Why sShould aAnimal pProducts, nNot gGrain, bBe the source of protein for dogs?the

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Here are four reasons’s why grain shouldn’t be your dog’s primary source of protein:

• Incomplete proteins: Grain proteins are incomplete, says Dr. Joseph Wakslag, DVM, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University. “They tend to be limiting in certain amino acids that are essential,” he says. Grains, which tend to be mostly carbohydrate, are best for short bursts of energy.

• Lack of essential amino acids: Your dog needs 22 amino acids, 10 of which must be supplied by diet (the other 12 are manufactured in her liver.) Amino acids are the things of which proteins are made. They are the building blocks of a healthy dog who uses them to make muscles, hair, skin and enzymes. Your dog needs these amino acids: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. A deficiency in any of the amino acids can cause health problems.

• Instinct: Every single dog breed evolved from the wolf. Dogs are carnivores obligate omnivores and want and need meat.

• and omnivores so, instinctively, they are going to want, and need, meat.

• Digestibility: Plant proteins tend to be more difficult for dogs to digest, are less palatable and offer less nutrition. Grains are lower than vegetables on the digestibility and nutritional adequacy scale.

When examining a dog food label, look at the overall content,” warns Dr. Wakslag. “A company can list ‘”chicken’” as the number one ingredient, but it is wet when added and can shrink after processing.

He continued: “Grains can be number 2 and 3 on the list, but they are dry—which can be a greater quantity than the ‘”chicken”.’ So if I look at a label and see chicken as the number one ingredient, I am also looking for the number two or three ingredient to be poultry meal (dry) or poultry byproduct meal (dry). So looking at total protein, the ingredients and whether they are dry or wet is important when reading labels too.”

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