So, what are some things to consider when looking at feeding foods with higher levels of protein (i.e. 32%+)? While breed, size, overall health and activity level does factor into the equation, we will be discussing the actual ingredients in the foods. Whether or not the higher protein level of a food may be too much for a dog depends on a key factor: the quality of the protein. The quality of the protein used in a dog food has a bearing on how a dog is able to process it with their liver and kidneys. If the dry food includes a high quality meat protein and the dog gets enough water (dry food only averages approx. 10% moisture), then dogs can break it down without asking their liver and kidneys to work too hard. Of course, some dogs may contend with liver and/or kidney issues, so this will need to be considered when it comes to the amount of protein he/she should have in their diet as well as the need to increase their water intake. But again, the quality of the protein is the key factor. Lower quality pet foods, which tend to be grain heavy and get most of their protein from a low quality source, can tax a dog's system over time. Of course, always consult with your veterinarian to discuss your dog’s specific dietary needs.
The liver processes protein and any waste is filtered and excreted by the kidneys. Some may have heard that high protein levels can be hard on the kidneys. Well, with high quality super premium natural dog foods that contain high quality specific meat proteins, there are no large amounts of waste that need to be removed from the body. However, dog foods made with low quality ingredients and poor quality proteins (corn, soy, meat and plant byproducts, etc) are difficult to digest and this does put stress on the kidneys. But just as important as it is to feed food made with high quality proteins, it is important that our dogs take in enough water. The key is ensuring that they have enough water so the waste products passed on by the liver to the kidneys are less concentrated. Many dog owners add some quality super premium canned food (high in moisture) to a dog's dry food. We also recommend adding some water to the dog's dry food at feeding time. This, along with always having a clean source of water available to our dogs, is a very good way to help increase our dog's water intake and ability to process their food in a less taxing way on their organs, whether they are enjoying a moderate or higher protein natural pet food.
Until next time, may your pet be a happy pet!
Ralph & Sandi