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When it comes to your pet’s diet, protein plays an important role for both dogs and cats in ensuring they receive everything they need to thrive. Here we take a look at this essential nutrient and explore the difference between animal and plant-based proteins.

So What's the Big Deal About Protein Anyway?

Protein plays an important role and is responsible for many functions in your pet’s body but one of its more important roles is that it’s made up of amino acids. Our pets’ bodies make approximately half of the amino acids they need on their own (these are referred to as non-essential amino acids), with the rest depending on ingredients found in their daily diet. These amino acids are referred to as essential amino acids and ensuring your pet is receiving the right combination of ingredients to produce these amino acids is the best way to avoid deficiencies that can lead to a wide range of health problems.

Not All Protein Sources Are Created Equal

Protein in pet food can come from animal sources, plant sources or a combination of the two but it’s important to understand that not all protein sources are created equal. For example, although dogs are technically considered omnivores (meaning they eat both meat and plant-based foods), high-quality meat-based protein, like chicken, contains all of the amino acids your pup needs to thrive where a diet that relies too heavily on plant-based sources may be deficient in some essential amino acids. Cats, of course, are carnivores which means it’s imperative they are fed a diet made up of animal-based protein. This is not to say that plant-based ingredients are “bad” ingredients, peas, for example, are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but when it comes to protein; animal-based ingredients are far superior.

Choosing the Right Diet Is Important!

When you’re considering what food to feed your pets, you may wonder how you can be sure a pet food formula includes the right amount of high-quality meat-based protein. It’s not enough to find the listed protein percentage (listed under the Guaranteed Analysis), you need to understand what ingredients are making up that percentage. Your best clue will be to find the formula’s listed ingredients. Each ingredient is listed in order by inclusion level, with the highest inclusion listed first and so on and so forth. Compare the number of animal-based ingredients to the number of plant-based ingredients (paying special attention to the top ten ingredients) and consider where they are listed. All TLC Whole Life Pet Food formulas include high-quality animal-based protein sources found in the top ten ingredients. Formulas that pack their top ten ingredients with plant-based protein may not deliver the essential amino acids your pet requires to thrive.

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