If too much protein is harmful to humans, causing feelings of fatigue, decreased performance and sometimes muscle pains, what about dogs? Does this carnivorous mammal suffer from the same pathologies? Can too much protein intake really harm your four-legged friend’s kidneys or is it not the quality of the latter?
Understand what is good protein for dogs?
Industrial foods are unfortunately not always as healthy as the packaging might lead us to believe. Carnivorous, the dog needs a diet consisting of meat. This is where he gets the proteins his body needs. If before only old dogs could suffer from kidney failure, we meet more young dogs suffering from this pathology. However, it is not so much their quantity that is the problem, but their quality. 3 sources of macronutrients are responsible for kidney problems in our pets: vegetable proteins, those from meat industry products and animal food.
Bad Proteins That Can Harm Your Dog’s Health
In the hot seat, vegetable proteins. Although it is necessary, it is said to be “incomplete” and does not cover all the necessary amino acids of the dog. Their level should be lower than the animal proteins in their diet. They are also more difficult to digest for our feline companions whose intestines are shorter and their excess can lead to other health problems such as chronic diarrhea.
Animal products or waste from the food industry used to produce kibble or premium food include feathers, legs, beaks, carcasses, heads and even skins: foods that we do not on. These poor proteins are more difficult for the dog’s body to assimilate. Their consumption requires more work on the part of the pancreas and kidneys, leading over time, like animal food, to liver, pancreatic and then kidney damage.
What is good protein for our canine friends?
To meet the protein needs of our canine companions, quality meat, such as chicken, veal or lamb, is recommended. Cooking these meats should also respect the nutrients they contain. Cooking at a lower temperature is better to retain all the benefits. To satisfy his growth or his sports activities, protein must be complete, assimilable and recoverable. Available in meat or vegetables, the complete proteins needed by our small and large carnivores can only be found in meat. They are called “complete” because they contain essential and non-essential amino acids that are essential for their organism. Our dogs’ bodies can easily digest it and absorb all the nutrients. Animal products such as tendons, udder or lungs are “incomplete” because they are difficult to assimilate and digest.
What is the role of proteins in the body?
The biological value of proteins is the basis to provide our dogs with quality food that covers all their needs and energy. It is from the 10 essential amino acids present in meat that your dog will make what he needs. Functional and structural role, proteins participate in the growth of the puppy and the health of the adult or old dog. They provide many important functions by allowing the body to send messages through hormones, enzymes or antibodies.
It is thanks to the proteins that the puppy builds and strengthens the skeleton, bones, tendons, muscles, skin, clothes. They also participate in the development of his immune system and protect your pet from many infections. At every age of life, the need for protein changes. Low protein intake slows growth and makes the animal more susceptible to disease. Non-specific signs appear when your four-legged friend is deficient: dull or pitted hair, skin infections and muscle wasting. If in doubt, consult your veterinarian who will advise you on the most suitable food for your animal and its activity.
Lack or excess, what are the risks of a bad dose of protein for your dog?
Complete proteins are essential for your dog’s functions. If excess is rare for those whose physiology is perfectly suited to a meat diet, some signs can alert you. The concern comes mainly from a diet that is low in complete proteins, but rich in incomplete proteins that are more often found in foods of the first price or in inappropriate foods that homemade. The animal may also be deficient in other nutrients. Some amino acids, such as methionine, when in excess cause urinary problems because they acidify the urine.
In the case of a complete lack of protein, the dog may suffer from skin diseases, loss of strength or muscles, or weakening of his immune system, and of course, problems with the growth of the puppy. To provide your partner with food adapted to his age and his activity, the daily intake of protein should represent 2 to 6 grams per kilogram if we ourselves need 0.8 g/kg per day. Wild hunted prey provides our canines with 40 to 65% dry matter protein. Industrial dry foods must therefore contain at least 25% complete protein to meet functional and energy requirements. If the macronutrients from plants cover part of their needs, however, they lack essential amino acids such as methionine, tryptophan, L-carnitine, arginine or even taurine. Vegetable proteins, which are also necessary, cannot ultimately replace the supply of quality meat for our pets.
Misconceptions about the negative action of complete proteins in dogs
As you can understand, the overflow of complete proteins is rare for our dogs as long as it comes from rich meat and that its preparation does not change its amino acid utilization. However, many ideas still circulate about their excess in dogs.
- Limit protein intake in older dogs or dogs with kidney failure is a bad idea. First of all, the need for noble proteins is important for his body. By replacing them with vegetable proteins, his body has to do double work to get the amino acids and some are lost, such as L.carnitine. Instead, phosphorus can damage your dog’s kidneys in excess. Protein intake also allows elderly dogs or dogs suffering from kidney failure to maintain muscle mass and therefore continue to perform the physical exercises necessary for their physical and mental well-being.
- The reduction of complete proteins in overweight dogs can be dangerous. Daily protein intake is set for all canines. By reducing their intake, the dog will suffer from the deficiency, eating more to compensate. If they are replaced by vegetable proteins, they are less digestible, they will require a large amount, which will not meet the need for essential amino acids that are not present in incomplete proteins.
- Too much protein does not cause the dog to become overactive. Protein supply is generally offered to our sporting dogs not to increase their strength, but to allow them to regenerate their muscle tissue after exercise. Lipids provide most of their energy. Proteins participate in small amounts. In the event that the animal receives too much energy, your dog is more likely to become overweight than to run a marathon in your living room. In fact, this excess is stored in fatty tissue.
As you understand, proteins do not harm your dog’s kidneys as long as they are complete. They are also involved in making urine and lowering serum creatinine, allowing your dog’s kidneys to function properly. If you choose his food, you want croquettes, mash, home ration or BARF, make sure you give him an adequate level of complete proteins while also paying attention to other elements that are important to his health:
- Carbohydrates less than 45%;
- 10 to 20% fat intake;
- 2% maximum soluble fiber;
- 4 to 25% insoluble fiber;
- 2-4% minerals.
To meet the nutritional requirements without the wrong note, consult your veterinarian.