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Rated 5 Stars By Over 3,500 Pet Owners

January 21, 2022 4 min read

DIET & EXERCISE

7 Things to Know About Dogs and Protein

January, 21 2022

No matter their breed, size, gender, age or lifestyle, dogs need protein. But just how much protein a dog needs continues to be debated among veterinarians and nutritional experts. With thousands of brands on the shelves, it can be challenging to find the best food for your four-legged friend.


Protein, to be sure, is essential for your dog because it provides essential amino acids – the building blocks of the body – in order to thrive. Here are seven things to consider when feeding your dog: 

1. No, your dog is not a wolf



It’s true that your dog’s ancestors were wolves – and wolves are carnivores. But dogs have evolved over the millennia and now require a more balanced diet to survive. Your furry friend is an omnivore and needs a wide variety of protein, carbohydrates, fat and nutrients to remain healthy. Fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, fish should be part of a modern dog’s diet. Too much protein is unnecessary for dogs and could lead to weight gain and other health issues such as abnormal joint development. For senior dogs or dogs with certain medical conditions, it can actually be harmful.


2. It’s all about balance 



Just like your human family members, a well-balanced diet will keep your dog healthy and happy. A diet of 30 percent protein is considered a high-protein diet and is not recommended for most dogs. A diet of less than 20 percent protein is low. For most dogs, the sweet spot is a diet of protein in the mid-20 range. But once again, every dog has different nutritional needs depending on a variety of factors (age, general health, breed, size, etc.) Most vets suggest a balanced diet for the majority of dogs.

3. Puppies need more protein



Puppies begin their lives with a diet consisting exclusively of mother’s milk, which provides all the nutrition needed for the first four weeks of his or her life. After about a month, it’s time for the puppy to begin being weaned. By the time the puppy is about eight weeks old, it’s time for dog food. Puppies require twice the energy intake of adult dogs and need more protein for healthy growth. Most commercial food for puppies containsup to 30 percent protein, providing the building blocks for healthy bones, joints and coat. Puppies burn a lot of energy and need protein to help keep them healthy. 

4. Pregnant dogs and nursing mothers need more protein



Expectant moms and nursing moms also need a protein boost in their diet. A malnourished mother-to-be will suffer health issues – and so will the litter she delivers. Overfeeding can also lead to health problems, so it is important to monitor the food intake throughout the pregnancy and after birthing. Lactation requires a lot of energy and a little more protein will help keep the mom remain healthy and strong. 

5. Senior dogs typically need less protein



Older dogs typically are a bit more sedentary and their dietary needs change. When you check out the dog food shelves at the store, you will notice a wide selection of choices specifically designed for adult or senior dogs. Older dogs often begin to gain weight which puts pressure on joints and organs. It’s not the protein necessarily that is the problem, it is the calories. But feeding your senior dog slightly less protein is the recommendation of most vets. Aging can also affect a dog’s intestinal bacteria, which can result in symptoms of gastrointestinal disease. Ready Pet Go Probiotic Tummy Treats will help dogs of all ages avoid common gut problems – and they are particularly good for older dogs.  


6. Learn to read dog food labels

It is important to ignore marketing hype and cute commercials when you shop for your dog’s food. Companies spend millions of dollars trying to convince you that their brand is superior. Instead check the ingredients list on the packaging label to see what is inside. High-quality protein sources should be one of the first ingredients listed, along with vegetables, fats and grains. The label should also include vitamins and minerals your dog needs. Ready Pet Go! Multivitamin Chews are an excellent way to ensure your buddy is getting a daily dose of vitamins for a long and healthy life.

7. Consult with your vet 


At Ready Pet Go!, we can’t stress this tip enough. Your veterinarian can help you find the best food for your dog’s specific needs. Nutritional needs change as your dog ages and a reputable vet should guide you through the changes. When you bring your dog to the vet, diet is one of the first questions asked. And there is a good reason for this: What your dog eats informs the doctor about how to properly treat the patient. 

If you follow these steps, you are helping your dog live a long, happy life!


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