Why Your Dog Needs Protein
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Protein is best known for supplying amino acids to build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. It also plays a main role in hormone production.
Animal-Based Proteins Versus Plant-Based Proteins
The protein in dog foods can be supplied by animal sources, plant sources or a combination of the two. High-quality animal-source proteins contain all of the essential amino acids dogs need, while a single plant-based protein might not contain adequate amounts of some essential amino acids.
Common animal-based protein sources used in pet food include chicken, lamb, fish, and beef.
Even though they are often fed plant-based diets, dogs are not herbivores. While dogs are technically considered to be omnivores—animals that eat both animal- and plant-based foods—they should be treated primarily as carnivores to better fulfill their specific nutritional requirements.
Dogs are members of the Canidae family. This family also includes the wolf, coyote, fox, and jackal. The ancestors and relatives of today's common dog hunted animals and ate them as a means of survival.
The body structure of domestic dogs is similar to that of their ancestors and relatives and is ideal for eating prey. Dogs have the enlarged carnassial teeth after which carnivores are named. Their gastrointestinal tract is simple and does not have the capacity to digest large amounts of plant products.
Animal-based proteins help dogs achieve optimal health.
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- adp_description_block137A Healthy Diet for Your Dog Can Mean Good Health for You
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As a veterinarian, I’ve found that pet owners take seriously the responsibility of ensuring their dogs live healthy, happy lives. They worry about making sure their dog gets enough exercise, receives regular wellness checks and receives balanced nutrition that gives them energy to run and play.
What some people don’t realize is that owning and caring a dog can improve the owner’s health as well. Spending quality time with your dog and providing them with quality nutrition is good for the dog and can help ease stress and anxiety levels for you. Studies have shown that owning a pet can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels1 — which is great news for your heart health.
In short, when your dog is getting the best care, proper exercise, nutrition and love, they can enjoy a long and healthy life. And that can ultimately make you healthier, too!
So what does that mean when it comes to feeding your dog?
Many owners see their dog as part of the family, and that sometimes means they will feed their dog like they feed themselves. For example, some people may choose low-carb or gluten-free diets for themselves and do the same for their pets. However, while this instinct comes from a place of love, many owners don’t realize that their dog’s dietary needs differ from their own.
Take grains for example. As a veterinarian, it’s important for me to note that grains are good for your dog. Yes, you read that right — they’re good!
A very small percentage of dogs may have a food sensitivity that requires a special grain-free diet or a dog food without a certain protein. However, this is not necessary for the vast majority of dogs. Most dogs benefit from a complete, balanced diet with healthy grains, high-quality proteins and essential vitamins and minerals.
Here’s why: Grains are a good source of carbohydrates that provide healthy energy. Some grains, like rice and wheat, provide “quick” energy, while other grains, like barley and sorghum, take longer to convert to energy. A combination of these different grains can offer a time-released energy source that helps dogs sustain energy. The whole grains in IAMS dog food are a beneficial mix, as they supply steady energy.
In addition to the grains you’ll find in IAMS food, you’ll also find high-quality proteins, like chicken and lamb, as well as essential nutrients needed to help support heart health. Together, this combination will give your dog a steady source of energy to be active on walks, runs, hikes or play sessions around the house.
For your dog to be healthy and happy, be sure you feed them a well-balanced diet and allow them enough exercise time. In return, you’ll get unconditional love, plenty of sweet doggy snuggles and maybe even more exercise — just a few of the ways you and your dog are joined at the heart.
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