Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How Much Protein Should Be In My Pet’s Diet?

When choosing a pet food for your cat or dog, it’s important to look on the label. Pet food manufacturers will include a breakdown of protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber as well as a list of ingredients.  Cats are carnivores and need a substantive source of protein from meat, fish or poultry.  Most active,  young dogs fare better with a low carbohydrate diet with animal-based protein.  Unfortunately most pet foods are high in carbohydrates to keep the costs down. This is especially true of dry food which is made with starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, peas or legumes (e.g chickpeas).  Not only are these diets harder for pets to digest, but high carbohydrate diets spike insulin levels faster, making pets hungrier contributing to obesity.

To help your cat or dog maintain a healthy weight and optimal health, choose higher protein diets with a minimum of starchy carbohydrates.  Even if your pet has pancreatitis, you can select a food with low fat protein sources that are lean such as fish or venison.  The only time to choose a higher carbohydrate diet is if your pet is suffering from liver or kidney disease and protein levels must be restricted.  Even then you can choose healthier low-glycemic carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes over  pro-inflammatory grains such as oats and wheat.

To learn more about how pet nutrition and choosing the right diet for your pet, please see our library of Pet Health articles.