Health and Nutrition

How Does Protein Work for a Dog?

– by Kelly Marshall

The question has been asked many times. Just how does protein affect a dog’s body and why do they need it. Proteins help to build a strong dog with hair, ear and a nose. Without protein, the body does not develop in a way to sustain life.

The muscular building block of protein consists of twenty-three amino acids. The dog produces about thirteen amino acids on the inside and the other ten on the outside of the body where it is consumed. If a puppy is not given the ten outside amino acid sources, it will not grow and develop. Without the outside source of amino acids, a puppy will not grow and will become sick and can die. An adult dog on the other hand will suffer a deficiency of nutrition and grow weak.

The best source for amino acids is plants and meat, which contain the largest amounts of amino acids that are needed for growth and strength. Some proteins are better than others are because not all protein supplies are the same. The amount of protein needed depends on the amount of protein in the amino acids. A dog just as a human does needs to have a daily-recommended amount of amino acids, which are also called biological value.

Understanding how important protein is for a dog is important when you are choosing the proper foods. If your dogs food lacks the needed proteins, they could become weak and develop a protein deficiency.

Five Facts about Protein

  • Proteins are the building block of the body and are needed to build strong bones and muscles. A lack of protein is called protein deficiency.
  • A dog’s immune system and structural makeup relies on protein to develop and grow as the dog grows. Without enough protein, the dog will become a structural disaster. Growth will not appear in a dog with a lack of protein.
  • Proteins help with the growth of the coat, skin and nails. Without protein, the dog’s coat can become dull and fall out at a high rate of speed.
  • The immune system relies on proteins to continue to protect the body from diseases and other such infections. Without a properly developed immune system, a dog can contact a disease or an infection and die as a result because their immune system cannot fight the ailment.
  • Proteins can come in many different sources. Check your usual dog food to make sure that it’s got enough protein. Good protein sources would include beef, chicken, lamb, and other real meats. Poor sources include bonemeal and chickenmeal. If you’d like to supplement your usual dog food with extra protein, a good option would be to add some raw ground beef and mix it with the dry food. The fat content isn’t really that important. The standard 85% lean ground beef mix will work just fine and dandy. You don’t have to use the extra lean grades like 93% lean or 99% lean. Your dog will be fine with the additional fat. He’s not worried about love handles.

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Note: This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.

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