Protein: It’s a nutrient that is vital to your dog’s body function, and you should never put your dog on a diet that is too low in dog food protein. Let’s take a look at just why your dog needs protein in their diet.
What Is Protein?
Protein is a molecule that is found in certain foods. The body can break the protein molecule down into amino acids, which are essential to the body’s function and construction. All living organisms need amino acids to survive. Animals can synthesize, or create, some amino acids in their bodies, but there are 10 amino acids that animals cannot produce on their own – these are called essential amino acids. Animals need to ingest protein and break it down into these essential amino acids.
Protein is found in foods such as meat, poultry, and seafood. These are foods that your dog would commonly eat in the wild. Protein is also found in corn and soybeans, common additives to commercial dog food.
What Role Does Protein Play In a Dog’s Body?
Protein is essential to your dog’s body’s function. The amino acids derived from protein serve multiple purposes. They are best known for their role in building muscles, but amino acids also build hair and skin, along with soft tissue like tendons and ligaments.
Without enough protein, your dog’s body function would be affected. You might notice a loss in muscle tone, and a dull coat can also indicate that a dog is not getting sufficient protein.
How Much Protein Does a Dog Need?
It is recommended that the typical adult dog’s diet consist of at least 18% protein, but the exact amount of protein that a dog needs varies throughout the dog’s lifetime. Puppies need lots of protein to support their growing bodies. Adult dogs need less protein than puppies do, but highly active dogs will need more protein. Pregnant dogs also need higher amounts of protein than average.
How Do You Make Sure Your Dog Gets Enough Protein?
If you’re unsure of how much protein your dog should be eating, speak with your veterinarian or consult with a canine nutritionist. Then, it’s time to check the labels on the dog food that you’re feeding. Look at the protein percentages and make sure that they are adequate for your dog. If they’re too low, you can supplement the diet by adding in meat or dried egg, or you can find a different commercial food with a higher protein content.
Once you understand why your dog needs protein in their diet, you will realize that protein is a vital nutrient that your dog needs in order to be able to function. Check the protein content in the food that you’re feeding and make sure that your dog is getting the protein that he needs.