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  1. #1
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    Default Dogs and Protein

    I wonder if anyone has any link(s) to reputable pages that support high(er) protein diet for dogs? I've done some internet searching and hit on a few but I don't have the information base that some of you have. I sell dog food for a living and what I hear from customers and coworkers is "too much protein is bad, that food has too much protein, oh no, 30% is too much protein for dogs" and I don't think that's accurate. I'd like to read up on it myself and have recommended reading for my customers if they're interested.

    TIA-I'm off to sell dog food for 8 hours.



  2. #2
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    Sounds like high protein can be bad for large breed puppies when they are growing because it can lead to orthopaedic problems. No problem other than that according to these people-

    http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=protein

    These folks seem to think that it is a myth that high protein is bad for dogs.

    http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index....e=protein_myth
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
    Sounds like high protein can be bad for large breed puppies when they are growing because it can lead to orthopaedic problems. No problem other than that according to these people-

    http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=protein
    This research (if you can even call it that with no backup) is dated and incorrect. It's the *calcium* level that is vitally important to growing puppies and having that wrong can cause orthopedic issues. They NEED a high protein to grow properly.

    Tons of backup linked in this thread: http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...ff-%28LONG!%29

    Real, actual, peer reviewed papers.


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  4. #4
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    MOST dogs are fine to get a higher protein. However, some dogs ARE sensitive to it and leak protein through their cells. This can cause signs such as diarrhea and in more extreme cases ascites in the abdomen, they are often thin with a bloated look. Its more prevalent in small breed dogs, but any dog can get it.

    This can also happen with the kidneys, although more rare. With protein losing nephropathy, the protein leaks out of the cells causing overall positive fluid loss, resulting in the kidneys damage. Pets with these conditions are best fed a restricted protein diet.

    In both cases, they still need protein, but not a large amount (as it will accelerate loss). A moderate hight quality protein + carbohydrate food (low fat) is important.

    Otherwise, the average dog can handle a high protein diet just fine.


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  5. #5
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    What do you consider "high protein"? a dog eating a completely carnivorous diet will be eating a diet that is, if expressed in the form used by bags of kibble, 50 to 60% protein. Dogs obviously evolved to eat this kind of diet and do wonderfully well on it.

    For a dog, a diet that contains less than 30% protein by weight (as expressed on a bag of kibble) is insufficient to support good health.
    Healthy adult dogs can SURVIVE on diets with protein as low as 17% by weight, but cannot achieve optimal health.
    Puppies and older dogs need more protein than adult dogs- they need at least 27% protein, and preferably more to thrive. Studies of older dogs fed diets with lower amounts of protein find they die years earlier than dogs fed adequate amounts of protein. And puppies don't grow properly if fed diets with less than 27% protein.

    The only dogs that might benefit from diets with less than 30% protein are very sick dogs- for example, dogs with serious liver or kidney diseases might need to eat a low-protein diet for a period of time.

    When they do studies on dogs, they find the amount of fat and carbohydrate in the diet is far more critical than the protein level- as long as the protein level is at least 30% by weight, the dogs do fine. Higher levels of protein don't seem to be beneficial nor are they detrimental in any way, but lower levels are definitely detrimental.
    For most dogs, the dietary fat should be around 20% (by weight) and the carbohydrate level should be 15% or lower (by weight), which means the protein level ends up being around 45% or so, well above the 30% cutoff.
    For very active dogs who engage in endurance-type activities, the fat level should be higher- 25 to 35%, and the carb level the same, so the protein level might, at the higher fat level, drop to 30%.
    For very active dogs who engage in sprinting-type activities, the fat should be 20 to 25%, and the carb level should be higher, up to 30%, which once again drops the protein level to the critical threshold of 30%.

    So I define protein levels, by weight as expressed on a bag of kibble (close to but not quite at dry weight level since most kibbles have 10% moisture):

    Below 27%: low protein
    27 to 35%: normal protein
    Above 35%: high protein


    I can look for the studies on Pubmed later- and yes, these are real scientific studies, published in the peer-reviewed literature. Not some dude's opinion on his website.

    large-breed puppies need high protein too- diets with 32% protein and proper calcium levels promote healthy growth of great dane puppies.

    If you want summaries to show to customers, B-naturals has a bunch of nciely written articles aimed at the layperson supported with citations that might go over well, here's one:

    http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/protein/


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  6. #6
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    But Squish is a high protein diet beneficial to dogs?
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  7. #7
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    I don't have any professional experience in this area, but, I took my corgi mix into the vet last night for a bloated belly that had been going on for a couple of weeks. After doing an xray and drawing off some clearish fluid out of her abdomen, he asked me about her diet and if she was getting enough protein. He said that dogs who do not get enough protein can have all kinds of problems. It wasn't her problem though, it turned out her liver was failing. I wish I could remember exactly what he said, but I'm still in a fog from putting her to sleep. When I take my other dog in next week, I will try to remember to ask him about the protein and how much he feels is a good amount and how much is too much. My remaining dog eats TOTW, sometimes the bison, sometimes the duck, sometimes the salmon.

    Sorry this isn't much help.



  8. #8
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    oh Crackerdog, I am sorry to hear about your loss. Jingles for your heart.










    ETA: It always surprises me that people think that protein is bad for dogs, or too much is bad. Sure, if you have a lap dog that sits all day they don't need the protein levels that sled dogs do.

    It amazes me that when I ask people at the markets (when we are discussing foods,) "what do you think your dog would eat without you?" And they can't answer the question. It's like they forgot that dogs are carnivores. I get the same response when people ask me if I make and sell cat treats and I tell them that there is no way I would make a cat treat, even using grain free flours; they are not made for it. Once I explain it to them, then they get it.



  9. #9
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    Crackerdog I'm so sorry. Godspeed your corgi mix.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  10. #10
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    Crackerdog, I am so sorry about your loss. If you were indeed feeding a low protein food, it was likely helping your dog extend her life slightly.

    She was leaking protein from her liver into her abdomen, this clear fluid is called ascites and its a protein rich plasma containing albumin and globulins. In dogs with severe liver disease, the proteins are not being processed and toxic waste builds up - sometimes causing altered mentation in some. A high carb, low protein diet is always recommended for people and pets in liver failure. In people, diets of 3-4% protein are ideal for renal and liver diseases.

    As far as a high protein diet goes - there are studies in people that have been on the high protein diets (like Atkins) which have serious health effects such as renal compromise. There are many believers here that high protein diets in dogs have nothing to do with renal disease, but I think diets that are unbalanced and TOO high in protein can absolutley contribute.

    Dogs generally tolerate a higher protein diet. Most good quality commercial kibbles range in the 30-40%. Wellness checks on bloodwork can also give you a hint into what your dog needs, routine checks on kidney and liver values can be helpful.

    I have one dog who is a healthy 2 year old, she gets a high level (35%+ protein) she is in good weight, active and looks great. The other older dog this is too high for her, and her kidney values were chronically increasing. She has been on a low protein (22% protein) for 2 years now and her kidney values have normalized.

    So I think to answer your question `is high protein good for dogs`- I`d have to answer it would depend on the dog.

    Munchingonhay - dogs are omnivores. Cats are carnivores.



  11. #11
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    As far as a high protein diet goes - there are studies in people that have been on the high protein diets (like Atkins) which have serious health effects such as renal compromise. There are many believers here that high protein diets in dogs have nothing to do with renal disease, but I think diets that are unbalanced and TOO high in protein can absolutley contribute.
    you're totally wrong- in people, most cases of kidney disease are caused by diabetes and obesity, which are often caused by eating low-protein (high carb) diets. Many studies find that even in people, higher-protein diets might be protective against kidney disease- our current diets are much lower in protein than the hunter-gatherer diet our bodies evolved to exist on. The only animal in which high-protein diets have been found to promote kidney disease is the rat, and I'm not sure that finding was ever found to be robust or reproducible..

    In carnivores like dogs and cats, it's been resoundingly proven that high protein diets don't damage the kidneys. Even in dogs with only one kidney. Even in dogs who are actually sick, have developed kidney failure, global protein restriction is unhealthy- they do better if given plenty of high-quality protein with restrictions on phosphorus.

    this article summarizes what is known in an easy-to-read format: http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/kidney-diet/

    Here, obesity causes kidney damage in dogs, and we know that feeding low-protein (high carb) diets promotes the development of obesity in dogs:

    J Vet Intern Med. 2012 Dec 26. doi: 10.1111/jvim.12029. [Epub ahead of print]

    Effect of Weight Loss in Obese Dogs on Indicators of Renal Function or Disease.

    Tvarijonaviciute A, Ceron JJ, Holden SL, Biourge V, Morris PJ, German AJ.


    Source

    Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary School, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.


    Abstract

    BACKGROUND:

    Obesity is a common medical disorder in dogs, and can predispose to a number of diseases. Human obesity is a risk factor for the development and progression of chronic kidney disease.

    OBJECTIVES:

    To investigate the possible association of weight loss on plasma and renal biomarkers of kidney health.

    ANIMALS:

    Thirty-seven obese dogs that lost weight were included in the study.

    METHODS:

    Prospective observational study. Three novel biomarkers of renal functional impairment, disease, or both (homocysteine, cystatin C, and clusterin), in addition to traditional markers of chronic renal failure (serum urea and creatinine, urine specific gravity [USG], urine protein-creatinine ratio [UPCR], and urine albumin corrected by creatinine [UAC]) before and after weight loss in dogs with naturally occurring obesity were investigated.

    RESULTS:

    Urea (P = .043) and USG (P = .012) were both greater after weight loss than before loss, whilst UPCR, UAC, and creatinine were less after weight loss (P = .032, P = .006, and P = .026, respectively). Homocysteine (P < .001), cystatin C (P < .001) and clusterin (P < .001) all decreased upon weight loss. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed associations between percentage weight loss (greater weight loss, more lean tissue loss; r = -0.67, r(2) = 0.45, P < .001) and before-loss plasma clusterin concentration (greater clusterin, more lean tissue loss; r = 0.48, r(2) = 0.23, P = .003).

    CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE:

    These results suggest possible subclinical alterations in renal function in canine obesity, which improve with weight loss. Further work is required to determine the nature of these alterations and, most notably, the reason for the association between before loss plasma clusterin and subsequent lean tissue loss during weight management.

    Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.


    PMID: 23278113 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


    She was leaking protein from her liver into her abdomen, this clear fluid is called ascites and its a protein rich plasma containing albumin and globulins. In dogs with severe liver disease, the proteins are not being processed and toxic waste builds up - sometimes causing altered mentation in some. A high carb, low protein diet is always recommended for people and pets in liver failure. In people, diets of 3-4% protein are ideal for renal and liver diseases.
    ascites fluid has nothing to do with "leaking protein from the liver". Ascites fluid from liver failure is often caused by high blood pressure in the portal vein that causes fluid to leak out. Acites fluid can also be caused by cancers and inflammation.
    It is true that dogs with liver disease need an altered diet, but not global protein restriction. Good summary:
    http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/liver/estriction.


    this is the old, classic study showing it's not protein restriction, it's phosphorus restriction you want for dogs who have developed renal failure:

    Am J Vet Res. 1992 Dec;53(12):2264-71.

    Effects of dietary phosphorus and protein in dogs with chronic renal failure.

    Finco DR, Brown SA, Crowell WA, Duncan RJ, Barsanti JA, Bennett SE.


    Source

    Department of Physiology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.


    Abstract

    Four diets were formulated to contain: 16% protein and 0.4% phosphorus--diet 1; 16% protein and 1.4% phosphorus--diet 2; 32% protein and 0.4% phosphorus--diet 3; and 32% protein and 1.4% phosphorus--diet 4. Forty-eight dogs were fed diet 1 for 3 months after surgical reduction of renal mass, then were allotted to 4 groups of 12 dogs each, with equal mean values for glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Dog of groups 1-4 were fed diets 1-4, respectively, for 24 months. Data collected from the dogs during and at termination of the study were analyzed statistically for effects of dietary protein, phosphorus (P), time, and interactions between these factors. During the 24 months of study, 24 dogs developed uremia and were euthanatized for necropsy. Necropsy also was performed on the remaining 24 dogs after they were euthanatized at the end of the study. Dog survival was significantly enhanced by 0.4% P diets (vs 1.4% P diets), but survival was not significantly influenced by amount of dietary protein. The 0.4% P diets (vs 1.4% P diets) significantly increased the period that GFR remained stable before it decreased, but dietary protein did not have significant effect. Significant blood biochemical changes attributed to P, protein, and time were identified during the study. Terminally, plasma parathyroid hormone concentration was significantly increased from prediet values in all groups of dogs. Urine protein excretion was not significantly affected by dietary amount of either protein or P, when measured by either timed urine collection or urine protein-to-creatinine ratio.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)


    PMID: 1476305 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    Last edited by wendy; Jan. 10, 2013 at 02:58 PM.



  12. #12
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  13. #13
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    Semi hijack, if you have a small dog that you suspect may be having trouble with too much protein in their food due to occasional diarrhea, how low would you suggest going? Current protein is 42%, would middle of the road be ok or go all the way towards the lower end to rule out that as a cause?



  14. #14
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    I personally would put the dog on a low fat diet (with moderate protein), but according to Wendy your dog may spontaneously combust

    The study posted by wendy is flawed. Dogs can have normal values with only one functioning kidney. If you have one functional kidney, those dogs would absolutley not be affected by the protein levels. Renal "masses" are not comparable to chronic renal failure, often these masses are neoplastic in nature.

    I think the only way to truly test is to get baseline BUN/Creatine and UPCR on your dogs. If they lower with no change other than lowering the protein - thats your answer. If they do NOT change, than your dog is tolerating the protein level.

    Like I have mentioned before, a good quality protein is essential - however I think there needs to be a balance between protein/carb and fat to suit the individual dogs needs.


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  15. #15
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    Thank you everyone for your condolences, it's still hard to process.

    My vet was specifically concerned about her diet possibly being too low in protein, I guess it's something that he has been seeing around here lately. The other issues he found were low cholesterol and low blood pressure, interestingly, there had not been any change in her other than the bloated belly.

    My remaining dog is on phenobarb, which I understand can cause liver problems, so I will be checking with him as to the correct protein level for her, if indeed it is an issue for her long term health.



  16. #16
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    I'm sorry for your loss, Cracker... it really underscores to me how confusing this all is.

    Thanks for the information, all of you, I'm still plowing through it all!



  17. #17
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    I'd say protein is good unless you have a dog with kidney issues.

    My dog is on a highly restricted diet ~ 3% protein since he is in severe chronic renal failure. This means that his kidneys are functioning at less than 25%. When the body breaks down protein, toxic biproducts are formed and his body can't process these so that why he needs the very low protein diet.
    Unfortunately, he doesn't like his low protein diet (which is common) and will only eat more regular food. He's been fighting for two weeks since he was diagnosed but I am worried that the end is close.
    Any jingles would be appreciated (not to highjack the thread).

    Protein also comes as different "types" with some being easier to process than others - eggs, fish and spinach are high protein and easy to process whereas steak is not as easy for them to deal with.



  18. #18
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    I don't know if I agree with the ascertion that dogs are "omnivores" - they are morphologically carnivores, and just because humans have incorporated "omnivorous" values into their diet doesn't necessitate they are true omnivores. A feral dog (meaning one that had no interaction with humans, ever) is more likely to have an entirely carnivorous diet -- if it is lucky at all to catch anything.

    I've always had the same understanding of protein as Wendy - and I do believe that (at least for my dogs) the more protein, the better - so long as it is balanced appropriately by flanking values such as fat and carbohydrates.


    When they do studies on dogs, they find the amount of fat and carbohydrate in the diet is far more critical than the protein level- as long as the protein level is at least 30% by weight, the dogs do fine. Higher levels of protein don't seem to be beneficial nor are they detrimental in any way, but lower levels are definitely detrimental.
    For most dogs, the dietary fat should be around 20% (by weight) and the carbohydrate level should be 15% or lower (by weight), which means the protein level end
    ^ This

    I too worked at a high end feed store that supplied many products that were considered "high quality" - Blue Bufallo, TOTW, NB, I could go on forever. We frequently had customers that would inspect carefully the back of the bag and cry "Oh, the protein! It is much too high." Most of our proteins topped out at 40%. It was frustrating to witness them believe that a lower protein is better -- and we frequently tried to (to those who would listen which was few and far in between) that it was moreso the protein in comparison with fat/carbohydrates that made the difference.

    I am not a nutrition expert (I strive to read what articles I can, memorize what I can, and do what I can - Wendy's articles are a refreshing recap) but my dogs have done well on a moderate fat/carb with a "low" highs protein. It, to me, would seem much more natural to them - as I can't imagine in the wild they consume a copious amount of fat or phosphor.
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


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