How much protein does your dog need?

How much protein does your dog need?

The minimum dietary protein requirement for a growing dog is 18% dry matter, or DM, and 8% DM for an adult dog. This is based on feeding a high-quality protein and again, is a minimum amount.

AAFCO recommends that the daily requirements for dog diets should contain at least 22% DM for growth and 18% DM for maintenance.

Current research states that there is no added benefit to excess protein in the diet. The maximum amount for any life stage should not exceed 30% DM.

Excess protein is otherwise excreted from the body, and in some conditions, can be harmful.

Low-Protein Diets

Feeding a high-protein or low-protein diet for prevention and management of certain diseases is a debated topic in veterinary nutrition.

Low-protein diets may be recommended for certain conditions to decrease the amount of ammonia that is present in the body. Ammonia is toxic to tissue and cells and is created as a byproduct of protein breakdown. Ammonia occurs in many locations in the body, but 90% of it is in the kidneys and liver.

Reducing total protein intake and nonessential amino acids can help minimize the workload on these organs. It is best to consult with your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist if you are considering a protein-specific diet due to your dog’s condition.

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