Are Dogs Carnivores or Omnivores?
A common misconception among pet owners is that dogs are carnivores and require meat based dog food or dog food with meat as first ingredient. Dogs are not wolves; dogs are not obligate carnivores. Dogs are omnivores, like people, and do best when they eat a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Too much protein for dogs is unnecessary and can actually be harmful for some dogs with medical conditions. Puppies require higher levels of protein compared to adult or senior dogs since they are growing; however it has to be complete and balanced with other nutrients.
Proteins are the building blocks of the body and an absolute necessity for daily function. However, when there is too much protein in dog food, it cannot all be utilized at one time, nor can it be stored for later. The body will then excrete the excess protein through the kidneys and out of the body via urine. Also, the quality of the protein is as important as the actual amount. A high-quality protein is more bio-available and can be better absorbed by the body. Poor quality proteins are not as digestible and if fed in high level may cause digestive upsets.
Another issue with high protein dog food is too much of other nutrients that can be unhealthy in excessive amounts. For example, some protein ingredients contain large amounts of bone, which brings excess amounts of phosphorous and calcium in high protein dog foods. Additionally, sometimes when there is too much protein and minerals in dog food it can disrupt bone growth or aggravate underlying kidney problems. Well-formulated dog foods like Hill’s® Ideal Balance™, have high quality protein ingredients in an appropriate balance with fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and an optimal amount of minerals. There is a lot of research that goes behind making a well-balanced and complete food with all the nutrients to help your dog live a healthy life.
Do not be swayed by dog food that touts meat as the first ingredient. It is important to consider the life stage, health condition and activity level of your dog when choosing a food. Always consult your veterinarian about your dog's nutrition, have a conversation about common nutritional misconceptions, and ask tm to recommend the best food just for your dog.