Many dog owners find themselves in a situation where they want to provide their pup with a healthy, balanced diet but sometimes fail to know everything they should include. Of course, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are vital, and perhaps the first thing that comes to mind, but we need to keep in mind that we should always include a healthy source of protein for dogs. Not only is it important, but protein is an essential part of their diet as they can’t survive without it. Is Beef a good option for my dog?
What we need to pay attention to, is not only that our doggies receive protein, but a healthy source of it. Beef, amongst other types of meat, is an excellent option. However, not all beef or meat contained in dog food is of good quality. Today we'll clarify these differences and how to tell them apart.
Why does my dog need protein?
Protein accounts for a number of processes such as building and repairing muscle and tissues, as well as providing structure for skin, hair, bones, connective tissue (ligaments, cartilage, tendons), and muscle fibers.
Since protein is such a vital part of our dog’s diet, and because it is continuously being used up by the body for so many processes, the body needs a constant supply to replace it. But, just like everything else we give our dogs, we need to remember that moderation is key.
What should I take into account when it comes to protein for dogs?
It’s all about quality and not quantity. But how do I know when protein is considered of high quality and when it’s not? We say that high-quality protein should match the following criteria:
1. Be bioavailable: Dogs can easily digest and assimilate it.
2. Not containing any chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics.
3. Is safe against food intolerances or sensitivity,
4. Unprocessed, or minimally done so.
Protein-rich sources are easy to find!
This might seem like a lot of information, and sometimes hard to verify, so we've gathered up vital facts for you! You'll see that in practice, it’s not as complicated as it might seem. We just need to pay attention to where the protein we give our pups comes from. As we said, beef for dogs is great, but high-quality protein can also be found in other animal sources, such as:
-Dairy: Prepared from goat or sheep and including milk, cheese, and yogurt. (It is best to try to find organic and natural dairy products, mainly to avoid the presence of unnecessary additives such as preservatives, sweeteners, sugars, and artificial flavors.)
-Eggs: Ideally organic and free range.
-Fish: Make sure it is always clean from skin and bones as well as cooked before serving to our doggies. You should also try to find fish that are low in mercury, such as sardines, trout, scallops, tilapia, cod, and wild-caught salmon (or of bio origin but from dynamic waters). It is best to avoid shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, clams) since dogs can experience severe allergic reactions (yes, just like their owners!)
-Meat: Duck, goat, rabbit, turkey, venison, beef, pork, chicken and lamb are wholesome sources. If possible, try to find organic or naturally raised and grass-fed to ensure the absence of antibiotics and high levels of hormones.
Meat vs. Meat Meal
Most pet food and treats contain “Meat meal” (often the word “meat” replaced by chicken, lamb and so on) “Meat derivatives” or “Animal fats”. Are these a high quality source of protein for dogs? The answer is simple: NO. And the difference starts here:
On the left, you can see what “meat meal” looks like. Meat meal comes in the form of powder and it is the end product of carcasses, skins, and all slaughterhouse remains (after the real, high-quality meat has been set aside for human consumption). All of these leftovers are then shredded and processed into powder. Needless to say, the nutritional components and quality of the protein found in these powders are not the same, and significantly inferior in quality to unprocessed and “real” meat, such as the beef we can see on the right.
What I decided to do about this!
It was during my career in the food manufacturing industry that I became aware of these very significant differences. In fact, for years, I thought my Luna (a West Highland Scott Terrier) was allergic to chicken. However, what I learned with time is that Luna is actually allergic to poor quality dog food. All her tummy intolerances ended up coming from apparent “high quality food” which in fact was not high quality at all. Those days are now over! Truth be told, I became so interested and invested in dog health nutrition, that I decided to leave my corporate career and start LOONAWELL.
Now, I can finally combine all my knowledge and expertise in Biomedical Sciences & Food Nutrition, and put it all at the service of our dogs! And owners of course, because if our pups are happy and healthy, we’re happy as well!
So, I kept the following rules in mind during the development of the Beef Delight LOONAWELL treats for dogs:
1. All ingredients must contribute positively to our dog’s nutrition (in fact, I follow this rule in all of the products I develop). This means zero poor-quality ingredients.
2. Only use fresh organic whole beef for dogs.
3. Only use organic ingredients (to ensure a hormone and antibiotic-free product)
4. Combine a variety of fresh ingredients to ensure highly nutritious treats (with all the essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids our dogs need as well)
By following these rules, I can keep to something I have always believed (and now put into practice with LOONAWELL) which is that there is no better way to trust my dog’s food and treats than to know I could eat them too!
It is with all of this in mind, that the Beef Delight biscuits were born and launched last month, providing an excellent source of protein for dogs. So far, all of our LOONAWELL community doggies have been loving them! Check out our Instagram account and if you’d like your dog to try them out just follow the link below!
Dr. Maria de Bettencourt Tavares
Beef Delight Organic Baked Dog Treats
These easily digestible dog treats, are rich in protein, from Swiss organic beef, as well as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids, which are all key for your dog's good health. Handmade and traditionally baked, all our treats are made… Read More