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Things every pet parent needs to keep in mind for a protein-rich diet

As the age-old debate revolving around dogs being inherently carnivores or omnivores continue, the fact that proteins are necessary for them to survive and thrive remains, regardless of the source.

Bhupendra Khanal | New Delhi |

Since our very childhoods, the importance of protein has been emphasized upon, with our Science books stating how integral a component of a balanced diet it is. While protein is a vital nutrient for us, the same goes for our furry friends as well. As the age-old debate revolving around dogs being inherently carnivores or omnivores continue, the fact that proteins are necessary for them to survive and thrive remains, regardless of the source. This is because proteins are made of amino acids which form the very essence of the cell production process. Therefore in absence of proteins in their diet, the immune system of dogs may become weak, rendering them prone to developing several health issues and a loss of energy. Furthermore, your little one may become lethargic, dull, and lifeless. At the same time, an overdose of proteins may be harmful for them too.

To ensure the well-being of their furry child, pet parents need to incorporate the right amount of protein in their food intake.

Some of the things to keep in mind are:

How much protein does my little one need?

The amount of protein that your pooch requires depends on their age and the breed they belong to. Factors such as pregnancy, medical history, or existing medical conditions also play a role in defining how much protein should be fed to them for their well-being.

Younger dogs that are in their developing stages require more proteins in their diet when compared to adult ones. On an average, there should be around 22-28% protein in a puppy’s diet, and around 10-18% in the diet of an adult dog. As a general purview, around 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight is needed in a dog’s diet on a daily basis. Pet parents need to be aware of all the general rules as well as the breed and age specifics when charting out a protein-rich diet for their furry children.

Beyond meat: High-quality protein sources

It is not necessary to include meat in the diet for a rich source of protein for your little one. While dogs have higher protein requirements than us, it can be adequately met with vegetables, legumes and other such resources. For instance, raw eggs prove to be a great nutritional source for dogs, providing them with an appropriate amount of protein and vitamins. Eggs do not just help in building strong bones but are also highly apt source of digestible protein, thereby serving as the perfect choice of food for dogs prone to digestive issues. Furthermore, there are many appropriate vegetarian protein-rich sources, including:

Legumes: When going for a meat-free diet, legumes make the very basis of a rich protein source for dogs. Legumes such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas benefit vegetarian dogs to a great extent. Although, pet parents need to know which legumes are safe for their little one before including them in their diet. Moreover it is better to feed them raw and minced, avoiding canned, baked, and refried beans.

Vegetables: While vegetables have been known as a great resource for proteins for humans, they prove to be just as beneficial for dogs. Whether it is broccoli and carrots or dark leafy greens like spinach, vegetables have the potential to serve as a great alternative for meat in your little one’s diet. The only thing that pet parents need to keep in mind is that vegetables need to be minced or grounded for easier digestion.

Cheese: Certain dairy products like cheese may prove to be a great source of proteins. However, pet parents need to consider the amount of fat present before feeding it to their little ones to avoid any adverse effect. Hardened Himalayan cheese, for instance, has a lower amount of fat while appropriately catering to protein needs. Moreover, since dairy products are usually not recommended due to its lactose content, this cheese serves as a great alternative by having a lower amount of the same when compared to normal milk-cheese.

While proteins are highly essential for the survival and well-being of our furry children, pet parents need to find the right balance in the diet intake. You need to check all the nutritional facts and trivia before buying food and treats for your dog. Because for all the unconditional love and happiness that these little ones bring in our lives, they certainly deserve nothing but the best!

(The writer is founder and CEO at Dogsee Chew)