Many of us know that there are a multitude of important nutrients our pets need in their diet, and we do our best to make sure they’re getting them. Protein remains one of the most important of these nutrients, as it provides dogs with several essential amino acids that are required to keep them happy and healthy through their development. Still, with all of the choices that are available on the market currently, it can be difficult at times for pet parents to establish what makes some high protein dog food options a better fit for their dogs than others. In this article, Freshpet discusses the importance of protein and what contributes to the difference between quality high protein dog foods, and those that may not fully address the dietary needs of your pets.
Protein is one of the most important parts of a healthy and balanced diet for your dog because it is needed to perform vital functions such as hormone production and regulation, maintaining healthy nails and hair, building a robust and functioning immune system, growing and maintaining muscle tissue, and providing energy. Dogs require 22 amino acids in order to make necessary proteins, but your dog’s body can make 10 of them on their own. This means that the other 12 essential amino acids must come from the food that your dog eats every day, and that’s why such an emphasis is placed on protein content and quality when discussing optimal diets for our pets.
In some cases, certain dogs can require more protein than others in order to remain healthy. For example, active dogs may require a diet that includes high protein dog food as it helps them maintain muscle and energy levels. Senior dogs may also benefit from a diet with a high protein dog food due to the fact that older dogs can begin to have difficulty metabolizing necessary nutrients and can start to lose musculature and strength as they age.
Freshpet recipes are unique in that they are complete and balanced, meaning that they contain all the required nutrients in the right amounts for pets based on their species and life stages. 100% real meat, which is sourced almost entirely in the USA, is the #1 ingredient across all Freshpet recipes, and Freshpet doesn’t rely on meat powders, meat meals, retorted meat, or other low-quality meat substitutes that the FDA would not allow for human consumption. Freshpet’s high protein dog food contains more moisture than other offerings because the recipe is full of fresh meat but, if one were to remove the moisture and compare the formula of Freshpet and kibble side by side, Freshpet has 53% protein per serving compared to kibble’s average of ~26%.
Another factor that separates Freshpet’s high protein dog food from others within the space is the cooking process we use. Adult dogs require 12 essential amino acids to maintain their health, and Freshpet’s steaming process releases the most nutritionally available amount of all 12 of these essential amino acids – much more than you find in the harsher, high-temperature cooking methods required to make kibble. Getting the optimal amount of essential amino acids from meat sources is important, as dogs’ bodies cannot produce them on their own. The gentle steam cooking process that is used by Freshpet ensures that nutrients maintain the highest levels of bioavailability possible, meaning that dogs can more easily absorb them than they can with foods that use different methods for cooking and processing.