By Dr. Al Townshend
The domestic dog we know today evolved from their ancestors, the wolf. There is some controversy as to when that happened. Most agree that it began some 20 to 40 thousand years ago.
Like wolves, dogs evolved as carnivores or meat eaters. During their domestication process dogs have gained a better ability to utilize carbohydrates. However, they still continue to do best when the bulk of their nutrition is from protein and fat. Cats, on the other hand, have not adapted as well and depend even more heavily on protein and fat for optimum nutrition and health.
Today, many continue to believe that the most biologically appropriate diet for both dogs and cats are higher protein and lower carbohydrate recipes.
One major reason for that assertion is because the domestic dog and cat, like their ancestors, have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates. They can convert protein and fat to glucose for utilization by the cells of the body.
Too many carbohydrates can encourage obesity which in turn increases the risk of heart and kidney disease, arthritis, diabetes, and even cancer.
The best protein sources are animal tissues or meat. Animal protein contains all of the essential amino acids required in a biologically appropriate, complete and balanced recipe. They are also highly digestible protein sources that are easily utilized by the body.
Plant protein in small amounts is acceptable but they do not contain all of those essential amino acids necessary to make new tissue and replace older cells.
Specific animal protein like chicken, lamb, turkey, duck, and specific fish like salmon and herring along with specific concentrated meat meals are ideal animal protein sources for both dogs and cats.
It is well known that young growing pets require more protein as do working active pets. Even seniors need good levels of protein in order to stay healthy.
You will find that all of the foods in the Pet Planet stores are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates and considered biologically appropriate for both dogs and cats. Be sure to take advantage of the Free Pet Planet Nutrition Consultation at a Pet Planet Health location near you and learn more about the benefits of a high protein diet for your pet.