What is the first thing you look at on a Guaranteed Analysis when shopping for pet food? Odds are your answer is protein. There’s protein bars, protein powders, protein supplements—the list goes on and on, but what exactly does protein do and why is it significant to our fur baby’s health and longevity?
Made up of building blocks called amino acids, protein is found in your skin, muscles, bones, pretty much everywhere in your body. Let’s just say Nicholas Cage would not have a hard time finding this treasure since it is virtually in every body part or tissue. One of the key importance’s when formulating canine and feline diets is understanding that not all proteins are equivalent. This is where essential amino acids come into play- arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Cats are obligate carnivores and have an additional essential amino acid, taurine, which is found in especially high quantities in red meat and poultry. Because of this, it is important to feed your pup or kitten high quality, lean proteins to ensure their health demands are met.
Protein has a key role in several bodily functions, from building and repairing muscles and tissues to supporting skin and coat health. This macronutrient is also at work where you can’t see it, combating diseases and creating natural chemicals and hormones your body needs for regulation. Protein is particularly important in growth, reproduction, and lactation stages of life. Without enough protein, your pup will never be able to jump the fence after the mail man, and your kitten won’t be able to stay awake to run through your halls at 3 in the morning.
Higher protein diets are a perfect option for those over achievers out there, the ones who believe the early dog gets the bone and late night mouse hunters. These high protein diets, such as our Indigo Moon and Barking at the Moon recipes deliver high quality, lean protein to increase stamina, bodily functions, and replenish that never-ending energy tank your Jack Russel wants to remind you of the second you pour that much needed glass of antioxidants.
Unfortunately, your mom was right. Too much of a good thing, is a bad thing. As beneficial as protein is to your fur baby, you do not want to feed excess amounts. Excess protein is excreted via urine, and can lead to urinary stones if there is too much. This is most concerning with fixed male cats, which is why we recommend plenty water and a diet with moderate protein such as Winged Tiger. Speaking of health concerns (and to end on a high note) high protein/low carbohydrate diets can be beneficial to cats and dogs with diabetic concerns.
As always, if you have any questions about how much protein you should be feeding your fur baby, we are here to help sort through options with you.