Why Your Dog Needs Protein? - Benefits & Best Sources Of Protein For Dogs
"Your dog needs Protein!" - As dog parents, you must have heard time and time again about the importance of protein for dogs.
From veterinarians to fellow pet parents - everyone has suggested that your dog needs protein in his diet to live a healthy and happy life.
But have you ever wondered what all the fuss around protein is? Or Why does your dog really need protein in his diet?
Well, if yes! Then this is the blog for you.
To help pet parents like you better understand your dog’s health requirements (especially, why dog’s need protein) - we went digging with our in-house Veterinarian Dr. Sushmitha - to find out the answers to all your questions.
Important Discussion Points In This Guide
- What Is Protein?
- Why Your Dog Needs Protein?
- Benefits Of Proteins For Dogs
- How Much Protein Do Dogs Need
- Best Source Of Protein For Dogs
What is Protein?
Composed of Amino Acids - Proteins is one of the Three Macronutrients. Found in both animal and plant-based sources - the amino acids that makeup protein play an essential role in tissue growth and repair.
Vet Says - "Proteins can be broadly classified into structural and functional proteins. Structural proteins play a role in producing/building structures like bones, muscle, whereas functional proteins carry out a function in the body, for example, immunoglobulins."
Unlike cats who are obligate carnivores - dogs, like humans, are omnivores. This means they can survive on a “Balanced Diet” that is plant and/or animal-based.
But for dogs to live their life in a healthy manner - they need protein from high-quality animal sources that will provide a better amino acid balance.
But why? Why do dogs need protein?
Why Your Dog Needs Protein?
We saw earlier that protein is essential for your dog as it plays an important role in a dog’s cell growth and repair. But, it does not just stop there.
Your dog needs protein for his overall bodily functions to be performed properly. From muscle development to the growth of healthy skin/fur - proteins contribute to your dog’s overall health.
If your dog does not get the required amount of protein - the deficiency can cause them to lose hair, have poor skin and even create health issues like anaemia or anorexia.
A protein deficiency in dogs can have an adverse effect on your dog’s organs, immune system and cells!
Vet Says - "Lack of proteins can make you dog lethargic, cause poor skin condition, undeveloped skeletal - muscular system, have poorly developed organs which can deteriorate the health of you pet and place him in a grave condition."
Though dogs can produce half of the protein that they require, the other half needs to reach them through their daily diet.
Benefits of Proteins For Dogs
Now that we know why dog’s need protein and what happens if there is a deficiency, let’s look at the various benefits protein holds in a dog’s life.
Protein an important and healthy part of a canine’s diet has the following benefits :
- Protein supports and helps in improving a dog’s immune system.
- It provides dogs with the much-needed energy that they require to perform activities like running, playing and more.
- Protein helps in repairing and building muscles and other tissues in a dog’s body.
- It also aids in the production of bodily molecules like hormones and enzymes, which are required for normal functioning.
- Protein helps in the formation of new cells and keeps a dog’s skin and hair strong and healthy.
- Protein also benefits puppies, pregnant and lactating animals by providing them with the energy required for growth.
Vet Says - "They also play their role as enzymes which aid in several metabolic processes. The macromolecules in protein play an immense role in the very life of your pet along with other major and minor elements. Thus, it is not far fetched to say that life is impossible without proteins!"
How Much Protein Do Dogs Need
The amount of protein that a dog requires depends on various factors like age, breed, weight and specific health requirements.
To better understand let’s look at the protein requirement of dogs based on their different life stages:
Protein Requirement Of Puppies
To grow into healthy adults, puppies require a higher amount of protein in their daily diet. This protein requirement is highest for puppies after weaning and gradually decreases thereafter.
Puppies need the Vet-recommended amounts of protein to support this growth phase.
Protein Requirement Of Pregnant Dogs & Lactating Dogs
Pregnant and lactating dogs also require a protein-rich diet to meet the requirement of their changing body. Pregnant or lactating dogs essentially require a diet that is balanced and provides them with the much-needed energy to create life!
Protein Requirement Of Adult Dogs
Compared to Puppies, adult dog’s require lesser levels of protein. Balanced dog food will meet the protein requirement of a dog with the use of high-quality ingredients.
An adult dog’s protein requirement will also vary on an important factor that is their daily activity!
Best Source Of Protein For Dogs
Now that we have seen about the various aspects of protein and its requirements in a dog’s daily diet. Let us also look at the best sources of protein for dogs.
Though protein can be derived from both animal and plant-based sources, due to their extensive ancestral history of hunting for prey, animal sources of protein are the best for dogs.
Protein derived from an Animal Source is also easier for a Dog to Digest!
The best source of animal-based protein for dogs are meat, poultry, fish and eggs - these include chicken, lamb, beef, salmon, tuna and more.
Among these, eggs take the first place when it comes to biological value. Whereas, the best digestible source of proteins for dogs happens to be lamb and chicken.
So, that proves it. Your fellow pet parents were right when they said “Your Dog needs Protein!”
Protein (with a Balanced Diet) is just what your Pooch needs to lead a healthy life! That being said, it is always advised to consult with your Vet for your pet’s health requirements.
Now that you have learnt about why your dog needs protein, check out this blog to know the Benefits of Vegetables for Dogs.
Happy Pet Parenting!
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