Why a Higher Protein Diet Helps Keep Your Dog Lean and Fit
Category_Dog Blog
The Vet's Corner

Why a Higher Protein Diet Helps Keep Your Dog Lean and Fit

by Wes Chang

You hear it every day: “Weight loss secrets of the stars!” “The Diet Fad Sweeping the Nation!” “Is the Eye Color Diet Right for You?” (It’s not.)

What you don’t often hear is how to keep your dog in a healthy body condition. I’ve spent the past two decades researching, teaching veterinary professionals, and helping pet patients overcome obesity. I can tell you firsthand it’s much (much) easier to prevent weight gain than to shed excess pounds on a dog patient.

The most important element in keeping your dog at a healthy and lean body condition is what and how much food you feed them. As I tell veterinarians, “When it comes to maintaining a healthy body condition in dogs, calories rule, but food formulation determines health.” The formulation I’m referring to is a higher protein dog food rich in dietary fibers.

A Balanced Diet is Key

All dogs need a balanced diet with proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. AAFCO nutritional guidelines require adult dog food must contain at least 18% crude protein, and the majority contain about 21 to 27%. Keeping protein lower can help the manufacturer maintain a healthy profit because protein is generally the most expensive ingredient in dog food. Dog foods higher than 28% protein have become labeled “high-protein,” although that term has no real regulatory or medical meaning.

Unless a dog has a medical condition such as kidney or liver failure, I typically recommend a minimum of 28% protein for healthy adult dogs. Numerous studies have shown that higher-protein formulations can help keep a dog at ideal body composition and weight. For weight loss, high protein, high fiber diets have also been proven to be the best choice for most dogs.

Wild Earth High Protein Dog Food

A well balanced, high protein diet goes a long way toward a happier, healthier dog!

Why Higher Protein

There are many reasons a higher protein diet helps keep dogs fit and healthy. The first is that proteins make your dog feel full or “satiated.” Protein triggers a complex cascade of hormones within the gut that signals the brain to stop eating. Higher protein also helps preserve and build lean muscle mass, so when you’re feeding your dog the correct amount of calories or reducing for weight loss, they don’t lose essential muscle. Finally, when a dog food has more protein, that means there is less room for carbohydrates or fats in the formula. By creating a dog food containing higher protein, dietary fibers, and even fats, we can optimize the formulation for health and optimal body condition.

Wild Earth = High Protein & High Fiber

We created Wild Earth Dog Food to be a healthy, sustainable, and delicious dog food. My decades of work in pet obesity helped shape the higher protein, higher dietary fiber (especially my favorite, beta-glucans), and ideal calorie count (only 333 kcals per cup!) formulation that is both good for your dog and sustainable for the planet.

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