Protein - Why Is It Important For Dogs?

Protein is important for dogs as they are the main building blocks in animal nutrition.  It is needed for muscle development and repair, skin cell renewal, hair growth, the creation of many hormones and enzymes and it supports the immune system.

Protein can also be burned as calories and can be converted to and stored as fat.  Excess protein can be excreted in the urine.

It is actually the amino acids in protein that dogs need.  There are 22 amino acids and dogs can only synthesize 12 of them.  The ones that dogs cannot synthesize are called essential amino acids – these are:

Arginine

Histidine

Isoleucine

Leucine

Lysine

Methionine

Phenylalanine

Threonine

Tryptophan (this is the ‘happy’ hormone as it aids in the production of serotonin)

Valine

NB dogs can synthesize taurine, but cats cannot.

Every protein source contains different levels of amino acids and each protein is different in its ability to be broken down into the constituent amino acids.  For this reason, it is recommended to provide different protein sources, particularly if raw feeding.

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