Is pet food high in protein better for your pet? The real scoop on pet food is that it must be balanced. While protein needs to be part of that balance, too much may not be best for your pet. It's crucial for pet parents to understand the importance of protein, while also knowing what other ingredients to look for in dog and cat foods.
Balanced Is Better
The first step in finding a dog or cat food that has a balance of protein and other healthy ingredients involves looking at your pet's age and lifestyle. At certain points in a pet's life, he may need more or less protein, but he always needs about fifty key nutrients. Many times one ingredient can have several nutrients; The danger comes when pet owners mistakenly go with a high protein food that doesn't deliver the other nutrients that cats and dogs require.
Protein is the building block of all cellular material. Various pet food ingredients can deliver this nutrient. Cats and dogs can digest protein from more than just meat. Eggs, whole grain corn, corn gluten, whole grain wheat, and whole grain sorghum are all non-meat ingredients that have protein. The dangers of a high protein cat food (or high protein dog food) include missing other key nutrients that promote functions like healthy joints, tissues, and metabolism. Pet foods that contain ingredients like corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, and wheat deliver protein while also giving your pet amino acids. Since amino acids serve as a building block for proteins, having these various ingredients with multiple nutritional values is a win-win for you and your pet when it comes to food choices.
Think about the old food pyramid, or portion control plates for humans. While the nutritional requirements of dogs and cats are different than humans, they like us, rely on a proper balance of various nutrients to ensure they are getting everything they need to grow up strong, happy and healthy.
Too Much of a Good Thing
PetMD suggests that the "safest diets are those that have been developed by pet food companies that invest in scientific research, consult with veterinary nutritionists, and perform feeding trials to develop their diets." When looking at the results of various pet food trials, foods with protein in both meat and grain form, combined with other ingredients, delivered additional nutrients that helped improve digestion, energy levels, and coat and hair health. Be sure to check out pet food websites for detailed information about their food and the ingredients they use to make sure your pet is getting a balance of nutrients from a variety of ingredients. Be wary of pet food brands that talk mainly about protein and scathe other the other nutrients that should be considered in your pet's food. Too much of a good thing, really can turn into a bad thing. Hill's has a team of veterinarians and PhD nutritionists that work diligently to ensure your dog or cat food has the right balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to ensure your pet is receiving the optimum amount of everything.
Perfect Amount of Protein
Pets come in different shapes and sizes and have different needs, so there is no magic amount of protein that works for every cat or dog. By feeding your pet with a balanced meal, that provides protein in healthy ways, you can help him live a healthy and active lifestyle. Since all pets are different and have different needs, be sure to discuss what you're feeding your dog or cat with your veterinarian to be sure the food matches your pet's individual needs.
Chrissie Klinger is an educator, writer, and mother of two children, three dogs, and three cats. She enjoys living an active and eco-friendly lifestyle.