The Real Role Protein Plays in Dog Food



When it comes to the health and wellness of our pets, we want only the very best for them. With that said, good nutrition is key when it comes to making sure our pets are maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet. Protein is a very important component of good nutrition that shouldn’t get overlooked.

If you’re hunting for that perfect high-quality dog food for your dog with high protein content, it’s important to ensure the first ingredient in the dog food is an animal protein such as poultry, fish or red meat. The first ingredient listed on the dog food will be the most prominent, so when you discover a dog food brand with the first ingredient being an animal-based protein such as Essence, that’s a great sign.

Protein consists of amino acids, which are organic compounds that play a vital role in the number of essential bodily processes. A dog's diet needs to consist of a total of 22 different amino acids in their diet, though their bodies can produce 12 of them. However, the remaining 10 are essential amino acids that need to come from your dog's diet.

“Dogs can make many of these amino acids in their body, but many amino acids are required in their diet called essential amino acids,” says Dr. Bradley Quest, DVM. “This means a diet should contain sufficient high-quality protein to satisfy a dog’s metabolic needs providing the essential amino acids they need to stay healthy.”

What’s great is animal proteins in a dog’s diet contain all 12 of the essential amino acids that your dog needs. These proteins help your dog to build healthy cells, tissues and organs. They also aid with the creation of hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and so much more.

So, in a nutshell, protein is pretty important.

When it comes to picking the food that is right for your dog and offers high protein, it can seem like a zoo with so many options available today. It’s great to know beforehand your dog’s health needs: Does he have food allergies? Does he prefer to eat fish over other meats? Just like with people, there are some foods dogs don’t like to eat, and that’s okay. However, reading the nutritional information on the back of the dog food bag or can is very important in knowing you’re selecting the right food for your dog.

“Make sure that the guaranteed analysis (the label that is usually on the side or back that gives the percentages) is at least 18% crude protein for an adult dog and 22.5% crude protein for a growing dog,” said Dr. Quest. “Read the ingredient list to see if animal-sourced proteins are listed high on the ingredient order. Ideally, they should be in the top one or two ingredients in the list.  Most premium pet foods contain higher levels of protein that meet the minimum required amount by AAFCO.”

For example, in Essence Pet Foods, the guaranteed analysis of crude protein is 38%.

“Since each dietary protein has different amino acids that combine to make that specific protein, it can be good to combine different proteins in a diet to make sure your dog is getting what it needs nutritionally,” said Dr. Quest.

Taking the time to properly research the nutritional details of protein in your dog’s diet and making sure the food you’re feeding him is a high protein diet can contribute greatly to not only the health and well being of your dog, but ensuring he lives a long and happy life.

Latasha Ball is the Marketing Coordinator for Pets Global, the founders of pet food brands Zignature, Fussie Cat, Essence Pet Foods, and Inception Pet Foods. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing and public relations in which she enjoys being able to combine her professional background with her passion for animals.


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