Cats are classified as true carnivores because they must consume meat in order to survive. (Go here) to see some of the differences between feline and canine metabolism. Dogs are just slightly different from cats in their conversion of foods for life maintenance; dogs are classified as omnivores. They can survive on a diet of either plant or animal origin if it is balanced and diverse. But to thrive and not merely survive, dogs should have a source of animal protein – MEAT – in their diets. There is a huge difference between survive and thrive!
Dogs that are not thriving because nature’s rules are not being followed. Overweight dogs, dogs with itchy, flaky skin, dogs with coarse and brittle coats, dogs with poor energy levels and resistance to infection. . . 95% of the time these dogs will be consuming diets low in animal origin tissues and high in grain-based products. Inexpensive, corn-based diets are some of the worst.
Meat by-products: heart, liver, spleen, intestines (emptied of their contents), blood, kidneys.
- Fish… salmon, herring
- Poultry… chicken, turkey, duck
- Dairy… eggs, milk, cheese
FOODS OF PLANT ORIGIN
- Grains… corn, wheat, rice, barley, soybeans, oatmeal
- Fiber… The non-digestible cellulose parts of plants such as peanut hulls
- Nuts and seeds
Dogs need meat! Dogs thrive on meat-based diets. (Caution: an ALL meat diet is hazardous too). Dogs can and do assimilate grains such as corn, barley, oats, wheat and soybean meal. Remember, though, that grains provide mostly carbohydrates and only limited amino acid (protein) profiles.
Maybe you’ve heard too much protein is unhealthy causing kidney damage. The very early research that pointed a finger at protein as being a cause of kidney failure in dogs wasn’t even done on dogs. It was done on rats fed unnatural diets for a rodent… diets high in protein. Dogs are quite able to tolerate diets with protein levels higher than 30% on a dry weight basis.
Dogs are meat eaters, that’s how nature made them. Rats are not. So some of the early research on rats was assumed to be true for dogs… and the myth of “too much protein in a dog’s diet causes kidney damage” was started.
Current, and even ignored thirty-year-old research by Dr. David S. Kronfeld and others, spells out the evolutionary need for canines to have sources of high quality protein such as is found in animal tissues. Meat (muscle tissue), organ tissues such as liver, kidneys, spleen, and heart are particularly rich in the complex molecules called Amino Acids that end up as protein. There are 22 Amino Acids involved with the dog’s metabolism and of these the dog requires 10 different Amino Acids to be supplied by the diet. The other 12 required Amino Acids can be manufactured internally in the dog’s liver.
Grains tend to be better sources of carbohydrate, a quick source of energy. Animal-derived tissues are more easily digestible and have a more complete array of Amino Acids than do grains. Meats and meat by-products (meat by-products are blood and organ tissues and do not include hide, hair, hooves and teeth) are exceptionally high quality protein sources for dogs. (Meat by-products are excellent sources of nourishment for dogs. By-products do not contain floor sweepings, old flea collars, gasoline or machine parts).
Protein and Hyperactivity
Most dog caretakers at one time or another have heard this… “High protein diets can make dogs hyper!” There are no biochemical or nutritional factors that would even make this supposition appear to be credible. Hyperactivity in dogs has numerous potential motivators, including genetic temperament predispositions, but a link between high levels of protein in a dog’s diet and hyperactivity has yet to be proven.
I have found Nature’s Select to be very healty dog food. And they even have free home delivery! Nature Select uses whole meats, whold ground rice and natural preservatives like vitamin C and E and rosemary extract. No by-products, corn, wheat, or chemical preservatives. Contact email: PaulsPetFood@sbcglobal.net or 760-787-9991 (San Diego area).
There is a food comparison chart on thier website of several other competitor brands. There are formulas for puppies, older dogs, and cats. (Chicken is a natural source of glucosamine, for hips and joints). Rice is especially good for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Which ever brand you choose, meat (beef, chicken, lamb, fish) should be the first ingredient listed. If you do not purchase a rice blended dog food, you can always add it to your dog’s diet.
Photo credit: EraPhernalia Vintage