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Why is protein so important to dogs? Can you really feed too much protein? What makes Omuu’s insect protein an incredible protein source?

Why Do Dogs Need Protein?

Protein is an essential component of your dogs diet. Your dog requires protein for tissue growth and repair. When we talk about protein, it is specifically the amino acids that we need to take into consideration. These are the building blocks of protein.

10 of the 20 amino acids found in nature are essential for dogs. This means that dogs need to get 50% of their amino acids through their diet (their body cannot produce these amino acids). Dogs need protein to properly build their nerves, repair their skin, grow hair, maintain muscles, tendons and cartilage. Dogs require protein for essentially everything in their body.

Are Dogs Omnivores Or Carnivores?

This is a debate which we see countless times on social media. The misconception is that domestic dogs have descended from wolves which makes them exactly the same as wolves. However, this does not take into consideration 100,000 years of evolutionary change. Through domestication with hunter gatherers, dogs have evolved to secrete digestive enzymes capable of breaking down carbohydrates.

This means that our domesticated dog can break down complex carbohydrates and use this glucose as a fantastic source of energy. Therefore dogs are omnivores. They need protein to survive, to build and repair their tissues and at the same time, they can use carbohydrates as a fantastic energy source. This is optimal usage of their food sources. Too much protein can be detrimental to your dog’s health (see below).

How Much Protein Do Dogs Need? Quality Vs Quantity?

AlopecAs we previously discussed, when we speak about protein it is not just the type of protein that is important. But also the amino acid profile of the protein. When you think about it, 100 grams of cashew nuts will not contain the same amount of amino acids as 100 grams of animal meat. We also need to take into consideration the digestibility of the protein source. This measure how easy dogs can break down the protein source and use the amino acids. For example we know cooked meat has a greater digestibility than raw meat. Puppies and senior dogs require a higher minimum amount of protein for their growth and repair compared to adult dogs. It is important to remember that high quality protein is much better than a high quantity of poor quality protein.

Omuu uses the black soldier fly larvae which actually contain all amino acids in abundance needed by your dog. They actually contain more amino acids than chicken breast. The black soldier fly larvae have also been shown to be a highly digestible protein source. This means that dogs are able to easily break down the protein and utilise all these essential amino acids.

Can Dogs Eat Too Much Protein?

Yes, like all food sources, anything in excess can cause problems. Once dogs have used all the dietary proteins for their biological needs (repair of tissue and muscle growth) then a small proportion of the excess protein is used as energy. The rest of the dietary protein is processed in the liver and it is excreted through the kidneys. Kidney disease is a common medical problem in dogs. High protein diets are linked to worsening kidney disease since high protein diets work the kidneys harder.

Another interesting point is that animal meats are high in the mineral phosphorus. They go hand in hand. High phosphorus diets is also linked to exacerbating kidney disease in dogs. Omuu’s insect protein contains just the right amount of phosphorus. The perfect amount to keep your dogs bones strong and healthy. But not so much to worsen kidney disease.

Can Protein Cause Food Intolerances?

Yes, protein is the leading cause of food related allergies in dogs. Beef, chicken, eggs and lamb are common allergens (things that cause an allergy). High protein diets contain higher proportions of these animal sources. ‘Animal derivatives’ is a common source of protein found in petfood. These products can contain all types of animal protein sources which may cause allergies in your dog.

A food elimination diet trial is the gold standard method of finding out which protein your dog is allergic to. This entails placing your dog onto a diet trial for a minimum of 12 weeks using a novel protein source which their immune system has not come into contact with before.

Omuu uses the black soldier fly larvae which is classed as a novel protein source. After 12 weeks on a strict Omuu diet, you can then slowly start to introduce your dog to other types of proteins and see which source causes a reaction.

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