogs life. For instance, a puppy who is in his growing phase requires between 22% and 30% of protein. However, a performance dog would also require the same amount, but a racing dog may require anywhere from 28% to over 32%, and a lactating dog would require anywhere from 24% up to 34% or more.
So, in answer to the question of why dog food should have a 20% minimum of protein, is simply to give them enough amino acids to allow them to stay healthy and active, because they are the very building blocks needed to have strong bones, muscle growth, and tissue growth as well as keeping a good healthy coat. Therefore, when making your next dog food purchase, spend a bit of time looking over the ingredients, to ensure your pet is getting the right type of food to help them stay healthy for many years to come.