How Dog Food Protein Content Affects Canine Health

The dog food protein content in a canine’s meal can be harmful or beneficial, depending on the type of protein being consumed. The quality of proteins in a domestic dog’s diet should be held to a high standard, but eating too much of the wrong type can make a dog ill.

Commercial Dog Food Protein Content

Dog foods a pet owner can buy in the supermarket or pet store usually contain about 30% protein. The type of protein being provided, though, can cause digestive and kidney problems. The reason for this is that cheap protein has a lot of waste it leaves behind that a dog’s liver and kidneys have to filter out. A dog’s body does not have to filter out hardly any part of a high-quality source of protein.

Dry commercial dog food is thought to have high amounts of protein a dog may not necessarily be able to digest efficiently, due to the poorer quality of the amino acid. A dog’s liver can be thought of as a colander that has to filter out water, which needs to be re-absorbed into the dog’s body. The poor quality protein can cause a build-up in the “colander”, making it hard for water to pass through—like when one is trying to strain a thick soup. To help this process, a dog needs to drink a lot of water, especially if he's eating dry dog food. The water will help the build-up trying to get strained through the liver not be so thick. Foods that contain proteins that are of lower quality than meat products include soy, corn, blood meal and other byproducts.

A Wild Dog’s Food Protein Content vs. a Domestic Dog’s Food

Studies have shown that dogs in the wild, do not have nearly as many liver and kidney problems as a result of their food sources. This can be attributed to the fact that wild dogs, even though they are omnivorous, eat a lot of meat that comes from the flesh, muscles and organs of other animals. The protein consumed is of the highest quality and is also up to 70% water. This is a lot of moisture compared to the 10% water content of dry commercial dog food.

Dog Food Protein Content and the Older Dog

Many commercial dog food formulas will market themselves as being “light,” by having less protein in them. Consuming less protein is not necessarily beneficial to an older canine’s health. Instead of giving a dog less protein just because he is older, one should think about giving him foods with good-quality protein.

Protein is good for a dog, and dogs love to eat it. Dog food protein content affects a dog negatively when the source and quality of the protein is inappropriate and of poor quality. A pet owner must remember the food a dog eats is his fuel, and it's up to this person to make sure the canine is receiving premium protein.