Protein Deficiency: Is it Hurting Your Dog?

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Does Your Dog Have A Protein Deficiency?

Just like humans, dogs need a sufficient amount of protein in their diet for optimal health. The signs of protein deficiency can be overlooked, but once you know what to look for it is easy to spot and correct. Personal protection dogs work and train hard, which means that they need more protein than the average couch potato. If you are looking for a breeder with personal protection dogs for sale, one of the first questions that you should ask is about the dog’s diet. This can tell you a lot about the overall health of the dog. First, let’s examine the importance of proteins and your dog’s health.

All About Proteins

Proteins are the building blocks of tissues in the body. Proteins are molecules made up of amino acid chains that fold into unique three-dimensional shapes according to their function in the body. Every cell in the body needs proteins. This means that a protein deficiency can manifest in different ways depending on which protein is missing. There are 22 amino acids total and your dog needs all of them for optimal health. However, 10 of them are considered the most essential. An essential protein is one that your dog cannot manufacture in their own body and they must get through their diet. The other 12 proteins are made in the liver. The 10 essential amino acids that your dog must consume are:

  • Arginine
  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

The other 12 amino acids that are manufactured by the liver are:

  • Alanine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Cystine
  • Glutamine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glycine
  • Hydroxyproline
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Taurine
  • Tyrosine

These amino acids play important roles in the body’s function. Some of these functions include:

  • Hormone balance
  • Enzyme production and activity
  • Immune system function
  • Tissue repair
  • Responsible for metabolism
  • Brain chemical balance and mood regulation
  • The production of vitamin such as B3
  • Heart, brain, and eye function

Let’s take a look at what happens to your dog if they are missing any of these essential building blocks.

Signs of Protein Deficiency in Dogs

One of the signs to look for in personal protection dogs for sale is the shine and softness of their coat. A protein deficiency can cause their fur to be bristly and wiry to the touch. Their growth may have been stunted, which means they will be smaller than would be expected considering their breed and age. When choosing personal protection dogs, you should always look for signs of potential protein deficiency. Even if you can correct the deficiency, a protein deficiency early on can cause harm that can affect the protection dog’s performance for the rest of their working life. Other signs of protein deficiency include anorexia, anemia, and unexplained weight loss. A change in mood is also a sign of a protein deficiency. If your dog suddenly becomes grumpier, a protein deficiency may be the culprit rather than behavioral issues. The next question you may have is how do you know your dog is getting enough amino acids?

Ditch the Fad Diet

A quick search on the Internet brings up a host of fad diets for both humans and dogs. Not every protein source contains all of the essential proteins that your protection dog needs or in high enough amounts to be of value. Foods are rated in terms of their biological value on a scale of 1 to 100. Foods that contain the highest biological value include eggs, milk, chicken, fish, and beef. Foods such as lentils and wheat flour are some of the lowest. An amino acid deficiency can be the result of feeding your dog too many grains, but most commercial dog foods are as much as 30% starch or grain. If you read the label on the dog food and you see an L- or DL-in front of the protein, it means that they are synthetic and not a natural protein source. So how do you increase proteins in your protection dog’s diet?

Ways to Increase Protein in Dogs

There are several ways to increase the value of the proteins in your dog’s diet. It is important to remember that animal-based proteins have a higher biological value than plant-based proteins. Here are some ways to increase protein in your protection dog’s diet.

1. Raw Diet

The raw diet is an animal-based diet that provides a higher percentage of essential proteins to your protection dog. However, if the diet includes only hoofed animals, it is possible to be deficient in taurine. Taurine is important for preventing yeast or candida infections.

2. Avoid Cooked Foods

The biological value of the protein refers to the potential benefits of the protein, but there are certain things that can alter a food’s natural potential. Cooking foods changes the shape of the proteins and their structure, which can cause an allergy in some dogs. Cooking foods could leave your protection dog deficient in certain proteins that are easily altered by heat.

3. Lower Fat is Good

Foods that are high in protein can also be high in fat. Foods that are high in fat have a lower protein content. Fat contains more calories per gram and can make your dog gain weight, but it is possible to gain weight and still be protein deficient. The best way to assure that your dog is on top of its game is to pay attention to the quality and types of protein in the diet. This is the best way to assure long and healthy life for your best friend.

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