If you’ve ever seen your dog tuck excitedly into a raw steak or knaw delightedly on a fresh bone, it’s not hard to understand that dogs are carnivorous creatures at heart.
As well as having a great flavour and texture that dogs love, meat is also one of the best sources of protein for dogs. It’s why all Farmers Market products - from our dry dog food to our treats - have real, Aussie meat as the number one ingredient.
So what is protein? Why does it matter so much for dogs? And what are the best sources? Here’s a quick overview.
What is protein?
When most people talk about protein, they’re referring to a type of animal flesh - usually beef, lamb, chicken or fish. However, protein can also be found in animal products such as eggs and milk, as well as in vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, and legumes like peas and soybeans.
In more technical terms, you can think of proteins as molecules which are made up of a string of smaller amino acids - which are vital for a dog’s growth and wellbeing. A dog can’t make all of the amino acids their body needs, and must get some from their diet. These are referred to as essential amino acids. Different types of protein will have varying amino acid types and combinations, and for this reason, it can be beneficial to feed your dog a broad range of carefully selected proteins.
What happens when a dog eats protein?
Essentially, protein gives dogs what they need to grow and stay active.
When a dog eats protein, his or her body breaks the protein up into its amino acid components and absorbs them into the bloodstream. These amino acids are then used to build new, complex proteins for the body. This might include proteins for muscle, blood, skin, enzymes used in metabolism or hair growth. Excess protein is either used as energy or excreted in the dog’s urine.
Your dog will also have different protein requirements depending on its breed, size and stage of life - as well as whether or not it is breeding at the time (a pregnant or lactating dog will require more protein than normal). A dog recovering from illness may also require additional protein.
What is the best source of protein?
Not all sources of protein are created equal, and your dog will be able to better digest some sources than others.
In broad terms, meat is the best source of protein for dogs. It’s why you’re unlikely to ever see a vegetarian dog food!
When you choose a reputable and certified pet food brand like Farmers Market, you get the confidence of knowing it is complete and balanced, and that your dog’s protein requirements are fully met by every product. With meat as the number one ingredient, it’s no wonder Farmers Market was voted the 2018 Product of the Year in the Consumer Survey of Product Innovation. Over 13,500 people were surveyed, and Farmers Market came out on top in the Pet Care category.
Want to know more?
If you have specific questions about your dog’s diet, which types of protein are best, or what you should be feeding your dog according to its size and life stage, be sure to chat with your vet.