Monday, December 2, 2013

Thinking About Protein Levels In Dog Food

Our little baby Venus was my first dog, ever. Jared had several dogs growing up, but my parents were pretty particular about everything when I was young and didn't get dogs until us kids were older and on our way out of the house. When we first brought Venus home I spent almost all of my time reading and researching, wanting to feed her the best possible diet we could.

The backyard breeder we saved her from was feeding her Purina puppy chow. We picked up a bag that day, and from there it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't the best food for her. She itched a lot, her ears turned red every time she ate, and she has gas and messy poops. From Purina we went to Wellness Puppy. I loved their food, their packaging (the resealable bag worked great in the semi!), and their company seemed trustworthy. It wasn't until a few months later that Venus started showing signs of an intolerance to this new food as well. We switched from Wellness CORE (grain-free) and while she did well, I went through a period where we alternated between a raw diet and freeze dried.

Venus passed her fifth birthday in August, and from the day we brought her home in October 2009 until this past week I had found in all my reading that high protein diets would be best for her. Grain free was something we always stuck with because (as you may have realized above) she has an allergy. A few of them actually. But high protein seemed to be the way to go with dogs. It was the answer everywhere I looked, so I soon stopped questioning it and stopped researching as well. We've fed foods like Ziwipeak, Stella and Chewy's, Nature's Variety, and [currently] By Nature.

I recently started reading "Dr Khalsa's Natural Dog" and while she doesn't have anything negative to say about raw diets or dogs who need high protein, she does cause me to raise several questions about the diet and nutrition choices I've made for my dogs over the years. Past research has suggested that dogs are carnivores and while they have been eating commercial diets for over 100 years they still crave the meat and protein they would get from living in the wild. Dr Khalsa, on the other hand, suggests that dogs have quickly evolved over the years and while dogs may have the same carnivorous teeth as years ago they have since adapted to eating table scraps and man-made dog diets. Dr Khalsa also brings forward some interesting information about high protein diets feeding cancer and other diseases.

Things I had never questioned before suddenly have me thinking I've made a large mistake in the care of my babies. While their general health is alright, Venus has struggled with easily gaining weight for years. Ocean has only been with us for less than a year, so I cannot say if my diet of choice has made any impact on her health.

I'm only half way through this book right now, but a lot of good points have been raised in my mind. I hope to share more with you and if we decide to make a change to the way we think about the protein levels we're feeding the girls right now. I'm very interested in reading more opinions about this topic though. I would be overjoyed if any of you have any insight about high or low proteins in dog food, or what type of diets suit our modern-day dogs.

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