The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein
Video: Carnivores and Protein
In this video Dr. Karen Becker talks about your carnivorous pet’s lifelong requirement for a diet rich in high quality, natural protein.
Dr. Becker’s Comments:
Dogs and cats need 22 amino acids to be healthy.
Dogs can synthesize (make) 12 of those 22; cats can synthesize 11 of them. The remaining amino acids must come from the food they eat, which is why they’re called ‘essential’ amino acids.
Pets get amino acids from the protein they eat. And the quality and quantity of protein is extremely important for carnivores – it’s the very foundation of their health.
Not All Protein is Created Equal
Protein quality is extremely variable. There are highly assimilable and digestible proteins (proteins your pet’s body can easily absorb and make use of), and there are proteins that are wholly indigestible. For example beaks, feet, hides, tails and snouts are 100 percent protein, but all 100 percent is indigestible.
All protein has a biologic value, which is its usable amino acid content. Eggs have the highest biologic value at 100 percent. Fish is a close second at 92 percent. Feathers, as you might guess, have zero biologic value. They are all protein, but they are neither digestible nor assimilable.
Now there are some foods high in protein that are not species-appropriate for dogs and cats. Soy is a good example, with a biologic value of 67 percent. Many popular pet foods contain soy as a protein source, as well as corn. This is an inexpensive way for pet food manufacturers to increase protein content on the guaranteed analysis printed on the label.
But because soy and corn are not species-appropriate, I don’t recommend you feed pet foods that contain it.
Unfortunately, digestion and assimilation are not measured for dog and cat foods, so manufacturers can include other types of protein that have no biologic value for the species of animal eating it (this is also why melamine was added to pet foods that killed thousands of animals). You can be fooled into thinking you’re feeding a higher-protein food, when the reality is the protein isn’t biologically appropriate for your pet.
Rendered Pet Food – The Worst of the Worst
Asking a dog’s or cat’s liver and kidneys to process low-quality, indigestible protein over a long period of time is exactly how protein in pet food got a bad rap.
In the 1940s and 1950s, there were really no high quality commercial pet foods on the market. Formulas at that time contained 100 percent run-off or rendered byproducts from the human food industry.
Pet food companies took all the pieces and parts left over at slaughterhouses, mixed them with discarded vegetables and grains not fit for human consumption, added a synthetic vitamin-mineral supplement, and called it pet food.
While there was a fair amount of protein in pet food back then, the quality was just terrible. Because the protein was so difficult for dogs and cats to digest, kidney and liver function suffered.
That’s why veterinarians around the mid-century mark started recommending lower protein senior pet foods. Senior formulas came into being because of the terrible quality of dog and cat foods on the market.
That’s why I strongly recommend if you’re feeding a rendered pet food formula – food that contains protein that is not digestible or assimilable – that you reduce the amount of protein you’re feeding. Your pet’s organs can’t process a steady diet of terrible quality protein.
Your Pet’s Protein Requirement Increases with Age
The good news is the quality of pet food has increased dramatically in the last 30 to 40 years.
And in 1992 Dr. Delmar Finco, a veterinary nutritionist, discovered protein requirements actually increase as pets age. Even in animals with kidney failure, restricting protein didn’t improve their health or longevity.
In fact, Dr. Finco’s research proved cats on low protein diets developed hypoproteinemia. They had muscle wasting, became catabolic, and lost weight. The more protein was restricted, the more ill these kitties became. Fortunately, Dr. Finco discovered it was the level of phosphorus in foods, not necessarily the amount of protein that exacerbated kidney disease.
Since that research was published, veterinary recommendations have changed. What we’re recommending for animals struggling with under-functioning kidneys and livers is that you feed really good quality protein that is highly digestible and assimilable.
We also recommend you restrict phosphorus in the diet, but not necessarily protein.
We know that cats and dogs, as carnivores, require lots of high quality protein not only to maintain good organ and immune function, but also to maintain healthy muscle mass as they go through life and the aging process.
Whole, Raw, Natural Foods Are Best
Some foods are metabolically stressful and some create low metabolic stress on your dog or cat.
Foods that generate the least amount of metabolic stress are whole, raw, unprocessed, and in their natural form. Foods that have not been dehydrated or processed are the most assimilable for your pet’s body.
These foods are biologically appropriate. All the moisture in the food remains in the food.
Foods that have been dehydrated, extruded or processed can have drastically depleted moisture content. It can drop from 70 percent down to as low as 12 percent, in fact. Your pet’s kidneys and liver become stressed due to chronic low-grade dehydration.
Dogs and especially kitties must drink lots of water to rehydrate their bodies after eating dehydrated food. This situation can stress organs that are congenitally defective or are experiencing age-related changes.
I recommend serving your pet food in its natural state to provide needed moisture, and to insure the highest level of biologic assimilation and digestion.
Appropriate Food for the Species
‘Species-appropriate’ for your dog or cat means a food that is high in protein in its natural form, and low in grain content. Your pet is a carnivore – dogs are scavenging carnivores and cats are obligate carnivores. Carnivores need to eat animal protein and fat in order to be healthy.
Foods that cause metabolic stress – those that are highly processed and/or dehydrated – are not species-appropriate. Take high-protein kibble, for example.
In recognition that dogs and cats do better on higher protein, low-grain diets, over the last 15 years there’s been movement by veterinarians and pet food companies toward formulas containing more protein and fewer carbohydrates.
I can certainly agree with that, except in situations where the food is not biologically, species-appropriate.
Pets eating a protein-based diet do just fine as long as it contains 70 to 80 percent moisture. But when you take moisture out of high protein foods, they become difficult for your pet’s body to process because of the dehydration factor. That’s why I prefer foods that are unprocessed and therefore not dehydrated.
Feed Your Pet Exactly What His Body Needs
When you’re contemplating the issue of protein for your dog or cat, it’s important to recognize you can’t save kidney function with a low protein diet.
Your carnivorous companion needs protein to be healthy throughout life, and especially as she deals with the muscle wasting that comes with the aging process.
I recommend you feed your pet food in its natural form, full of moisture and unprocessed. This will provide the best species-appropriate nourishment for your dog or cat, with an optimum level of digestion and assimilation.
- 13 Pet Foods – Ranked From Great to Disastrous…
- The Completely Healthy ‘Pet’ Food Your Vet Probably Vilifies…
- Pets, Protein, Dry Food and Disease
Dr. Becker - Dr. Becker is the resident proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian of HealthyPets.Mercola.com. You can learn holistic ways of preventing illness in your pets by subscribing to MercolaHealthyPets.com, an online resource for animal lovers. For more pet care tips, subscribe for FREE to Mercola Healthy Pet Newsletter.
*Many people now cook for their pets because they don’t want to feed raw, plus there are great recipes out there that you can actually feed your pets and eat yourself, if you are time taped, on a budge or it is just you and them.. But make sure they get what they need. Adding probiotics and vitamins to their diets, plus exercise, also does wonders!
May 1, 2011 - Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | amino acids, carnivores, Cats, dogs and cats, Dr. Becker, essential amino acids, healthy pet diets, healthy pets, protein, protein rich diet
26 Comments »
Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
Recent and Seasonal Shots
As I have been fighting Cancer… A battle I am gratefully winning, my furkids have not left my side. They have been a large part of my recovery!! Ask Marion
Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
Help Make a Difference
Protect Your Pet From Tarter and Gum DiseasePlaque Attack Triple Care Dental Spray Amazon.com Widgets
Adopt Just One More Pet All Animals All Pets animal abuse animal advocacy animal advocates animal cruelty animals ASPCA Bears be part of the solution Birds California cancer canines Cats cats and dogs Chihuahuas China Chiweenies Christmas cute dog Doggies dogs dogs and cats Dr. Becker elephants Fido fish for the love of a pet German Shepherd Halloween holidays holidays with pets horses HSUS Humane Society Humane Society of the United States JOMP Just One More Pet JustOneMorePet kittens kitties livestock Love man's best friend man's best friends military dogs monkeys New York Pet Abuse Pet Adoption Pet costumes Pet Food pet fun Pet Health Pet Parents Pets pet safety pets and holidays Pets Are Family Pet Therapy Puppies puppy mills pups rabbits reptiles responsible pet ownership responsible pet parents service dogs Stop Animal Cruelty Texas There Is Always Room For One More Pet we are their voice
- Chicago-area dog flu cases climb to over 1,100, including six deaths April 16, 2015(Joop Snijder Jr. | Shutterstock) April 15, 2015 – Reuters At least 1,137 Chicago-area dogs have come down with a highly contagious strain of canine flu, and six have died, in the largest and longest-lasting dog flu outbreak ever seen in the region, county officials said on Tuesday. Veterinarians began reporting cases of Canine Infectious […]justonemorepet
- Unusual Friends March 21, 2015By Marion Algier – JOMP Big Dog and Calf are virtually same size and new best friendsjustonemorepet
- Hermosa March 21, 2015By Marion Algier – JOMP St. Patrick’s Day Baby… Hermosa. Our niece adopted a Mustang, Eclipse, who was pregnant. Eclipse gave birth to her new baby midday; a wonderful St. Patty’s Day gift. Welcome little filly!justonemorepet
- Nevada Law Would Make ‘Pot for Pets’ Legal March 19, 2015Medical marijuana is dispensed at the Takoma Wellness Center, Oct. 10, 2014, in Takoma Park, DC. Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post/Getty Images ABC Health News – Mar 18, 2015, 1:54 PM ET - By LIZ NEPORENT – Cross-Posted at Just One More Pet (JOMP) and True Health Is True Wealth (THITW) A new bill introduced […]justonemorepet
- Hero Dog Saves Owner Clinically Dead for 30-Minutes March 12, 2015Life With Dogs: A woman named Joanna Mellor had her life saved after going into cardiac arrest and being clinically dead for half an hour when her dog barked until her boyfriend woke up and called for an ambulance. The UK woman was sleeping on January 2nd when she suffered a heart attack and stopped […]justonemorepet
- Good Dog: Small Dog, Big Heart February 26, 2015Illustration by John Cuneo by Wells Tower – June/July 2014 – Garden & Gun – Cross-Posted at Just One More Pet The nervous work of owning—and finally loving—a Chihuahua For many years, I thought that owners of small dogs harbored stunted souls. Parents of infant beauty queens. Weird bachelors with pet stairs by their beds. […]justonemorepet
- Dog Mourns The Heart-Breaking Loss Of His Brother January 31, 2015Brutus Cries for Brother Hank By Marion Algier – Just One More Pet The message… animals have feelings too. This shows one dog’s reaction to finding out his twin brother had passed during the night. Brutus, does not want to leave his brother Hanks side even after he’s passed away. Brutus stays close, and […]justonemorepet
- GoDaddy pulls ‘lost puppy’ Super Bowl ad after igniting firestorm on social media January 29, 2015Video: GoDaddy pulls hilarious, humorous or tasteless ‘lost puppy’ Super Bowl ad after igniting firestorm on social media -> You be the judge…justonemorepet
- In Memory of Rosie – Until We Meet Again on Rainbow Bridge January 19, 2015Rosie By Patricia D. Gillenwater Our sweet Rosie passed on to the Rainbow Bridge today after succumbing to the Big C. Rosie came into our lives in a serendipitous moment. She needed us and, after two losses of two wonderful rescue critters for extreme health issues, we needed Rosie. She was with us for nearly […]justonemorepet
- There’s Just One Thing That All Dogs Want To Know January 19, 2015By Harrison’s Natural Dog Training There’s just one thing that all dogs want to know, and they need you to answer it. Between raising the kids and making meals, working a shift, going to soccer games, swimming lessons, making time for your better half, going to the gym walking the dog..well.. the list could go […]justonemorepet
- Chicago-area dog flu cases climb to over 1,100, including six deaths April 16, 2015
Find Pet Friendly Hotels
artiewhitefox on Unusual Friends Nevada Law Would Mak… on Canada marijuana growers use w… Nevada Law Would Mak… on More Dogs (and Cats) Getting H… Nevada Law Would Mak… on Nevada Law Would Make ‘P… Nevada Law Would Mak… on Canada marijuana growers use w…
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Great Book for Children and Pet Lovers… And a Perfect Holiday GiftOne More Pet Emily loves animals so much that she can’t resist bringing them home. When a local farmer feels under the weather, she is only too eager to “feed the lambs, milk the cows and brush the rams.” The farmer is so grateful for Emily’s help that he gives her a giant egg... Can you guess what happens after that? The rhythmic verse begs to be read aloud, and the lively pictures will delight children as they watch Emily’s collection of pets get bigger and bigger.
~~ 2000+ Dog Books And All Things Dog ~~
Buy Now: A Must Have For Every Pet Owner
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!